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Double Cut?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by shovelracer, Jun 1, 2006.

  1. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    OK so it is that time of year in NJ. This happens to me every year. Everyone fertilizes then it rains for 3 days. A lawn that is cut at 3.5-4" will be 10" or so in 7 days. Almost every lawn needs to be double cut. We're talking clean decks, brand new blades, etc. Just a tad too messy for 1 pass. So this usually goes on for 4-6 weeks. In the past I have eaten it and said it needs to be done. This year I have largely extended my crews to the point where there is almost not enough time in a day to keep up with this nonsense.

    So the question is: Do I continue to eat 40-50 double cuts a day for 4-6 weeks? Or next year do I charge a fee for it? Keeping in mind that 90% of my customers would not accept a double charge, and 25% would cancel if I charged anything. Also we pride ourselves on been one of the best as far as quality and finishing, but many people don't appreciate the difference, they just know how to complain about it.

    I'm sure this exists all over, but here there are way too many hacks that will cut an acre for $30 cause they are illegal and don't pay for taxes, insurance, workers comp, registration, licensing, commercial plates, etc. So I need to be very carefull when I bring up money.

    What would you do?
  2. Husky03

    Husky03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 432

    That is factored into the price I give them from the very start. I don't make people sign contracts so I have PITA's that start telling me to come biweekly when the grass starts to slow down. I already have people trying to do this now when there grass is growing like crazy still:rolleyes: So my price may be a little higher per cut, but I explain to the people that I will only cut the grass when it needs it. I can't stand seeing other LCO's cutting the grass here when were in the middle of a drought burning permanent tire marks into the grass just because they are on contract to cut it. Besides all of that, I only mow small residentials and a double cut takes very little time anyways on my 34Z.
  3. coyotekid

    coyotekid LawnSite Member
    Posts: 111

    I'm up against the same thing even way out here in Montana. Many clients haven't even fertilized extensively--it's just that time of year when we're getting maximum sunshine and the grass is growing like mad!

    I've felt like I can't really charge for double-cutting because I'd lose a lot of really good clients that I simply can't afford to lose.

    So, I end up eating some of it, but on my larger properties, I've talked the managers/owners into moving to an "every 5 days" schedule. This should eliminate a lot of the double-cutting, and I've explained to the clients that it really won't cost much more in the long run. When the grass starts to really slow down for us in late August, I'll make it right with them by going every 9-10 days or so.

    What do most commercial guys do?
  4. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    OK correction. I technically don't have contracts, I have agreements that are nonbinding. So the customer may bow out with 14 days notice. But you have to have something or these jokers will take you to the cleaners everytime. There is no judge in the world that will award you money owed without some form of signed paperwork.

    Also my average lawn is around 30-40K so a double takes me about 15 mins each. 15 x 40 = 600 / 2 = 300 mins / 60 = 5 hours a crew a day. It is actually closer to 3-4 hours but still too much. If that goes on for weeks I'm down 100-200 hours at my cost.
  5. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,378

    If they are on a contract, then they have to do as the contract says. When you have a family or have employees who do, then you will soon find out why these companies cut weeklly during dry conditions.
  6. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    when its needed, you got to do it...... mow more often... for those who want it to look good they will pay for the extra cuts,, which help ofset the cost of oublecutting in general... and you may still double cut some of those at 4 days if its like around here....

    but your right, it has to look good, and there are few options,

    for those that fertilise, im trying to get them to go with my program, and i can help control the growth a little better then the big guys....
  7. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,378

    Double cut whats that....lol. I have a couple residentials that have a hay field to mow every week due to one fert and squirt company. I give them 3 options, cut once and leave it looking like its ready for bailing, mow every 3-4 days in the spring, or dump this fert company and use mine. They never go with the second one, costs too much money and they never go with the last cause they love this company, cause the owner is a BSer and has his own radio show.:rolleyes: So they always take the first option. Funny thing too, they live in a half million dollar homes and they have the worst looking lawns in the spring due to the windrows.:laugh: Lucky for me they are in a secluded area so no one sees me mowing these lawns and I mow their neighbors too but their lawns alwsy look very nice.
  8. scaper27

    scaper27 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 115

    we cut most lawns twice right now. Everything is alittle high
  9. Howie's Lawn Care

    Howie's Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 512

    Double cutting isn't too horrible with a ZTR, but with a push mower it sucks and I'll usually end up bagging. I'm glad I never have to double edge, trim, or blow.
  10. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    This is what happens now. Come back in August and tell me what you think. If 90% of your customers won't pay then you have an easy choice to make. Yes its not what you want to hear but then again next year you can always increase your rates and make up what you need.
    Experience can be a bitter pill sometimes but things could be worse, you could have no customers.

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