Inclement weather service/ phone calls

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by woodall1, Dec 3, 2006.

  1. woodall1

    woodall1 LawnSite Member
    from Eden NC
    Posts: 48

    I'm having two issues right now and I'm not sure of the best way to handle them. Maybe some insight from the seasoned pros will send me in the right direction. To start, when its raining or other inclement weather do you call all of your customers and tell them that you are not coming for the day? Secondly, when are you making up the time? I have a customer who is normally serviced on Fridays. Due to rain we missed Friday and Saturday, thus we serviced on Monday. The following week was Thanksgiving and we attempted to visit each house for a clean up prior to Thursday. So, I visited the same house on Wed. Now, the homeowner is complaining that we are not visiting on Fridays. If a day is missed due to weather should I just skip the week and catch it the next week?
     
  2. Clear-Cut

    Clear-Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 481

    i would say go on the next available day...

    i leave saturdays open...go mon-fri..this way if i cant cut the grass one day during the week i just shift everything to a day after it is scheduled...im solo so if i have to i will cut on sundays (say if it rains for 3 consecutive days during the week)
     
  3. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    My agreements state:

    In the case of inclement weather, service will be scheduled for the next available day.

    That eliminates any question. Generally most customers understand that if it's pouring out and sopping wet, their grass isn't getting cut that day.
     
  4. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,268

    This is exactly why my agreement states " You are on a monthly service plan there is no specific day of the week promised nor any minimum number of cuts specified. Grass will be cut between 5 to 12 days depending on time of year, growth rate ,weather conditions and my schedule" I have found this eliminates the annoying phone calls of "why did you not come today?" These terms are explained up front and I dont bend. You have to run your business your way not by dictation of your customers. They dont complain when the grass grows like wildfire in summer and you are there 6 times in a month. But, they will sure complain when growing slows to 2 times a month in winter. I still come by and edge, blow, cleanup weekly though.:usflag: :usflag: :usflag:
     
    ericg likes this.
  5. woodall1

    woodall1 LawnSite Member
    from Eden NC
    Posts: 48

    So do you guys call and tell them that you are not coming? I'm operating under the pretense that common sense would tell you that if its pouring rain I'm not going to mow or remove leaves. Is it common to call and inform them?
     
  6. tjsquickcuts

    tjsquickcuts LawnSite Senior Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 943

    Customer are just like kids, and sometimes you have to teach them about what goes on with professional lawn care. I make all my customers aware that if it rains, no matter if it two days or three days in a row, I will be out the next clear, DRY day. I make certain to over emphasize the fact that if the turf is still soaked, will we not visit until the lawn is completely dry, thus to avoid ruts, and mud tracks. Most customer know its common sense. But there is always that one....So I dont think there is a need to call....I know for me, that would mean about 170 calls....no way...no how
     
  7. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 448


    That is good if it's possible. In my territory that was impossible this year. A very wet year here in Maine. So, it was impossible for me to wait until the turf was completely dry. I would still be waiting right now. I don't recall a single day of mowing where I can say all my lawns were completely dry. Just didn't happen. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I was mowing every 3-4 days (when it wasn't actually raining) so it was a good year.

    As for the original topic, a little common sense should tell a person you're not coming in the rain. However, I received this call (2 hours after it stopped raining...)

    customer says: "Hi Dean, this is XXXXXXXX, It stopped raining here 2 hours ago, where are you?"

    My reply: "I'm in my easy chair as we speak, and by the looks of the weather forcast, it's likely I won't make it to your place until the day after tomorrow".

    Her reply: " Can't you come now?"

    My reply: "No."

    Her reply: "huh?"

    My reply: "no."

    Her reply: "Why not?"

    My reply: "Because it just stopped raining"

    Her reply: "Well, huh, well, normally you cut once a week, and it's been 10 days now."

    My reply: "Well XXXXXXXXXX, since it has rained 6 days straight (no joke), I haven't been able to make it."

    Her reply: "Well then, when can you make it?"

    Me: "Like I said before, it depends on the weather, but it looks like day after tomorrow."

    Her: "Well, I certainly hope so."

    Me: "See you soon. Thanks for calling."

    Some people blow my mind. :hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead:
     
  8. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,624

    If it rains on tuesday everything gets pushed back a day. Let the customer know at the beginning of the year your policy on rain days. It helps with the phone calls as soon as the sun comes out. Some of them dont catch on. I have on old man that is cut late in the day on tuesday and if it rains on tuesday he will call on wednesday morning to make sure I'm coming. He usually calls while I'm on the lawn before his and one time I was putting my gate down at his house as the call came in on my cell. WTF. I dont call them.
     
  9. woodall1

    woodall1 LawnSite Member
    from Eden NC
    Posts: 48

    In my contracts I have stated," Please remember that weather may impact service dates. Service will be provided as soon as weather permits."
    I guess they failed to read that part. I just don't want to piss anyone off, but at the same time I have to be fair to myself and my customers. I actually find myself taking the shaft at times to keep people happy. I just don't feel like I should have to call everytime it rains and explain that I'm not going to visit. This same customer thinks that she is "owed" a certain amount of time each week. "Well, you were only here for 30 minutes last week" Then she wants to keep up with the time spent and have me make it up.
     

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