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Is it just me, or what?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by landscaper22, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 829

    These seasonal customers are becoming more of a pain each year. So grass in my area has been growing for at least 3 weeks weeks now. Every seasonal customer I have should have been serviced 2-3 weeks ago. So, I have all of these year-round accounts I have been keeping up and looking nice all winter. You know the ones that keep the bread on my table so I give them priority. Now, my seasonal customers know I don't send out letters. And I sure don't have time to keep calling them to ask if it needs cutting yet. Maybe I should call them, but again I am not a fan of the seasonal customer, and I have had to much extra work going on to really worry about it. I actually figured some of the customers that had not called me yet would not be using my services this year. So, why do they wait until the grass is past the point of needing to be mowed to call to see if I can come cut it? And these customers know I am strict on my scheduling and routing. So why, if I have serviced your property for 4 years on a Tuesday, would you call me on a Wednesday to see if I can come cut? And why do they want it done like that day or the next day when they call? So many customers have called from Sunday-Tuesday of this week.
    I was partially rained out last Thursday. I was going to use Saturday as a make up day, but was rained out then too. So Monday of this week, I was still working on last Thursday's work. And all of these people call me and think I can just wave my magic wand or something! Would it not make more sense for them to call at the first sign of growth and say, it does not look bad right now, but go ahead and put me on your schedule and fit me in where you can... That would just be too easy!!! I have 3-4 customers that are mad at me right now. Do you see why, unless you are in an area covered by snow for part of the year, you need to push for year-round service? These seasonal people will cut you short every time. They want to wait as late as possible in Spring for you to come, and they want you to stop cutting in early Fall before the grass stops growing. Then they get upset when you can't come right out.
    Sorry just had to vent about my week. Hope some of you had a little better luck. On a good note, I made a lot of money this week, and I have an employee (part-time) starting Monday. :)

    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,526

    i just want to know that if you have had them for 4 years and know that they have needed to be cut for 2-3 weeks why havnt you been there? I dont send letters out or have time to call but as soon as the grass starts to grow they know that i will be there. it sound like you are slacking and trying to blame your customers.
  3. corey4671

    corey4671 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,931

    I just go do it. Had one customer come out and stop me saying it didn't need it. I said let me make one pass across the yard and then see if you think it still doesn't need it. Went out and came back and she agreed. It needed to be cut.
  4. TomberLawn

    TomberLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,299

    Do you need your seasonal customers? Just from reading your post, it sounds like you couldn't care less if you didn't have any seasonal customers. If they are that much of a pain, drop them. I'm sure there is some start-up or part-time guy who would love to take over for you--I know I would.
    If you do still need these customers, communicate with them. Some homeowners are really too busy to notice if their yard needs to be cut until it is way out of hand or you call and ask. You can tell when it's about time for their yards to be cut. A phone call only takes a couple minutes or less and it can get you some more work, if you need it. Remember, customers hire you to take care of their yard--that means checking up with them occasionally to see how their yard is doing.
  5. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 829

    Oh yeah, that's it Clark, I have just been a total slacker, sitting around the house watching The View all day! Great comment! :hammerhead:
    As for seasonal customers, no they are not the best type. I have some that I love to death. But as a whole these seasonal bi-weekly customers are not very profitable. A few I will keep forever. I don't take on much seasonal work now, but the ones I do service have been with me for at least 4 years. And I do call some, but several of them have told me each fall, "I will call you when it starts growing again in the spring". And I take them at their word. Call it lack of communication of whatever. But, again my focus is on the customers that stay on my schedule all year. I never have to worry about making all of those phone calls and trying to figure out where in my schedule I can fit them.
    My point is, even the seasonal customers I call myself, I see a pattern. Each year they hold you off a little longer, and/or want you to stop servicing a little sooner in the fall. They seem to shorten the mowing season a little more each year. That is my point. They know it is growing and needs cutting, and they know they are supposed to call me. The should also know I am not just going to jump right over when they call.
    And my other point is as high as fuel is now, I am keeping my schedule very tight. You get serviced when I am in your area, period. You call me a day after I have been through your area, and you wait another week. All of you should be this way now. Otherwise you may as well take a bunch of $1 bills and slowly toss one after another out of the truck window as you travel from job to job. That is about how much you are wasting when you travel when you combine it with the equipment fuel too.
    I take care of my year-round customers first. If they have extra work, it gets done before I even worry about my seasonal customers. Is that so bad? Between the extra work I have had in addition to the rain that slowed me down, and extra cleaning up after the tornado that came through the area a few weeks ago, I have been busy. People want to wait until you are behind to call. I can't work miracles, you know?
  6. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Posts: 2,313

    Welcome to lawncare! You can't get a return call in the winter and in the spring, they wanted it done yesterday-there is no cure.
  7. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,513

    I have almost completely discontinued my services with seasonal customers. This year, I gave up three more to friends, One was a $160/cut customer.

    Now I tell new potential customers up front, it's either year round full-service, year-round fertilization program, or I'll tell my friends about them.:)
  8. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    Now hold on... you're mixing some of us up. You say you have seasonal, yet you have year-round customers. Which is which?? Usually seasonal IS year-round.

    And then you also stated in your second post, which you said nothing of being bi-weekly in your first post, that these are seasonal bi-weekly.

    Get rid of the bi-weekly part. That's the simple answer.

    And they're not seasonal customers if they're calling you when it needs to be cut. They're PITA customers.

    Either get them on a flat fee year-round so you make the call when they need to be cut, or drop them. No sense in worrying about it much after that.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Letting your customers decide when to start mowing is a recipe for disaster. For one thing, they don't pay attention to the lawn, and also they tend to think our 'big mowers' can handle 10" of thick grass, no problem :laugh:

    The main thing I've accomplished over the past few years is, I've completely taken the customer out of the equation. I bill a flat rate so they don't care when I start. And I bill them all by credit card, so I sit down once a month with their info and pay myself and leave them out of it. Makes running the business so much easier.
  10. Macdiesiel

    Macdiesiel LawnSite Member
    Posts: 82

    If they are paying I'm doing -get it.I advertise 24/7 every month all year long.I'm it for the money,don't get me wrong I love my job.In less they become a real pain the ass ,thats the only way I'll cancel them.

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