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Lawn-Sharks
07-31-2008, 11:20 AM
Sorry this is long winded, i just like for the new guys to see what all of us LCO'S that have been in the business longer have to deal with
I dropped the account yesterday after i received her payment for the month of July, Well along with her payment she sent a list with a couple complaints!for the second time That just pi$$ed me off. But let me give you all a little history on this lady first...I am her 3rd LCO in the past year the original account went to one of the local lawn companies and this guy got fed up and dropped her and passed her onto my friend, now my friend had the account for a few months longer then the first guy- Well he got tired of her calling and emailing him about the most PITA crap you could think of so then he calls and says to me Hey! you still taking on account in this area? .....Sure what you got. (also he didn't tell me she was a PITA) So i go introduce myself and give her a price for service and with a confused look on her face she agrees and then says if the last guy didn't want to mow for me he should have just told me instead of sending you here to give me a price (awkward I should have just ran away when i heard that).

Here's how it was with her.

My first mow with her.
Q: She calls Did you mow my lawn yesterday A: yes mam i did couldn't you tell? (her) well i got home late and couldn't tell because it was dark out and i haven't looked out side yet this morning. (Me) uuh OK! Go look I'm sure you will be very please with our work. (Her) ok. Click

After the 2nd mow I get an email.
Q: I noticed that the front yard looks taller then the back yard why is that.
A: I mow you hole yard at 4.5" which is the max cut height for your turf grass and the only answer i can come up with as to why it looks like it cut at different heights is because you have thinning areas in your back your do to lack of water and fertilization. (She) emails me back OK! thank you.

After the second mow i send her a prorated bill for the month of May then she sends me a the prorated amount + the amount for the next month (June) in advance, but the total amount she sent was off by $5.00 So i thought no biggie its only $5 bucks

So in the month of June i get another Email.
Q: My mother is staying with me and she was home ALL day and said she never heard you come and mow to day!! A: I don't know why she didn't hear me but if you tell her to look outside she can see i was there, As a matter of fact I'm here every Friday between 11:15 & 12:00 every time. (She) OK well i'll check when i get home.

Then i get a phone call.
Q: why have you not pulled the weeds out in my flower beds??
A: Flower beds are not included in you service agreement and if you look at the copy that i gave you THAT you signed then you will see that it is not included. (her) well cant you just spray weed killer on them at least? (Me) Ma'am you declined the Non-selective herbicide spraying for your yard and asked for a cheaper monthly amount without it. So i adjust you account accordingly.

So i get a few missed calls from her through out the month and she wouldnt return mine so i figured she was only wanting to complain about something.

So i get her July Payment yesterday and she has a small list of complaints!
Q: 1. Why are their clumps of grass on my yard after your done mowing
Q: 2. I noticed that the week before you didn't trim my shrubs by the garage door.
Q:3. Why did my amount increase by $5.00 this month
Q:4. Do you use an Edger at my house because my neighbor next me me say it doesn't look like you use one?

I replied:
A: 1. Its rainy season and your grass is growing like crazy and is still retaining water and when i mow the grass its wet and sticky and bunches up under the mowing deck and leaves piles here and there, But i have been blowing in an effort to minimize the clumps left on your lawn.
A:2. Yes i didn't trim the week before because you hired a company to mulch your flower beds and he was working in the flower bed were that shrub was so i skipped it that week.
A:3. Your amount did not increase i told you what it would cost for service and you paid me in advance for June and you were incorrect by $5.00 but i didn't complain about it.
A:4. Is it the neighbor on the garage side of your house? I'm sure it was, he asked me to edge his property and when i gave him a price he then Started complaining about the price and stormed off, I'm sure he's sore and trying to make me look bad.

So her final reply to my email sent me over the edge and made my decision to drop her. Here's what her email said.
Dear Lawn sharks.
I feel for the price I'm paying you and it being rainy season i feel you should be coming out twice a week to minimize the grass clumps seeing that you will only be coming 2 times a month in the winter season and getting paid the same as 4 visits and i feel that by you just blowing them around that in my eyes looks trashy even if the yard looks good! Also even if the man installing the mulch was there working you should have waited till he was finished and then trimmed the shrub(what the hell am i paying you for!!)I shouldn't have to pay for these extras ECT,ECT,ECT she went on and on getting nastier & nastier! So to finish it off i sent here a nice Email stating
Dear Mrs.XXXXX XXXXXX
It has come to our attention that we cannot provide the kind of personal service that only you can require, demand and expect, so with little to almost no regret must inform you that as of August 1st 2008 we will no longer be servicing your residence any longer. If you wish to, we can provide you with temporary service till you find another lawn company to replaces us. If this is something that you would be interested in, we will send you a bill of $65 per visit that needs to be paid in full prior to any work performed we know this will cost you more per week by doing it this way but you no longer have a monthly service contract with us. Thank you and have a good day:laugh:

mikewhit1010
07-31-2008, 11:30 AM
Slammmmmmm......I have a lot of these. I was trying to figure out why I have more now then before. I am thinking its because people are getting tight on cash or they like the fact that have an LCO but they dont like paying for the service. Also people that want a lower price should expect a lower quality job. I know you where not providing a low quality job but just saying a lot of my customers will complain about my prices then ask me to cut them a break I agree sometimes and then they wonder why I didnt spend 5 hours on the shrubs making them perfect.

lawnwizards
07-31-2008, 11:37 AM
i just dont answer the phone. problem solved.

