Impossible Request

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by SW Services, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. SW Services

    SW Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    Had a customer the other day who had what I would like to think of as a time vampire task. He wanted all the propellor seeds off his lawn. I mean every single last one. He wasnt settling for anything less. I do not know how to possible remove every single one. When I was done he was combing the lawn looking for more and kept pointing them out to me asking for them to be removed. There were literally billions all over the lawn. I did my best to remove as much as humanly possible via blowers and vacs but I also could not spend all day on this lawn. Some of them were rotten and already decomposing and were stuck in between every nook and cranny. I told him that to thorougly clean the entire yard I would have to charge a higher rate than a simple leaf removal. I told him I would work out a deal. He said I guess this is good enough then if its going to cost me more. But he didnt seem too happy. I did not lose him as a customer however. In regards to this situation, how would ya'll handle something like this?
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,669

    Ya did the right thing. Time is money. Charge a dollar per minute for special jobs or detail work that cannot be estimated fairly. If you use equipment charge per hour for that, also. Maybe charge enough to pay for the equipment by the end of the year.
  3. SW Services

    SW Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    I factored in the equipment, miles to job, fuel for truck and blowers, and time on job to come up with the estimate. On top of the leaves I also had to mow and fertilize one final time. In my opinion it was a more than fair estimate for the amount of work done. This was the third time this season I have been there in regards to leaves. I have already paid off all my equipment with the exception of the truck. From here out if people have propellor seeds on their lawn I am going to let them know when I do the estimate that I will do my best to remove as many as possible, however, if they want there lawn free of those pesky b'tards its going to reflect in the price. Time is worth too much for me to be on my hands and knees on a 3/4 acre lawn looking for seeds that wont even be there in the spring anyway uless I am being paid for it.
    Are there any techniques that help with the removal of these in case I am confronted with the task in the future?
  4. Barefoot James

    Barefoot James LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    With a lawn vac (Billy Goat) I would charge him by the hour and vac that lawn as long as he wanted. As long as the client is paying by the hour and you have the tools thats why we are here!
  5. SW Services

    SW Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    funny thing is a few weeks ago I was considering a lawn vac. Now, its an excellent idea. I needed one anyway. But, I am sure I can pay it off very very fast on this customers lawn.
  6. Staffordnurseries

    Staffordnurseries LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    What does your contract say is the level of material removed. Your customer seems to be under the impression that you should remove all debris under the current agreement. If it is not stated then perhaps a work order with the level of debris removal is in order
  7. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    you handled it just fine
  8. joel29m

    joel29m LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 658

    the damn same!!!!
  9. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,510

    I don't know if a BG push vac will get all the propeller seeds because I rarely see them here and no customer has ever mentioned them.

    But it is amazing how much more the BG will take out of a lawn that has been bagged. Maybe a power bagger with its own motor or a power bagger running off the deck belt would do just as well.

    One advantage the BG has is you can set the snout low but not have to cut the grass low to get the debris out. For .75 acre you might want the self-propelled model because it does get heavy as it fills.

    Interesting problem you have SW. And of course, more service, more cost to the customer for something that it way beyond a little lanniappe to leave them with a smile.

    But if they are a stickler for absolute perfection, I don't think that can be delivered without going back to slavery.

    I don't know about other push vacs because BG is the only dealer we have here. I also have a Merry Mac self-propelled (bought used) and its a life saver on hills and large areas, but not quite as good at the snout as the BG.
  10. david shumaker

    david shumaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 721

    I have lawns that have those propellor seeds. I tell customers that it would be costly to remove them all and they are satisfied if I get most of them up. I have a Little Wonder Vacum, but even that won't suck up the stuff that is stuck in the dirt. If I had to get them all up, I would have to charge a fortune and my customers would rather me just do a fairly good job at a lower price.

    The few ones I can't get up usually mostly rot and are gone by the next spring.

    Same with leaves. I tell them I can charge more to pick every leaf out of shrubs or leaves stuck in the mud or charge less to get most of the leaves. I have some yards where it would take all day to just get the leaves out that are stuck in the thick shrubs.

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