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Albery's Lawn & Tractor
07-12-2007, 12:45 AM
I HAD a customer in the nicest gated communtiy in town. His yard was about 3/4 of an acre and was zoysia emerald. He contacted me b/c he wasn't happy with his previous LCO, reason being he read a magazine or internet article saying zoysia is suppose to be cut at 1-1.5" and thats what he wanted it cut at. From the start I tried to tell him that they were talking about a reel mower not a rotary mower. But he's a stubborn doctor who thinks I'm some dumb lawn boy and tells me to just cut it a 1.5". So I do for 2 weeks but of course it scalps several areas in the yard and turns a few patches brown. Luckily he has a irragation system so it helped some what to get it back but I also started cutting (mulching) at 2". after 3 weeks (weekly mowing account) I have his yard looking nice and green, it's probably one of the best looking yards in the neighborhood.
He calls one day to asks if I could plug aerate his yard and to ask if I could start to bag since thats what he says the article recommends. I tell him I'll aerate but we don't bag we mulch and thats what every other company is doing now to which he already knew. There was no need to bag, when I would mulch you couldn't see any clippings or anything, just nice stripes from the M60 Tank. I do the aeration on Tuesday and drive by two days laterwhile doing other work in the neighborhood, and I see a guy with a Poluan Riding mower bagging the yard:hammerhead: . This guy must have cut on the lowest notch and turned the entire yard BROWN!!!! Meanwhile the customer never calls to cancel or anything. So I show up the next week to mow and I had to cut 1.75" just so you could tell it had been mowed. Following week I show up and guess what......yep it's been cut and bagged again and now it looks horrible!!!
So after all this I just drop off a bill and in big bold letters I put FINAL BILL. They call today and say there gonna have to cancel:dizzy: and that there yard needs to be bagged. I don't care about losing the account but I tried to tell the PITA that he needed a REEL MOWER, and that I had one that cuts 12 Feet wide but I won't use it for less then $300 b/c it's an expensive piece and is a pain to transport. Even if they had begged me to continue I would have refused as I don't want to be known as the guy who killed a lawn in this neighborhood even though it wasn't me but some have seen my truck and trailer there.

SORRY FOR THE LONG POST.

Vikings
07-12-2007, 01:15 AM
I have a big job in a nice area, about 20k sq ft, my largest lawn. He wants it bagged AND taken away. So I raised his price and tried bagging some with a 36 wb, i would side discharge it to one area then rake it up and leave the bags there, I would cut day before garbage day. Finally my mulch kit came in and I've been mulching and he can't tell the difference.

swingset
07-12-2007, 02:28 AM
I just refuse the bagging jobs. I know some people want them, but for me it's a PITA, and the customers that want bagging end up being anal or complainers (dunno if there's some psychology behind that, but I think bagging=compulsiveness).

I'm sure I've said no to some otherwise good accounts, but life's too short to do stuff I don't want to. Plenty of good customers out there!

Budget
07-12-2007, 08:01 AM
I hate to turn work down, but i had a few this year that wanted it bagged. You wonder why they always looking for a new lawn service.

Liquidfast
07-12-2007, 09:07 AM
I just refuse the bagging jobs. I know some people want them, but for me it's a PITA, and the customers that want bagging end up being anal or complainers (dunno if there's some psychology behind that, but I think bagging=compulsiveness).

I'm sure I've said no to some otherwise good accounts, but life's too short to do stuff I don't want to. Plenty of good customers out there!



I read in an article once that those pesky demanding customers actually resent THEMSELVES and therefore relate bagging grass with the use of a condom. They (the anal customers) feel if you bag their grass (essentially place a condom on the mower), nothing bad will happen to their lawn.

What is wrtten above is total BS on my part but show it to an anal bagging account and if any of them start to cry, drop them N O W and run as fast as you can!

Good luck, be safe out there!

bullethead
07-12-2007, 10:05 AM
Guys like that - either punt them to the curb because they are always going to have an opinion that you will have to address or jack their price up to the point that you think it is worth screwing with. As am I sure many have said on here before, there are plenty of good customers and life is short.