ALC-GregH
07-31-2008, 11:57 AM
I'm on my way out now to mow. The first one for me is a old lady that complained a month or so back that she can't afford for me to mow every week. I told her that I can mow every 2 weeks but the price will go up. She agreed to just keep mowing weekly but can you clean up the flower beds while your here? I told her that my price is for mowing only like we agreed. So everything is worked out, I haven't touched the flower beds. Now, she wasn't home last week and told me that she wasn't going to be there. I told her thats fine, just double up the following week. This is the following week and I have this feeling she'll be complaining that I mowed the lawn and she wasn't there and try to get out of paying. I could be wrong and I hope I am but a gut feeling tells me she'll be complaining. I don't want to loose the account so I'll have to spend extra time to explain it to her that the grass will still grow if your not home and it will need to be cut regardless. I'll fill everyone in on the outcome.

Dunlaps LawnCare
07-31-2008, 12:17 PM
wow ni thought i had seen it all

ALC-GregH
07-31-2008, 04:18 PM
Well, I'm done and she wasn't to bad to deal with. She paid for both weeks but she brought up trimming the bushes and that I need to save some time to do them. I need to clear some things up with her. I believe she thinks that I won't mow 1 week and she'll use the money to pay me to trim bushes. The thing is, what she pays me to mow isn't what it will cost to trim bushes. I could easily spend 6-8hrs trimming MOST of the bushes and I don't think that will cover it all.

I think the whole problem happened when I told her I'd pull up some of the seedlings growing from the bushes that she asked if I would do. Mind you, this is a OLD lady, you know the type I'm sure, sweet kind hearted old lady that uses a cane to get around, limited income and lives in a huge home by her self. It took me all of 30 minutes to walk around and yank most of them out and throw them in the pile. Did I open the door for her to expect this each week? I like mowing her place but the money I get is just about right for the time it takes to mow and trim everything. I can't spend 2-3hrs there for the money shes paying to mow. I told her once before that doing anything other then picking up all the fallen branches, mowing, trimming and stuff that there would be a extra charge for trimming hedges and bushes. Now today she says that I need to save time to trim the bushes and the one outside this window here needs to be a foot lower so she can see out the window better! I didn't make the time to go over everything with her again as I have others to mow today. I have plenty of time early in the week to do everything she needs but I honestly don't think she has any extra money to pay me to trim the bushes and hedges. I'm confused a little on what I should do. I don't want to quit mowing her property but on the other hand, I'm not going to work for free. The grass is still growing 3-4 inches a week around here at most of my accounts. Heck, I'm still mowing my lawn every 5 days! So not mowing 1 week to trim "some" of the bushes is out of the question. Around a few bushes, it's getting harder to mow around and a few I can't go between anymore. I normally will trim back a few branches here and there to make it easier to mow but this would take me hours to do.

Got any advice, I don't need to hear, "dump her shes a pita" kinda answer, she's a nice old lady with limited income. I'm going to get a sign made up soon and park it on her property. It's a big corner lot. Here's a couple of pics. First pic is of the house, the second would be to the right of the house. All the bushes and hedges are over grown. The bushes to the right of the second pic are the ones I can't go between as well as a few others not in the pics. These pics were taken in early May.

Sorry for the long post, I'm just alittle worried that I'll loose the account over this issue.
http://momentoffame.com/photopost/data/501/medium/Dscn2541.jpg
http://momentoffame.com/photopost/data/501/medium/Dscn2542.jpg

ALC-GregH
07-31-2008, 04:27 PM
Also, the big trees around the house are Sycamore trees and they shed the bark like crazy this time of year and leave a huge mess on the lawn. I bagged it last week to keep it looking nice and clean. I came back and it was almost as bad this week! I chopped it up a few times to break it down but didn't both bagging.

Lawn-Sharks
07-31-2008, 05:20 PM
Well its good she paid you! I wouldn't recommend getting rid of any account unless it gets to the point that the customer bugs the crap out of you all the time and expects more service for the same price and make demands to you like your a dog that is going to jump to her every whim!

Phil G
07-31-2008, 05:21 PM
What a wonderfully refreshing bunch of threads :clapping:

There was me thinking that jerks were only bred in England. It's nice to know they are truly universal. Some of the accounts I've had in years gone by want the shirt off yer back. :)

Keep up the good work lads.
atb Phil

barefootlawnsandlandscape
07-31-2008, 05:47 PM
They were bred in England, but some them made it to the states and have passed on their tendencies to multiple generations! J/K

Charles
07-31-2008, 05:56 PM
Also, the big trees around the house are Sycamore trees and they shed the bark like crazy this time of year and leave a huge mess on the lawn. I bagged it last week to keep it looking nice and clean. I came back and it was almost as bad this week! I chopped it up a few times to break it down but didn't both bagging.

Just keep this simple. Don't try and guess how much money the customer has or doesn't have. Don't get too personal. Just do the work and charge her for it. Tell her how much it will cost before doing it of course. Treat her like anybody else

topsites
07-31-2008, 07:10 PM
LOL!

And I shouldn't laugh, but this is the reason why I have been complaining
for over a year now that I have a dire customer shortage.

Because ...
That is the Yin and the Yang BS of this business,
I either put up with it or I don't got a lot of work.

Fact is, I don't have these problems.
Invariably and unfortunately somebody else does,
it ain't right this world I tell you.

i just dont answer the phone. problem solved.

I'm not much for fighting with them anymore either.
Chances are this one would have dropped me, too,
but I don't feel the frustration as much.

Rons Rightway Lawncare
07-31-2008, 11:07 PM
I have one that I am planning to drop, but they don't know it yet.

It is a property I do in a NICE area of town, all newer homes ( they are still building in this neighborhood ) with large lots.

