We do mostly higher end homes. Most of the residential properties we maintain each week would fit in your definition of high end.
Most days we're finished by around 5:00. But some days we are there until 6:30 or even 7:00 once in a while. The main thing is to get the route done that day. If it takes a few hours longer than usual for some reason, we keep going until all the accounts are done. We never miss a day of service.
But if we're routinely having days where we're working more than 10 hours a day (Leave shop at 7:30, 30 minute lunch, clock out at shop at 6:00) then we realize it's about time to add another crew.
If you're having trouble attracting higher end homes I would guess it doesn't have as much to do with the time you're mowing as it does with how you're appealing to the higher end customer. I realized a long time ago that the higher end customers (at least in our area) really went more for the more established, professional looking companies. Most of them had already gone through a few smaller operators and had not had the best experience. So they are willing to pay more for a more established, professional company who maybe also provides a little more service too. Years and years ago, when it was just me and a helper, we used to have a lot harder time landing accounts. I had to work really hard to convince people to hire us. But over the years I've worked real hard to make our company more professional than most of the other companies in our area. From our website to our trucks and trailers to the marketing pieces we do to the estimate forms we use to the uniforms our guys wear, and a lot more. Even when it was just me and 2 crews, we were already starting to look just like the really big companies in town. It was then that we started to find it more easy to attract the higher end accounts and land a higher percentage of our bids.
Nowadays we're one of the biggest, if not the biggest residential LCO/Landscape Firm in the area that we service. And we don't ever have that problem anymore. We get more calls from high end homes than we can handle and are usually at the point where we have to not take on any new clients for much of the year. Just because we're more recognized and more established makes all the difference. Even if you never get to that point where your company is a known name in your area, you could at least LOOK the part.
A high end customer wants to feel like they're dealing with a high end company. That's my 2cents.