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I see people on here cutting 50% of their lawns during droughts and calling those cutting during droughts idiots. We are not idiots, we enjoy making money. Do you get paid for skipped cuts? If you don't, then why not just set the blades higher in anticipation of slow growth? That way it will need cutting every time. Even if I don't anticipate and raise blades, I have cut lawns when actually engaging blades made VERY little difference in the cut, it was mostly just fresh stripes on the lawn. Unless the customer calls and cancels, they are billed weekly. LCO's get hurt enough by the rain, why let the sun bring you down too?

Even if the grass grows 1/2" it's getting cut. If you skip a week you are not only making no money that week you are losing money by having to spend increased time cutting a jungle two weeks later.

We don't use contracts in our company. Am I missing something here?
 

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south jerz said:
I see people on here cutting 50% of their lawns during droughts and calling those cutting during droughts idiots. We are not idiots, we enjoy making money. Do you get paid for skipped cuts? If you don't, then why not just set the blades higher in anticipation of slow growth? That way it will need cutting every time. Even if I don't anticipate and raise blades, I have cut lawns when actually engaging blades made VERY little difference in the cut, it was mostly just fresh stripes on the lawn. Unless the customer calls and cancels, they are billed weekly. LCO's get hurt enough by the rain, why let the sun bring you down too?

Even if the grass grows 1/2" it's getting cut. If you skip a week you are not only making no money that week you are losing money by having to spend increased time cutting a jungle two weeks later.

We don't use contracts in our company. Am I missing something here?
If you were in a real drought, and the grass just grows 1/2" each week, then in 2 weeks the grass would grow 1", give or take.

The reason behind using contracted rates, is that it should state the grass will be kept at a height of, say, 3-5". Now, if you mow one week at 3", and it's only growing 1/2" / week, then 3 weeks later it would be at 4 1/2", and still inside the 3-5" margin stated in the contract. Obviously it's going to start to look a little shaggy by now, especially if the account isn't on a weed control program, but that's not what's outlined in the contract.

Now you've gone 3 weeks and still received the same pay as mowing every week without doing any work. No work but still getting paid = more money on the bottom line, pretty simple.

Plus, each time you run over a dry yard, leaving your stripe, where the tire track was, that grass is being bent over, increasing the risk of damage by bringing on even more sunlight to the grass.
 

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At this time of the year, "jungles" don't happen in two weeks.

Navigating your mower across a dry lawn with no growth, when the days are hot, not only damages the turf, but damages your reputation with the customer. No, not all customers are aware of your ploy, but most are and most likely they will be former customers soon.

Yes, skipping cuts hits the revenue stream, but that is part of the risk of being in a business that is closely related to weather conditions. If the risk isn't worth it, then another business unrelated to weather is a better fit.
 

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Roger said:
At this time of the year, "jungles" don't happen in two weeks.

Navigating your mower across a dry lawn with no growth, when the days are hot, not only damages the turf, but damages your reputation with the customer. No, not all customers are aware of your ploy, but most are and most likely they will be former customers soon.

Yes, skipping cuts hits the revenue stream, but that is part of the risk of being in a business that is closely related to weather conditions. If the risk isn't worth it, then another business unrelated to weather is a better fit.
What he said.
 

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In a real dry summer here, the fescue doesnt grow at all and unless the customer waters/fertilizes, then the bermuda doesnt either.

I refuse to run my mower over their lawn when I cant even tell where Ive cut. Thats ripping off the customer. Money lost to me? Sure. But that doesnt give me the right to charge them for something not needed.
 

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u will see that when your overhead reaches a certain point that not cutting lawns really hurts. Some of us are at a point where if we dont cut it hurts a lot. What we do if a lawn is burned out is still cut but do a real bang up job with edging and whiping weeds out of cracks and stuff so we still earn our money
 

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all of our contracted customer pay wether it gets cut or not. Its not my fault the grass isn't growing. But I should state that we do alot of "freebies" for them at their request. Numero uno is having a good relationship with your customers.
 

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Roger said:
At this time of the year, "jungles" don't happen in two weeks.

