Need Advice - skipping too much

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Tn Lawn Man, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. Tn Lawn Man

    Tn Lawn Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 479

    I have a client new to me this year. He signed up for regular weekly service.

    Well, we hit a drought and it got hot. When this happens I will skip the lawn if it is too dry with no growth. So, in his case I did.

    Well, the next week came around and when we arrived the fella came out and thanked us for skipping the week before because it did not need it. I said no problem.

    He then said to go ahead and skip it again. I looked at the lawn and although it was not a drastic amount of growth it did need cutting.

    I told him that I didn't mind skipping it for one week if there was no growth but the our company policy is not to skip two weeks in a row.

    I have this policy for various and obvious reasons. However, here is the problem. I have not implemented a penalty to back up the policy.

    You see, he tried to do it again. He called and left a message today trying to skip this weeks cut after skipping last week making it two weeks in a row. And I just told him less than a month ago when this happened before that we don't do that.

    I am trying to figure out a fair cost to charge him for skipping.

    I think he should be charged for the cut whether we did it or not because I am not going to cut a yard once a month for $30. It is too much work.

    What do you all do in these case?

    Do you charge them for not cutting?
    Do you insist on cutting the grass when they don't want it cut?
    Do you drop them for lack of profitablity?

    Thanks everyone:)
     
  2. Green Side Lawn Care

    Green Side Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 94

    i totaly agree and this happens in my area to but if we try to charge them they will go find new service
     
  3. AintNoFun

    AintNoFun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,807

    id tell him like i tell our customers. what about in the spring when we are cutting lawns four times to make them look good. the price isn't increasing.
     
  4. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    two skips per season when they call 1 day in advance.

    after 2 skips charge 25-50% more on the next cut.
    after 4 skips fire them.

    or better yet go to monthly prepay with flat monthly pricing regardless of number of cuts, then you decide when or if it needs mowing.
     
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Just send them all my way, I'll cut their yard when it needs it and if once / month is all it takes, then that's what we do.
     
  6. JT1304

    JT1304 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 97

    Put him on monthly contract. Same price month after month. Some months you cut may five times, some months only three. When we skip a contract customers cut, we still blow off all hard surfaces and mybe even edge drivewaysand sidewalks. Again , get him on a contract and collect for 12 months as opposed to getting paid per cut.

    GOOD LUCK!!
     
  7. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 823

    My contract covers this. It states that any interruptions in service ordered by the customer are subject to a re-establishment fee upon resuming service. It is not a set fee, and is based on how much extra work is involved at my discretion. I added this after having customers skipping to have cement poured, fences built, etc. etc... But it is also general enough to cover draught skips, etc. if need be or it becomes excessive.

    Kevin
     
  8. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I have actually had good luck telling excessive skippers that we don't really like it when people skip cuts. The conversation goes like this:

    "That's fine if you need to skip it this week. Honestly, we don't really like it, but if you need to skip, we will skip. We schedule 34 cuts per year on a weekly client and if you need to skip 2 or 3 cuts per year, we don't really mind. But if the you think you'll need to skip much more than that, it really isn't fair to us." Then I shut up and listen.

    After they finish saying whatever it is they say, I say "I probably should mention that we do charge the bi-weekly rate on the next cut, which is $5 extra." They never argue about the extra five bucks.

    The way I remember to charge the premium on the next cut is, I enter a charge in Quickbooks that day called "Skip A Cut" for $0.00 but in the memo field I enter "$5 extra for next cut". Then, when I enter the statement charges for the next mow, I see the memo and remember the premium. This also allows me to easily pull a report in Quickbooks to see how many skips a client has taken over the last 12 months.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  9. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Yep, you need a contract and wording that covers this stuff.

    But you don't have one.

    Either way, my best advice to you is to just say "I offer RELIABLE service and in order to stay that way and stay in business I need RELIABLE customers in return".... If he doesn't like that, suggest that he find another service.

    I don't waste my time with this customer stereotype.
    You shouldn't either.

    Dump him and replace him with someone who has irrigation.
    That's the best answer.
     
  10. Tn Lawn Man

    Tn Lawn Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 479

    I really appreciate all of the responses.

    My philosphy is to try to not dump customers, but instead to charge enough to make it worth my while and if they cancel then so be it. At least I was fair to my business.
     

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