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View Full Version : It's October 28th AND..........


1MajorTom
10-28-2004, 11:31 PM
You pull up to your customers house. She has been a customer for 3 years, takes a weekly cut and never complains. You have begged, pleaded, and even whimpered to her on her voice mail begging for her to let you do a fall leaf cleanup on her yard. ;)
She says, "no way, I plan on having my out of state grandson take care of the leaves when he visits for Thanksgiving." Problem is that's a month away!! and the grass needs cut now!!
What do you do?
1. Drive away, you aren't touching that mess, by the time the leaves are cleaned up, your equipment will be winterized.
2. Bag them all up just for the heck of it, you can't charge her extra because she has already told you she won't pay for any leaf removal.
3. Cut the grass, but discharge them everywhere making a sloppy mess.
4. Pull off your dedicated mulch mower from the back of the trailer, mulch them, but once again, you aren't getting paid any extra.
5. Don't take the customer on in the first place, even though she'll bring in 900 bucks easilly on cuttings on a simple little lawn, plus extra for hedge trimming.

How do YOU handle a non leaf customer?

impactlandscaping
10-28-2004, 11:39 PM
Honestly, Jodi, I'd have to go with number 6.) None of the above. All of our accounts are complete full service, so I have never had to deal with this dilemma. I guess if I had no other choice, I would cut and blow the leaves to a central area of the yard for later pickup by the grandson. I may tack on a standard 30% high cut fee to cover a few extra minute's time to do this, without making it seem I am charging for leaf removal or clean up. So if it's a 35.00 account, add an extra 10.50 to the bill.(this is in our contracts for overgrown, out of schedule cuts, rain delays, first cuts, and excessive growth..all subject to regular fee plus 30%)

Lawn-Scapes
10-28-2004, 11:45 PM
#6

I charge for "X" amount of cuts per year and the leaves just seem to disappear.

Phishook
10-28-2004, 11:56 PM
7. Ask her what she wants you to do. Then tell her what you are going to do.

KINGjosh
10-29-2004, 12:06 AM
I can't really comment because we dont get alot of leave fall down here, but if she is a top notch, paying on time, and never complains about a price, i would clean them up for her and then later down the road charge her extra for something else to get the money back

Soupy
10-29-2004, 12:17 AM
I would cut the lawn in circles and blow all the leaves inward toward a tree or something :)

Just kidding, I would use a mulching mower. What we do is continue to service all accounts weekly until all leaves have fallen. We add a extra $10 per week after November 1st.

After we blow everything into the grass we mulch the leaves. We don't have to trim at this time so we are actually doing pretty good. One guy starts blowing while the other cuts. It ends up taking about the same time as a weekly cut.

If customers don't want this service then we stop showing up until next spring.

GrassBustersLawn
10-29-2004, 12:21 AM
#3 Give the client what she wants! If she just wants to PAY for a MOW, give her a MOW! Let the leaves land where they may! If she says anything about it, tell her the conversations you've had, but that you'd be willing to mulch or pick them up for $xxx!


Mike

Envy Lawn Service
10-29-2004, 12:35 AM
0. Who cares? I get paid anyways.


It's the customer's choice for me. Mowing stops, I get my monthly amount and it's just that many less times I had to cut the lawn... higher profit margin for me. But I'm a nice guy, so depending on the customer, I might run back out to cut it one last time for her if it was needed after the cleanup was completed. Otherwise, see ya next spring!

Runner
10-29-2004, 01:34 AM
I would just mow it. There is not THAT much more drag on a mower for regular pattern mowing with leaves. I would NOT use your miulcher, though. Then you ARTE talking some extra work on the machine. I would just cut and let them lay. That's what we do anyway until they're all down and we pick up.
I would like to add,...this is all incorporated into the cost of the cleanup.

RICHIE K
10-29-2004, 06:56 AM
CUT IT AND CHARGE HER


RICHIE K

www.kulakandcompany.com :blob3:

crawdad
10-29-2004, 07:45 AM
You pull up to your customers house. She has been a customer for 3 years, takes a weekly cut and never complains. You have begged, pleaded, and even whimpered to her on her voice mail begging for her to let you do a fall leaf cleanup on her yard. ;)


