View Full Version : Do you walk away from churches and cemetarys?

03-04-2004, 12:56 PM
the son of a customer called me yesterday abi out needing mowing for their church grounds and an adjacnet cemetary.
I asked what happen to the guy doing it last year? He says he sprayed roundup around the tombstonesand the families of the dead didnt like...I guess they didn't want the Rndup to leach in the skeletons. Well I thought about it for about 5 seconds and proceeded to tell him we do not do work in cemetaries and I gave him the names of 2 local companies that I know do graveyards. I walked away for these reasons:

1. its a church and I;ve heard countless horror stories about working for churches.
2. its way too easy to knock over wobbly tombstones and then be responsible to fix them
3. then we have the grass clippings in spring blowing all over their easter flowers placed on the graves. (many of which will be in the way of mowing most likley)

I rarely blow someone off like this (although I was very polite and gave him names of other companies) but this just looks like a headache waiting to happen.

Do you run from these like I did?

03-04-2004, 01:00 PM
Yep. IMO, you are right on.

03-04-2004, 01:17 PM
Most of the cemeteries around here have their own in house crews, so its not an option, and if it was I still wouldn't do it. We mowed the grass for our church, for free, for two years.Still had people complain: too short , too long , cut too often, too noisy, etc..So I quit doing it.Took the last 1k of turf area and turned it into an ornamental bed for the old ladies flower club.Now everyone's happy..:D

Q-Team Inc
03-04-2004, 01:35 PM
Here in town they request bids for the cemeteries. Usually some guys with a crapsman rider and weedeater trimmer win the jobs. They can have them. But I do mow 1 private cemetery a few times a year. Its worth it. The stones aren't too close and the old ones are elevated so my Lazer can't get up there. Best thing is the elevated ones are all moss so it doens't need it anyway!! It takes 2 guys about 2-2.5 hours to do and I bill out at $255.00 per mow. Its great money if the situation allows it to be. I will never bid for the towns cemetery. They would never pay what it is really worth.:)

03-04-2004, 01:42 PM
Afterthought__--__-There are a few cemeteries I have seen that do not allow headstones, only inset stones in the ground.There's one in Uniontown,Pa I have seen like that.The guy comes thru on a JD with an 11-12' gang set up, and it looks like a golf course.Dont really know about the clippings laying on the face of the markers, if they come thru and blow them off or not. That would be the only type of cemetery I would consider bidding on.<a href='http://www.smileycentral.com/?partner=ZSzeb008' target='_blank'><img src='http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/8/8_1_35.gif' border=0></a>

03-04-2004, 02:02 PM
I would probably pass on the cemetary also. I do a church and its been a very good customer.

03-04-2004, 03:37 PM
Yo Impact...your logo is VERY nice....quite easy to remember...did you do that? or hire someone?

03-04-2004, 03:53 PM
Hey Gar-Thanks man, that's what I was going for in the design! I had the great staff at Gopher Graphics design my logo a few weeks ago.I'm going in my fourth year and wanted to start really branding my image.The new logo is going on everything...trucks,shirts,hats,letterhead,web page,invoices,yard signs,cards,direct mail flyers, etc. Look under designs from MattZ.He did the logo for me.Thanks again!

03-04-2004, 08:01 PM
I had a church that wanted the LCO also dig the graves , by hand
since there were some unmarked graves form the 1800' s in the grave yard.

03-04-2004, 08:04 PM
Kind of ran into some of what you are talking about today. I went to the church up the road. New building but their lot looked crappy all last year. Two gals with homeowner units were mowing it, never did mow along one side where it was rough, and did no trimming at all except right around the building, as far as I could see. Probably an acre and a half, some pretty rough, plus about a quarter mile of barbed wire fence that should be trimmed under.

Anyway, went in and introduced myself to the minister, and stated my mission. He then started to tell me about the ones currently mowing. He was kind of thinking while he was talking, and said he wasn't sure whether they were paying $70 or $80. My mind is churning, thinking I can do it for that, and give them a better cut than they have ever had. Then, he said that was a month! Burst my bubble, for sure. Then, he said the ones mowing had been doing it for two years, and they sure did a good job and he would hate to even consider switching. I thanked him for his time, gave him a card in case the situation ever changed, and beat a hasty retreat. Now, this guy may be a great preacher, but he sure doesn't know much about a good mowing job. LOL Neill

03-04-2004, 11:47 PM
It is always a relief to be able to "run out or away" from a cemetary....some are there for good.........

