"I have my own dethatcher, it's ok!" lol

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by JFGauvreau, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    Was doing doing some work in my area and decided to go talk to this next door guy see if I could help him out with my services and equipment. He had a pretty healthy KGB lawn but was suffering from very large amount of dead clippings. (I know clippings decomposed over time but his was just going to take an extra 3 weeks to decomposed) So I was going to dethatch it, setting my flail blades higher so its actually just a gentle power rake. His grass was about already 2.5" in height. We had some very very nice weather so the grass has like a 2 weeks advantage over weeds, dandelions are starting to bloom slowly. His grass was nice but could of been thicker. So anyways he said:

    "I have my own dethatcher sir, it's ok, I do it myself, I don't need your service"


    Pass by again a couple a hours ago to the next job. He was cutting his grass and his mower was set to the lowest, something like 1" in height.

    Like wtf where you thinking? Your grass was already in advance, nice and thick, should of left it like that. Dandelions will be out in no time. To me it just seems like a very thin lawn that weeds have plenty of space to infiltrate. Correct me if im wrong but I believe KBG is more healthy and weed resistance when it is kept at 3" if not more. When it is 1" tall in the weeds season, your going to end up with a weak grass and lots of space for weeds.

    He is not the only one, I have seen a couple other guys doing that too lol.
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,814

    Not sure, Gar. Kentucky bluegrass is tight--but perennial ryegrass does not knit together as well. A lot depends on the cultivar or variety of Kentucky bluegrass. The athletic types that are often used on baseball fields and golf courses will be suited to a shorter cut, yet remain dense if cut often, with quality, sharp equipment.

    So sorry, it must be difficult to control weeds and keep lawns looking good without herbicides. A lot depends on what height-of-cut discourages what weeds. And what fertility level discourages what weeds. Dandelions grow low, likewise veronica. I think oxalis, violets and clover might be discouraged by short mowing. What is your experience? Are you hand digging dandelions?

    Are customers accepting of a few weeds now that herbicides have been outlawed in Canada?

    I used to have a couple of earth-conscious customers. One got 10 minutes of hand weeding at every fertilizer application. The second got Quicksilver treatments--because the toxicity is so low, and only a few drops per thousand sqft are needed. Also I agreed to spot spray, because spot spraying uses about a hundred times less chemical.
  3. wrooster

    wrooster LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 79

    I don't understand the amusement factor here.

    First off, as a business owner you must realize that each homeowner's priorities will be vastly different. That is, some want a "golf course fairway" front lawn, and others could not possibly care less about the look of the landscape. Moreover, some folks are willing to make time-vs-money tradeoffs which are simply incalculable to you, because you are running a business and they are running home daycare for 5 and 7 year olds.

    So when you show up randomly and say, "I can do that for you for CAN$xyz, and do it better", the person you are speaking with has a completely different, and perhaps inverse, concept of the value-add that you are offering. They may feel that the look of the turf is "good enough" or even "great", despite what you may think -- because you have different frames of reference. And, as noted above, the person you are speaking with may value money over their time or turf quality; hence, spending a few hours on the lawn means nothing to them. Contrast this to how you would value (and charge for) a few hours on the lawn.

    My point is here that if you want to drum up business using that "hey neighbor" approach, you are first going to have to put your "I know better" ego in your pocket and see instead if you can find an angle that the homeowner is willing to pay for. Something they don't want to do, or don't know how to do. Telling someone who has a dethatcher that they are "doing it wrong" early in your business relationship is just going to lead to failure for the both of you. His lawn still looks like crap, and you don't have the job.

    You should know that the guy's dad taught him how to dethatch, and in the hierarchy of trust his dad is about 39,000 feet higher than you -- the guy who is currently trespassing on his property. :)

    So take a different approach, and make a conversation out of it.

    For example, you could wonder, "How have your results been using granular post-emergent control?" -- but you know that you are going to have to ask that in a way that sounds less medical and more results oriented... "Has the Weed-n-Feed you are using been knocking down the dandelions in your lawn? The reason I ask is because you may see many folks getting their yards sprayed with a liquid weed killer, and that sort of application method gives far better results and in the end can actually be less costly, in terms of efficiently killing weeds like dandelions, than spreading lots of bags of weed killer."

    Some folks are going to respond to this, and others won't. You can't catch all fish (I'm sure you've tried dating the opposite sex once or twice and it's the same story there). But if you keep at it you can get enough fish to eat well. Look at a first step as identifying something that they *don't* want to do, and see if you can make a profit doing it for them.

    This is a better, and easier, play than telling them they are doing something wrong or LoLing about it with your buddies. Everyone is doing something wrong. You are too. If you don't believe that, well the guy above who is dethatching his lawn incorrectly is actually a CPA, and were he to sit down with your tax paperwork he could save you thousands of CAN$ a year.

    Which is an entirely different angle to your sales approach: ask people what they do and figure out how they view others with valuable, specific industry skills. Those folks that know their own limitations and value others expertise will be good customers.


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