That wouldn't happen to me, I don't beg, plead, or whimper.
Crawdad

MOW ED
10-29-2004, 07:57 AM
I understand your feelings about this one and there are a couple of ways to handle it. She has been your customer for 3 years and you have obviously been in this situation for the last 2 years. I am assuming that whatever you did the last 2 has been fine with her.
It is not fine for you because you want the lawn to look good but you also know that you should be getting more money if you do more than the regular mow. I would compare it to lush spring growth, lots of people are cutting and complaining that they have to double and triple cut lawns for the same price. Then they say how great it is that they can run over that same lawn in 10 minutes instead of 30 and still make the same amount of money during the dormant season in August. Keep time on every lawn, it all averages out. We always want it to our benefit at the least amount of work but if you keep time you will probably fine that overall you are still making money. If not you have to raise prices.
I guess you sort of answered you own question, 900 bucks a year in mowing and no complaints. Sounds like a good customer to me. If you can attack the lawn with a couple of backpack blowers and then mow within a reasonable amount of time then that would be my solution. I certainly wouldn't do all the flower beds and window wells but the lawn shouldn't take much. You can accomplish your mow, make it look good and also keep 900 bucks in your pocket next year. Good Luck.

walker-talker
10-29-2004, 09:21 AM
I am with Grass Buster and Runner on this one...you are getting paid for a mow, so mow it. It's not like you are running of trash and letting it lie...it's just leaves!!!

gogetter
10-29-2004, 01:38 PM
#3. Just mow it and blow the driveway and sidewalks just like a normal grass cutting visit (*).

All my lawns were done mowing for the season as of this past Monday (25th). Those that do opt for a leaf clean up will start in a couple weeks when most of the leaves are down.

(* except for that one lawn that I mentioned in your other thread with the leaf ring around the tree. And I only do that because I can, I certainly don't have to, but it works on that particular lawn).

mtdman
10-29-2004, 02:21 PM
I am with Grass Buster and Runner on this one...you are getting paid for a mow, so mow it. It's not like you are running of trash and letting it lie...it's just leaves!!!


See, I don't agree with this. Especially with a heavy covering of leaves. I think when you mow over leaves and just leave 'em on the lawn it looks like crap. I don't want my business associated with that kind of work. And the problem is, leaves start falling around here as early as August for some trees, and lawns can continue to grow well in to November. It just warmed up here again and lawns are green and growing like it was May. I get paid to cut grass, and if it's growing, I'm cutting it. To do otherwise is throwing $$ out the window.

Now, what I have done since my 2nd year is charge people to do a quick clean up. I am fortunate in the fact that the city does street pickups from the curb, and mostly I can just blow the leaves into the street and leave them at the curb. In backyards I try to put them around the perimeter and out of the way. I inform the customers from day 1 about this policy and no one complains about it. I charge fairly for the leaf blowing I do and don't gouge anyone. If you don't address the problem with leaf covering from the beginning now, you need to build it into your contracts or policies and make sure people know what you will be doing in the fall. To ignore the problem or work around it or do the work for free is stupid.

Every so often I do get a customer that doesn't want me to do anything to the leaves and expect me to quit mowing as soon as October roles around. Some people think that just because it's fall the grass stops growing. When that happens, I explain the situation to them, and that they hired me to maintain the lawn through the season, the season does not end until the grass stops growing. I explain what I do with the leaves and how much I charge to blow off first. I have found that this usually works to calm folks down and they agree. Those that don't are usually the folks that worry about paying for mowing for an extra month, or can't afford it, etc. In that case, I don't want those people as customers ideally. I want people that will allow me to service the lawn for the entire season. Worse comes to worse, I move on from those people.

Most problems like this with extra work and extra charges can be avoided by covering your bases, and communicating with your customers about charges for extra work.

This leaf thingy is becoming another scrub topic problem. It's not brain surgery, just mowing grass and blowing leaves. Make sure you get paid accordingly, that's all.

Del9175
10-29-2004, 02:33 PM
When I did business in Michigan, I would just let them fly. I don't know how many trees there are around this house, but the jobs I did in MI would have been covered in leaves the very next day. While it may look nicer to pick them up, it just isn't practical in my book unless you're getting paid, and since its going to look like crap the next day, oh well. Anyway, this customer doesn't seem to mind the leaves being there so no reason you should.

Up North
10-29-2004, 02:36 PM
You pull up to your customers house. She has been a customer for 3 years, takes a weekly cut and never complains. You have begged, pleaded, and even whimpered to her on her voice mail begging for her to let you do a fall leaf cleanup on her yard. ;)
She says, "no way, I plan on having my out of state grandson take care of the leaves when he visits for Thanksgiving." Problem is that's a month away!! and the grass needs cut now!!
What do you do?
1. Drive away, you aren't touching that mess, by the time the leaves are cleaned up, your equipment will be winterized.
2. Bag them all up just for the heck of it, you can't charge her extra because she has already told you she won't pay for any leaf removal.
3. Cut the grass, but discharge them everywhere making a sloppy mess.
4. Pull off your dedicated mulch mower from the back of the trailer, mulch them, but once again, you aren't getting paid any extra.
5. Don't take the customer on in the first place, even though she'll bring in 900 bucks easilly on cuttings on a simple little lawn, plus extra for hedge trimming.

