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minilawn
10-14-2011, 02:27 AM
Hi Luke,



The grass growing is starting to slow down. I’m thinking we should start mowing every other week. What do you think? Probably go ahead and mow today since it’s nice, but don’t bother next week and we’ll play it by ear after that.



Thanks for doing such a good job on the lawn.



Pat

Hey Patty,



I typically mow until October 15th and then begin cutting the grass shorter each week in preparation for winter until the turf is dormant. I have found this to be the best method of easing into the off season. I expect all cutting will be done within 2 weeks, and look forward to a healthy spring season. It has been great year for me which you have helped make possible and I appreciate that!



Regards,

Luke


Hi Luke,

First of all, I apologize for not having your check outside. I had to take the van to be serviced before work this morning, and plum forgot. I’ll send you a check for both last week and this. I think I have your address somewhere.



I would appreciate it if you would stop mowing for now. My granddaughters would be very angry with you for picking up all the leaves! There were hardly any this week, so thanks for the “gift”. My daughter and her family will be coming up in a couple of weeks to rake the leaves and “play” in them. We’ll have about 2 dozen bags of leaves. What would you charge to haul them off? The second “raking” will probably have just as many bags (those cottonwood trees along the ditch are huge!), unless you want to pick them up like you did this week.



I’ll email you when I’m ready for you to pick up the leaves and/or mow again.



Patty



-- By the way, she refers to a "gift" about me collecting leaves. I left her an invoice stating the "no extra charge" for collecting leaves while I did her service.


I mean, she asks my opinon and then shoots it down right away?? Was I out of line by trying to stick to my guns with a solid reason to continue service?

StihlMechanic
10-14-2011, 02:47 AM
Not sure if I see the problem.

DEPENDABLE LANDSCAPING
10-14-2011, 08:12 AM
Do as she asks then charge her accordingly for leaaaf removal. It takes all kinds. Good luck.
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kubotafan
10-14-2011, 08:51 AM
I think she is just wanting the leaves for her grand children to play in. She doesn't want you taking their "toys". We think of the leaves as work, but the younger kids (not yet in their teens!) find the leaves to be "fun and play".

Richard Martin
10-14-2011, 08:58 AM
Can you put a timeline on the conversations? She did ask you to stop mowing. Did you continue after that? I tend not to argue with a customer at the end of the season. Next March/April isn't far away and she will be bombarded with ads and flyers from the competition. There's no reason to give her an excuse to replace you.

JB1
10-14-2011, 09:01 AM
must be me, I don't see a problem.

Golfpro21
10-14-2011, 09:04 AM
I think ou should just do as the client asks.....but don't give her anmore "gifts" as far as the leaves are concerned

Good luck

LawnGuy35
10-14-2011, 10:01 AM
I see nothing wrong with her requests. Most of the properties I mow can go 2-3 weeks without needing mowed in October-November. Plus, I know many people who like to rake leaves into big piles for their children or grandchildren to play in. Nothing wrong with that.

Remember, it's not about you ... SHE is the customer. It's not like she's asking you to cut back on mowing in May or June when growth is at its peak.

Do as she asks and keep her happy ... but if she starts making similar requests in the spring, drop her. Simple as that.

JDiepstra
10-14-2011, 10:08 AM
Im with the customer on this one. She was very nice when she asked the first time. Then you basically said "eff you, im cutting every week just because i want more money" to her. Then she again asked you nicely to stop mowing and even thanked you for doing such a nice job. There is absolutely no reason to mow a lawn weekly as it is heading into dormancy, other than pure selfish greed. Or i suppose just being ignorant.

punt66
10-14-2011, 10:13 AM
That is a nice customer. I dont see the problem with her. You should also not publicize your clients private emails. The only problem i see here is the lack of professionalism of the OP. Sorry.

32vld
10-14-2011, 10:14 AM
I don't see a problem. She made a request. By your own words you were only going to mow two more times so you lost one time. As pointed out why give her a bad taste to remember over the winter?

As to the free bee. Tell her it was not free but you did not charge her yet because that "free" no charge work is factored in the fall cleanup.

nolanjim
10-14-2011, 10:31 AM
What's the problem? Be professional and do as she ask.
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MOturkey
10-14-2011, 10:57 AM
I think some of you are being a little hard on the OP. He didn't, in my opinion, say anything out of the way. She made a suggestion, and he replied with what his usual practice is. She then replied to that with a request to not mow anymore until she contacts him. Not a big deal either way.

