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Customer thinks mowing season is over

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by gdguth, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I want to know how many times you skipped her yard this year because of the drought.

    And on top of it, when did you start her yard. We were mowing in the second week of March because of the early warm temps.

    Now, we've gone dry and hot again. I've started skipping lawns on a need be basis, but all but one of our accounts are seasonal grounds maintenance.

    I'd try to call her and say you still need to mow at least 2 more times this season at the minimum. On top of it, you need to do leaf cleanups.

  2. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    Let me try and explain this so you can understand. During Hurricane season it is not a first come first serve bases after a storm has come thru and work starts. Triage on be half of my customers comes first, meaning before I go near a property the utilities companies have first gibs at restoring power, phone and water services. This is standard protocol for my company. Once the all clear has been given I will move in with my crew and start removal of debrie and storm damage, any pruning of trees is done and any other matter
    will carry over into the next week. If I need more help I can secure day labor
    to finish my work load faster and safer. I believe you are confused about having a service agreement with a store and purchasing goods from a store.
    I have had service agreements with stores for maintenance of grounds.
    Never have had a service agreement to purchase goods from a store since that really makes no sence?. My service agreement with my customers for Firewood is as follows: I will determin based on orders secured by customers how much wood I will need for that customer for the following season. I make sure I have at least that amount available for that customer and than some for any new accounts that wish to buy COD. Having a service agreement does not mean I would not sell to someone without signing a service agreement.
    It means that my customers whom I either have a contract with or a service agreement are served first according to my schedule and conditions on the ground. Knowing what your customers need in advance for goods and services is called forecasting and making sure those needs are met first is good marketing and a positive cash flow. I hope I covered your points.
    easy-lift guy
  3. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,762

    So a service agreement isn't always necessary. That was all I wanted you to clear up for me.
  4. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    There you go.

    I just had a call a minute ago from one of my little old ladies - "Oh hi, I don't know if you were planning on coming tomorrow, but the grass has hardly grown at all and nobody on my street is cutting their grass."

    Well, yes I was planning on coming because you're on a BIWEEKLY schedule and it's scheduled to be cut tomorrow. Sigh.

    I guess I'll cut it next week - and leave clumps. You know - because it has "hardly grown at all."

    She's on my list of "to be replaced" next season.

    Otherwise, yes, as soon as September rolls along, people start thinking it's time to stop mowing and on October 1st the growth magically stops altogether.
  5. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    I'm having the same thing happen. It sucks that a little cooler weather makes people think that the grass has stopped growing.

    CITY PARK CUTTER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    October is usually the end of the trail for serious mowing, and with all the drought...hit and miss at best. I've got my customers in "wait and see" mode. Ones that are on every week schedules, it's at my discretion...which I like. But I'm winding it down for 2012. Dreadful, dreadful year of mowing here in Missouri. Only good thing to come of it was I had time to vacation in Europe for a couple weeks in Sept.
  7. gdguth

    gdguth LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 442

    White Gardens,

    It was a very early start this year, however I did wait a lot longer than a lot around here due to the fact that I was still doing spring clean-ups and the grass was already growing and I needed to get the clean-ups done 1st. So, I looked it up and I didn't mow her yard until March 26th. Which it was already long at that point. So this is only about 2 or 3 weeks earlier than normal.

    As for the drought. This yard received some timely rain unlike some places, however I still skipped it for 5 weeks all together at one point. Which that is not as bad, as some went 8 weeks.

    I do strongly believe as you have said that it will need it 2 or 3 times more plus the leaves cleaned up. I did call her and left a message and I will see if she calls back, or I will give her another call.

    I am glad that you are close to my area and understand the situation and the weather we have had, so you know what it has been like.
  8. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,780

    I think this entire thread illustrates that there is a substantial percentage of the general population whose sole mission in life is to spend as little as possible on lawncare. If it gets a bit dry, they think it will be okay until next week, or the next, or next month. If there is a drought, they hope it won't grow the rest of the season. The first cool snap, they pray it will stop growing, and when it doesn't, they will wait until it gets a foot tall before they call someone, then expect them to mow and clean up the mess for the price of a normal weekly mow. If it frosts, forget it, they don't want to have it mowed again even if the temps for the next 30 days are in the 80's.

    The bad thing is, some of these people can be pretty decent, loyal customers, 90% of the time. You just have to realize that they are continously looking for an "out" when it comes to paying for the lawn being mowed. Normally, I don't get that upset about it, but I agree this year was different in the Midwest, because most of my customers have paid out considerably less than in a normal year. I was looking over my books last night, and the revenue from one customer in particular was down $900 compared to this time last year!
  9. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    As someone posted we are employed by the customers. We do not employ the customers.

    On 9/25 I had a customer tell me they wanted to be switched to EOW so don't come next week. They want to save money first above having a good lawn.

    I learned from last year with a customer that wanted EOW. I set fine we can start out EOW if the grass takes off we will have to move to weekly.

    Her response was my grass never grows. Well her grass took off and all she did was complain about the left over grass clippings. When told if she didn't want grass clippings then she would have to go weekly. Her response was lets see what happens next week. She never changed so we ended our relationship.

    So all I know is when I show up two weeks later and if his lawn grew too much he's getting left with visible clippings and clumps.

    When he complains, and if he does not, I going to point out the poor quality job and apologize for not being able to do my normal level of quality work this time was due to his decision to go to EOW too early.

    I have no problem switching over to EOW at the end of the season if the grass growth has slowed down that much. I helps extend the mowing season and not have to do a clean up with grass that is too tall. Making my clean up work easier.

    But going to EOW needs to be based on my judgment not theirs.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  10. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    When the grass "needs" cut is pretty subjective.

    Technically, it doesn't "need" cut until you get the third notice from the municipality. That translates realistically into once every 3-4 months considering how slowly the fines are handled.

    I just cut my lawn on Friday and I think it "needs" cut again tomorrow. (3 days later)

    Some people care about what the lawn looks like - some don't.

    I just had a double whammy in that my truck was out of service for three days last week requiring me to skip quite a few cuts. This just plants the seeds for them to say "Hmmmm... he skipped me last week, why not just go to every other week now?"

    What'cha gonna' do?

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