How do YOU handle a non leaf customer?

Depends on the area. If she lives up here and wants to wait till Thanksgiving, she's going to have to hire me to plow all the snow off her yard first so they can pick up the leaves.

Buck

mtdman
10-29-2004, 03:02 PM
When I did business in Michigan, I would just let them fly. I don't know how many trees there are around this house, but the jobs I did in MI would have been covered in leaves the very next day. While it may look nicer to pick them up, it just isn't practical in my book unless you're getting paid, and since its going to look like crap the next day, oh well. Anyway, this customer doesn't seem to mind the leaves being there so no reason you should.


I'm not worried about how a lawn looks the next day, I'm worried how the lawn looks immediately after I finish. I cannot control the weather or leaves falling on the ground, growth, a meteor falling in the middle of the yard. I can control how the lawn looks after I cut it, and when I'm done I want it to be a proper representation of the work I do. When there's chopped up leaves all over the yard, and it looks like crap, my work looks like crap. When the yard is nicely mowed with no leaves whatsoever left on it, it looks good and so does my work. I do go work, I'm not leaving a lawn looking like crap just because leaves are falling.

Turfdude
10-29-2004, 03:13 PM
I'm not worried about how a lawn looks the next day, I'm worried how the lawn looks immediately after I finish. I cannot control the weather or leaves falling on the ground, growth, a meteor falling in the middle of the yard. I can control how the lawn looks after I cut it, and when I'm done I want it to be a proper representation of the work I do. When there's chopped up leaves all over the yard, and it looks like crap, my work looks like crap. When the yard is nicely mowed with no leaves whatsoever left on it, it looks good and so does my work. I do good work, I'm not leaving a lawn looking like crap just because leaves are falling.


Here Here!

So to answer Jodi's question - answer = #1 - or #5. This depends on how you do your contracts. Our BASIC contract entails spring clean-up, weekly mowings, fall leaf removal during mowing season and fall clean-up.

As MTD man says, muwing + discharge looks like crap. Your name is on the job. I turned down an account this fall for this reason. The guy felt that our $/manhour for leaves was too much $$.

lawnman_scott
10-29-2004, 03:18 PM
3. And who is the one concerned about how it looks anyway? Obviously its not her, she is going to wait till thanksgiving.

fga
10-29-2004, 03:21 PM
#1 i'd pack it up and go on. no doubt. I wouldn't be mean about it, i'd just wind up charging her for a leaf clean up in the spring anyway. :) But we bag everything here this time of season... so it is a big deal if there are leaves on the lawn. they are paying for the leaf clean up or we can't do it. i have one house wjere i know they can't afford it, and we always side discharge there anyway using the 48" WB. that is the one house where i might just chop em up and leave it sort of sloppy, they are old in their 80's and don't care at all what it looks like, as long as its cut. But thats the only house.

Fareway Lawncare
10-29-2004, 04:46 PM
What's your "Dedicated Mulch Mower" doing Way @ the Back of the Trailer & why is the "Discharge Mower" being used as Frontline During Leaf Season ?

Why in God's Name would you discharge anything w/Leaves unless Your Mulch Mower Just Plain Sux ?

Why Not Double cut it w/a Good Mulching Mower & be Done w/it ?

Why !

All my Mowers are Set-up so you Can Double Mulch Cut thick Leaf cover...Give it A Quick Blow & Be on Your Way.

Why in God's Name does someone care if there are a Few leaves left when they finish....Did you Know that When Leaves are Dropping...The Prop is going to Look like you were Never Even There 1/2 hr after you're Gone ...So all that Time You Spend Making it Purty is Just a Waste !

Freshcut Lawn Care
10-29-2004, 05:32 PM
I agree with what some of these folks have said!

Jodi....In your post you say she is a very good customer in many ways and worth $900.00 per season. Someone also said you will make it up in other ways; either through other services and minimal cutting at other times of the year!

If you charge per cut, why not consider raising the rates next season by $3 -$5 per cut and this will compensate you for your troubles at seasons end!

I believe "Mow Ed" said to take a couple of Back Pack blowers prior to cutting. This sounds logical to me for these reasons:

1) They are out of your way, and

2) They are still there for her grandson. I personally believe she is doing this to give him some extra spending money, for Christmas time!

I believe is doing the little extras; (especially for my best customers), so I would try to keep her happy because she seems to keep you happy most of the season! :)

Also, older folks get set in their ways and some will never see things the way we do! They are a pain some times, but I think she is a keeper for you and you should try to be somewhat flexible.

We will be old some day too, hopefully!!!

:waving: