Why do I do things different

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Mean Green Lawns, Dec 28, 2006.

  1. Mean Green Lawns

    Mean Green Lawns Banned
    Posts: 58

    Okay I have been doing this type of work for about 15 years now (on and off) and next summer I'll be 30... lol ( I feel 25) I have been in business for myself once before but an entire different field. I have owned Mean Green now for 3 full seasons and have had many ups and downs and many lessons learned the hard way. My first year I put out about 10K flyers that were not very good flyers and I took 60 customers which all but 2 stayed with me the next year. My second year I fixed the flyers and put out another 7K before I took 75 and 11 fell off through the season for various reasons.. This year my flyers were better than ever. The return on them was amazing. I got 86 phone calls out of 4K flyers and took another 70 new customers.
    I charged 20-28 $'s depending on the property and had to contract some more help. Not to mention I take on all kinds of landscaping and hardscape projects... I am cutting that part of the business oout this year and I'm focusing on cutting lawns only. (lost money due to lazy labor not showing up, or breaking things that I had to repair, or just plain stupidity and bad attitudes)

    THIS IS MY QUESTION,.... (drum roll lol )
    Why do I do everything different than all the competition seems to do things. The only way I have organized my business and season is by listening to the homeowners and nothing I do seems to fit the standard lawn service.

    1st I spend the whole month of April doing Spring Cleanups

    2nd I start cutting here in MI MAY1st for reasons I could explain but I know most of you will not agree with me and I dont know why

    3rd I only cut 24 Weeks and then start fall clean up

    4th I do 3- 6 weeks of clean ups every week and every other week. I do a full cut, and clean the beds, landscaped areas, and the entire yeard. I mulch it all and Haul it away every week or every other week.

    2007 I am going to put these into a complete package and keep only the customers that want it all this year and add on to replentish those who drop out.

    Why do most places start regular cutting in April? Should I Not be doing spring clean ups.. I did 40 this year and it took me a full 4 weeks...

    Also Why do people cut right over leaves, mulching them right onto the yard adding tons of thatch every fall?
    I wont even cut a yard if I see more than 95 % of the grass through the leaves unless they pay me to bag the lawn. It creates a mess and over time destroyes the lawn if not taken care of.

    Why do so many places cut right through water saturated grass and leave black tire marks all over the lawn??? Whats that about?? Why not push everything up a day and let it dry out before you destroy someones yard?

    Please help me cause I have a few ideas but I want some input..
  2. PearceLawn

    PearceLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 290

    I am 41 and been working at this for 10 years and with the exception of the start time for mowing, we work basically the same schedule. I begin mowing in mid/late April because the folks who get chems would have a mess if I started later. I would have 20 of 65 lawns 10 inches high by May 1.
    I do offer to customers the opportunity to be cut after the regular season for extra money and I get quite a few takers. It breaks up the monotony of the clean ups in the fall too.
    Sometimes I mow when it is wet to keep up the schedule. I am a one man show and three days of rain could takes considerable time to catch up from and push the schedule around pretty bad upsetting the large amount of seniors I work for.
    We are not so different!!:)
  3. jbone

    jbone LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    my response to the water saturated grass is: Many of my customers have drainage problems and wont fix them. They complain their grass is too tall and needs to be cut right away(especially if it rained a lot and hasnr been cut in a while, and i usually dont even notice im tracking until its too late.
  4. Mean Green Lawns

    Mean Green Lawns Banned
    Posts: 58

    I dont have a problemm with them mess and tall grass because I bag it all when it's like that for free. I dont mind doing it for them when it gets 6-10 "...
  5. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    We are not so different, we have almost the same schedule as you. We usually mow for 30 weeks but in April we start our spring clean ups and start mowing in May.
  6. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    There is nothing wrong with listening to the homeowner but in the grand scheme I have to do what is best for the business in order to survive. Some homeowners will beat you to death with requests that you will not make money on.

    I do Spring Cleans every year and I could be busy the whole month of April also. This is by far a locational thing. I make 1/4 of my yearly revenue from cleans/dethatching so to not do them would be a major mistake. Mowing here begins late April/early May and by then I am done with cleans.

    Now I will disagree with you about your philosophy on leaves. I have mulched leaves for years and when done properly it is a benefit to ALL parties including the environment. This is one area that you have to understand. There are dangers to mulching leaves but thatch introduction has not been one that I have seen and I mulch TONS of leaves. I will agree that if you do not manage the mulched leaves correctly you will have issues with turf health but properly done, mulching has been very beneficial to my customers lawns as well as my back and bottom line. A true thatch problem is one thing I have not noticed from mulching. Oak leaves have a greater acidity than maples. I will still mulch some oaks but if it gets thick I will bag the excess. Maples turn to dust and even the stems reduce. My winters are about the same as yours are and the leaves are biodegraded over the winter cycle. By spring there is no evidence of mulched leaves and the lawns are very healthy. An addition of fertilizer in the fall and spring also does help with breakdown in my experience but is not absolutely necessary. I understand your thinking to a point and I am not gonna say I am right and you are wrong but I used to think on your lines and I tried a different method and it worked for me. I used to dread leaf season but not it is a welcomed period for me. I can go on for paragraphs but I will "leave" it at that (sorry:laugh: )

    The water saturated yard thing is something I like to avoid also. I know for the most part it is dirt/mud being pushed to the surface and staining the grass leaves. If you do get into a situation that is actually tearing the lawn or making ruts, it is wrong to be there. I have been taken by surprise on this a few times where a lawn looks ok to cut but isn't. Its usually not the whole lawn and I get caught in the back corners where things are low. I can explain the leaf staining but I can't justify ruts.

    I believe we are pretty close in our philosophy and practices with a couple of differences. I am on a smaller scale than you are but I choose to stay that way. The thing is that if you are making a profit and have happy customers, things are good. You are right to ask questions of how we do things as I am sure you will either confirm you are doing things right for you or you could try some new methods to see if something works better. Thats why we are all here. Good Luck. Happy Holidays.
  7. bill w

    bill w LawnSite Member
    from Va.
    Posts: 198

    Leaves do not form thatch.
  8. gardener

    gardener LawnSite Member
    Posts: 32

    your a professional and many of the other's have very little education on proper ground management. stop looking over your shoulder and just focus on performing professional work.
  9. T.E.

    T.E. LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 799

    Not to say that your doing all things wrong, but you may not be doing them the best way either!

    86 calls 70 new customers is a rate of over 99.5%. According to response rates from direct mail, and door hangers companys. ( I have an account that owns one of these companys) You close this percentage rate when your to low in price. I have owned two lawn companys. I was getting the prices your quoting here in OK in the mid 1980's. If you raised your prices you would have less customers, and probably still have the same revenue! Just some feed back to think about. Later, Tony
  10. Team-Green L&L

    Team-Green L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    Why did you post this same self-flattery twice. Do you need a friend?

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