Leaves: Customer vs Landscaper Discussion
I just thought I'd open up a discussion regarding dealing with customers and their wants, needs and perceptions regarding leaf cleanup vs the way we as lawn care/landscaping professionals see it. I'm not having any particular problem at this point, but it's always an ongoing battle every season for me to get customers to understand that I can't let every leaf fall off every tree on every property I service before mobilizing for cleanups.
Case in point: I knew we had some wet weather coming so I ran around this week servicing properties...mowing and cleaning up any leaves that were down already and dropping their cutting height down 1/4 to 1/2 inch. On some of my properties with maples and birches and white pines, there are quite a few leaves down already. The oaks are still not dropping much. The way I see it is that I got their yards cleaned up and the grass cut before the leaves got all wet and matted in long grass. I did the getting while the getting was good so to speak. The way most customers see it is that I wasted their money, because with the rain and wind we're getting now, you can hardly tell I was there. Customers seem to see leaf cleanup as an event, whereas I see it as a process that is repeated, going around to each of my properties until either they're all cleaned up or winter sets in.
I'm to the point where I have my customers "trained" relating to how I do my cleanups, but I still get them asking me to come back next week when there are more leaves down. Mind you, the grass is still growing at a pretty good rate on my nice lawns, and they need cutting anyway. On the crappy, unfertilized lawns it's no so much of an issue. So far I have just done what I've wanted...I haven't had any customers insist that I not service their lawn, but I just know that the owners of the yards I did yesterday are saying to themselves that it was a wasted effort to do their lawns right before they get dumped on again.