I would simply have told her to let me know when she was ready for me to come and do a final mow so it would look nice over the winter.

JDiepstra
10-14-2011, 11:36 AM
I think some of you are being a little hard on the OP. He didn't, in my opinion, say anything out of the way. She made a suggestion, and he replied with what his usual practice is. She then replied to that with a request to not mow anymore until she contacts him. Not a big deal either way.

I would simply have told her to let me know when she was ready for me to come and do a final mow so it would look nice over the winter.

I disagree that he did not say anything "out of the way". The title of the thread is "is she crazy". Even asking that in this situation is absurd.

lawnkingforever
10-14-2011, 01:09 PM
Can you put a timeline on the conversations? She did ask you to stop mowing. Did you continue after that? I tend not to argue with a customer at the end of the season. Next March/April isn't far away and she will be bombarded with ads and flyers from the competition. There's no reason to give her an excuse to replace you.
Posted via Mobile Device

Good advice. I never make waves towards the end of the season. Also it did not seem like an unreasonable request. Right or wrong it is not worth battling over this.

minilawn
10-14-2011, 03:11 PM
Just thought I'd ask, sometimes its hard to read between the lines. I wasn't trying to be selfish, I just like to do things a certain way that helps keep all of my customers taken care of in a timely manner. So I appreciate the replys - here is what I said after reading your advice.

Hey Patty,


Thanks for getting back to me, I can certainly appreciate the young ones wanting to play in the leaves. What a great idea! I will be happy to help with any debris whenever you need.


Thanks again for clarifying what you need this time of year, I am happy to accommodate.


Regards,

Luke

weeze
10-14-2011, 04:19 PM
i don't think she's crazy at all....i've had a lady tell me to stop cutting and just cut it one more time in late october....so that's what i'm gonna do....if you are still cutting every week this time of year you probably are cutting it too often...the yards here hardly grow at all in a week right now...maybe 1/2"....so i been doing them all every 2 weeks...just today i was about to start on a yard and the owner came out and asked me to wait until next week....his needed cut in my opinion but it wasn't out of control or anything...i just do what they ask me to do...i'll go back next week to cut it...not a big deal...it's the end of the season and things are slowing down...you can't expect to keep working full swing all the way up until the end....it gradually tapers off.

Agape
10-14-2011, 09:10 PM
all my customers are year round, so I can't imagine what a pain it is to have someone decide their grass doesn't need cut and loosing that income, I agree that the OP was not out of line and the title is for those of us who understand and not directed at the HO, who will NEVER read this thread. and if she does she will be educated on being a cheap a** pita.:cool2:

Father&Daughter Lawn care
10-14-2011, 09:35 PM
Do as she asks. My personal yard is close to two acres and dived into 3 sections. One section is the playard. I will let all the leaves fall and rake them into a big pile so my kids can play in them. I know exactly what your customer is thinking. Once she calls you to do the leaves whistle while you work and skip and be happy all the way to the bank. Good Luck.

larryinalabama
10-14-2011, 09:38 PM
all my customers are year round, so I can't imagine what a pain it is to have someone decide their grass doesn't need cut and loosing that income, I agree that the OP was not out of line and the title is for those of us who understand and not directed at the HO, who will NEVER read this thread. and if she does she will be educated on being a cheap a** pita.:cool2:

That my goal to have 100% year round customers with irragation.

As far as the original post, 2 things are in play...its your Business and the Customers property. You need her and she needs you, so I dont really see any major issues to deal with.

At some point in the far off future fellers like us will be hard too find and we can call all the shots, until then do the best you can.

unit28
10-14-2011, 10:11 PM
It is better to maintain cool season grass until it's dormant, ...why?

The most important means of preventing or reducing snow mold problems in lawns is the care of the grass at the end of the summer season. As long as the grass continues to grow, it should be mowed.

AND...

Because snow mold activity is greatest beneath covers that maintain moist conditions, all leaves or other materials should be removed from the lawn.


just fyi

weeze
10-15-2011, 12:14 AM
i'm confused...she will be calling you back at some point so there should be nothing left before it snows this winter....all the leaves will be gone as well as the grass will be cut...she didn't say don't come back anymore this year...she said just wait awhile so her kids can play in the leaves.

also how do you work year round if the grass stops growing?...once leaves are gone then what?...it doesn't snow much in the south lol...maybe a few times...what type of work do you do in the 3 months of winter in alabama?...i can't see there being anything needed on a regular basis....maybe stuff here or there but nothing steady....or are you just talking about yearly billing?