All kidding aside, I serviced one for a year........and it was a weed trimming nightmare, and I could not service on days of services etc, which ended up being almost every other day, we would show up and see the cars, tents etc and have to come back.........did not seek a renewal on that one. Eric

03-05-2004, 12:12 AM
I mow several cemetaries and a church, i come out ok on them, i just figured up what i had to have to mow trim and blow the stones. A nice niche for me cause alot dont like to do it.

03-05-2004, 07:27 AM
Normal everyday work? NO. I would like to participate in the annual at Arlington though.

03-05-2004, 08:44 AM
well it seems nearly all of us run from these... glad I ran away too...I thought a number of you would tell me they can be good accounts and dont blow them off

I think the worst part is the dead people's relatives who treat the grave site like some Holy Shrine...that by itself makes for a hassle/argument a just waiting to happen..

I told the guy he should see if the chruch can hire a part maintenance man as that would be far cheaper than a for-real mowing company...he says "really?"...that comment right there made me think not only would it be a hassle, but they'd want it dirt cheap if they think a maintenance man at $12 an hour is allot of money... idiots

03-05-2004, 11:24 AM
Not me, I don't run away from the churches. I would love to pick up more of them. I've had nothing but good experiences.

Cemetarys...well I've bid on a big old one once. They didn't like my price. I wouldn't mind having one, heck its not like the residents will mind if i'm there early or stay late.

03-05-2004, 11:54 AM
I do one cemetary, a pet cemetary, no joke. All the markers are sunk and in the mowing season no grave flowers or decorations are allowed. I even got a tip from one of the pet owners for keeping her pet's grave so nice, how bout that!

Doc Pete
03-05-2004, 12:42 PM
Originally posted by 65hoss
Not me, I don't run away from the churches. I would love to pick up more of them. I've had nothing but good experiences.

Cemetery are no different than customers. Some are good, some are bad. What you have to always remember is the people that make the decisions no nothing about the job and are on the hiring committees for only 2 or 3 years and then they are gone. In other words, they will do "whatever" looks or sounds good while they are serving on the committee.

03-05-2004, 12:45 PM
my friend did one a little while back-the job wasnt a hassle, but getting paid was. its the kind of situation where you cant really be rude to them, even after 2 months of not getting paid.

next year he lost it to a low bidder, didnt mind 1 bit.

Turfcutters Plus
03-05-2004, 02:47 PM
Just got a small church back close to my house,with a raise.They went cheaper,and got crappy care before.It's been 2 years.That made my day.

Bond's Lawn Keepers
03-05-2004, 06:31 PM
I don't do cemeteries, but i do three churches, very good customers. They want it done every week from March thru October and then every two weeks in winter.

03-05-2004, 08:54 PM
The only cemeterys I want to do are the one I can walk away from!
Figure I'll spend enough time in one later on lol


Doc Pete
03-05-2004, 09:03 PM
Originally posted by olderthandirt
The only cemeterys I want to do are the one I can walk away from!
Figure I'll spend enough time in one later on lol


I gotta tell ya, it don't hurt none walkin' around in one, neither. Take a look at some of those stones with people under 20 years old let's you's appreciate what you got a little more. I'm my case, I've got stories to tell about some of the more recent ones, too.............

Flat Top Lawn
03-05-2004, 09:32 PM
I have a church yard that consist of church, grave and parsonage yards. This is one of my biggest accounts. Working on a bid for another one at the time.

03-05-2004, 11:20 PM
Haven't had much luck with churches around here. All that I have approached have parishoners doing it for free. HARD TO BEAT FREE in a price war!


03-05-2004, 11:50 PM
Not to sound like a jerk, but grow some cahooneys. Are in the buisness or not? Sounds like you are way to picky.
work is work, Man up!!!!!payup

03-06-2004, 04:22 PM
I do cemeterys and enjoy them. Lots of trimming but just price right. Not much visiting or complaining from the residents.

03-06-2004, 04:48 PM
i hate line trimmin so i def. would not take it.

Doc Pete
03-06-2004, 05:08 PM
Originally posted by gramps
I do cemeterys and enjoy them. Lots of trimming but just price right. Not much visiting or complaining from the residents.

Wouldn't you really call of them "Visiters", since they're all "moving on" somewhere:o