Turf Professionals Inc.
07-12-2007, 11:11 AM
First off, that article that the doctor read is WRONG!!! By removing the clippings from the grass, you end up removing up to 25% of the Nitrogen needs of the grass! This WILL turn the grass brown. It may not happen in a week but it will happen!
Secondly, I do not even talk to people who feel as though they know more than I do! They just end up being a pain in my a$$. If they know so much about it they need to get out there and sweat there ballz off to do it! I am a Professional! I take my job very seriously! If they hire me, I do it the way I know it needs to be done! I do not allow clients to tell me different!

Vikings
07-12-2007, 12:06 PM
I tried to get away from bagging but sometimes with the 21" mowers I have it's easier and looks better just to bag it. I can't bag with the 36" Toro because it has a mulch kit but it does such a great job I'm happy with the results.

avjohnson
07-12-2007, 12:49 PM
Good to know many others are not bagging anymore. I'm weaning my places now but some have so many beds I have to bag those areas. I esp hate bagging when it's a dust pit and I end up breathing pure dust and blinking and having my contacts fall out.

MeadowsLawnCare
07-12-2007, 12:51 PM
Bagging is ******ed. If you can't see any grass behind, why bag? I can't believe the customers that want you to bag even after you show them what it looks like mulched. Even if you tell them its better for the lawn. One lady things that it "chokes" the lawn out and the grass will die. LOL. Thats why I just charge extra for my extra time, the extra pain, and the extra strain of lifting the bags too.

avjohnson
07-12-2007, 12:54 PM
In our area people blame a lack of bagging for the buildup of thatch in the lawn.

Pitbull05
07-12-2007, 01:24 PM
I bag some of my weekly cutomers every 5th cut, and this works out good for me. I only do it for three of my good cutomers, and they have the best looking lawns that I do.

bobcat175
07-12-2007, 01:36 PM
Is the lawn brown now...I would take some pics (hopefully you have some before...) and use them to show the next guy that comes up with the same "requirements"..... See this is what could happen to your lawn... Say that you didn't create the results...and I bet the customer will thank you...

DSTC
07-12-2007, 02:38 PM
I HAD a customer in the nicest gated communtiy in town. His yard was about 3/4 of an acre and was zoysia emerald. He contacted me b/c he wasn't happy with his previous LCO, reason being he read a magazine or internet article saying zoysia is suppose to be cut at 1-1.5" and thats what he wanted it cut at. From the start I tried to tell him that they were talking about a reel mower not a rotary mower. But he's a stubborn doctor who thinks I'm some dumb lawn boy and tells me to just cut it a 1.5". So I do for 2 weeks but of course it scalps several areas in the yard and turns a few patches brown. Luckily he has a irragation system so it helped some what to get it back but I also started cutting (mulching) at 2". after 3 weeks (weekly mowing account) I have his yard looking nice and green, it's probably one of the best looking yards in the neighborhood.
He calls one day to asks if I could plug aerate his yard and to ask if I could start to bag since thats what he says the article recommends. I tell him I'll aerate but we don't bag we mulch and thats what every other company is doing now to which he already knew. There was no need to bag, when I would mulch you couldn't see any clippings or anything, just nice stripes from the M60 Tank. I do the aeration on Tuesday and drive by two days laterwhile doing other work in the neighborhood, and I see a guy with a Poluan Riding mower bagging the yard:hammerhead: . This guy must have cut on the lowest notch and turned the entire yard BROWN!!!! Meanwhile the customer never calls to cancel or anything. So I show up the next week to mow and I had to cut 1.75" just so you could tell it had been mowed. Following week I show up and guess what......yep it's been cut and bagged again and now it looks horrible!!!
So after all this I just drop off a bill and in big bold letters I put FINAL BILL. They call today and say there gonna have to cancel:dizzy: and that there yard needs to be bagged. I don't care about losing the account but I tried to tell the PITA that he needed a REEL MOWER, and that I had one that cuts 12 Feet wide but I won't use it for less then $300 b/c it's an expensive piece and is a pain to transport. Even if they had begged me to continue I would have refused as I don't want to be known as the guy who killed a lawn in this neighborhood even though it wasn't me but some have seen my truck and trailer there.

SORRY FOR THE LONG POST.