BrunoT
10-15-2011, 12:52 AM
I wouldn't worry too much about it.

But why wasn't this discussed and put in writing when you took the account?

Either you're flexible about when to come out when growth slows or you're not. The customer deserves to know that up front. A company that insists on chopping off 1/2" every week when it could go two weeks might not get the account if someone else is able to find other ways to stay busy during those weeks.

It's a seasonal business. If you need more revenue there are other ways to get it. Raise prices on customers who want you to come out less than you want, schedule shrub work, seeding, and other work you're too busy for while mowing, or take on temporary one-off jobs to fill the schedule.

You can hold your ground and demand they stick to your schedule, but in this economy you run the risk of losing an account. And really, unless this was firmly agreed on beforehand, you can't really blame the customer.

MOturkey
10-15-2011, 01:20 AM
I disagree that he did not say anything "out of the way". The title of the thread is "is she crazy". Even asking that in this situation is absurd.

Agreed. But, he didn't say that to her. I've thought a lot worse about customers in my time. :)

Agape
10-15-2011, 02:19 AM
i'm confused...she will be calling you back at some point so there should be nothing left before it snows this winter....all the leaves will be gone as well as the grass will be cut...she didn't say don't come back anymore this year...she said just wait awhile so her kids can play in the leaves.

also how do you work year round if the grass stops growing?...once leaves are gone then what?...it doesn't snow much in the south lol...maybe a few times...what type of work do you do in the 3 months of winter in alabama?...i can't see there being anything needed on a regular basis....maybe stuff here or there but nothing steady....or are you just talking about yearly billing?

can't speak for everyone around Oregon, but here in the valley we are mowing lawns weekly till nearly the end of December with alternate seasonal services in the winter months (January and February) so all my customers are year round with the understanding that it goes to half time in the winter.I only accept year-round accounts

Personally, I turn down 2X/monthly lawns. I will not take them (unless very convenient like right next to another account) and I've been reasonably happy with my decision.

ralph02813
10-15-2011, 08:30 AM
@minilawn - You have the same problem many of us do - communication. I send out a note to my customers just before spring reminding them of how I operate, I work the same way you do - the summer a had a couple of lawns nearly 4" tall, they are all now down to 2 3/4 - no one was brown at all all summer.
I also include fertilizer at no charge to all the customers I do everything for, when it comes to hey could you fertilize I say sure and make a nice profit - the reason I fertilize for free is generally I start cutting every week before most around me, and I am still cutting every week, the weather has cooperated this year, and that is helpful - last year I mowed my last two lawn just before Thanksgiving. I would suggest to here that waiting to do leaf cleanup at the end is a different rate than cutting the lawns - tell her the price NOW.
I am not sure if you will have this customer next year anyway, she seems to be looking for an excuse to not spent a couple of bucks.

jsslawncare
10-15-2011, 09:17 AM
The next letter....

Hi Luke,

I'm sorry there wasn't a check for you for the last visit but I am out of "lawncare" checks and the bank says there want be anymore printed until the spring.

XOXO Patty
P.S. I'm the BOSS. What I says goes! (<-I know not proper.)

Darryl G
10-15-2011, 11:22 AM
Use her lawn as a dump site for the leaves from all your other customers...her grandkids will love you!

minilawn
10-15-2011, 02:09 PM
Use her lawn as a dump site for the leaves from all your other customers...her grandkids will love you!

hahahahaha:clapping:


I could just imagine the look on her face!


FYI I wouldn't be surprised if she drops me. Customer type : Can you do it for less than my last lawn guy who, by the way, is no longer in business because of financial reasons??

lukemelo216
10-15-2011, 02:23 PM
@minilawn - You have the same problem many of us do - communication. I send out a note to my customers just before spring reminding them of how I operate, I work the same way you do - the summer a had a couple of lawns nearly 4" tall, they are all now down to 2 3/4 - no one was brown at all all summer.
I also include fertilizer at no charge to all the customers I do everything for, when it comes to hey could you fertilize I say sure and make a nice profit - the reason I fertilize for free is generally I start cutting every week before most around me, and I am still cutting every week, the weather has cooperated this year, and that is helpful - last year I mowed my last two lawn just before Thanksgiving. I would suggest to here that waiting to do leaf cleanup at the end is a different rate than cutting the lawns - tell her the price NOW.
I am not sure if you will have this customer next year anyway, she seems to be looking for an excuse to not spent a couple of bucks.