Navigating your mower across a dry lawn with no growth, when the days are hot, not only damages the turf, but damages your reputation with the customer. No, not all customers are aware of your ploy, but most are and most likely they will be former customers soon.

Yes, skipping cuts hits the revenue stream, but that is part of the risk of being in a business that is closely related to weather conditions. If the risk isn't worth it, then another business unrelated to weather is a better fit.
.............Amen!
 

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You can war with customers all the time and insist on getting paid even if it doesn't need mowing, or mowing when it absolutely doesn't need it, or you can price your service accordingly to cover the known phenomena of occassional droughts, and cut them some slack. Some take the hardline path, others the easygoing one. I think that the small loss of income is offset by the increased customer retention, goodwill, and ease of signing up new business (since you're not hitting them with what they may see as onerous conditions) In the long run, it's probably a wash in terms of revenue.

Much of this comes with experience, you learn when you need to price a little higher or lower, depending on the type lawn you are bidding. Obviously one with an irrigation system won't have this problem, yet may have some times of the year when it takes longer than a non-irrigated one to mow due to faster growth.

One easy solution to this is to offer other services in lieu of mowing if they request it during droughts. Just provide an equal $ amount of other work. There is almost always something that needs doing on a yard.

But I would like to add one thing, and that is that so many guys get into this with dreams of riches, and this is just not that kind of business. It is mundane and established, with low barriers of entry, not something innovative and new where you can corner the market and rake in the cash. If you cannot make a profit you find acceptable with reasonable business practices (hiring legal workers, treating customers fairly, paying taxes, being responsible, etc) then please do the rest of us a favor and just go sell used cars or something.
 

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I skip lawns that don't need cut and I do not charge. That is one reason why I have never had to advertise for more business. I do however, in my contact have a clause that states additonal charges may be applied, if the following week requires more work due to the previous skip........ No complaints and most times there is additional trimming or double cutting due to the 2 weeks of growth. So the loss for skipping in most cases is 1/2 the regular weeks rate.

Not a big deal to me. If I am not mowing I have no problem lining up other maintenance jobs. They pay the same or better than mowing anyway.....


Derek
 

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south jerz said:
I see people on here cutting 50% of their lawns during droughts and calling those cutting during droughts idiots. We are not idiots, we enjoy making money. Do you get paid for skipped cuts? If you don't, then why not just set the blades higher in anticipation of slow growth? That way it will need cutting every time. Even if I don't anticipate and raise blades, I have cut lawns when actually engaging blades made VERY little difference in the cut, it was mostly just fresh stripes on the lawn. Unless the customer calls and cancels, they are billed weekly. LCO's get hurt enough by the rain, why let the sun bring you down too?

Even if the grass grows 1/2" it's getting cut. If you skip a week you are not only making no money that week you are losing money by having to spend increased time cutting a jungle two weeks later.

We don't use contracts in our company. Am I missing something here?
I guess I spent too long in retail. I used to work in the grocery business and now I have a hard time not trying to sell value to the customer. I also do not use binding contracts because I feel that if I do a good job at a resonable price and represent value to the customer I will keep thier business in the long run. If a lawn does not need servicing I do not service it, period. When I was in the grocery biz, if a customer didn't need food this week, guess what? They did not come in and buy any. But if we represnted value by providing good food at a resonable price they will be back when they do need the groceries. We couldn't force them to pay us every week or even to contract to buy from us exclusively. We just had to hope we were doing something right so they keep coming back.
 

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It has always been our policy to only cut the yards when they need it not because we have a contract and want the $$$. It is all about taking care of the customer.

I remember one time that a customer told me that their previous LCO had to cut it every week because he could not change the deck height. We ended up cutting the yard every 2 to 3 weeks based on grass growth. That one customer lead us to 11 more customers in the area.
 

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Isn't a drought considered bad weather? Mowing in a drought would be like snowplowing their bare driveway on a sunny day. How can you charge a customer for a product that is not needed?
 

