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View Full Version : Dead Lawns from freeze Florida


unkownfl
01-20-2010, 01:01 PM
I have a few account left and the all have completely brown yards from the freeze. I haven't done anything to them in almost three weeks. Should I mow them at the same height? or even mow them at all? Is there any chance they will come back? I have never seen Augustine yards go completely brown like this. Is it just going dormant?

SunState Lawn Care inc
01-20-2010, 01:12 PM
Yes it's dormant. Haven't seen it this bad in years though.

billslawn89
01-20-2010, 01:16 PM
only thing i've been doing is going to the clients property and edging and cleaning things up. i did cut 2 lawns today, st. augustine, cuz we had some rain the other day, plus i know these yards have irrigation, plus i haven't cut them in 4 weeks and they looked shaggy. there is some green in their lawns, but the others i went to today, i just edged and cleaned everything up. too brown looking and dry. probably same thing going on for tomorrow...driving in circles.

unkownfl
01-20-2010, 01:33 PM
Thats what I figured I would do. I just got back from vacation and got off the ship in Miami when it was about 34 degrees last week. I haven't worked at all. Half of my contracts haven't paid so I have to handle that. Why is it every winter it gets this way no one wants to pay but when summer is here the checks in the box. This is the last year I do any new contracts. Now on only one month paid in advance charged by the amount of cuts I do for the month. To much time in chasing down payments.

djchiodo3
01-20-2010, 04:09 PM
Experts at Arrow and my own knowledge after 25 years cutting in southeast FL say to hold off on mowing for a while. It does not matter if they are being watered or not. Most of my lawns are brown, however when I dig through the top layer I can see green. Even the local paper has said to hold off on cutting the lawn and not repeat not trim any dead plant material out of shrubs until spring(March 1st). All your lawns should be switched to monthly accounts. This takes the guess work out of where, how, and what should I do this week. Plus your income keeps coming in even during the off season. For example $30 per cut X 40 visits = $1200 so charge them $100 a month.

Yater
01-20-2010, 04:32 PM
I haven't worked at all.

Half of my contracts haven't paid so I have to handle that. Why is it every winter it gets this way no one wants to pay but when summer is here the checks in the box. .


The grass doesn't grow in the winter. What are they paying for?

dKoester
01-20-2010, 04:37 PM
We have St. augustine up here and it comes back every year. Your grass just went dormant the way bermuda does. Shouldn't be any problems.

Florida Gardener
01-20-2010, 04:38 PM
^Yes it does. In florida, plants and grass are still growing in the winter. Not like summer, but they are growing. We can't control the weather. So when a freeze or near freeze comes through and slows everything down or turns the grass brown, that is not our fault. We are there every week in the summer in the grueling heat. This is our time to relax and make money. That's how it goes in Florida. Down in S. Florida, we sometimes could still have weekly cutting in the winter.

unkownfl
01-20-2010, 04:39 PM
Yater, I have a few yearly accounts. I simply took the amount of cut per year that are normally required and divided it by 12 months to come up with a flat payment for the year.

Yater
01-20-2010, 04:43 PM
Yater, I have a few yearly accounts. I simply took the amount of cut per year that are normally required and divided it by 12 months to come up with a flat payment for the year.

Yes, but when you don't show up to work, they are less inclined to pay (obviously). Anyone struggling to pay bills/mortgage/rent will put lawn care at the bottom of the list. Maybe you should charge for growing months only.

djchiodo3
01-20-2010, 05:07 PM
Yes, but when you don't show up to work, they are less inclined to pay (obviously). Anyone struggling to pay bills/mortgage/rent will put lawn care at the bottom of the list. Maybe you should charge for growing months only.

Do you have accounts that you have been mowing "lets say 5 years"? You should know the number of times you mow give or take a few every year. If you explain to your best clients that it will benefit you and them to pay monthly they will most likely understand. Explain that at the end of the year they pay the same amount. The benefit to you is that your income becomes predictable and steady. This helps keep good employees year round and bill paying simple. They under stand that you work your butt off during the summer and less during the winter. Put it in a written contract so they can see and understand your services.