I used to mow the lawn across the street, was a referal from another customer and I agreed to mow her front and side yard for $105 per month. I would go to the back ( front was sod back was mostly bare dirt and a few weeds ) and mow the back once a month or so at no extra charge.

The house across the street was up for sale and the people selling it had moved and needed someone to mow for them till the house sold. They got my number from my customer across the street.

I quoted them 50$ per cut, and they wanted it done every 2 weeks. I charged extra for the first time since it was very tall and all the beds needed round up sprayed in them. They were happy with the price and mailed me a check every month no problems.

Well the house finally sold and the new owner never contacted me after he moved in.

Over a month went by in prime growing season and I get a call from a Chinese man wanting a estimate.

I go over to his house and find out it is the same house I was cutting for 50$. But at this point the grass is over a foot and half tall with stalks up to my waist. He wants to know how much to mow his yard....

I tell him 50$

He laughs and says he will pay 25$.

I say where does he come up with 25$..... he says I mow for lady across street for 25$.

I say no... I mow only her front and side of her lawn and I charge 105$ a month and I only mow on average 3 times per month. And her yard is only about 1/3-1/2 of a acre and your yard is over 1 acre in size.

He plays hardball with me and finally offers 35$ and I tell him that " 35$ is not enough for quality work, but if he wants a 35$ cut I will give him a 35$ cut, but he should know It won't be detailed workmanship. He says fine.


Now he has not been a PITA since, and pays cash every two weeks when I come by to mow. He did try to lowball me on aerating his yard this past spring and I stuck to my price... He told me he got quotes of anywhere from 40-20$ less than my quote and I told him to let them do it then, but ultimately he ended up having me do it.

Well the last two times I have shown up to mow, I knock on the door and his elderly chinese mom comes out and holding my money in her hand she makes me walk the whole property and nickpicks about the job before paying me. Today she tells me after I am all done that " Master says I must cut grass.... Short!.... I no cut grass short enough.... Master Says!!! " I told her no, maybe next time I can cut lower ( I did it at 3 inches, and that is shorter than most would cut this kind of lawn ) And she says " No No, Master said.... " And I cut her off, speaking loudly I said NO, I am done, pay me and next time I will cut lower! So she gives me the money and I walk away. She stands on the front porch Smiling, watching me as I leave.

I am done with this yard! It is priced too low, the lawn is the bumpiest lawn I have ever cut, and I am not going to deal with his mom anymore! Apparently she doesn't know her son wanted a 50$ lawn cut for 25$ and agreed to me doing basically a shiitty job for 35$

Whitey4
07-31-2008, 11:28 PM
OK, I'm gonna be nice and politically correct. "Cultural differences" are hard to deal with. I find these "differences" to be amplified with Aisians, Pakistani's and Indians. It seems to me that they might have had "house servants" back in the old country.

Since we work when the men are also at work, it seems to me the women (who generally seem to have little say in matters like this in their own culture) are given instructions as to how to instruct the LCO as far as the maintenance goes. They seem to be clueless regarding what the service agreement or contract spells out, they go out to direct the "house servant" to do the work they want done. The launguage barrier worsens the situation.

I'm not a house servant, I'm a landscape contractor, and I will NOT work for people who don't seem to get that fact. I fired one a week ago. Lady, you may have been a rich snob where you came from, but here.... you just don't count for all that much! Too bad she didn't understand what I said... or pretended not to.

Scagguy
08-01-2008, 01:22 AM
OK, I'm gonna be nice and politically correct. "Cultural differences" are hard to deal with. I find these "differences" to be amplified with Aisians, Pakistani's and Indians. It seems to me that they might have had "house servants" back in the old country.

Since we work when the men are also at work, it seems to me the women (who generally seem to have little say in matters like this in their own culture) are given instructions as to how to instruct the LCO as far as the maintenance goes. They seem to be clueless regarding what the service agreement or contract spells out, they go out to direct the "house servant" to do the work they want done. The launguage barrier worsens the situation.

I'm not a house servant, I'm a landscape contractor, and I will NOT work for people who don't seem to get that fact. I fired one a week ago. Lady, you may have been a rich snob where you came from, but here.... you just don't count for all that much! Too bad she didn't understand what I said... or pretended not to.

You sir are exactly correct!! Other than the 2 Indian customers I have that pay me like clockwork and never complain, I have none of the above type customers. They are used to negociating for everything from food to phones. I give them a price which I believe is a fair price and they always say "you too high". One day I said you're right I am too high. At 6'4" there's nothing I can do about it and walked away. The look on their faces was priceless.

topsites
08-01-2008, 02:11 AM
Man...

Coming from someone who finally figured Realtors out :p
I still have a hard time with Middle Eastern folks, too...

It is a caste thing one, and it used to not bother me much but
come around with that 'hither puny boy' bestowing down upon
me ye ho-high greatness and it's fast on its way to being over.
That 'Master said' thing would've had my shoulder hairs prickling too lol...

Then there's the endless bickering and haggling, no matter how
I start with the price it always ends up lower than low, that's as
well as over too :p

Unfortunate I think, I do not find them unpleasant to be around.

Rons Rightway Lawncare
08-01-2008, 08:11 AM
I forgot to mention that this guy bought the house last spring and yesterday when I showed up there was a forsale sign in the yard. I think the mom is coming out to pay me cause her son is living somewhere else for work purposes.

