After 20-something years in the business I've experienced stark change in philosophy over the past couple years. I used to believe that the way to do business was to always give the customer 125% -- to always go above and beyond the call of duty. For example, I often used to pull random weeds in the lawn or beds just because...and I used to trim out-of-control shrubs that hung over walkways because they were in the way. I used to mow over peoples' yards 2 times if necessary, just to make it look pristine. I used to bend over backwards trying to please these people and make their yards look better than anyone elses on the street. I used to really care how their yard looked. I'm now coming to the conclusion, however, that I've most certainly been wasting my time. This is sure to be controversial, and it actually goes against every fiber of my own being, as I am a Christian and have an internal gut feeling that tells me to treat others as I'd like to be treated and to always do my best, whether someone's looking or not. But I'm learning that my best doesn't pay near as well as a half-A job does...it never has, and here's why: When I think of my best, most profitable yards, they are almost always the semi-crummy-looking yards that I can hop on my rider and knock out in 10 minutes. They're the yards owned by people who don't care how their yard looks...all they care about is that it's been cut. Same with the shrubs. Quite simply, my best lawns are the worst looking; they're the ones I can zip right through without a care....they're usually owned by older people, widows, divorced women, various blue-collar workers and other various other Wal-Mart shoppers. Amen and God Bless those people! Making $40-$50 the easy way on top of a rider in a so-so neighborhood beats the pants off making $30 the hard way, which is push-mowing the manicured yards of the ultra-picky in upper-class suburbia. And here's the thing. Bending over backwards, I've learned, may pay in the short-run, but it almost never pays in the long-run. All it takes is one screw-up for many people to let you go -- no matter how much of a neat-freak you've been on their yard in the past..... Not to mention people moving, losing their jobs and thus dropping you, buying their own mower to save money, using the kid down the street, etc etc etc.....There is no more loyalty in this world...well, not much. I know we all can't pick and choose every yard, but my philosophy is now all about taking the easy way out. I know, I know -- it's shameful, it's dirty, it's probably immoral -- but why do I feel so good and why do I make money so much easier with less headache?