Overwatering Customer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Scraper, Oct 16, 2000.

  1. Scraper

    Scraper LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,656

    Anyone have a customer with a watering fetish? I have a customer that continues to water on an almost daily basis even though I have repeatedly told him to cut back. It has gotten to the point that my walk behind is leaving some good ruts not to mention I can even feel the ground sink beneath my feet. Just last Friday I asked him to cut back on his watering and when I happened by his place this morning...his sprinklers were going again! The worst part is that when I spoke to him on Friday he said that he isn't watering. Well I know otherwise because I'm the one on the lawn every week!!! Is there any detrimental effects that I can tell him that might get him to change? Heck...I even told him that if he hadn't watered this summer he could have probably saved enough money to pay for my services for at least two months. Also...I am in the Philadelphia suburbs...anyone around here knows that irrigation was not needed for all but one week this summer with the rains we've had! I figure I've warned him so I'll just try and not make too much of a mess.


    P.S. This is one of those kind of customers who will have their sprinkler system running in the rain.

    [Edited by Scraper on 10-16-2000 at 07:24 PM]
  2. Skookum

    Skookum LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 675

    I have had the same problem with a commercial account. There are five locations involved. The owner is a great guy, but he likes to be involved with all the maintenance. He does as much as he can himself, so he likes doing the irrigation.

    When I first started doing his places five years ago he watered every morning and every afternoon for an hour on each zone. It was crazy. I tried to get him to go every three days or so unless it was really hot and dry.

    I use to pay someone to do the weed spray until I got my license. Should have just threw the money in the toilet. For two years I always had weeds, the sprinklers were washing the spray off before it could work. Now that I do the spraying, I turn off all controllers, place a card in each controller saying do not turn on water.

    I finally got four of the locations set around my mowing schedule and only every three days. They are so much easier to mow now, and they look so much better, the cut lasts longer.

    The fifth is his personal residence. The majority of the time he still wanted to have the sprinklers going every morning for an hour. It is exactly a one acre property. The entire property was like walking on a sponge. Several slopes around the grounds are almost not mowable at times. My ZTR rider is useless since it tears up the sod to easily being so mud soaked, so I had to use a walkbehind and be always concious of my tire movement. Hit the brakes and it is like snow skiing. In the real early spring and late fall I could use the ZTR, took me half the time than when he is running the irrigation.

    There were several areas that did not get enough sunlight so they would never dry out. Moss everywhere. I finally just had to show him that these areas were just too hard to mow and they looked really bad and I could do nothing about it. I was able to get him to turn the watering times down and go everyother day. They are still muddy at times, but so much better. Working on him for every third day or so now.

    I really feel for you. If like mine, it is most likely a good property, income wise and all, except this watering thing and you do not really want to lose it. I think I would try to stress to him the concepts of disease and fungus due to all the moisture. Maybe stress how hard it is for you to properly mow the property. You are really worried about his satisfaction with the ruts and possible mud tracks in the future, as well as, tearing up any sod cause it is just too wet. As a professional, you want his property to look it's best since it is a reflection on your business in the community and to his neighbors.

    Ask him for a trial period to allow you to control the watering schedule for a month or two. Let him know that you can make it look just as good or better. If he is that hard of a sell on the idea, have some backup info from some books, bulletins, university programs, etc.. about amounts of water required for grass, irrigation settings rcommended by the info, etc...

    Good Luck:)
  3. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    Is there any chance this fellow has alheimezers.
    Just a thought as ive had similar situation.
  4. MWHC

    MWHC LawnSite Member
    from Wyoming
    Posts: 202

    Yes there are ill effects with too much water.

    #1 The ruts you are leaving in the lawn.
    #2 Over watering causes thatch buildup.
    #3 It wastes money, water, and your time cutting excessive growth.

    It gets even better when the customer over waters and puts too much fertilizer down.
  5. stick9

    stick9 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 262

    I wrote a nice long reply to this and then .. for some strange reason .. it disappeared. oh well. Over watering HIGHLY irritates me. 90 percent of our customers are guilty of this IGNORANT action. Makes lawns look like crap .. and takes us twice as long due to having to clean out the mower. Not to mention the fact that it rains 3 SOLID days a week, here in detroit. Really foolish.


    "May fortune favor the foolish"
  6. bob

    bob LawnSite Platinum Member
    from DE
    Posts: 4,254

    I have a few commercial accounts that insist on running the sprinklers every day. I think that they like the idea of having sprinkles, and feel obligated to use them.
  7. Kevin

    Kevin LawnSite Member
    from S.E. PA
    Posts: 169

    Have a customer who had a nice lawn. Wanted to keep up with his neighbor so he got an irrigation system installed(not by me) All of sudden his lawn goes on a downhill slide as far as quality. Sell him on a renovation, ask to readjust his watering schedule, find out he was watering at midnite!
  8. powerreel

    powerreel Banned
    Posts: 481

    Just throw the double check and that's the end of it!
  9. Ocutter

    Ocutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 314

    Tell him he will have a good crop of fungi and disease next yr. if he doesnt slow down. Either that or quit!
  10. Scraper

    Scraper LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,656

    MWHC...You couldn't have said anything more! c I've told him all of that and to boot he puts down a double dose of fert!!! I could've cut his lawn twice a week all summer. Actually I just plowed it down and left the clippings as well. Usually wasn't too bad, but I figured since I'd already told him to stop all the watering and fertilizing I wasn't gonna spend more time than I normally do! If he were to complain, it'd be a double charge each time I cut. :) I think next year I'm going to go with Lazer's way and require all lawns that I cut to use my fert program.

    Funny thing is I mow the neighbor's house who has no irrigation and his lawn is just as green and grew just as fast.

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