Anybody mow in bad parts of town?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by South Florida Lawns, May 31, 2005.

  1. South Florida Lawns

    South Florida Lawns LawnSite Platinum Member
    from usa
    Posts: 4,785

    Just got a bank that is not in the best of areas, its pretty rough. I think I will be looking over my back more and making sure i keep the trailer closed and locked. What do you do differently with these types of accounts? What time of day is safest?
     
  2. ProCare Lawn Service

    ProCare Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    Posts: 167

    I cut 2 lots in a bad part of town. I am always very observant and find myself constantly watching over my equipment even though I keep everything locked up tight.
     
  3. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,073

    You could always ask yourself if the account is really worth it. Weigh your options, is there any way you can pick up an equivilent account in a safer area? No amount of money is worth it to us to risk maybe getting robbed or equipment stolen.
    But if I would pick a "safe" time to mow, I would pick early morning, 8am. Crooks and theives more than likely are too lazy to get up early. Just my thoughts.
     
  4. ProCare Lawn Service

    ProCare Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    Posts: 167

    My accounts are definately worth it. Takes me an hour to mow both and I get paid $90. I usually mow mid morning or around lunch.
     
  5. ChadA

    ChadA LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 521

    I have one in a pretty bad area. The people are real nice. They stick out like a sore thumb. They have a nice little white house with a picket fence and a postage stamp yard. Right next door is a homeless shelter and on the other side is a rundown apt building. Her driveway is to small for my rig and it's on a oneway st so I have to park on the other side of the st. Theres about 5 min of triming in the back yard and I'm always stopping and taking a peek to check on the equip even though it's locked. I tried raising the price from $25 per cut to $40 to get them to cancel but they agreed to the price increase. I'll be there this week. Watching my back as usual.
     
  6. mbricker

    mbricker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 505

    I've turned down a few because I didn't like the look of the neighborhood, but it might have also been a gut feeling that I was going to eventually get stiffed by the customer.

    But as a solo operator you do have to be a lot more careful. With a crew, you can watch each other's backs. If you have a crew with you, have you discussed this type of thing with them?

    But think about it--there is really no such thing any more as a "safe" neighborhood. There are teens in some of the most exclusive neighbrhoods who will rip off your gas cans while you're in the back yard, or do some other mischief--not because they need anything you have, but because our culture now teaches young people that it's cool to be a "gangsta."
     
  7. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Dog stays on the trailor, and know what to do if someone were to physically attack me or try to steal something off the trailor. No he won't take food from strangers so you can't poison him. It took a long time of hard training to get him to this point BUT it was well worth it.
     
  8. South Florida Lawns

    South Florida Lawns LawnSite Platinum Member
    from usa
    Posts: 4,785

    My black lab is a pretty good size too bad he is real friendly. I think I will try that, plus good companionship. It is so rough people around there eye me down and im a small guy too.
     
  9. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,411

    I did 2 like that, this year they did not renew and I will never take any more like them one was 80 a cut the other 65 but the very tan locals made cutting them real painful. If you want to do them early morning is best when I did the one in west haven I use to move the truck and trailer 4 times on the account never let the stuff be more then 30 feet from me. What would happen was the locals would make passes at my stuff sometimes walk back in forth 3-5 times like I was going to let them have a chance. One prick little 14-year-old punk charged the trailer full speed my partner missed his face by like half a foot when he cut him off and tried to dice him with the weed wacker then your love this part the punk goes inside the place we were cutting. Our own customer tried to rob us. The worst I ever saw it was the gangs would get bigger and bigger the longer we stayed till one day there was around 22 of them walking as slow as you can hoping for an opportunity which I was not going to give them I had half a barrel full of grass on my mower and was ready to do a wheelie in a second and mulch the crowd and I was close to doing it. Guess it showed on my face since 2 vs. 22 and they backed off yea but I am a racist and bad guy those that claim that have not had to head off 5-10 attempted thefts of their stuff on just one account stop. Needless to say I will not ever take crap accounts like that again.
     
  10. CuttingCrew

    CuttingCrew LawnSite Member
    Posts: 193

    A close friend of mine owns 5 appt. complexes that I cut. All section 8 housing. Two of them (the biggest two) are in a horrible part of town. Takes 4 1/2 hours to do the both of them and there only a block apart. Pays $220. Not a bad half day. Right at the $45 per hour I need to be profitable.

    I used to be scared to death to cut these properties. Over time I've gotten to know enough of the residents that it doesn't bother me any more. One guy in particular helped me out of a jam when I got my Stander stuck. He even refused to let me pay him after he worked hard to push me out (6 1/2 ft. tall 330 lbs. very scary looking) Got to know him over the last year, turns out he does part time work for the same guy that owns the complex! The owner (the friend I cut for) thinks the guy walks on water too. His full time job is a night shift job so he is home all day and keeps a close eye on my gear when I'm there.
    The other complex has an 8 foot fence around the lot and I keep ALL my stuff locked up all the time with Master Lock Pythons. (they say those are very hard cables to cut)

    After all the worrying I used to do about getting riped off there, the one time I did get something stolen I was parked in front of a $200,000 house and a hand held blower was stolen... by another lawn company crew.

    Mike
     

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