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Customer thinks mowing season is over

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by gdguth, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. gdguth

    gdguth LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 436

    I live in central Illinois and most often am not done mowing until around 1st week of November. I have a lady call me today and left message. She wanted to thank me for another fine job this year as always, but she says due to the colder weather the lawn won't need anything until next spring and looks forward to seeing me then. 1st off, the temperatures are not cold. We have been in the 70's and it is supposed to get to 80 next week. Next I would say that there will be at least 2 or 3 more mows. I called her and left a message explaining that I was surprised as I normally am not done until the 1st of November or later. I told her there is going to be lots of leaves to clean-up just like i have always done for her. I also explained that the grass will probably be a foot high in the spring or more and that it will need to be done very early and probably cost more. I told her to please call me back so we could talk this over. I always get her voicemail then she will call back in about 3 or 4 days. She always pays, has me do extras, I have had her as a customer since 2005, I am just plain confused. Only thing I can think of is that she has had a lot of projects done around the house and maybe is tight on money. Anyone ever have a issue like this before? Maybe this is her way of firing me, but why did she say she looks forward to seeing me in the spring.
  2. pseudosun

    pseudosun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,740

    I've been there. You can't help but feel like you're the low man on the totem pole. I think your guess about her spending on projects sounds accurate. I've had this happen, but i was in a tight spot, because it was my mother's friend, and i was asked to help her; a charity case, i guess. When i got there in the spring, yes, it was a mess. If it really bothers you, try to replace her with a customer who wants you pretty much year round. I told one customer that i was forced to seek out regular employment, and couldn't afford to be laid off from october to march. She texted me, and asked where i was working for the off season, and i told her that i picked up some regular accounts. I admit that i got a little satisfaction out of that. On the flip side, if you could use the money, just do it her way, and bite your lip. I understand the anger. They have no idea about the effort it will take to get the yard in shape. With these types, i'm only successful about 10% of the time. Not a good sign.
  3. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    add 3 mowings to the spring clean up
  4. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    If she really has more work for you she has your number. On the other hand this may also be an attempt to replace you for any number of excuses. Give her a chance to contact you and leave it at that. Don't spend any emotional capital on this one.
    easy-lift guy

    Posts: 1,343

    We are In mass. Down on the cape,
    5 people now have said they are done for the season and 4 have requested every other week service.
    The bottom line is everyone wants to save a dollar and we are the easiest ones to eliminate.
    I have spoken to each of these clients and tried to explain the weather and growing conditions but it like talking to a rock.

    Good luck to all for the rest of the season.
  6. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,144

    I can't say I blame them if they're getting hit up with weekly bills.
    You know, you show up every week when it could have waited two or even three...
    Smart man cuts back on the mowing when the grass slows down.
    Around here there are 2-3 cuts left until end of December.

    And if the customer wants me to cut one of those out or space things out a bit further that would probably be no issue.

    You need to work with these folks, or else they'll shut down their money spigot.
  7. pseudosun

    pseudosun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,740

    I've only done this twice, and only have one situation going now, due to a death. Anyway, When a customer gets wishy washy on me, i try real hard to get a customer real close, across the street, etc., so this wishy washy customer can see me working on another lawn. The situation i have now is good because i do both yards at the same time, because the customers don't want their yard not looking as good as the neighbor.
  8. I don't mean to laugh, but you guys in the north have it rough. First, you deal with droughts pretty much every summer, then crap like this....it is really nice to get the same monthly amount every month. Then again, we take care of full blown gardens and landscapes, so being on the property all year is essential.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. orangemower

    orangemower LawnSite Silver Member
    from pa
    Posts: 2,773

    How do you know it could have waited 2-3 weeks? Richmond is farther south from PA. I know I'll be cutting at least 4-6 weeks still. I can't see the Richmond area only needing cut once a month for the next 3 months.
  10. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,898

    OP - what does your agreement state?
    If it states you service the lawn until such and such a date, then so be it. Refer the customer to the agreement. As long as you are not overmowing the lawn in dry conditions, the customer doesn't have a leg to stand on if she reads her agreement.

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