CkLandscapingOrlando
01-20-2010, 05:31 PM
Every month is a growing month for aug except for this year. I have never seen it this bad. All my monthly's still pay. I show up and blow or maybe rake a bag of leaves. Basicly they get 30min so what ever needs done we do. This has really killed the weekly and even my 52 week clients. Yes I have some that pay for 52. I got some I aint worked for in a month. Not good is all I can say

Yater
01-20-2010, 05:43 PM
Do you have accounts that you have been mowing "lets say 5 years"? You should know the number of times you mow give or take a few every year. If you explain to your best clients that it will benefit you and them to pay monthly they will most likely understand. Explain that at the end of the year they pay the same amount. The benefit to you is that your income becomes predictable and steady. This helps keep good employees year round and bill paying simple. They under stand that you work your butt off during the summer and less during the winter. Put it in a written contract so they can see and understand your services.

They understand that you can't manage money, and it's not their fault that you can't pay your employees (who aren't working) and bills during the winter. It doesn't benefit them at ALL, unless they can't manage money, like you.

CSALawnServiceInc
01-20-2010, 07:36 PM
Yater, how can you comment on what is usual and customary in Florida? I would not try to insult you about how you do it in Texas because I don't run a business there. It is normal in Florida to have year round accounts that pay a flat rate monthly.

Yater
01-20-2010, 07:55 PM
Yater, how can you comment on what is usual and customary in Florida? I would not try to insult you about how you do it in Texas because I don't run a business there. It is normal in Florida to have year round accounts that pay a flat rate monthly.

I don't care where he's located. The customers obviously don't want to pay when he's not doing work. All other bills are more important than the lawn care (which isn't being provided.)

Do I really need to explain why they don't pay during winter??

unkownfl
01-20-2010, 09:15 PM
Yater, it benefits them by having a lower flat rate instead of having high months in the summer. I also discount some services for having a 12 month contract. I usually charge the same for mowing but waive charges for hedge trimming and weed bed control by going with the 12 month contract. I can manage my money just fine. I feel they should be reward by being loyal customers and most people can see the benefit of having a steady payment rather then a variable rate.

williams lcm
01-20-2010, 11:27 PM
I know one lawn guy that charges by the cut and waits for the customers to call him and then goes out and cuts. You will starve for money in the winter months doing it like this. Most LCO'S in Florida will charge one flat rate per month for 12 months. It works out great this way.

Turf Dawg
01-20-2010, 11:59 PM
I do not put any residential on contracts, however all of my commercial are on 12 month contracts that pay the same amount each month.

Kutz Lawns
01-21-2010, 01:34 AM
I don't care where he's located. The customers obviously don't want to pay when he's not doing work. All other bills are more important than the lawn care (which isn't being provided.)

Do I really need to explain why they don't pay during winter??

If I lived in FL and was looking for an LCO, you charge me by the month, period!

And if it doesn't need mowing, don't!

And, if it doesn't need mowing I'll call you and tell you not to mow too!

And, if you don't want to do my lawn I'll find another lawnboy, period!

WGLandscapeMaintenance
01-21-2010, 03:57 AM
Yater, you must not do 12 month contracts where it's 1 flat rate every month no matter what do you?

I do not plow, I sub it to a buddy who plows for himself, however I charge them the same rate every month no matter what. Take the total cost and divide by 12, it's that simple. However many cuts, shrub maint (if wanted), 6-8 plowable events(if wanted) , spring clean up, fall clean up, and a couple mulch installs (if wanted), add it all up and you get your total price, divide by 12 for a monthly payment and the customer agrees. It also works great for customers that just want mowing and spring/fall clean ups to have a 12 month contract because they're rate is cheaper each month, in layman's terms, spring clean up in april, mowing late april-late oct, and fall clean up in nov, about 6.5 mnths of work, however if they are on a budget, they can pay it through the winter months, it's a great plan. That also is the beauty of the contracts, you get paid no matter what, even if you don't have to do anything.

djchiodo3
01-21-2010, 12:57 PM
They understand that you can't manage money, and it's not their fault that you can't pay your employees (who aren't working) and bills during the winter. It doesn't benefit them at ALL, unless they can't manage money, like you.