It is a crap job, the bumpy yard is the worst part of it, if it was smooth I could probably deal with all the other stuff, but I think I am done with that account....

lostmdboy
08-01-2008, 08:51 AM
After reading this thread I think I will not complain about my custimers for a day or two. Or atleast till I get to my first yard. :D

Rons Rightway Lawncare
08-01-2008, 09:05 AM
Franklin NC.... I grew up on a Farm in Franklin! Love to go back and visit from time to time. Probably a good shot at getting some accounts there since so many people live there only part of the year. My dad used to call them Florida Hemroids.... :)

farmboy1285
08-01-2008, 03:53 PM
[QUOTE=Lawn-Sharks;2444249][SIZE="4"][B]
Dear Mrs.XXXXX XXXXXX
It has come to our attention that we cannot provide the kind of personal service that only you can require, demand and expect, so with little to almost no regret must inform you that as of August 1st 2008 we will no longer be servicing your residence any longer.

God I love that first line, you have got some balls telling a coustmer off like that, Im just glad I only have mild PITAs to deal with, thanks for lighting my day allitle:laugh::laugh:

Roger
08-01-2008, 09:02 PM
The initial post cited the complaints. One of them:

Q: 1. Why are their clumps of grass on my yard after your done mowing

If I was the customer, you would not have had to drop me. You would have been asked to leave and not return when I found this condition. My termination of the business relationship would have preceded any action on your part.

I can understand some of the other issues. But, why does a customer have to lodge this complaint? Why would the contractor leave clumps, and expect to be paid for the lawn service? If a contractor is offering professional lawn care, why would this kind of thing be acceptable, no matter "heavy growing season," or whatever else?

Help us understand the rationale for allowing this to happen? Blowing out some of the clumps is a "homeowner" type solution. Why weren't the clippings put in a bag? Perhaps there is a good reason, but it wasn't stated in the initial post, or I missed it.

SquamscottLandscaping
08-01-2008, 10:09 PM
^^^Seriously. You left clumps on the lawn and are now suprised that she complained about it. You do this with all your accounts? Plus you completely neglected to edge everything for an entire week. I understand if someone was working there, but they were working in such a manner that you could mow the entire property but couldnt edge any of it? Doubt that was the situation. You sound lazy and are lucky she didnt drop you....

prizeprop
08-01-2008, 11:12 PM
Mind you, this is a OLD lady, you know the type I'm sure, sweet kind hearted old lady that uses a cane to get around, limited income and lives in a huge home by her self. http://momentoffame.com/photopost/data/501/medium/Dscn2541.jpg
http://momentoffame.com/photopost/data/501/medium/Dscn2542.jpg
Give her a pamphlet explaining what a reverse mortgage is. She probably has $1,000,000 equity in that house.

Whitey4
08-01-2008, 11:15 PM
The initial post cited the complaints. One of them:

Q: 1. Why are their clumps of grass on my yard after your done mowing

If I was the customer, you would not have had to drop me. You would have been asked to leave and not return when I found this condition. My termination of the business relationship would have preceded any action on your part.

I can understand some of the other issues. But, why does a customer have to lodge this complaint? Why would the contractor leave clumps, and expect to be paid for the lawn service? If a contractor is offering professional lawn care, why would this kind of thing be acceptable, no matter "heavy growing season," or whatever else?

Help us understand the rationale for allowing this to happen? Blowing out some of the clumps is a "homeowner" type solution. Why weren't the clippings put in a bag? Perhaps there is a good reason, but it wasn't stated in the initial post, or I missed it.

I understand your position on this.... and this one complaint was legit. If the grass is that heavy, that overgrown, either bag it or tell the customer since they use TruGreen and they use excessive amounts of N, I have to mow every five days. (Yes, I had one account like that) That account, even with bagging took forever, and I was scalping the lawn. The ONLY reason I kept it was because they will use me for ferts and squirts next year, or I would have walked away.

Having said that... the rest of the whining sounds like it was ridiculousy "imagined". Did you mow today? WHAT? Oh, it was dark when I got home? My deaf mother didn't hear the mower? This customer had many complaints, and only one legit one....

Lawn-Sharks
08-02-2008, 09:42 AM
^^^Seriously. You left clumps on the lawn and are now suprised that she complained about it. You do this with all your accounts? Plus you completely neglected to edge everything for an entire week. I understand if someone was working there, but they were working in such a manner that you could mow the entire property but couldnt edge any of it? Doubt that was the situation. You sound lazy and are lucky she didnt drop you....

I edged her property every week!! And the clumps she was referring to were not what any of us would call clumps the "clumps" in question were nothing more then a small pile of grass that would fit in the palm of you hand! And you northern LCO's need to understand that we do lawn service different in the south!! We have a high water table do to Florida being surrounded by water and not to mention the aquafer so even if it doesn't rain it can be wet and when it rain its even worse. And most of our yards here are small and you wouldn't understand but i have a contract that she signed stating what she would get and how much she will pay for those services and it did not include that my company rake, bag or remove clipping. But then i guess that you would kindly do this for free rite because this is how you would do it huh for free I don't think so because that is what she was wanting, She thought she could make up thing to complain about and get something free out of it (the american dream Bltch till you get something for free) I stick to my contracts like glue and if customer wants an extra service, then they can schedule it and be charged accordingly! "sticking to your contracts is how business gets done rite"

Why don't you save you pokes for someone who doesn't know how a lawn business works!!

Lawn-Sharks
08-02-2008, 10:00 AM
I understand your position on this.... and this one complaint was legit. If the grass is that heavy, that overgrown, either bag it or tell the customer since they use TruGreen and they use excessive amounts of N, I have to mow every five days. (Yes, I had one account like that) That account, even with bagging took forever, and I was scalping the lawn. The ONLY reason I kept it was because they will use me for ferts and squirts next year, or I would have walked away.

Having said that... the rest of the whining sounds like it was ridiculousy "imagined". Did you mow today? WHAT? Oh, it was dark when I got home? My deaf mother didn't hear the mower? This customer had many complaints, and only one legit one....