How does starting early and cutting later mean you can fertilize for free. Those cuts still cost you the same amount of money, as it does during the normal growing months. You still have your travel time, labor, fuel, etc. That statement doesnt make any bit of sense and i personally believe is not good advise. Then for the fertilizer you still have your labor to spread that and the actual cost of the product.

But i do have to agree with the customer on this one. I wouldnt wait for her to call you, I would make the contact in about 2 weeks. Just check in and say that you just wanted to see if you would like me to stop by and take care of the lawn and leaves this week (2 weeks away.)

What we also do for our customers is instead of mowing the lawn, blow the leaves off the front walks and away from the doors. At commercial accounts we will blow the parking lots clean and such. We still just charge for a weekly visit, but its great becasue we can just send out the truck with a few blowers and rakes and the guys work about 1/2 the hours. We make good money before the clean ups start. Becaue all of our seasonal accoutns are still paying and our labor goes in half. We still visit each site weekly but dont have to mow the lawn

ralph02813
10-15-2011, 02:53 PM
@lukemelo216 I know my cost are the same, I know i could even save more money if I left my gear in my shed, but to me the cost of the fertilizer and a little time to run around the yard putting it down doesn't come close to what I make on 6 or 7 extra cuts.

fivestarlandscapes
10-15-2011, 05:52 PM
Im just over the RI border and when I read that you fertilize lawns for free I had to stop and read it again to make sure I read the post right. That is borderline crazy. A bag of fert from lesco is $20-$30 a bag which covers around 10-20 k sq ft. Not to mention the labor involved. Why are your customers not on a paying fertilization program? Your not only losing money but your missing out on a huge chunk of revenue. You should be doing fall cleanups in mid november any way.

ralph02813
10-16-2011, 06:23 AM
Well, you are right on the price of fertilizer. How many of your customer go for the full fertilizer regime? So, let's look at it. I bag of fertilizer 1 customers, 4 app takes almost 15 minutes, per app, I am there cutting the grass anyway x 4 = 1hr. So, my out of pocket cost $30 per bag (includeds initial pick up) my time $45. = A total cost of $75.00 per customer ---- revenues 6 cuts x $35.00 = $210. - $75. = $135 gross revenue, otherwise lost. Most of my customers fall into this category, and are nicely clumped together. I have already started fall clean up, which I do a little at a time, like everything else. I take care of the whole yard for all of my customers. I have been lucky in that no one owes me money and there are no properties I don't want to cut. Oh yeah, I do two other things to special mailings a year - Happy Holidays and Springs just around the corner.
After working for myself for almost 40 years much of my time spent as an advisor to others, I came away with what I think is the most important tenant - decide how much you need to make and know where you are not making it.

JDiepstra
10-16-2011, 03:20 PM
It is better to maintain cool season grass until it's dormant, ...why?

The most important means of preventing or reducing snow mold problems in lawns is the care of the grass at the end of the summer season. As long as the grass continues to grow, it should be mowed.

AND...

Because snow mold activity is greatest beneath covers that maintain moist conditions, all leaves or other materials should be removed from the lawn.


just fyi

There is no need to mow weekly in October and November. Period.

just fyi

ralph02813
10-16-2011, 03:27 PM
@jdiepstra - maybe if you are in MI there is no reason, I keep my own lawn at just under 3", I got about 1.5" of it last week, I could do the same again today.

unit28
10-16-2011, 05:30 PM
There is no need to mow weekly in October and November. Period.

just fyi

unless......
of course the grass is growing well enough to dictate the mowing necessity.
In general {for your fyi tidbit} it may never be necessary to mow a lawn anytime of the year period due to weather conditions.

Heck around here or there or anywhere, during abnormal weather conditions the grass may never need a weekly cut.

But the fact of the matter is, when it needs mowing just do it.
Here in MN we're still cutting {cool season grass} weekly. We just came off of an 80* stint for awhile, only just a week ago.

I can't say what the grass is doing in November though since I don't live in Florida. And I'm pretty sure they don't have to worry about such grass diseases as snow mold either....:)

StanWilhite
10-16-2011, 05:45 PM
I think she is just wanting the leaves for her grand children to play in. She doesn't want you taking their "toys". We think of the leaves as work, but the younger kids (not yet in their teens!) find the leaves to be "fun and play".

I agree with you Kubotafan, that's what I got out of her message.

