Customer thinks mowing season is over

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

  1. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Posts: 14,208

    I wouldn't worry that you've lost here. I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned she might be tight financially now that she built the horse arena. She probably just needs to build up her funds a little bit. It doesn't help you out I know, but you'll probably still have her come spring time.

    Maybe you can explain that the drought set things into slow motion some this year leaving her with the false impression that mowing season must be ending earlier this year, but now that rain and ideal growing conditions weather wise are here, the grass will need cutting more than she thinks it will. You can also explain that any leaves that get left on the turf will be four times as hard to get up and clean off come spring time, which will result in more cost then, than now.
  2. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,757

    Have a nice lady that I have been mowing for about 6 or 7 years. Last year, about this time, I drive up, drop my tailgate, climb on my mower, and am just about to turn the key when I see her walking across the yard. She says, "You weren't going to mow, were you?"

    I say, "Well, yes I was, but I won't if you don't want me to." She tells me she just doesn't think it needs it, and that her neighbor, Richard, said he thinks the mowing is over with for the year. Of course, Richard is an old farmer moved to town that probably wouldn't mow his lawn at all if it weren't for his wife. I just told her no problem, and drove on. I just went by a week or two later, and mowed as usual.

    Well, last week I drive up, and here she comes out of the house with the same old song and dance, right down to Old Richard saying he thinks the mowing is done for the season. I just say, "Okay", and head on down the road. The difference is, this time, I'm not going back until she calls me, which I know she will in a couple of weeks. I don't mind helping people out. I don't mow if it doesn't need it, and stretch the interval between mowing during slow growth periods, but I decided this year I'm not going to be taken advantage of anymore. With the drought this summer, all my residential customers have paid out much less for mowing than even last year, which was drier than normal, so it is really irritating when someone tries to stretch out mowing when it really needs cut.
  3. lawnsaspire

    lawnsaspire LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,595

    At the beginning of Sept we had remnants of Isaac come up this way. Everything turned green and lush from four inches of rain. I called or texted everyone and told them I was going back to a weekly schedule. Or I just went to a weekly schedule if I knew the client well enough. I'v had this problem of people calling me and trying to control my cutting regularity for years, this year I want on the offensive and told everyone when I would be cutting. When the drought hit, I made the call to them and told them I would be now mowing every two to three weeks, longer in some instances. But I made sure to include that if it ever started raining again I would like to resume weekly service. I learned the long and hard way that you have to let people know in a kind and polite way that you are in control, whether that's thru a written statement or whatever. We lawn guys only get 9 months of regular work unless it snows a lot. If I can't do my work weekly during that 9 month period (barring a drought) there's no sense in me even doing it. I try to explain to everyone, I give you high quality work at a reasonable price, in return I expect to mow weekly. If you don't want me there every week you will pay more per cut. Believe it or not people do need to be told what is required from them as your customer.
  4. easy-lift guy

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

    It sounds like your customer has you very well trained. Since you choose to not work with out a service agreement with your customers and have had to deal with and adjust to weather conditions this year, I do not understand why your mad at your customer?
    The customer will make the final decision about what she wants to have done regardless of what you say or do. After the fall season for leaf clean up has been completed what do you offer service wise?. Do you offer tree maintenance work, or snow removal, or firewood?. What else if anything is there to do?.
    easy-lift guy
  5. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Posts: 7,886

    I wouldn't have left that message on her machine. I would have just asked her to call me. You then can hear her side and then counter what she says with a better chance of not losing a customer. She just may have went over her spending budget for the year as others have said. This has happened to me before too. Really is upsetting in the Spring when you have to cut high grass and plow through the leaves. But you have another season with her that will be profitable
  6. Duekster

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

    Customers do control things as it is their money.
  7. orangemower

    orangemower LawnSite Silver Member
    from pa
    Posts: 2,773

    Exactly the reason service agreements are completely worthless. You keep tooting your horn about them and they are worthless for a residential customer and for most commercial accounts. We're not building a skyscraper worth $2 billion here, we're cutting grass, raking leaves and tossing mulch down.
  8. easy-lift guy

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

    The control I am referring to has more to do with the op seemingly having to complain or vent over things which IMO should be under his control. I am sure this customer is not his only account that has told him what to do and when.
    A service agreement stating what and when services are to be performed
    should cure most of the complaints I have seen on this site. I am not sure why a percentage of people in this industry choose to work so much harder than is needed to keep their customers needs in line with their own?.
    easy-lift guy
  9. easy-lift guy

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

    Some folks have a job, others have a profession offering as many different services for the needs of their customers to gain more market share and earn more income. I have always worked with service agreements for both my residential and commercial accounts. Everything is spelled out and makes sure the the customer and the contractor are working off the same sheet of music.
    "tooting your horn" has more to do with what has and always will work for myself. Working with services agreements is not only logical but really good business sence that has served myself very well.
    easy-lift guy
  10. orangemower

    orangemower LawnSite Silver Member
    from pa
    Posts: 2,773

    That's great. I'm glad it works for you.

    I sent you a PM. thanks

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