Been in business well over 25 years. I think that speaks for it self. I have managed my business just fine. During the non mow week I am trimming palms and trees, applying mulch, and doing irrigation work and service. All lawns are scheduled to receive service service every 7 days during the growing season and every 14 days during the winter. This allows me to do all kinds of extra work and plan my week. These threads are just our opinions. If you are going to get upset that easy stay off the site. Well over 175 accounts, own two boats and two rental homes. All equipment is bought new. Kids college paid for. How about you?

Yater
01-21-2010, 01:10 PM
Been in business well over 25 years. I think that speaks for it self. I have managed my business just fine. During the non mow week I am trimming palms and trees, applying mulch, and doing irrigation work and service. All lawns are scheduled to receive service service every 7 days during the growing season and every 14 days during the winter. This allows me to do all kinds of extra work and plan my week. These threads are just our opinions. If you are going to get upset that easy stay off the site. Well over 175 accounts, own two boats and two rental homes. All equipment is bought new. Kids college paid for. How about you?

Whaler montauk and a '95 sport nautique. No kids, one house, no debt.

djchiodo3
01-21-2010, 01:18 PM
Wait until you have kids!!!! Then you won't be able to say you have no debt. :)

Lehighlawnpros
01-21-2010, 05:36 PM
Our St. Augustine lawns are all dormant and brown too, here in the Ft. Myers area.

We've extended the schedule out to four weeks, and we're just edging, line trimming and cleaning up.

I'd say probably at least two more weeks before any mowing will be required on most of them, if it doesn't freeze again :-)

All of our accounts pay a flat monthly rate, and we've had most of them for many years so they know how we operate.

They appreciate that we still show up to do what's required, and also that we keep the mowers off of the lawn when it's best to do so.

We really don't have many cases of non-payment, they all understand that we earn most of our pay in the spring and summer months.

Going to the monthly flat-rate pricing (many years ago) was one of the best things we've done. I send a statement by mail at the end of each month
(we don't charge in advance) with an addressed and stamped return envelope, this really helps to encourage prompt payment.

Also, we don't require a contract, and it hasn't been a problem.

justanotherlawnguy
01-21-2010, 11:02 PM
The grass doesn't grow in the winter. What are they paying for?

using the guys example above with the 40 cuts per year at $30:

say you cut the lawn 5 times during the summer on 1 or 2 occasions (which isnt uncommon), you would be due $150 right, but you only got paid $100. well spreading out over the course of 12 months makes it more affordable on a monthly basis. Its like defered payment for the customer.

You do all the work in the summer but dont get paid for it at that time. when you go even 4 times a month, you would be due $120 but they only paid $100.

It doesn't matter if they pay per cut or monthly because at the end of the year it ends up they spent the same on lawn care.

Thats how you can tell quality customers from the garbage ones. The ones that pay month in and month out regardless of how many times you come out.

Its not really that complicated.....

justanotherlawnguy
01-21-2010, 11:08 PM
If I lived in FL and was looking for an LCO, you charge me by the month, period!

And if it doesn't need mowing, don't!

And, if it doesn't need mowing I'll call you and tell you not to mow too!

And, if you don't want to do my lawn I'll find another lawnboy, period!

Kutz gets it!!! and he is in DE....

MOnthly fees having nothing to do with poor cash flow management skills.

kootoomootoo
01-21-2010, 11:21 PM
From a cash flow perspective in Florida should be billing monthly over a total of 9 mths........so you are ahead of the curve not behind it.

You can still sell it with the equivalent 12mth monthly price (but bill prorated over 9) so there is apples to apples comparison.

Florida Gardener
01-21-2010, 11:31 PM
the people that usually drop in the winter and pick up in the summer are the one's with shitty yards.