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Old 04-28-2011, 02:51 AM
Tankers Tankers is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Posts: 17
My Start Up

I'm brand new to this business, only been at it a few weeks. Some of you old pros will probably low this story, lol.

On my very first account I ever did (last week), it was an elderly wheel chair bound couple. I wanted the job so bad I offered to attach their down spouts if they'd pay materials. I figured it was an easy 10 minute job and if it landed the account then all the better. I showed up for my first day on the job wanting to knock out the spouts quickly and get to mowing.

Well the week before (when I had initially bid the job) it was a cool, clear day, perfect weather. Soon after I left the couple had spotted a hole in their fence and had to quit letting the dogs out of the backyard. Instead they let them out into the incredibly tiny front fenced in area where the broken down spouts were.

So here I come all loaded up and ready to save the day. An hour later the sun is beating down my back (no sunblock), I'm ankle deep in dog sh*t that is now warm and festering, my drill's batteries are going dead, the old lady won't put her dogs in the back room so I get an earful from them coming from the windows above me... And since I'm Mr. Work-for-free they ask if I can fix their fence holes (can't say no now). Their gates are all but falling apart so each time I need to go back to the truck (a million times), I have to stop and tie the gate(s) shut behind me because God forbid they keep the dogs in the house while I do all the free work.

Okay so finally I get to the actual yard work... What I didn't realize when I bid it is that their yard clean up was actually labor intensive. They didn't just have leaves from the Fall that were fused to the soil and impossible to rake but they haven't had any lawn service in years. I had to shovel the piles of leaves (thick compost) into yard bags. It all looked so small and simple when I bid it - eight yard waste bags later and finally I'm mowing.

So I break out my new 33" Sutech walk behind and go at it. Well as it turns out even commercial grade equipment can't work wonders. The foot tall grass is hiding all the potholes along the fence line so every couple yards I'm having to man handle the 300 lbs machine one way or another so now my back is killing me. Finally I get the whole fence line done and start with my rows back and forth, back and forth. I'm not yet smart enough to take the mulching plate off and let the hay bails fly out the side so this really slows me down.

And then the inevitable happens. The old lady doesn't tell me (because I don't know to ask) exactly what's in the back yard. Any guesses? Give yourself a pat on the back if you guessed a 15' metal leash (the kind that comes coated in green plastic, impossible to see) tied to a 6" tall metal stake. Whack, whack, baam, crunch, screeeech, kaput! Son of a b*tch!

It gets better. I brought one little bottle of water and nothing at all containing sugar so I'm getting a bit shaky and worn out. So I finish the yard, pack it all up and limp back home. I get it all unloaded and laid out on the back patio to inspect the damage. My 21 inch consumer grade Snapper mower has both the back wheels angling from bent axles (still in the shop), the shaft running from the engine to the spool on my Craftsman weed whacker snapped in two (somehow), my 33" Sutech had broken grease points and completely worn out blades.

Come to find out Sutech is not a popular brand at all and the closest dealer is two states away. Snapper and Craftsman are still under warranty but servicing them takes at least two weeks, personally I think it's a deterent to stop folks from seeking service, lol.

That was day one and it sucked!
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