As far as the cutting goes, my extension service handbook says 1/2" to 1-12" on zoysia and to raise 1/2" during the summer heat. So in other words, mowing at 2" is perfectly fine. This handbook also tells how bad it is to bag and how it removes 25% of the nitrogen and nutrients that the grass needs. If your state makes one of these books, I'd suggest picking it up and trying to educate a customer like this by showing him the advice of the experts. Mine is called "Turfgrass Pest Control, Recommendations for Professionals" and is sent to us every year from the University of Georgia Extension Service. It has everything from mowing to seeding, chemicals for weeds, fungus and insects. Has all the goodies, and is written by the experts. I carry this thing around and it has come in handy when I have to "educate" a customer. It's nice ot be able to say "don't take my word for it, here is what the experts say"

Albery's Lawn & Tractor
07-12-2007, 03:58 PM
DSTC where can I get a copy of that or can I buy that one from you? I would really like to show it to this guy just to see the look on his face when he realizes the lawn boy knows what he's talking about.

Pitbull05
07-12-2007, 04:02 PM
Is a book like this available in NC

DSTC
07-12-2007, 05:21 PM
DSTC where can I get a copy of that or can I buy that one from you? I would really like to show it to this guy just to see the look on his face when he realizes the lawn boy knows what he's talking about.

http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/pubs/management/ag348/AG348.htm

http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/

The first link tells ya how to order the NC book. Looks like this book is very similar to my book here in GA and is done by NCSU, which looks like it's your guys land grant Univ. and heads the Extension service.

The second link has all kinds of PDF's and links for all kinds of goodies.


Here is a link talking specifically about Zoysia.
http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabindex=5&tabid=4&Content=20&ExtID=HTM


Here is the link for the UGA site. You'll be able to find the book there somewhere if you want the GA one.

http://www.commodities.caes.uga.edu/turfgrass/georgiaturf/Publicat/index.html

http://www.commodities.caes.uga.edu/turfgrass/georgiaturf/Turfgras/1115_Zoysia.htm


Hope this helps :)

dave k
07-12-2007, 06:02 PM
I have Emerald Green Zoysia on my yard about 3/4 ac. and I use my reel at 3/4" and looks great, I have used my Walker on it and will only go as low as 2" with a rotary, With Emerald if you go down to the black in the blade you will have a looooong recovery, believe me, I learned the hard way, no need to bag either, I use my 48" SD on the Walker and it looks fine, I only use it if I get lazy but prefer the look of a reel, if you cut it to hight it looks puffy and un kept, I would never cut higher than 1 inch with a reel, 3/4" is ideal even in the drought conditions. I will never use Emerald again for my personal home, its a losing battle fighting the Bermuda, Fusillade II doen't work worth a darn, by time the Emerald is healed, the Bermuda is back, I am now trying painting roundup on, but its a losing battle, next time its TiftSport or GN Bermuda.

brucec32
07-12-2007, 09:56 PM
I HAD a customer in the nicest gated communtiy in town. His yard was about 3/4 of an acre and was zoysia emerald. He contacted me b/c he wasn't happy with his previous LCO, reason being he read a magazine or internet article saying zoysia is suppose to be cut at 1-1.5" and thats what he wanted it cut at. From the start I tried to tell him that they were talking about a reel mower not a rotary mower. But he's a stubborn doctor who thinks I'm some dumb lawn boy and tells me to just cut it a 1.5". So I do for 2 weeks but of course it scalps several areas in the yard and turns a few patches brown. Luckily he has a irragation system so it helped some what to get it back but I also started cutting (mulching) at 2". after 3 weeks (weekly mowing account) I have his yard looking nice and green, it's probably one of the best looking yards in the neighborhood.
He calls one day to asks if I could plug aerate his yard and to ask if I could start to bag since thats what he says the article recommends. I tell him I'll aerate but we don't bag we mulch and thats what every other company is doing now to which he already knew. There was no need to bag, when I would mulch you couldn't see any clippings or anything, just nice stripes from the M60 Tank. I do the aeration on Tuesday and drive by two days laterwhile doing other work in the neighborhood, and I see a guy with a Poluan Riding mower bagging the yard:hammerhead: . This guy must have cut on the lowest notch and turned the entire yard BROWN!!!! Meanwhile the customer never calls to cancel or anything. So I show up the next week to mow and I had to cut 1.75" just so you could tell it had been mowed. Following week I show up and guess what......yep it's been cut and bagged again and now it looks horrible!!!
So after all this I just drop off a bill and in big bold letters I put FINAL BILL. They call today and say there gonna have to cancel:dizzy: and that there yard needs to be bagged. I don't care about losing the account but I tried to tell the PITA that he needed a REEL MOWER, and that I had one that cuts 12 Feet wide but I won't use it for less then $300 b/c it's an expensive piece and is a pain to transport. Even if they had begged me to continue I would have refused as I don't want to be known as the guy who killed a lawn in this neighborhood even though it wasn't me but some have seen my truck and trailer there.

