Gonna get deep sixed when they get last months Bill

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DoubleCutter, Jun 2, 2003.

  1. DoubleCutter

    DoubleCutter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 58

    I dont know what you guys do in this situation...I have a customer that fertilizes his lawn on his own(follows the Scotts 4 step plan) I dont know if he throws down double the amount on the lawn or what. Anywhoo It ends up that the lawn will grow about 4 inches between cutting easy. And its THICK. It got to the point where I couldnt even get the place done good with double cutting...too many clippings at one time. I spoke to him about cutting twice a week....good guy he said do what I have too.
    This is a great guaranteed mow every week lawn(irrigated) and is a really high-visibility account from the lake they live on and all the nearby streets. I dont want to lose their acct. but I mean heck I need to eat too. I have seven cuttings in between apr 25 and may 30. the bill came out to 461.00. Im afraid the guys gonna see the bill and say F this. Im not charging him for a special return blow off and bag lawn worth about $60. I also, In order to limit the amount of nitrogen he throws down gave him 3 bags of Lebanon Pro(confront) with a 18-3-6 count. His next step of Scotts was a 28 count of nitrogen and his first step was a 33 count.(4lbs per 1,000 sq ft of nitrogen a year right hes way higher than that). I didnt give him an exact figure on what cutting twice a week would cost and I told him that it should return to normal after the grass slows down a bit.
    Im making this out to be more than its needed but the cost of the lawn is $50 If I double cut im charging him $70( I know it should be more) Theirs times where I figure im only making $35/hr cutting because this one lawn can take me upto 2 hrs.
    Should I just charge him full price and wait for his wife to B&M on the phone about it or should I explain to him in more detail exactly what I do each week, or just mail him the bill.
    I am more than content that I am doing a great job....but I dont want to look like a rip off artist if someone could come in and get it done just as good for cheaper.
    I have been having this problem with overfertilizing with all my customers and Im at my wits end. Should I force people into having me fertilize or what? Bill
  2. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Posts: 776

    You did the work, so you deserve your money. I do believe though that you should get your clients with this problem an informative packet on what fertilizer does to their lawns exactly, and why all this growth is a problem. Both from an aesthetic vantage point, and from an economical vantage point. Send me a PM if you want, I have something like that which might help you.
  3. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    Sounds like the homeowner is the poster boy for TG/CL.

    It sounds like you have educated the customer somewhat but you have to finish the course.

    There is a good opportunity to sell a soil test and show him that his N is sky high. Gather all of your information on topgrowth, thatch, diseases ect and get ready to explain.

    If you can't get thru to him then at least you know that you tried everything possible. The next guy will have an equally hard time managing a lawn like that.

    If the guy is not upset by the bill then you should inform him that this was actually a low bill and things will actually get more expensive in the future because of the above reasons.

    Some customers take well to education and some you can't get to. If he is pigheaded then in the long run you can make more money by replacing him. Just remember that if you and he cannot agree then politely break the ties so your name and reputation dont get slammed. Good Luck.
  4. Well said....MOW ED!

  5. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,457

    Are these dates correct?

    In my book that is only 5 days and you mowed 7 times?

    Are you sure?
  6. HarryD

    HarryD LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,069

    More like 35 days GP Read again. I myself don't charge for double cutting anything since I don't bag mow. my customers would drop me like a hot potato if tried to charge them more. I think you just have to deal with the spring growth till it gets hot and slows down :(
  7. drobson

    drobson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 237

    I would put all the charges you indicated on his invoice and then show the credits you gave so he can see that you are actually giving him a deal. If the only thing he sees is the $461, then he won't think you are giving him a deal. Show what the cost would be if you charged him your standard rate for everything you did, then let him know that if he refuses to take your professional advice on his part of his lawn care, then you will have to charge that standard rate going forward.
  8. lawn gonzo

    lawn gonzo LawnSite Member
    from texas
    Posts: 52

    you just have explain the negatives like mow ed said, thatch, diseases, andjsut by telling them," more fert. doesn't mean greener grass or healthier grass"
  9. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Yeah I don't charge for double cutting either but if it was a lawn like that that needed it every single time then I'd explain to them and hope for the best. Who knows he probably will understand that you are working very hard to keep his property looking good and that you are worth it. I'd make a followup call when you think he has it in his hands to see how he feels and try to explain why it is high. Let him know that you're his friend and you're not trying to rip him off, and gracefully let him also know that he is getting a value because you are working some overtime without charging him. I think most of my customers would understand but I've had a couple who would throw a big fit and not pay. Fortunately, I don't have those anymore :)
    Good luck I'm sure it will work out just fine. Let us know how it goes.
    Also, if he got a lowballer to do it, the lowballer would about be forced to do a bad job in order to make any money at all, so the customer would probably have you back. Have you thought about bagging that lawn? Then it would look real good in one pass but would take more time (still look better than double cut I'm guessing and it's easier on the lawn). Also have you tried double blades? Put a gator over a regular lift blade with no spacers between them just put them in a + configuration. Both sharp. Engage clutch at low RPM just above idle or as much as needed but not any higher than needed (too hard on clutch and belts). Disengage at low throttle too it's hard for the clutch to stop doubles. If you do it right you won't tear up the clutch, but you would if you dumped it at full throttle every time.
  10. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,457

    What a numbskull I am sometimes.

    I read it like three times before I posted that too, just to make sure I wasn't mistaken.

    Oh well.

Share This Page