Customer: "Why don't you skip my lawn this week" - how to handle

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DA Quality Lawn & YS, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,867

    OK Guys, you ALL have heard this. I found a few threads about it as well - but I want to revive the subject....

    I pulled up to a lawn this week for the weekly cut. Resi lawn, older guy, pretty nice guy, 1/4 acre $30 a cut deal. He comes out of the house and I am thinking 'uh oh, he doesn't want it cut today'. Got to talking with him, and I was right on the money, so I said that's fine, I will just come back on Thursday (today is Tues) and do the job, no big deal (and it wasn't). He said "Well, you cut it good last week, lets just skip it for the week and you come back next week." (He is on a weekly agreement, signed and dated). I advised that he IS on a weekly agreement, and with the spring growth, I should be working weekly on the lawn, I want to keep it looking nice for him. He said "Well, if its dry, there is no sense in just running down the grass, right?" I agreed, but stated its not dry (it just rained 2" a couple days ago). Finally, I just said I'd come back next week as I didn't want to tick off this customer by being defensive. But I said his lawn will get long by the time I come back, if he is ok with that.

    Also, this customer wants a lower cut than my std 3". I said ok, but with my Quick 36 it takes 10-15 mins to adjust the deck, but I can do it if he wants. He said he would think about it.

    So, how do you handle these situations guys? He is a nice guy, but probably just does not want to pay the weekly cut price. Should I be pro-active and offer him strict bi-weekly and raise the price $5-$10 a cut? I am thinking of doing this. I am not going bi-weekly at the weekly price.

    Thoughts please....
     
  2. kb9nvh

    kb9nvh LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 591

    I'm not in the business but here are my thoughts:
    I would charge more for a lower cut, just for the aggravation factor (15minute change time) but also for the extra wear and tear and chance of hitting more stuff, mole hills.

    I want to hear peoples thoughts on the skipping cuts as well. Seems like, in any business, you have to balance "being the nice guy" to "hard and fast rules". I would be tempted to give someone with a contract may up to 3 weeks where they can PASS on their cut and not have to pay that week (of course, you calculate that in at the beginning and up the price of the regular cut I guess)
     
  3. LawnScapers of Dayton

    LawnScapers of Dayton LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Dayton, OH
    Posts: 2,573

    If they do not want me to cut then it states in my agreement that they need to call me before I get there and let me know, If I show up and they ask me to not mow then they get charged 1/3 the normal rate... If I get there and decide it does not need it ....no charge...... But if skipping causes more work the next week......there is extra charges
     
  4. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    I have two accounts that get no fert and no irrigation... rare around here. One is a neighbor, house empty until she decides to move back into it (her now deceased Dad's home) or stay in the one she is in, the other a 100 year old woman and her niece asked me to mow it for them, from an ad in my church bulletin. I cut them as needed. When it needs it is my decision.

    For every other customer, it's weekly or good bye. I have slots to fill for mowing. A limited number of slots as a solo. I have my route. I also do the fert... these lawns all need weekly cuts anyway.

    Last year I was hungrier, and I would do whatever the customer wanted. The quality of my service and fert/weed control program has put me in demand. Things are different this year.

    I would tell the guy that if he wanted bi-weekly cuts I would do it for $45 a cut until he found another landscaper. No way I lose a mowing slot and have to spend more time doing a bi-weekly.
     
  5. Korey

    Korey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 269

    I'd tell the customers that I don't do bi-weeklys but if the grass is dry during the summer I'd use my best judgment. However, if they ask me to skip and I have to double I'd charge em double the regular price.
     
  6. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,867

    Good ideas - and let me clarify, I am busy enough this season that I do not 'have to have' a particular piece of business, I can kiss it goodbye without hurting myself at all.

    I have heard from at least a couple of you if I go bi-weekly, or skip, to do 1.5x to 2x the regular cut rate.
     
  7. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    I think 2X's the weekly for a bi is a bit over the top... it's like saying sure, but I'll wring out your wallet for that. 1.5 is reasonable, and it makes the customer think geeze, I won't save much this way... let him make the choice. 1.5 or find someone else.
     
  8. birdman0494

    birdman0494 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 142

    Well im kind of in your spot, But if your not in the position where you 'need' the customer for any major purchase id say be a litte ballsy and charge 1.5 for every 2 weeks or tell him you gotta let him go, Sadly I dont have taht convience
     
  9. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Posts: 7,850

    $30 for every week and $40 for every 2 weeks. Problem solved. Tell him that is the best you can do and stick to that. Try to spread the clippings around. Get a mower that doesn't take 15 minutes to change the height :dizzy: Must be a small yard. I don't have anything that cheap:hammerhead:
     
  10. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,242

    Go hand out some door hangers in the neighborhood to drum up some more business. Be positive and don't let small setback bother you too much.
     

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