View Full Version : need help with coustomers that want me to skip a lawn cutting
09-26-2000, 06:28 PM
today i had two of my coustomers called and left msg on my machine today saying please skip this weeks lawn cut beacuse of no growth and until i call you to cut it again. what should i do service charge, bil twice or?. i am scared what if others call and say the same thing. what should i do? please need help with this one.
09-26-2000, 06:52 PM
If you are not under contract or don't have an agreement then you have to sit on the sidelines until they call.
I have a few people that will tell me this every now and then because I don't work under a contract but if it doesn't grow then I don't mow. (I'm also a poet:) )
The problems start when it really DOES need to be mowed and they say it doesn't. Then some fast talking about double charging next week has to come in. If you want constant income then you have to make different arrangements. Good Luck.
09-26-2000, 07:43 PM
Next year I am going to bill my customers monthly based on a min. of thirty mows devided by eight equal billings . I will bill other services seperate in case they " found someone who is cheaper" , that way I get paid for those services. This will be no problem for the good 90% of my accounts . It will prevent the other 10% from sticking me with hollow days that produce less income. It is my opinion that no lawn in the continuous U.S.ofA needs less than 30 mows in one season. If it doesn't I would rather pass on it. (These last two lines will be in my 2001 sigh-up letter.)
09-26-2000, 07:51 PM
With the droughts we have around here I get this alot. Thats what you do without a contract in effect. Waite til the call you. Mow Ed I am familiar with those customers who say it doesnt need it when i know it does. My rule if it is raining regular, I cut. Then I tell them that if I get there and it is high then it will be more money. They always say "well come on over then". Really if they let it get high more than once I threaten to quit. it can be a constant battle with some customers.
09-26-2000, 08:01 PM
When are you folks gonna learn. You need to have an anual contract with every single customer you service. Even the ones who only have you mow when they're on vacation. It's the only way you can avoid such problems. When one of my customers tells me not to cut because of no growth I smile and say ok because I'll be getting paid for not doing a thing.
09-26-2000, 08:10 PM
if you don't have an "annual" contract, one must make sure that they have calibrated for off season months. in the winter and late fall alot of "lawn services" go under or move to other things. time will tell if you will be voted off the island or not- good luck!
09-26-2000, 08:13 PM
so since i have no contracts i should just be happy with how many times each coustomer lets me cut there lawn each year ???
09-26-2000, 08:21 PM
When a customer says to mow it every two weeks and I show up and it's 6 inches high I simply raise my mower deck to be able to handle what the machine can do. It get's mowed, I don't kill my mower and I get my money. Any complaints I just say it needs to be mowed more often. They seem to see the light.
09-26-2000, 08:54 PM
Right on Mowerman90
I state in my "CONTRACT" that mowing will be done weekly during the months on April---August and ANY cancelation will be charrged a $15.00 cancelation fee. This means I get paid for doing Nothing! Just skip that one and on to the next. I haven't had any problems with anyone this season probably because it's been so wet here in Michigan. I find that if you take the time and explain to the customer that your company bases its income on a service that is to be preformed weekly and any cancelation hits hard in the overall ending profits---They Understand... The service you provide doesn't always start with the first cut blade of grass. It starts long before that. Explain yourself and you will find that the customer will appreciate your honesty upfront. My sugestion, next year try a contract. It saves yourself from dealing with such things as this.
09-26-2000, 11:30 PM
If you DO charge by the cut, like I do, just tell them it can't be done. The reason is they might happen to call on a Wednesday, wanting their lawn cut on a Friday. By this time you're already into your schedule-(location, etc.) and it's already ankle deep when they call. By the time you get to it, it's even longer yet- twice as much work- mess- they're unhappy- we're unhappy- EVERYONE's unhappy- and for what, for someone to save a buck? I don't THINK so! If you come in two weeks later, tell them that you have to charge just under double the normal cutting price. This way, they might as well maintain it regularly. If they want to go with someone who does it "by the call", LET 'EM! There is two more jobs waiting right down the street for you!
09-26-2000, 11:38 PM
I Try to weed out accounts like that. They are more trouble that they are worth. Just concentrate on picking up lawns where the people are just happy to get it done and dont bother you! It has worked great for me!
09-26-2000, 11:53 PM
This is why I charge a flat, monthly rate and DO NOT charge/cut. They can have me skip a cut all they want, or a cut could be missed from vacation or rain, but the fee/month remains the same.
09-27-2000, 06:38 AM
I have just run into this myself,got a note from a client with his last check,cut back to twice a month,so I skipped them last week..well I cut them Tuesday and it was long..we have just had about 2 to inches of rain this past weekend.Because of stating in a new market no one was on a contract..they will be next year!Now I'm per cut- billing at the end of the month.I charge this client 40.oo per cut,If he wants bi-weekly service I think his new price should be 60.00 per cut...what do you think?should it be more?All my other clients are being seviced weekly..no problems with them!THANKS
09-27-2000, 09:56 AM
if you don't work in a market where annual contracts are the normal way of doing buisness then screaming advice about annual contracts to rats5656, isn't helping at all.
where I live, when the grass doesn't grow people skip cuttings. it makes sense. there is an obvious impact to me financially at the time, however, most of the commercials still need weekly full service.
for each cutting I miss because of drought, I probably pick up an extra one timer some other time when the grass is growing. by offering the service people in my market need, either a one timer cut or weekly, I get lots of proffitable call backs.
whatever service I provide, I charge for it. if the grass is too tall because someone skipped cuttings, then I charge extra. if someone only needs a trim, I charge the same as for a cutting, because it isn't just the mowing time. it's the same distance traveled and time involved.
rats5656, don't worry. unless you are over your head in expenses and equipment, it all works out if you are responsive to your markets needs.