I agree! But i promise you that the grass wasn't heavy at all because if it was i would look like a unprofessional fool posting it on LS ,her yard looked better then the surrounding neighbors. Look at my website im working on, i only have few picks of some of the yards we do and we leave her yard no different then those. She does have a fert & squirt company and i told her we are coming into the rainy season and that with all the rain & sunshine that it will be growing like crazy and that there will be some excessive clipping on the lawn, when she sign the contract she said that she was fine with it and said at the time that she couldn't afford any extra services and i left it at that. Later when we get pounded everyday with rain then she starts firing off the eamils about how i need to start cutting twice a week to keep the clippings down and that because that i charger her x-amount i should be doing this extra for free....Even though the contract she sign stated 4 visits a month.

SquamscottLandscaping
08-02-2008, 12:57 PM
I edged her property every week!! And the clumps she was referring to were not what any of us would call clumps the "clumps" in question were nothing more then a small pile of grass that would fit in the palm of you hand! And you northern LCO's need to understand that we do lawn service different in the south!! We have a high water table do to Florida being surrounded by water and not to mention the aquafer so even if it doesn't rain it can be wet and when it rain its even worse. And most of our yards here are small and you wouldn't understand but i have a contract that she signed stating what she would get and how much she will pay for those services and it did not include that my company rake, bag or remove clipping. But then i guess that you would kindly do this for free rite because this is how you would do it huh for free I don't think so because that is what she was wanting, She thought she could make up thing to complain about and get something free out of it (the american dream Bltch till you get something for free) I stick to my contracts like glue and if customer wants an extra service, then they can schedule it and be charged accordingly! "sticking to your contracts is how business gets done rite"

Why don't you save you pokes for someone who doesn't know how a lawn business works!!


Sorry pal, but a small pile of grass that fits in your hand is a clump. Deal with it. Even if the contract says to discharge only, I wouldnt leave a lawn with clumps. Thats just how I do business, I keep the customer happy even if it means 5 extra minutes of work to bag the place. I run a walker on 90% of my properties so this isnt an issue anyway. Its not about doing something for free, its about making the place look good and doing quality work. She did pay you to do a professional job no? Leaving the lawn clumped up looks like crap. A college kid could do better. She didnt pay for that. And you think wet lawns are something special just because your in Florida? The Northeast saw over 12 inches of rain in some parts this past month, at or near record levels for the month of July. We all have to deal with it. I stand by my statement that your just lazy in this regard.

The other stuff like calling to see if you mowed when she just couldve looked outside is BS, but if you left my lawn clumpy that would be the end of discussion as it is.

mattfromNY
08-02-2008, 01:29 PM
The initial post cited the complaints. One of them:

Q: 1. Why are their clumps of grass on my yard after your done mowing

If I was the customer, you would not have had to drop me. You would have been asked to leave and not return when I found this condition. My termination of the business relationship would have preceded any action on your part.

I can understand some of the other issues. But, why does a customer have to lodge this complaint? Why would the contractor leave clumps, and expect to be paid for the lawn service? If a contractor is offering professional lawn care, why would this kind of thing be acceptable, no matter "heavy growing season," or whatever else?

Help us understand the rationale for allowing this to happen? Blowing out some of the clumps is a "homeowner" type solution. Why weren't the clippings put in a bag? Perhaps there is a good reason, but it wasn't stated in the initial post, or I missed it.

You want clumps bagged? you pay me more... LOTS MORE. Not enough hours in a day, not enough days in a week, not enough room in my truck for clippings. Doesn't sound like his customer would have been willing to pay more for the extra service. Just b/c a pizza shop is 'professional' doesnt mean they are going to throw on some pepperoni free of charge.

Lawn-Sharks
08-02-2008, 04:26 PM
Sorry pal, but a small pile of grass that fits in your hand is a clump. Deal with it. Even if the contract says to discharge only, I wouldnt leave a lawn with clumps. Thats just how I do business, I keep the customer happy even if it means 5 extra minutes of work to bag the place. I run a walker on 90% of my properties so this isnt an issue anyway. Its not about doing something for free, its about making the place look good and doing quality work. She did pay you to do a professional job no? Leaving the lawn clumped up looks like crap. A college kid could do better. She didnt pay for that. And you think wet lawns are something special just because your in Florida? The Northeast saw over 12 inches of rain in some parts this past month, at or near record levels for the month of July. We all have to deal with it. I stand by my statement that your just lazy in this regard.

The other stuff like calling to see if you mowed when she just couldve looked outside is BS, but if you left my lawn clumpy that would be the end of discussion as it is.

I did deal with the clumps PAL! your the one who can understand that people want extra work done for free and I'm not talking about 5 minutes of extra labor, I'm talking about taking up to an extra hour of labor + dump fee's and If it took 5 minutes to take care of this issue then we wouldn't even be talking rite now. Not only did she want an extra cut a week for free she wanting it raked and bagged for free!! So if you want to do all of those extras for free then be my guest but i will not, And i'll check back with you a year from now to see where your working because you won't be working for yourself with that kind of business sense....

Whitey4
08-02-2008, 05:23 PM
Since this has turned into a heated debate.... one guy that mows the lawn, and another that read about it... and the fact that this cheapo customer wants $200 service for $100, I think Squamsquash has a little bit of a control issue. LawnShark... don't let this guy get under your skin.

