For you guys that mow churches, you'll love this story!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by CITY PARK CUTTER, Oct 4, 2012.


    CITY PARK CUTTER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    If there's one thing I've learned in business, especially the lawn business and doing work for churches...they are notorious, I mean NOTORIOUS for screwing you over and not batting an eye. I haven't lived the screw job once, oh no...I've lived it multiple times over my 15 years in the business. More times than one would think a church and it's managerial brethren would do to you. I've even brought it up to pastor that church folk are horrible at business relations and will screw up silly over money matters quicker than any other organization on earth, and he agrees with regret.

    Most of my church screw overs take place when I've got the contract for mowing, everybody likes my quality and the sum I work for, it's all going great and then some wiseguy in the church thinks he can do it cheaper. He's privey to my bid, working on church properties or just asks a ton of questions from the church secretary, you can always find out. He doesn't claim to be better, oh's usually about saving the church money or getting in some service hours. Nothing to do with quality upgrade. Always a guy that doesn't quite have the chops for properties of such magnititude as most of my churches are larger, pretty difficult chores. The average professional cutter would be challenged let's say. A novice would get overwhelmed, and all of 'em eventually do just that.

    I've had a 9 acre church in south KC for over 13 years. Love the property, high visibility, looks good when maintained, everybody in the part of town sees it, I take personal pride in this one. It's not just another paycheck you might say. First of April, I get a call from pastor saying that one of the members of the church would like to take a go at this job, buy himself the equipment, and give back. Never done any cutting whatsoever more than his own lawn. Zero commercial experience. The church by-laws state that if one of the church members can do the job for less, he automatically gets to try. At least until failure. Which eventually happens. I explain to the pastor that this has happened on this property once before and the same result will happen once again. This is a tough property. He knew what I was stating was cold, hard fact...but had to give the contract to this guy. There goes $300 every other week of the season!

    Well, yesterday I get a call from the pastor with hat in hand, "Our guy didn't work think you can come by and take over like this experiment never happened?" He also stated that the guy told him early into it that he's in way over his head, looked easier from the street, but wanted to keep his word so he did it as long as he could stay afloat. Where have I heard that line before? Oh park bidding! When will they learn? Answer: never. There's a reason they call us "professionals", ladies and gentlemen out there who are in power positions of the church. You want disappointing results, hire one of your own church members. They'll deliver poor quality, miss cuts, awful edging and trimming, rarely keep the blades sharp and maintain the equipment, and make you wonder why you ever said "yes" to this fool in the first place. Keep the pro who knows how to mow, trim, and blow and let the ninny begging for church work...let him push snow! I don't ever hear anyone begging for that job!!!!
  2. pseudosun

    pseudosun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,739

    Sounds like an okay account because you enjoy it, but i'd be a little ticked that this has happened twice. Anyone can say "i want to try", and you have to sit back and take a cut in income. There's no way to protect yourself?

    CITY PARK CUTTER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    I've had this type of thing happen twice on this account over 13+ years, the money's good, like you stated...I like the property. You can play hardball with churches but really...I don't want to have to answer for that someday with the Big Guy upstairs. Churches and their managerial types are a different breed, kind of usurping normal business practices. Sort of like charitable grounds, you've got to keep your bids in line, keep the quality high and beyond reproach, and communications light and positive. That's why I've kept so many throughout the years in this somewhat volatile category. I can be both honest about who I'm dealing with and cash the checks as well. We all do that to some extent. We know, for instance, that bidding on city contracts will eventually lead to lowballers taking your work, regardless of your quality vs. their quality. We know that. Yet we continue to bid. I know that eventually a church wills screw me over...I'm not whining, I'm telling you and the fans what is reality. I've got an even juicier church story that just happened...concerns a Baptist black church in Raytown, MO...when I get some energy, I'll tell that one...
  4. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    So, you like it.
  5. SouthSide Cutter

    SouthSide Cutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,331

    Seen alot of average Joes who can cut grass just as good as anyone on here. Seen alot of PROS I wouldnt let on my property!!!!
  6. wildstarblazer

    wildstarblazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,058

    I had a similar problem The members get on the board of directors and all of the sudden they want to use their power. People love power. one of the deadly sins.
  7. orangemower

    orangemower LawnSite Silver Member
    from pa
    Messages: 2,768

    After 15 years, you'd think you would expect stuff like this.

    How do you make the church look nice if you only cut EOW?
  8. Curtis

    Curtis LawnSite Member
    Messages: 161

    I understand your pain. I do three churches and their budgets are tight. People just don't give as much or don't come to church. Things like this are in the bible. But you have to have alot of patience in this business or it'll drive you crazy. I'm always getting some new directive from members that come out when you're trying to work, or like you say with a bunch of new directors with power. How can you ever explain the value in your experience when it shows on Sunday morning
  9. pseudosun

    pseudosun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,739

    what about free? That's right, when i worked with a partner, he wanted to take a detour to a medium sized church. We didn't do the whole thing, just the interior courtyards, hard to reach places, etc. I worked for him, so i got paid, but it turned out that volunteers did the work for zero, and it looked horrible.
  10. Groomer

    Groomer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,681

    I used to cut the Vatican, but those da%m lowballers.

Share This Page