09-27-2000, 12:23 PM
This is a problem for everybody & it's hard to deal with. No simple solution. What I did was, LOL I still had a few problems but not many.
My first customers were the problem & I dealt with it. Because I gave them 100% loyalty because they were the ones that helped me get going in the right direction.
I offered full service maintenance, when I got smarter. I converted most of them to regulars. I mean every 7, 10 or 14 days to mow, hedge, edge, trim, weed & blow off all concrete surfaces. Any & all other services will be agreed on a jobber basis!
I loved my 10 & 14 day accounts, that weekly service can put a hurting on you, yep just go over to Mrs. Can'twaitandaggervatethecrapoutofya's house a few hours late on Thursday & you probably got a call that you were late & they wondering if you were coming over or if you were still in business?
Hey even in South East Georgia we are not cutting much between Nov. - April, yes we are getting up leaves. No, we didn't cut every time we went there, but we stayed on schedule & the property stayed perfect.
These people were the ones that gave us a check all year round & we took care of them. Money was tight in the summer, but during winter we were 8 up with it (MONEY) because of same money coming in month after month.
They knew they got top priority & we proved it. When we walked off a property that was year rounder it was perfect. It kept those easy winter checks rolling in. Oh yes before you say anything, if we were running tight because of weather or LOL because we figure in extra work, then we went back on not so full day & took care of what was needed (weeding & oh no hedges). Our regulars also knew to contact us if any special occasions & we reschedule to make them happy! Good way to get new accounts!
The ones that called us when they needed us knew if they were a little more of a mess than normal, knew they would get charged more & they knew that they had to give us a minimum of 3 days notice before cutting or whatever.
I personally loved my residential accounts & about half I had contracts and the rest I had verbal agreements. You know the deal, 99% of the time you do the work & you get paid. I did not want to work for anybody that did not want me there. Hey, I would prorate an account & drop them on the spot if needed. You can't get paid for every little thing you do, but year rounders did pay in the long run.
Commercial accounts that's another story & you need contracts with them. Yes, I had several contracts $2,000 a month & up, but I loved my residential the most!
If you act like a Pro, look like a Pro, work like a Pro, you will get paid like a Pro. You want to be on a property because they can afford you not because you were low bid or competitively priced. In about my third year of business if I got a call for a bid, first thing I did was let them know that I was most expensive in town & that I was the competition.
If they wanted a cheap Lawn service I would tell them that I would save both of us a lot of time & give them a list of other Lawn Service Companies. I do not have time to explain why I cost more & have to prove my self to them. My work spoke for it's self.
Just let them know everything up front on first vist, when giving your bid, be fair & figure it out over a years time by the month. That's the best you can do!
All you got to do is hang in there like a Pro & in time you get what you want. "It's always darkest before daylight" & "That's a fact Jack!" Time will take care of all.
09-27-2000, 12:38 PM
Very well said Grassmaster!!! Have to laugh sometimes....if posts were tracked by amount of words used then you'd be way out there. LOL Hey, if I'm ever down your way I am definitely gonna look you up! You definitely know what's up!!! :)
09-27-2000, 01:09 PM
Thanks a million Scraper!
I talk as much as I write!
I try not to leave any loose ends, Like I said I do not have time to explain my self, so I do it right the first time?
LOL, Sorry for such a short post! I'll do better next time!
09-28-2000, 08:16 AM
If you are going to work "by the cut" (Nothing wrong with that, a lot of areas will not support a monthly contract), you must let your customers know from the beginning that the cutting is "At your discrestion". You cannot have customers changing the schedule.
I have no problem skipping a cut during times of dry weather. I actually have this planned into my schedule, to allow for some "extra" work. I do have a problem with cusomters that want a cut skipped because they are trying to save a buck.
In another recent post by me, I mentioned a customer that recently purchased one of my sustomers houses. HE wants mowed only every other week for the rest of the season. Fine. WHen I cut, my deck is as high as it will go. Also, he does not get any special treatment. His lawn was scheduled to be cut on Tues. and has not yet been cut this week. Why? We were rained out most of Mon. and Tue, so since his is going to be high anyway, it gets put off.
09-30-2000, 08:22 PM
You should just move to your business Southeastern Lower Michigan... We haven't had short grass in 2 years. The grass just keeps growing and growing and growing and growing and growing and growing (kinda puts the energizer bunny to shame:)) ..
10-01-2000, 03:57 PM
When a customer call and says skip for a week that drives me crazy. My way of getting even is when I cut next week I cut it much higher sometime at 5 inches. So i will have to cut it more often to get the grass down to normal. Also, it has been a good year. If a customer complains to much or bothers me enough DROP THEM. You dont need them and you dont need to put up with them.
10-01-2000, 05:40 PM
As long as we are in a rainy period I don't let customers skip the cycle of no more than 2 weeks in between cuttings. Most customers make up for the drought times by calling me to come sooner and I fit them in. I fit them in because i make more money that way. In my area most residential customers are not into contracts. With the fickle weather i don't think i would want them to be. As the fall season arrives and the warm season grasses slow down it may go longer than 2 weeks between cuttings. Either way it usually works out the same at the end of the year
10-01-2000, 06:03 PM
I dont know where you are but in FL. it's 52 weeks a year,grass leaves trimming storms everything, if my client wants my co. to take care of there yard I make the call as when to cut or clean.If they have a problem with that they call on "WE CUT FOR $15.00 "^*(()))__^^^#^#$
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