to mow? or not to mow?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by bigjeeping, Aug 14, 2005.

  1. bigjeeping

    bigjeeping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 903

    We've had a 3 week dry spell but we're finally getting some rain! 90% of my clients are mowed on a weekly basis, and of those 90%, 75% have sprinkler systems... so during the dry spell I still stayed in good business. BUT for my other weekly clients who didn't have sprinkler systems, I would skip their lawn if it looked too dry. I got a few calls since I hadn't mowed their lawns and I had to explain that the grass hadn't grown much and that it was extremely dry from the heat. Everyone seemed thankful that I didn't mow AFTER I EXPLAINED WHY. So.. here's my question. If I hadn't explained why, I could have got away with mowing no problem - and put some extra cash in my pocket... what are the possible ways to damage a lawn if it is dry??? I wouldn't have mowed at less than a 4" setting, so I don't think I would have scalped the place.... do others pass over houses if they look dry, even if the grass could use a cut? Anyone have a specific policy on how/when they skip houses?
     
  2. 657

    657 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    WE GO TWO , THREE WEEKS ON SOME YARDS BUT SOME GET RAIN (SPRINKLERS)SO THEY GET IT 4 OR 5 DAYS.. IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT CAN GO TWO DAYS WE WILL GET IT IN 2 OR 3 DAYS. WE GO ON PLANED ROUTE WHEN IT RAINS BUT IF IT DOES NOT RAIN ALL BETS ARE OFF AND WE WILL MOW THEM WHEN THEY NEED IT.. :blob3: HOPE THAT HELPS 657
     
  3. gqnine44

    gqnine44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 501

    Not sure how you can make money driving by yards and not cutting them. If the customer doesnt call and cancel you should cut. Some guys charge even if the customer cancels. Lawn mowers have to eat too.
     
  4. 657

    657 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    ALL OF ARE YARDS ARE IN THE SAME AREA. NOT OUT OF THE WAY AT ALL. AND IF WE WERE TO MOW THEM THEY WOULD NOT PAID BEFORE IT NEEDS MOWED ,, WE HAVE TRUST WITH ARE COSTOMERS, WE ONLY MOW WHEN IT NEEDS MOWED, AND WE HAVE NO REPEAT NO ONE THAT DISLIKES THE WAY WE MOW (AT LEAST THAT WE WORK FOR) gqnine44. payup
     
  5. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    You did right by not cutting, you did more right by explaining to the customers why. Many services don't. They just keep on coming in and driving over dormant grass. This does further damage and stress, and creates even more havoc in the long run. I've always said, and customers have always agreed with me that services that do this take that "care" out of lawn care. This care and concern that you put in will come back to you eventually,...it may be in trust of another service you perform, or pricing, but it will come back. Dryness is just the nature of the beast. You have to be prepared for it in this biz...especially if mowing is about all you do. Be ready to sell other services, and always have a hookup on irrigated properties.
     
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    This is my perspective, what works for me may or may not work someone else but Runner is right in my book.
    We also have had a HOT + Dry summer with a little rain:
    I am in business to save my customer money and to look out for my customer. Cutting their grass when it doesn't really need it would thus be a greedy and dishonest practice and not good business. It is not nice to rip off the customer, even thou I am only human and the temptation gets me, too, we must do our best to resist this temptation, lest it come back on us later.
    - Cutting grass too frequently can and will turn the lawn brown and can and will kill the lawn, requiring even MORE money from the customer later. Yes, I know there are some lco's out in my neck of the woods who thrive gleefully by this double-rip practice of first cutting it regardless of need and then putting more labor into recuperating a dead lawn, but to me what they are doing is wrong and really is outright theft. If we are truly experts, then we must do what is right for our customer's lawn(s).

    - People are not stupid. Sooner or later a few or more customers will figure out what is going on and realize what kind of business is being operated here. At this point, the customer base of the lco who practices dishonesty will slowly turn dishonest as well, if not entirely then surely partly. I for one can't stand a dishonest customer and thus I do my best to remain honest and this helps keep my customer base honest... Something to do with birds of a feather flocking, and what word of mouth will do for you here is truly amazing.

    It has been my sad learning experience that apparently, over HALF the people out there don't mind dishonesty one bit. It's not that they have no problem with us ripping them off, but they also have no problem ripping us off in return to even things out. It appears it takes MORE work to run an honest business and the rule would again seem to be that it is always harder to do things the right way, but I also find in the end, the rewards for a job well done are also truly more rewarding.

    That's just me.
     
  7. Professional Lawn Care

    Professional Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    We have also ran into this problem this summer. I run a business with a partner and he would drive around to see if a lawn would need cut or not. I told him we should start a policy that we go out every week regardless. If it is too dry and the lawn does not need a full cut - chances are there are some weeds growing and we should just trim the lawn and charge half price. If we are up front to new customers about the policy do you think this is "ok?" I don't feel we are damaging a lawn and most times it does need some sort of trim. What do you think?
     
  8. 657

    657 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    IF WE SPRAY AND FRET. THE YARD THERE ARE NOT ANY WEEDS IN THAT YARD BUT IF WE DO NOT (SPRAY) WE TRIM THE WEEDS DOWN WITH THE TRIMMES FOR FREE AND NINE TIMES OUT OF TEN WE WILL SPRAY THAT YARD THE NEXT YEAR.. IT DOES PAY TO BE NICE :waving:
     
  9. RedWingsDet

    RedWingsDet LawnSite Gold Member
    from Detroit
    Posts: 3,556

    I dont do this, but there are a few companies I know of who just drive over the lawn with the blades off to make it look like they are cutting when we have a dry spell... Now that takes balls, not even to mention how stupid it is.
     
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Ok, not in ALL cases do I follow the don't cut policy because I have a few customers who INSIST the grass needs to be cut. At this point, after I explain to them my view, if they still want the grass to be cut, then I cut it and if it turns the lawn brown, then so be it. At the same rate, despite the best of intentions, a few lawns still turned brown on me this year, so I speak the truth when I say nobody is perfect.
    I also drive around in my car looking at lawns AND I drive past them with the equipment when they're on the schedule to take a look-see - I plan my routes out the night before so all my yards are in a row: If one doesn't need cutting, move on to the next one. Proper timing and routing is key - No sense in driving by a yard that's on a 2-3 week schedule when it just got cut 10 days ago, and as a rule at this time of year, 3-4 extra days don't hurt much but you can't let it go like that in spring but in summer it is ok.
    Getting back to you, if you discuss your policy and how you do things with the customer upfront and they are ok with this, then that is honest... Whether it's best for the lawn, that we can debate until the cows come home but honesty is more important and I think you're doing that.
    Also the thing with running a trimmer over the weeds and doing it for half-price, so long the customer is ok with this and you tell them upfront this is how you do things, I see nothing wrong with this and is a good idea.
     

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