Best way to handle skips & others who want to dictate the mowing schedule

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    I drove over and had lunch with Mike & TJ from Justmowit earlier this week. They are good people.

    We talked a little about the customers who call to skip cuts and otherwise dictate the mowing schedule. With the bermuda lawns we are up against, to be perfectly honest, unless the customer is just a neat freak, they don't really need to be mowed every week after about the 10th of September or so. Nor do they really need to be cut weekly until after about the first of May.

    The Justice's and I have both come to the conlusion that if you tell customers to get lost everytime they call to skip a cut or order EOW in the early spring or late fall, you will soon be left with a lot smaller customer base. There are just too many customers who will do this, regardless of how many (or few) cuts you have scheduled. If the lawn doesn't really need mowing and the customer calls to skip a cut or change to bi-weekly for the fall, you have to be able to accomodate that request in our market. That's just the way it is. They will cancel over it if they suspect you are trying to "screw" them by forcing more cuts down their throats than they feel are necessary.

    So next season, I am going to implement the Mike & TJ method, which is to intentionally schedule weekly service from start of seasn to end. The first three years I was in the business, I would automatically convert 100% of my weekly customers to every other week in early October. With six weeks left in the season, I would get three cuts out of a weekly customer. I was ok with that number because I could live with it. But the problem is, even though I am trying to give the customer what I think is a fair compromise between what they want and what I want, people were still calling to skip. Countless customers have contacted me this fall to say "Please discontinue mowing service for the remainder of the season. Our grass just isn't growing very fast." Meanwhile, Mike & TJ are mowing my friends lawn. I was talking to him the other day. He mentioned "Oh, I've been meaning to call them to switch to every other week." Mike & TJ figure that most people are too busy to call the mowing company and they are right. They were running 14 trucks earlier this season and now they are running 10. I am guessing they've still got about that proportion of mowing business every week in the fall. I, on the other hand, trying to "give the customer what they want" am getting less than 50% of my normal summer schedule for the final six weeks.

    So next year, everyone will be on weekly service from start to finish. If they call to skip or dictate the mowing schedule, fine. I am gambling that most won't remember to call.

    I am just trying to figure out if I want to try to grandfather the exising clients in on the old mowing schedule or if I want to cut them every week in the fall and see if they complain. I am betting most would never even realize we changed our spring start date and our fall mowing schedule. And if I don't grandfather them in, and if they realize things are different, I can always issue a credit if they complain and I figure most would be happy with that.

    What would you do with the existing customer base? Grandfather them in with old schedule forever or change everyone to the new mowing schedule?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    on this thread.....everyone needs to remember, the grass type in tx is not like it is in the east. if u let clients dictate skips on our grass, you'll end up in the gutter. just a thought
  3. z_clark

    z_clark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 369

    Just Mow it's scheduling worked for us very well this year. We are cutting 75% of our lawns this week(last week of season). The ones we are not cutting called and asked for a skip, or to go every other week.

    Just today (our last week of season), I had two calls wanting every other week scheduling for the rest of the year. I informed both that the year was over for mowing, but we could continue if they felt it needed it!

    I agree that most people are too lazy to call. Many customers are "first time home owners", and don't have a clue about maintaining a lawn.

    DFW, perhaps send out a letter to all of your customers every spring and include a calender.......after all, this is how TJ does it...and we know what happens when you stray from his method! ;)

  4. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I agree with Bobby. Grass up north here, if you skip cuts you could be a in world of hurt only a couple days later. I am accomidating to customers about skipped cuts, but I warn them up front, and it's in the contract, that if the lawn needs to be bagged next time because of this skipped cut, then there will be an additional charge

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