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Vacation time

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by sedlmeier101, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. sedlmeier101

    sedlmeier101 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    This may be a dumb question but... what do you guys do when you want to go on vacation for a week with friends/family during the spring/summer?

    How do you go about telling your clients..
  2. cl&l c.c. Tx

    cl&l c.c. Tx LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    I'm still pretty much part time in this business, but I wouldn't even think about a vacation during my peak months. Save vacation time for winter.
  3. lawn guy1350

    lawn guy1350 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 214

    you dont go on vacation, thats what winter is for. or you get employees.
  4. Ed Ryder

    Ed Ryder LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 541

    You can't do it. Perhaps if the lawns dry up you can get away for a few days, but planning a vacation in advance is asking for problems.

    Here is an example of what goes wrong:

    A solo operator plans a one week vacation for what is expected to be a dry, slow-growing time. Plane tickets are bought, hotel reservations made. He's committed.

    Vacation time arrives. Of course, rain has greened things up recently and the lawns are growing, but the lawn guy thinks everything will still be okay.

    A week later, he learns there was more rain. The lawns have grown robustly during his absence. His voice mail is full of messages of concern from his customers, wondering where the hell he is?

    Instead of getting a fast start back into mowing, more rain delays him. The lawns are high, full of moisture, and they are messy to cut, requiring extra time to get them to look right. Each lawn takes an extra half hour to finish. Instead of 60 hours of mowing per week, now he's got 90 and he can't get caught up.

    Constantly behind, it becomes an on-going battle to get the work done and retain customers (who are now pissed off because every other lawn in the neighborhood looks fine, but their's looks like crap, thanks to you).

    Since you are constantly behind, and since each lawn now takes an extra 30 minutes, you are making less money per week, your customers are unhappy, and some of them are going to leave you. You lost a week of income, and now for a month or so you'll be struggling to keep on top of things. Those damn fertilizer guys make matters worse with new applications. It seems like you can't get a break!

    In the end, your morale suffers, you lose customers, you don't achieve your income goal for the year, and you are really thinking that the grass cutting business may not be for you - all because you wanted to take a vacation during the season.

    Unfortunately, if you are solo, then sacrifices must be made and you've got to focus on maximizing revenue and keeping your customers happy.

    Another thing... if you skip lawns while you take a vacation, then that makes some customers think that they can ask you to skip cutting their lawn with other weeks. And a lot of money can be left on the table if you allow that condition to develop.
  5. sedlmeier101

    sedlmeier101 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    ok thank you guys that's what I thought. I am going on spring break the 2nd week in april..but depending on how early spring comes in buffalo I might cancel
  6. Ed Ryder

    Ed Ryder LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 541

    It's important to hit the lawns early. As soon as you can make a noticeable difference by cutting them, you do the work. This does 3 things:

    1. It reassures customers that YES you are there to cut their lawns and have not disappeared.

    2. It keeps the lawns under control, which is very, very important. If they get out of control, you lose efficiency.

    3. It maximizes revenue and you don't leave anything on the table.

    Likewise, in the Fall, you don't quit too early. This past fall was mild, and I even cut some lawns right before Christmas here in the Philadelphia suburbs. While driving around I saw a lot of shaggy lawns in my affluent neighborhoods. People would have not disputed a lawn service cutting their grass one more time to have a nice looking lawn for the holiday.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    When your wife goes with the kids for 3 weeks to visit her parents....now THAT'S A VACATION!!!!

    It's not all about actually going somewhere yourself :laugh:
  8. zz4guy

    zz4guy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 901

    One week vacations are tough in any line of work. Think about taking 4 day weekend vacations. Go to towns 300 miles away and see what there is to do. Then you don't have to commit to plane tickets either.
  9. PatriotLandscape

    PatriotLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MA
    Posts: 1,209

    Your in Buffalo don't you have like four months off anyway :D
  10. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    if you owned a ski resort would you go on vacation in the peek of skying season..NO.... why would any one think of a vacation during the peek of there business season..... if they are really in business, full time... never happen..

    i dont know if i can get of in the winter either with all the recent snow,

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