2 BIG problems

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Ajays, May 30, 2002.

  1. Ajays

    Ajays LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    I have 2 big problems/questions that I need some good advice on. I am in NC and we have not had a good rain in a long time.

    1. I have a 60 exmark lazer and it seems that right after I mow somebodys yard everything is fine but the next week when I go out there...there are brown tracks where my tires were the week before. If I mow a new pattern...the next week there is a new pattern of tracks+the old pattern of tracks. What is causing this, and is there anything I can do to prevent it? My theory is that the tires are laying down the grass and the tormenting sun is just baking it brown.:confused:

    2. I mow normally between 60 and 70 lawns per week. Due to the lack of rain... everything is abnormally dry and all my properties are turning brown. My problem lies with my clients. So many of them are calling and telling me to skip cuts that my income is hurting dramatically. This week I only was able to mow 27 of my 60 scheduled. Those are the ones with sprinklers. Is there anything I can say or do to tactfully keep people from skipping so many cuts? One of my weekly clients has skipped for the past 4 cuts. I am beginning to think they are taking advantage of my good nature.:cry:
     
  2. GSJ

    GSJ LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    1. Your breaking the grass blades with your tires. It's too dry
    to mow. That crunching sound you hear when walking on it
    is a dead giveaway.

    2. Start pricing your jobs at a seasonal rate. So much per month
    for however long your season is. Tell them you are figuring into
    the price that there may be times when it is too dry to mow.

    3. You have overhead to cover. Insurance companies don't
    wait till you have a claim to charge you a premium. I think
    charging so much per cut is a mistake.
     
  3. CLM1103

    CLM1103 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 75

    I agree with GSJ. I charge all my accounts a monthly fee 12 months a year to mow "as needed." This solves a lot of problems plus I have same income year around.
     
  4. scott's turf

    scott's turf LawnSite Senior Member
    from NH
    Posts: 949

    My customers sign a contract that explains to them that in time of drought that other services of equal value will be performed on their yard in lieu of mowing. No one has had a problem with this. If they do explain the situation to them.
     
  5. HLC

    HLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 128

    Ajays,
    I'm glad you asked this question. I was going to post a similar topic yesterday and got interrupted in the middle and never got back to it.

    My problem is on a Centipede lawn. The customer wants it cut at 4". Monday when I went to cut I noticed some of the blades were turning red and it was worse where my tracks were. I was wondering what I was going to tell them because it was obvious that my mower was causing most of the problem. Luckily they didn't ask. However, the lady did come out and ask me not to come back for two weeks.....This drought is starting to hurt.
     
  6. Ajays

    Ajays LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    I push watering like crazy but when they water, they don't water enough and everthing evaporates. Nothing is solved. I definately would like to revamp my billing structure with contracts but I'm afraid to lose customers.
     
  7. GSJ

    GSJ LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    Start a per season pricing stategy now with upcoming bids
    and leave your per cut ones the way they are for now. If you
    don't this will be a problem every year. Sell them on the idea
    that you want to commit your services to them for the entire
    season rather than on a week to week basis. Do you apply
    fertilizer and weed control at these sites also? Pruning?
    This could all be rolled into a per season price. Offer a 4%
    discount at the beginning of the season if they prepay the
    entire contract. This will give you start up cash in the spring.
    I am going to offer a 2% discount this fall to customers willing
    to signup for next year this fall. This makes scheduling work
    such as winter pruning and edging beds alot less risky and
    saves time in the spring. You could align yourself with a local
    underground sprinkling contractor and offer this to your
    customers on a sub- contracting basis. Get creative and form
    a relationship with your customers. You want them to think of
    you as more than just their week to week grass cutter.
     
  8. Ajays

    Ajays LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    I fertilize probably 50% of my lawns. I also offer full service and do every kind of yardwork imaginable. I don't want my clients to feel they have to go to another company to get stuff done. This is my third year mowing and I just never had these problems before...probably because of the severe dryness this year. Definately need lots of rain.
     
  9. Shawn Burns

    Shawn Burns LawnSite Member
    from N.C.
    Posts: 181

    Ajays,
    I cut some grass in Cary too. It's as dry as i have ever seen it here this early in the year!
    The only thing you can do about the brown tracks is to stay off of it. There is really no other solution. I know how you feel about losing money by not mowing, but the right thing to do is to not do it. I have gone to 12-14 day cuttings on most of my non irrigated lawns, some longer than that. I haven't cut my lawn in 2 weeks and probably won't for another 2 unless we get some rain!
    Fortunatly, i keep some landscaping and hydroseeding jobs going to keep me afloat.
     
  10. Always Green

    Always Green LawnSite Member
    Posts: 48

    ajays,
    try to sell them other services, really push, go by in the evening(tell them that your looking at your accounts to see who needs to be cut tommrow) rent or buy a pressure washer,try to talk to your customers tell them that the drought has left you with more time to do and offer new services.
    I've told some of my customers to call me when they need the lawn cut. i explain that i don't make any money paying my men to drive around and look at burnt lawns, they don't seem to mind.
    we just painted a customers fence (had to make payroll somehow)
    powerwashing
    driveway sealing
    painting
    fenceing
    look for that little thing they need like maybe their mailbox is falling down ask if they would like you to replace it, look around you'll find things
     

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