Changing people's mow days - how do they accept it?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    I have been talking with Z_Clark from lawnsite via e-mail and we have discovered that his operation is MUCH more efficient than mine.

    I am certain the difference is route density.

    For example, in this neighborhood,-97.029705&spn=0.012838,0.019956 bordered by FM 407, I-35 & Garden Ridge Blvd, we have a total of 7 lawn mowing clients. Some are weekly, some are bi-weekly.

    The problem is, we are driving into this neighborood on Tuesday's, Wednesday's, Thursday's & Fridays.

    I have been operating under the opinion that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But after seeing how much more efficient Z_Clark's operation is than mine, I think my operation is broke and I need to fix it.

    The obvious solution is to get all the clients in this area on the same mow day.

    Because we already have 3 of the 7 clients on Wednesday, it make sense to schedule everyone in this area for Wednesdays.

    I anticipate no problems moving the Tuesday clients to Wednesday. Asking the Thursday client to move shouldn't be too hard since they are bi-weekly...I hope. It is the Friday client who has been with us for 3 years, always on Friday, that I anticipate potential problems with.

    We have dozens of areas like this, so this problem needs to be fixed with 400 clients all over town.

    From experience, I already know that moving a client from Tuesday or Monday to later in the week is never a problem. It's telling a Friday client that they will be on Mondays...that is where I anticipate major problems. As you can tell from out route density, I have no experience with this conversation.

    So, my question to the LawnSite community is, how do I fix this problem? Do I ask the clients to voluntarily accept an earlier mow day or do I tell them it is happening?

    Additionally, how do you tell a client who wants Th/Fr that we only offer Monday service in their area and keep them on the schedule as a happy client?

    My thoughts are to leave a note on the door with the next scheduled mow, telling the client that starting next week, the regular mow day will be changed. Perhaps a mention of decreasing our nation's dependency on foreign oil would be appropriate.

    Any and all advice greatly appreciated.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,912

    Not to be a smart a$$ .....but how did this ever become a problem ??

    I may not have 400+ ....but I do have 250+ that we do every week ....42 weeks per year ...monthly billing ....NO Bi-weeklys ... I get paid the same monthly fee even if they ask me to skip

    I have 4 services zones .....Z1 is on Monday .... Z2 on Tues .... Z3 on Wend & Z4 on Thurs/Friday (150 yards on a 3 mile strip of road)

    If you call from a location in Z3 ... your day of service is on Wend ....period .... that's it

    If your in Z1 .... it's on Monday ... n I don't care what the last guy did (most of our commercial is located in Z1 & I only take select river front property if it's a Resi) ..... Z2 & 4 is my home base n has very little commercial it's mainly homes ...Zone 3 which is Cocoa Beach is only Resi's fore me as I really don't care fore hotels or condo's .... I'll do them but they bid the work out every 2-3 years n some new yahoo with a new truck gets it ....mow's it fore 2 years n than goes out of business ....sorry getting off track

    Anyway ..... depending on your location .....dictates the service day ......
  3. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    Thoose friday mow people can be a pickle, its got to be done on Friday and friday only lol. I would just explain that you are trying to save cost or exspense and this is a way to do it with out increasing the price to customers. 2 days earlier may be better than an increase in price to them.

  4. Banned
    from canada
    Messages: 24

    How about phoning them, tell them we are skipping you on fri and will mow on the following monday FREE! That might soften them up, ofcourse I would only do this for a select few, where you are anticipating problems.

    How does this affect your bottom line? is it just gas? I know you pay piece work...

    In the long run, if you lose 10 customers due to improving your company, and if it was a good call, your profit margin is higher and thats a gift that keeps on giving.
  5. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    what you may lose in direct losses from that account if they drop you will be more than made up for in increased efficiency of labor, fuel and drive time. Do not give them the option to switch, tell them they are getting moved. do not offer a discount either!
  6. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    ++++Not to be a smart a$$ .....but how did this ever become a problem ??++++

    When I create an expansion crew, we fill the Friday schedule with revenue first, then the Thursday and so on and so forth. This means that we have lawns all over the place every day of the week.

    My crews distribute door hangers when they have no work to do. From experience, if their only job is to distribute door hangers for an entire day, they tend to get a lot more work done than if they mow for 1/3 of the day and then do door hangers for 2/3 of a day. Production ends up being more like 1/3 of a day mowing and 1/4 of a day distributing door hangers.

    I do think we can save about 2 hours per day, per crew, in drive time

    When I was on the crew, just driving from one house to another within the same neighborhood, it was an average of 5 minutes. If you have to leave the neighborhood and go to the next one, which means a stop light or two, it probably averages out to 10 minutes of driving between stops.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  7. dcplace2004

    dcplace2004 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 423

    all GD day long...I am still in part-time mode and trying to survive amongst the lowballers with criminal backgrounds that have found pulling a trailer an alternative to not being able to even work at McDonalds...Shouldn't you be out supervising your under-the-table hispanic workers to make sure they are lowballing correctly/not doing shoddy work, in lieu of sitting here claiming you have 250 accounts? I have done research this season and the LCOs with criminal backgrounds is staggering - FACT.
  8. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    do you ever stop to think that maybe the people with 250, 400, 500+ accounts aren't actually the ones doing the work and they are instead working on the business, not in the business?
  9. dcplace2004

    dcplace2004 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 423

    working on the business should not include sitting on a computer all day long logged into this site complaining about PITAS and whatever bout scouting out new equipment, researching with the crew leaders to find out how things are going with the workers, making sure equipment is being repaired you think a fire chief sits around all day long logged into complaining about how a person smoking in bed cause him/her to have to get out of bed at 3 am to supervise fire crew operations, disturbing his/her beauty sleep...give me a break lugnut...this is a great site, but is a tool to use perhaps other than 24/7...
  10. barnard

    barnard LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    This sounds like a pretty good option. Other wise I'd wait til next season and start out overhaul your schedule.

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