I have ONE customer that uses Tru-Green.... and I gave them a choice, like you did.... pay for getting cut every 5 days, or deal with the clumps. I guess Squamsquash likes to do extra cuts for free. Don't debate with this clown....

david shumaker
08-02-2008, 06:27 PM
During the rainy spring season, many yards, especially the heavily fertilized yards need cutting twice a week. To cut a yard properly, it should be cut "often and only a little cut off at a time". Most homeowners cannot afford to have their yards cut twice a week. Usually the situation is they want as much cut off as possible, so it doesn't have to be cut so often. I tell them that if I cut tall, wet grass short it is going to leave a mess and alot of clippings. I can understand that it would cost alot to have their yards cut twice a week, but I have gotten tired of double cutting and spending an extra 30 minutes walking around picking up the little piles of clumps especially when they are paying another company like Tru-Green, etc. $50.00 to $60.00 for 10 minutes work putting down alot of nitrogen. I tell them if they have alot of fertilizer put down in the spring, it rains alot and they only want their grass cut when it is very tall, they will have to deal with the mess. I'll stay at their house all day if I'm paid to stay that long, but not many people want to pay for full service. Some want the hight end service at the Basic service price. I try to encourage them to let me do the chemical work and would like to switch them to contracts where I do the chemical work. but I guess they like the Free application the big companies give and would rather pay for alot of nitrogen they probably don't need. I give them printed information about soil test, proper mowing and turf management, but I don't think they read any of it. Anyway, if the lady we are talking about wants high level service at basic lawn service price, I would leave the small clumps. From the looks of her lawn, it appears to need cutting more than once a week. Maybe, every 5 days so that there won't be any clippings or clumps. I also try to keep my blades sharp and deck clean to avoid some of the mess, but all it takes is one tall, wet lawn to clog my deck up (small deck).

Roger
08-02-2008, 09:59 PM
I am really confused with some of these posts. I read that some who consider themselves professional lawn care providers believe it is OK to leave clumps of grass clippings on the lawn. And, yes, a cluster of grass clippings the size of a fist is a clump. There is little reason to argue the point of what defines a clump. Undoubtedly, the clump will turn brown in a day or two, and remain in the yard until the next mowing.

The reason given not to take care of the clumps by bagging is the customer is unwilling to pay. Then why are you offering professional services to these folks? I've heard it said repeatedly, "don't let the customers run your business." Relenting on quality of service is letting your customers run your business. It makes no matter where the location of your business, quality service is quality service. Anything less is lowering the bar of quality in the neighborhood.

If you don't wish to leave a lawn clear of clumps when you leave, then find customers who will pay for the service. I hear often "I won't do it for free." Nobody is asking you to do it for free. It is part of the service being provided, so charge accordingly. Leaving out that part of your service degenerates the level of service your business is providing. I read threads of those in Florida having difficult time because of the competition. Here is a prime example of work to set yourself apart from the competition.

All the talk about "takes twice as long," "I don't want to deal with the clippings," and so forth are bogus arguments. We bag selectively, and we know it does not take twice as long. For those who suggest this to be the case, they have not established themselves with the right equipment or procedures. For those who say it is too much work, did anybody say anything about lawn service being easy? There are other parts of this equation which are obvious, and need not be stated here.

The pride in doing quality work has faded from our scene. The issue is more about "getting in, getting out, getting paid." Yes, business is business, and I am not suggesting giving work away. But, is there any pride in what we are doing? We had a customer ask us to mulch the clippings for a time or two because the applicator asked that be done. We agreed, and she then suggested that we continue mulching, rather than bagging. We disagreed, and returned to bagging. The quality of cut during mulching is poor, leaving a rough surface, some stragglers, and not looking well groomed. These deficiencies were remedied when we returned to bagging. I would not stand to have others judge my work based upon the mulching method, excepting the two times at her request. Do these things matter to other LCOs?

There are numerous threads about those who bag clippings as part of their business, and will not work without bagging. It is part and parcel to the service, no question asked. In my area, rarely do I see anybody mulching clippings. Nearly everybody has a mower on the trailer with a bagger, whether a ZTR, hand mowers, or w/b. The one I see with mulching kits installed is using a Troy-Built double spindle mower, about 36" wide. When he is done, the lawns look worse than most homeowner's result, terrible.

I know this thread has degenerated into a bagging/no bagging discussion, like so many others. Perhaps my post way back sent the thread off into this direction, ... sorry for the hijacking. But, reading some of the posts helps me understand why I hear complaints from homeowners in my area, disgusted with their contractor. The typical complaint is not about clumps because most are bagging. Rather, the complaint is the contractor is cutting so high, the lawn looks like a pasture, not a residential lawn. The height of cut has been adjusted so that there aren't many clippings. Either way, the contractor is not doing the job expected by the customer. And, I have to agree with those registering those complaints -- I would complain too, "... set your mower at the proper mowing height, and deal with the clippings!"

However, those contractors are great -- love 'em. They just keep supplying me with new customers every year. There is no need of advertising, marketing, any sales gimmick.

Whitey4
08-02-2008, 11:36 PM
I am really confused with some of these posts. I read that some who consider themselves professional lawn care providers believe it is OK to leave clumps of grass clippings on the lawn. And, yes, a cluster of grass clippings the size of a fist is a clump. There is little reason to argue the point of what defines a clump. Undoubtedly, the clump will turn brown in a day or two, and remain in the yard until the next mowing.

The reason given not to take care of the clumps by bagging is the customer is unwilling to pay. Then why are you offering professional services to these folks? I've heard it said repeatedly, "don't let the customers run your business." Relenting on quality of service is letting your customers run your business. It makes no matter where the location of your business, quality service is quality service. Anything less is lowering the bar of quality in the neighborhood.