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My hat off the the LCO's who realize that this is a customer service business and if you do right by them, they tend to help your business grow.
Where I'm at, if you mow during a drought you will kill the grass.
Do you think that customer will retain your services after you have turned their sod to dust? And lawsuit??
There are always other services to provide your customer that may not be as easy as piloting the big mowers but will gain customer loyalty in the long run.
JMHO.
 

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DRM Ventures said:
I skip lawns that don't need cut and I do not charge. That is one reason why I have never had to advertise for more business. I do however, in my contact have a clause that states additonal charges may be applied, if the following week requires more work due to the previous skip........ No complaints and most times there is additional trimming or double cutting due to the 2 weeks of growth. So the loss for skipping in most cases is 1/2 the regular weeks rate.

Not a big deal to me. If I am not mowing I have no problem lining up other maintenance jobs. They pay the same or better than mowing anyway.....
Derek
Derek,

In you first line you said "I skip lawns that don't need cut and I do not charge" then you say this " I do however, in my contact have a clause that states additonal charges may be applied, if the following week requires more work due to the previous skip........ " Is it just me or are you charging them for the decision you made the previous week to skip the lawn. If you need to charge something extra because you skipped the week before maybe you should have cut that week. I feel if you skip a lawn one week and then the next week you have to double cut that is your fault not the customers. UNLESS they called you to skip that week then yes you should get a little more if you need to double cut.

JP
 

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typical fool replies. don't cut when it's not growing alot, and don't charge extra when it IS GROWING alot, and you have to double, tripple cut. are all lawn boys poor businessmen? or do only poor businessmen, become lawnboys? yup, i cut it, even if i can't see any dust at all comming out the discharge shoot, i just run it over and go
 

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Should your price not take into consideration double cuttings? If you have to double and tripple cut all the time then you are not out every week taking care of you customers. If they are growing that fast then you should be out every 4 or 5 days.
 

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Why would you think that if a lawn doesn't grow enough to cut one week that the next week it would miraculously grow enough to need a double cut? Some of you must have a different definition of what is fair and ethical in business practice. How can you charge someone for a service that you don't perform? The service you are providing is to cut the grass not run qualifying laps around their property. Why even turn the blades on? Just save the wear and tear on the equipment and idle around the yard. You can mow over a lawn with no visible discharge from the chute and charge the customer because you decided to waste fuel?

I let my customers know from day one that if their yards don't need mowed then I won't be around to charge them from something that is not needed just to line my pockets. That's what I feel is ethical and fair and I sleep well at nights because of it.

I know I'm going to regret adding this to the listing for all the incidjuous (sp) remarks that it will suck to it by folks justifying their actions, but I just can't believe you can legitimately charge people for a placebo service.
 

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gl1200a said:
Why would you think that if a lawn doesn't grow enough to cut one week that the next week it would miraculously grow enough to need a double cut? Some of you must have a different definition of what is fair and ethical in business practice. How can you charge someone for a service that you don't perform? The service you are providing is to cut the grass not run qualifying laps around their property. Why even turn the blades on? Just save the wear and tear on the equipment and idle around the yard. You can mow over a lawn with no visible discharge from the chute and charge the customer because you decided to waste fuel?

I let my customers know from day one that if their yards don't need mowed then I won't be around to charge them from something that is not needed just to line my pockets. That's what I feel is ethical and fair and I sleep well at nights because of it.

I know I'm going to regret adding this to the listing for all the incidjuous (sp) remarks that it will suck to it by folks justifying their actions, but I just can't believe you can legitimately charge people for a placebo service.
Go and acquire a Wal-Mart. They want equal payments over a set period of time in their own contract.

I used to do 15 Taco Bells, again equal payments monthly.

It's called setting a budget for a business.

I do 98% commercial, so it's fairly easy to sell on a set fee. The 3 houses I do, are people that I do the business for, so they're already on board with how I charge.

The school district I do, same thing, equal payments. About 80% of the district is not irrigated, so right now we're mowing 20%, still taking in 100% of the pay.

I base all my contracts on 22 mowings / year.

Last year we mowed 26 weeks. Basically I worked a month for free.

This year I'm skipping yards and making the money back. It all averages out in the end, however I have the same cashflow from month to month to month, so I can set my own budget to a "T".
 
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