Customers that want "thu/fri" service

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Rob T, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. Rob T

    Rob T LawnSite Member
    Posts: 165

    Just wandering what other Co.s do about customers who want the lawn cut ONLY at the end of the week. Years ago I used to grant the customer their wish, however as my customer base grew I found it difficult to mow so many lawns at the end of the week. Another problem occurs when the weather doesn't coperate. Then I found myself working all weekend to get caught up when I could have easily mowed everone during the week if they were divided up evenly.

    SO, what i have done, is rotate ALL customers two days ahead each year. Anotherwords, if Mrs. Jones got cut on Mon this year she would be getting cut on Wed next year, and so on. I think this is more fair to all customers. That way, eventualy, everyone has a chance to be cut near the end of the week.

    What do you guys do?
  2. bommaritro

    bommaritro LawnSite Member
    Posts: 151

    Being small I have yet to run into this issue my main issue is that I can only mow after 4:30 pm due to my full time job. So I have to have everyone spread out over the week to allow enough time to cut each yard while it is still light out. I was toying with the idea for when I get larger to offer a end of the week service for x number of people. I would offer this as a premium service for a certain $$ amount more than ther regular mow. The request would be taken on a first come first serve basis with the priorities going to customers that sign a yearly contract. Now this is all speculation but I think it might be worth a try.

    Just my .02 worth,
  3. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    This is from my New Customer Q&A sheet that I give them:
    Mow Day & Time
    I work Monday through Friday. My mowing schedule is for the most part based on the length of time that a person has been a customer. The customers who have been with me the longest get mowed later in the week and newer customers earlier in the week. You will be assigned a specific mow day based on this. Every attempt will be made to mow your lawn on the same day of the week but occasionally there are conditions which arise,
    such as rain, that will prevent mowing. If conditions prevent me from mowing your lawn for 2 or more days then I will skip the cutting until the next scheduled mowing day.

    Some of my customers have waited years to get a Thursday/Friday spot. The preferred spot is Thursday since if it rains then I can make it up on Friday. If I get rained out on a Friday it is an automatic skip to the next Friday. For some reason Friday rainouts are rare. Maybe 3 or 4 during grass season (April-September) since I started 8 years ago.

    This works for me and my customers because they know from the git-go what to expect. I have never lost a customer due to dissatisfaction with their day of the week or because their grass was skipped for a week.

    Now there are LCOs in my area that are all over the week on cuttings. Their customers never know from one week to the next what day their grass will be cut on. I do get calls from their customers from time-to-time.
  4. musselman

    musselman LawnSite Senior Member
    from utah
    Posts: 301

    I mow certian areas each day, a new customer has to be on my schedual...I cant be going back and forth across the country everyday.....I try to leave friday open for rain or make-up...but ussually pick-up enough work im busy 24-7... I like the rotation idea
  5. Rob T

    Rob T LawnSite Member
    Posts: 165


    That is a good idea. A great way to get customers to stick with your co. as they hope to eventualy get a premium day.

    Just wondering if you have any problems with scheduling the client in a way that is most efficient. Since your fri customers may be spread out over different parts of the area.
  6. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    we try to accommodate if possible, but of course its not easy.

    if someone inquires for a fri cut i tell them i can put them on fri but if it rains i'll be at their house saturday 7:30 am with the mowers on to make it up. they often don't push it after that.

    to be honest when your starting, you can promise it because you have the time and you need the customers. but once you get full you'll realize that they will have to do it your way, or see ya. and thats okay cause your busy.

    remember to always watch the weather and push or pull houses day to day. i know many here frown upon that, because reliability is so important in this biz. but over a whole season i think people will realize if you came a day early it was cause of rain, or a day late etc. this yr we seemed to stray quite a bit from the set schedule people didn't seem to mind...most i think don't even realize. don't do it unless necessary, though.
  7. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,076

    You are quite correct these are the days when everyone is going to want his or her lawn done. Some options might be to go with the first come/first server option or having people pay a premium for service on these days. No matter what you do hopefully these days will quickly fill up and you will have to schedule customers on other days.

  8. CMerLand

    CMerLand LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 393

    We schedule five days a week by geographic region with the slight exception of commercial cuts, (banks, offices etc) get done on Monday. When we pick up a new client I already know what day they are likely to fall into our schedule because our properties our routed through CLIP. Some residentials do get cut on Mondays because they happen to be on the way to our commercial properties and have never had a problem come up with that because I explain to them thats how we service lawns.

    Once you are on your scheduled day you can be darn sure we will be there week after week on that same day. The only exception is if we get rain does our schedule get pushed around. If it rains on Tuesday you'll get cut on Wednesday.

    Occasionally, we will get a couple days of rain and we cant get all the cuts done due to this. If we can not get all of Fridays cuts done on Saturday, (we rarellyyyyy work sundays) we finish up Fridays cuts on Monday.

    We then go through our normal mowing route, trying to get everyone back on the proper day. We sometimes work longer days or we can send out a second crew to handle Tuesdays smaller cuts, while the other crew goes to Wednesday. We are then back cutting those Fridays cuts by Friday or Saturday, to keep everyone on their scheduled day.

    A nice feature that I have built into this is that, Fridays cuts (residential) are driven by on Monday while we do the commercials. If we have to finish up a few Fridays we do, then can jump right in on our Monday route without criss-crossing the Country.

    One other note, Fridays cuts arent our biggest and best properties. We schedule those for Wed, Thurs. so that these never end up getting flopped over the weekend, when the grass can get out of hand because of rain.

    For holidays, I can usually push the schedule as necessary to get residentials done, by skipping our commercials if need be. However you cant let your clients dictate the how and when your going to service their property. Its up to you to run your business, and for those younger guys, the sooner you learn that you cant please everyone, the happier you will be.

  9. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    Rob T wrote:

    Just wondering if you have any problems with scheduling the client in a way that is most efficient. Since your fri customers may be spread out over different parts of the area.

    Let me see if I can explain my route so you will understand it. I live on a penninsula. There is a main road that runs up and down the penninsula. I go a max of 4 miles one way on the road and 1 mile in the other direction. The maximum amount of time it takes me to get from one job to another is under 15 minutes. I can schedule the route pretty much anyway I want to and not really pay any kind of time penalty. I do try to schedule the route, on any given day, so that I only have to make right hand turns though.
  10. bluemoon

    bluemoon LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Posts: 114

    Try making them pay more!!! Sell it as a premium, preferred service.
    I haven't lost anybody, and have made a few more bucks.
    I sell myself, service and price and remind them that everyone likes their yard looking good for the weekend. I will do my best to accomadate, but they have to understand I am a business, and their are times that I can't be everywhere all the time.
    Their are only so many hours in a day , and never let them know how many customers you have. If they don't know , they can't make a value judgement, about how you spend your time.
    Good Luck

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