If you don't wish to leave a lawn clear of clumps when you leave, then find customers who will pay for the service. I hear often "I won't do it for free." Nobody is asking you to do it for free. It is part of the service being provided, so charge accordingly. Leaving out that part of your service degenerates the level of service your business is providing. I read threads of those in Florida having difficult time because of the competition. Here is a prime example of work to set yourself apart from the competition.

All the talk about "takes twice as long," "I don't want to deal with the clippings," and so forth are bogus arguments. We bag selectively, and we know it does not take twice as long. For those who suggest this to be the case, they have not established themselves with the right equipment or procedures. For those who say it is too much work, did anybody say anything about lawn service being easy? There are other parts of this equation which are obvious, and need not be stated here.

The pride in doing quality work has faded from our scene. The issue is more about "getting in, getting out, getting paid." Yes, business is business, and I am not suggesting giving work away. But, is there any pride in what we are doing? We had a customer ask us to mulch the clippings for a time or two because the applicator asked that be done. We agreed, and she then suggested that we continue mulching, rather than bagging. We disagreed, and returned to bagging. The quality of cut during mulching is poor, leaving a rough surface, some stragglers, and not looking well groomed. These deficiencies were remedied when we returned to bagging. I would not stand to have others judge my work based upon the mulching method, excepting the two times at her request. Do these things matter to other LCOs?

There are numerous threads about those who bag clippings as part of their business, and will not work without bagging. It is part and parcel to the service, no question asked. In my area, rarely do I see anybody mulching clippings. Nearly everybody has a mower on the trailer with a bagger, whether a ZTR, hand mowers, or w/b. The one I see with mulching kits installed is using a Troy-Built double spindle mower, about 36" wide. When he is done, the lawns look worse than most homeowner's result, terrible.

I know this thread has degenerated into a bagging/no bagging discussion, like so many others. Perhaps my post way back sent the thread off into this direction, ... sorry for the hijacking. But, reading some of the posts helps me understand why I hear complaints from homeowners in my area, disgusted with their contractor. The typical complaint is not about clumps because most are bagging. Rather, the complaint is the contractor is cutting so high, the lawn looks like a pasture, not a residential lawn. The height of cut has been adjusted so that there aren't many clippings. Either way, the contractor is not doing the job expected by the customer. And, I have to agree with those registering those complaints -- I would complain too, "... set your mower at the proper mowing height, and deal with the clippings!"

However, those contractors are great -- love 'em. They just keep supplying me with new customers every year. There is no need of advertising, marketing, any sales gimmick.

This is about as ambiguous as a post can get. It reads like a ramblig diatribe with no clear conclusions. Don't mean to be harsh, but what is your stance?

Mow, double mow so as not to leave clumps for a basic mowing price? Charge for double mowing? Mow more often and charge for it? It sounds like you are saying it's OK to double mow or rake these overgrown Tru Green lawns at your standard rates, but your post was so rambling that it was hard to dechipher just what your opinion is.

You seem to think this is a mowing height issue... it isn't. It's about over ferted lawns with excessive top growth that need to be cut more than once a week. You think you hijacked the thread... you didn't, but it seems like you are dead set to do just that.

IF a lawn has been over ferted, the customer has choices.... mow once a week and pay more for a double cut, pay for getting cut every 5 days, or DEAL with the freakin CLUMPS!

If there is another option here... post it... and do it in less than 25 words already.

topsites
08-03-2008, 04:13 AM
I am really confused with some of these posts. I read that some who consider themselves professional lawn care providers believe it is OK to leave clumps of grass clippings on the lawn. And, yes, a cluster of grass clippings the size of a fist is a clump. There is little reason to argue the point of what defines a clump. Undoubtedly, the clump will turn brown in a day or two, and remain in the yard until the next mowing.

If it makes you feel any better I can't get over how anyone could be cutting
grass on a weekly basis in the middle of 90-100 degree weather when there
isn't a lawn that grows that fast this time of year in my neck of the woods.

10 days is the absolute strictest scheduled one I have, it is the lushest, nicest
lawn I have ever seen or serviced... It is irrigated and treated regularly, the guy
is as crazy about his yard as I can be about things too, the next strictest is
two weeks and it goes to 3-4 weeks from there.

How do I say "Grass doesn't grow that fast in summer"
What am I missing?

...................................
However...
And I don't care if that crap is a foot tall and it takes me two hours,
I do NOT bag, and I NEVER leave clumps.

Big Wes
08-03-2008, 08:57 AM
(quote) How do I say "Grass doesn't grow that fast in summer"
What am I missing? (unquote)


Bermuda grass does. My neighbors yard needs mowing every 3 days. A little rain / heavy dew, and all the heat we've been having and are about to have, bermuda grass jumps out of the ground. Go get some bermuda lawns to cut, then we'll talk. lol

Rons Rightway Lawncare
08-03-2008, 09:12 AM
It is simple in my opinion. When I show up to do a lawn, when I leave there will be no clumps, and no leaves on the lawn, period. If I have to double cut or even triple cut then that is what I have to do. If I am lucky I can do it with one cut. I can NOT just do one cut and leave heavy discharge or clumps on the top of the cut grass. Very unprofessional!

I have heard of people trying to charge customers extra for double cuts, etc.... and have heard of people getting cancelled because of that.

I personally look at this way, even though "Johnny Homeowner" isn't likely to do a super great job himself on his lawn, IF he wanted to, and he used a nice 21 inch mower with a bagger and took his time, his lawn would be clump free and leaf free and very nicely cut. I believe when I do a lawn it should look equally good when I am done.

I will not bag or come twice in a week without a extra charge, but when I do show up once a week I will do whatever I need to do to have it nice when I leave.