SORRY FOR THE LONG POST.


Lessons learned:

1. Don't be so impressed with someone who has a pricey home and lawn. They are often no more profitable than simple homes when you factor in the PITA factor and time required.

2. Don't let the customer tell you how to mow the lawn when you know better. You KNEW it would scalp at that height, so obviously the ultimate outcome would be unsatisfactory. When the customer started up on what an article said, that was another warning sign. When you take on these customers, you cost yourself money, since you are likely to wind up with a vacant spot in your route. Most people like this would have told you to mow it at 1.5", then fired you for they way it looked anyway. Amateurs who read articles written by "experts" who probably mow nothing but their own lawns and are just spouting textbook stuff are going to be a problem. They live in a fantasy world of flat lawns and perfect mowing conditions.

3. Don't attempt to acheive a manicured look on warm season stolonous turf with a 60" deck unless it's a tabletop smooth surface, especially when the customer is indicating he wants a nicer look than he's been getting. That mower is not really a manicure machine.

4. People who hire you as a replacement for the last guy are more likely to be PITA's. Pass or factor that into the price. This is a good situation to insist on a solid contract, too. Listen to the warning bells.

5. Don't keep servicing a lawn when some craziness like having another guy out there mowing it starts happening. Talk to the customer and make sure you don't get burned. They were trying out your replacement before bothering to let you know you were fired.

6. Don't mow it lower than you should just to "make it look like it's been mowed". Then the scalping is YOUR fault. This is related to #5. It's crazy to service a lawn that was just cut by someone else! The odds of the customer loving this arrangement is pretty low.

7. Call the customer and ask what's up. Leaving them a 'final bill' is an invitation to stiff you. Avoid souring the relationship till AFTER you get paid.

puppypaws
07-13-2007, 12:06 AM
First off, that article that the doctor read is WRONG!!! By removing the clippings from the grass, you end up removing up to 25% of the Nitrogen needs of the grass! This WILL turn the grass brown. It may not happen in a week but it will happen!
Secondly, I do not even talk to people who feel as though they know more than I do! They just end up being a pain in my a$$. If they know so much about it they need to get out there and sweat there ballz off to do it! I am a Professional! I take my job very seriously! If they hire me, I do it the way I know it needs to be done! I do not allow clients to tell me different!

Doctors think they sit on the right hand of God (not all doctors but a large percentage) and they are smarter than you and I. This is some of the same smart doctors and hospital staff that kill 800,000 + people a year that should and could have been avoided according to research firms.

He does not trust a lawn boy to have as much intelligence as he acquired by reading articles on maintaining a perfect lawn. The best thing for him to do is maintain his own lawn because I promise no one will ever satisfy this kind of person.

lawnboy dan
07-13-2007, 09:32 AM
bagging =pita customer

Albery's Lawn & Tractor
07-13-2007, 09:46 PM
Brucec32: In response to number 6, I mowed it the following week after the one guy bagged it. The lawn was about 2" tall but there were a few centipede shooters in a few place and along the sidewalks. So I mowed it at 1 3/4 and left a nice stripe and it did look good when I left.

I only continued service b/c I like to finish the month out and there was only 2 cuts left. And the tank actually did a really good cut on the lawn, as its pretty smooth.

Taylor Yardworks
07-13-2007, 11:59 PM
Bagging is ******ed. If you can't see any grass behind, why bag? I can't believe the customers that want you to bag even after you show them what it looks like mulched. Even if you tell them its better for the lawn. One lady things that it "chokes" the lawn out and the grass will die. LOL. Thats why I just charge extra for my extra time, the extra pain, and the extra strain of lifting the bags too.


I don't bag anymore, used to, I now mulch. The biggest complaint I hear is the clippings coming into the house and messing up the floors and carpet. When I hear this, I say I'll be glad to bag it but it will cost you double the price, if it's a $50 cut, it's now $100 to bag. This ends the complaints...period.