Deep Freeze?

Discussion in 'Florida Lawn Care Forum' started by Sprinkler Buddy, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,977

    No, it wasn't a big yard. But they are good people and I hate to give anything up like that.
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  2. I hear ya. Pita, late payers, nitpickers, yea. But good people, yea that sucks.
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  3. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,637

    Hard to lose good customers but that is a unrealistic goal unless the price had already been figured accordingly and even then it is hard to price because you are taking the time to get everything ready for just a couple of yards during the off week.

    I have the same customer issue in neighborhoods where I have several, you did the right thing by not making a exception because then chances are everyone else would of felt they had either been short changed or would of felt entitled to discount.

    Good point about EOW only being 9 months away. These year it seems to be going by way to fast.
     
  4. Just a thought here...did you guys ever offer extra cuts for extra money??? Don't know if it'd be worth it but if you have a client base of 70-100 people, I'm sure enough of them would be fine with paying extra if extra cuts were needed to make it worth it...just a suggestion.
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  5. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,977

    I don't. For the simple fact that they don't need it. I really don't care to put a mower on lawn that hasn't really grown.

    But here's something I have observed. Every year can be different. But the fact is, most years we are cutting more than we used to. Where it was 40 to 42 cuts per year, it's more like 45, 46 now. Not on all of them, but a fair number. I do things a bit differently. I don't have a set number of cuts. I do it when it needs it and don't when it doesn't. But I rarely go more than a week without checking on my yards. This customer that I mentioned having to let go, I just mowed it the Friday before. And I was there that Friday. I just wasn't mowing it. I raked up two bags of leaves, blew the drive and walk, and moved a sprinkler and hose around to water a few dry spots. I usually spend several hours a week on my off weeks doing that. I run a really tight route so it's not a huge issue.

    Two months ago you could have asked me which customer I would not have after the first of February, I would have never guessed this one. But in late-December the wife kind of got a little snotty with me about something. No big deal. Suck it up and figure they had a bad day. Three weeks ago she asked, when I was there, why I wasn't mowing it. I went through everything with her as to why. Keep in mind, her husband hired me and paid me. You just try to keep the "boss" happy. You know what I mean.

    But out of the blue she told me this story about her husband's secretary not doing her job and them having to do everything that she was supposed to be doing. It seemed a little strange to me for her to bring it up. Like I was really the secretary she was talking about. Again, I let it go and mowed the next week. But the next week, after screwing around there raking and dragging the hose around and checking and blowing off the other driveways on the street, she comes walking down the drive toward my truck.

    Same thing. Same discussion as the two weeks before. "Why are you not going to mow?" Explained it again. "Well the next door neighbor had theirs cut this week." Yeah, but the yard on the other side didn't. "We try hard to keep a nice lawn?" I think it looks good. I wouldn't leave it if it didn't. It sure as heck would have been easier to blast through with the mower and lay some fresh tracks than rake leaves.

    But I let her get it out. Then she suggested I spent way more time at the house across the street. Perhaps it looks that way since there are two side by side and I am moving between when I service those. Plus, she definitely does not know what arrangements I have over there. On average, one of those across the street spends 2 1/2 times as much money a year on their landscape. Not apples to apples for sure.

    It became clear what it was all about and I just told her I couldn't do it anymore. I told her I would do it until they found someone else. Maybe I should have just ignored her. But she had too many strikes against her. She begged me to forget the whole thing. Just to do it "my way." But she couldn't leave it alone. Suggesting I always was doing stuff for the neighbors that I didn't do for them. That they didn't ask for much. And they always treated me really well. Like it was a one way street. I treated them great too. If anything, my dollar per hour figure is lower there than the others. But you know, the grass is always greener. She saw what she wanted to see. I just couldn't do it anymore. I felt bad about it all week. Because other than that, I really liked them. You know, I just had a long BS session with her husband before she got home. He had to have been in complete shock when she went back in the house and told him what transpired.
     
  6. Here's where I see the problem, you don't give a specified amount of cuts. That leaves a whole bag of worms open for interpretation. I tell people on all my proposals they get 38 for the year. That way, there is no guessing game. If they want more they pay for more and I don't have an issue with it cause I go to every property weekly all year. Not knocking you at all Keith, but people can't complain when they agree to certain figures and numbers...
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  7. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,187

    Looks as the deep freeze is finally going to hit my neck of the woods. Zap those mosquitoes! :)
     
  8. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,542

    Well, playing devils advocate, you say if there is more then 38 they pay more so let me ask you....If there's less than 38 do you cut a refund check? I didn't think so. I tell customers we will cut your lawn every time it needs to be cut, you are paying for a year service by monthly payment. It will be approximately 38-40 cuts but will depend on weather patterns which are out of both our control so if there's a few more I won't charge more if there's a few less I won't refund. Simple, one years lawn service mowing every time it needs mowing for x amount of dollars. They don't like it.....find someone else.
     
  9. Down here 38 is about spot on. If less are needed, I'm still there to do cleanup work so that is how it is made up. Last year, I was cutting weekly the beginning of feb. if I was just doing it cause it needs it, it's like an extra 6 cuts. Not doing that for free.
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  10. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,542

    Funny how you specify and preach 38 cuts and "no guessing game" that is as long as it works out in your favor...otherwise you "make it up". I'll stick to my yearly price for lawn service, I know from experience pretty close to how many cuts it will need. Over time it all averages out. I'm not tracking how many cuts I gave and then risking losing a customer over nickel and diming them for a cut or three when I know I cut three less the year before. Plus the time it takes to track and the risk of losing or offending a customer pays for the extra cuts IF YOU DON'T UNDER CUT prices to begin with that is.
     

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