And btw I lived in Southwest Florida for 2 years and did lawn service there, and still had the same motto. There wasn't anything special about Florida grass that would keep it from looking good if you did what needed to be done to it.

Lawn-Sharks
08-03-2008, 10:05 AM
Since this has turned into a heated debate.... one guy that mows the lawn, and another that read about it... and the fact that this cheapo customer wants $200 service for $100, I think Squamsquash has a little bit of a control issue. LawnShark... don't let this guy get under your skin.

I have ONE customer that uses Tru-Green.... and I gave them a choice, like you did.... pay for getting cut every 5 days, or deal with the clumps. I guess Squamsquash likes to do extra cuts for free. Don't debate with this clown....

......Thanks!

Lawnbiz Jeff
08-03-2008, 12:21 PM
Sorry for the rambling and I realize that this has become somewhat heated with a variety of opinions, but I tend to agree with Roger regarding clumps. In our area, I know that every year we are usually going to have about 6 weeks of heavy, wet, fertilized Sping-time grass that is difficult to deal with and should be cut every 3-5 days instead of weekly. However, I make every attempt (sometimes we miss some) to leave nothing standing on the grass after we are done - even if that means I have to go over some places a couple of times, bag, or use my blower. I also realize that it takes some extra time (it isn't double) to deal with that and I won't get paid extra for those weeks. However, I also know that it will average out over the course of a season and there will usually be an equal amount of time (especially right now) when I will be in those same customers' yards for much less time because there is significantly less to cut and trim and I will more than make up for the Spring-time "loss".

I have talked with a friend in the business several times about how most customers have no idea how difficult it is to cut deep wet grass. However, we both agree that they shouldn't really care since they are paying us to do a professional job and make it look better than a typical homeowner's. That said, you need to manage your business and make sure that you are getting enough money for your services. I have always said about sales, "if you get it on price alone, you will lose it on price alone."

Whitey4
08-03-2008, 03:30 PM
My ONE Tru-Green customer agreed to getting cut every 5 days in the spring, and I explained why that was the only real option. Excessive top growth... it isn't JUST a clumping issue, it's about scalping the lawn!

Cutting grass is a lot like deadheading some flowering plants. It encourages new shoots, more leaves (flowers) and thicker turf. If a lawn has excessive top growth, the stems elongate and the leaves are on top of the canopy. If a lawn has gotten too much N, the stems reach a height of 3 inches, and the leaves are at the top. Then, when it's cut, all the leaves are removed, leaving only stems. This weakens the plant, it's ability to transpiate is greatly dimished, it's much more suseptable to summer stress and weed invasion. The canopy is gone, and weed seeds now get the sunlight they need to germinate.

Double cutting is a band-aid solution, as is raking clumps. This is why every turf expert will tell you to avoid cutting any more than 1/3rd or the grass off at any time. Taking off more than half the grass in one cutting will scalp it down to stems, which again, weakens the turf and invites weed infestation!

Bottom line.... I will fire a customer that won't pay for extra cuts if the lawn has been over fertilized. It's a no win situation otherwise. I'm not going to double cut or rake for free at my basic mowing price. I have my fert plan set to provide about 1 inch of top growth per week, and I cut at 3 inches.

Frankly, I would have dumped the one Tru-Green customer I have, but he agreed to a five day mowing schedule in the spring, and agreed to give me the apps next year. I will likely have to mow him on a 5 day schedule again this fall.

Now, if it's a customer on MY fert program.... I would NEVER leave the property with clumps.... but my program does not cause excessive top growth, so it isn't an issue.

Dean of Green
08-03-2008, 03:51 PM
It is simple in my opinion. When I show up to do a lawn, when I leave there will be no clumps, and no leaves on the lawn, period. If I have to double cut or even triple cut then that is what I have to do. If I am lucky I can do it with one cut. I can NOT just do one cut and leave heavy discharge or clumps on the top of the cut grass. Very unprofessional!

I have heard of people trying to charge customers extra for double cuts, etc.... and have heard of people getting cancelled because of that.

I personally look at this way, even though "Johnny Homeowner" isn't likely to do a super great job himself on his lawn, IF he wanted to, and he used a nice 21 inch mower with a bagger and took his time, his lawn would be clump free and leaf free and very nicely cut. I believe when I do a lawn it should look equally good when I am done.

I will not bag or come twice in a week without a extra charge, but when I do show up once a week I will do whatever I need to do to have it nice when I leave.

And btw I lived in Southwest Florida for 2 years and did lawn service there, and still had the same motto. There wasn't anything special about Florida grass that would keep it from looking good if you did what needed to be done to it.

This is how I see it and do it, as well.

ALC-GregH
08-03-2008, 04:52 PM
I cut my own lawn on Thursday last week. It needs cut again already! I'd guess it has 2 inches of growth already in just 4 days!

Lawnbiz Jeff
08-03-2008, 08:08 PM
I cut my own lawn on Thursday last week. It needs cut again already! I'd guess it has 2 inches of growth already in just 4 days!

You should feel blessed. After 3 days of heat advisories and warnings and one more to go, I would love have any growth this week!

amdx64
08-03-2008, 09:44 PM
I would love have any growth this week!
you could have some of mine. it wont stop raining:eek: and the grass is growing

ALC-GregH
08-04-2008, 12:39 AM
Here's a pic of the back yard. Don't mind the mess. LOL
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/americanlawncare/Dscn2755.jpg?t=1217818203

Grasshopper98
09-06-2008, 03:35 PM
HAte to sound stupid but waht is a PITA.

CAT powered
09-06-2008, 04:31 PM
Pain In The Arse

Grasshopper98
09-06-2008, 04:34 PM
That's about what I thought, just wanted to make sure. Thanks