Sometimes customers can be a pain in the a$$ but we people in business have to have them, and by being flexible from time to time I've found that I usually benefit in the long run.

Sometimes that flexibility (that the customer asks for from time to time) is what determines whether or not the customer stays with you when some "low baller" comes around trying to get the account.

As we say, "just my 02 cents worth". :)
Stan

Darryl G
10-16-2011, 05:49 PM
I just did 7 bi-weekly accounts yesterday at 14 to 18 days since their last mow and they looked about like 1 weeks worth of growth looks during peak growing season. I mowed them all anyway, it's not like they didn't need it and I dealt with the leaves that are down while I was there. I'm not going to start going 3 and 4 weeks on these lawns just so I can cut them when they're overgrown each and every time. I have some lawns that are still growing pretty fast and are still weekly but I'll be scaling them all back to bi-weekly over the next few weeks.

ralph02813
10-16-2011, 06:02 PM
@ darryl gesner I am doing the same thing most of my lawns will be cut again this week, next week if the weather holds probably another bunch will miss a week, and so it goes.

weeze
10-16-2011, 09:15 PM
yeah i put my weeklys to 2 weeks at this time of year

lukemelo216
10-16-2011, 11:06 PM
Well first of all it isnt the best practice to fertilize the same day as you cut, but thats a whole different topic. It should take you about 15 minutes to spread a bag of fert on a 10k yard, plus then to go back over and spray weeds thats more time right there. So after looking through your previous threads you started it seems like you just a solo operation using a 36" wb to mow your lawns. To do a 10k property would take you probably about 1 hour to do with trimming and blowing, youve stated you charge about $35.00 per hour, so lets say your making 50% profit on your jobs which is on the high side, it costs you $17.50 per mowing. Multiply that by 6 and its $105.00. Now if you do four applications per customer that means you need probably 2-4 bags of fert per customer which will run you any where from 50-60$ for the product and another $45 for the applications. Thats 95-105$ per customer. So with that 6 extra cuts at $35.00 = $210 (Rev) - 105 (cost) - 95 (fert cost) = $10 whole dollars. If you use your $75.00 for four applications to a customers property, that means $35.00 whole dollars, doesnt seem like its really worth it to me.

You can continue to do 6 extra cuts and make $105 off that. Then say your propertys are about 10k, charge probably close to $65-75.00 per application and make another 185-225 per customer.

Like i said it doesnt make sense what you are doing. Unless you have absolutely no costs, which cant be true becasue its going to cost you something (ins, fuel, equipment, etc.)

ralph02813
10-17-2011, 08:06 AM
@lukemelo216 geez the way you explain it, it looks like I don't know what I am doing. Or maybe my post was unclear. I put wheels on my Ferris ;-) so it only takes me about under 15 minutes to run around a 100x100 yard (10k/10,000 sq ft) give or take a couple of minutes (depends when I had my last pbj) - trim the edges and blow off the steps, walk and driveway if its paved (I try to keep all the grass on the lawn) so stuff off the truck on the truck somwhere around 25-30 minutes $35.00. I have a number of customers on 5-12k lots take away the space for the house,garage, gardens etc and even a 12k lot is down to less than 10k sq ft. So for me, as I state in my original post - I can get 4 applications out of a bag if I use a 20% mark-on to figure cost that is $8.00 per application plus time, (note I said mark-on, not mark -up)I haven't hit $20.00 which puts my yearly cost at $80.00 and returns me $210.00 at a mimimum so extra cash in pocket is at least $130.00 I really cannot see any of my customers paying me $95.00 to fertilize their lawn once never mind 4 times. For other work I do weeding or applying preimmergents of trimming bushes or trees I try to do it while I am there, so I might spend 15 -30 besides cutting the grass, so it works out nicely. For example, I trim most bushes 4 times a season cuts down on the time it takes per cut and I end up with really nice looking bushes and extra monies. And happy customers

clydebusa
10-17-2011, 09:14 AM
Can you put a timeline on the conversations? She did ask you to stop mowing. Did you continue after that? I tend not to argue with a customer at the end of the season. Next March/April isn't far away and she will be bombarded with ads and flyers from the competition. There's no reason to give her an excuse to replace you.

This is so true!:)

michael14
10-17-2011, 08:55 PM
It's her yard as long as it's not causing extra wear on your equipment just do what ever she wants clients are hard enough to getalready you don't want to lose them over a pile of leaves
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