Drop him??

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Mrk'sLawn, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. Mrk'sLawn

    Mrk'sLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    I know it's always asked but I have a customer with a great lawn and great landscaping. He was one of my first customers and got me many more jobs by telling friends and neighbors what a great job I do. I get calls saying if your doing Bob's lawn you can do mine.. He has about a 1/4 acre and it would take him and his wife 4 days to finish. He's older.. The thing is he is a major PITA!! He insists I cut his lawn at this elusive height that I'm guessing only his mower cuts at.. Oh yea, I can only use my 22" nothing bigger.. I must have tried every setting on my mower and still can't get the height right... He's got very thick turf and the best setting I've found, that doesn't cut too low and make the grass look brown and ugly is ~3.5 3.75 I would actually like to cut at 4" Any advice?:cry: :cry:
     
  2. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,157

    Well, is the grass height and using small mower the only problem with him (is he a nice guy otherwise)? If so, maybe you should pick a height (like 3.75), and tell him that is what you are going to cut it at. If he also has a bad attitude and is a pain in general, you should drop him.

    I had a customer with a small lawn within a group of lawns I was cutting. He wanted me to use a push mower. It simply wasn't worth it for me to stop and pull out the push mower. I could do all those lawns right in a row with a ZTR. I lost him as a customer, but it was on good terms and we stayed in touch.
     
  3. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Posts: 7,952

    I wouldn't mow 1/4 acre with a push mower. I only use them for small dog fences.
    I vote for dumping him if you have enough business
     
  4. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    who is running this business anyway....:usflag:
     
  5. cwlawley

    cwlawley LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 470

    ^That is exactly what I am thinking. Run your own business. Let him know that you can't do it his way, but you can do it your way and still make it look that good or better. If he is unwilling, drop him.
     
  6. POPO4995

    POPO4995 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,206

    This day in age, you have to consider your operating costs. (Fuel, insurance, equipment costs, payroll, etc.) It doesnt pay for me to do a lawn that takes 5 minutes to complete. I always tell customers that X amount of dollars is the minimum and thats the bottom line. If the lawn is big enough to use a riding mower, i'm going to. For a 1/4 acre lawn using a 22" walk behind, I figure I can do 2 lawns that size with a riding mower in the same amount of time. Just my 0.02.:usflag:
     
  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    There is no way I'm pushing a lawn when I have thousands of dollars in equipment sitting up on my trailer designed to do the same thing much more efficiently. It defeats the purpose of the investment.
     
  8. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,096

    I would stick to your guns and tell him the height that your bigger mower is sert to is the right height. The height he wants is not decent for whatever reason.

    Good luck

    If you drop him, it might show you lack customer service skills since it seems that he talks to many people and can put out bad words real quick.
     
  9. eyes&earsopen

    eyes&earsopen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 66

    I'm glad somebody else has this problem. I got a lady on the books for tomorrow morning who has been complaining about me cutting her yard too low. I planned on using my push mower in the morning and using maybe the second setting to give it go. Well she tells me today that she wants me to use her mower. I'm trying to think of the nicest way to tell her that I am not going to use her equipment. I would only use it if it is made by one of the companies that I was considering going with! If it's a craftsman - I probably won't be there but 5-10 minutes. She's nice and pays good... but I just don't like all the instructions.
     
  10. Mrk'sLawn

    Mrk'sLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    I've got my PITA scheduled for today. I'm just gonna give it another try at the height that is good for grass, not him. I mulch cut his lawn and sometimes if I cut too low, like he wants it leaves lines of clippings all over. If this happens he wants me to go back over the clippings. It's just unreal.. I'm gonna have to explain to him, as much as I'd like to spend all day on his lawn, I do have other customers I need to service. Wish me luck...
     

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