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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Basically I'm sick of working Saturdays! All of my mowing is done on Wed-Thur-Fri, any days of heavy rain and I'm behind. In this months invoices I included a survey about services. The questions included ones such as are you happy, rate us and so on. I also asked about mowing schedules, days of the week preferred, and if they would prefer special applications for free with less mowing visits (Primo Maxx).

The results have been interesting. Since I do 100% residential I am figuring a way to get my Thursday-Friday workload lighter, one way is to offer a discount for mowing on Monday & Tuesday, so far half have said they would like a 10% discount and have them mowed on Mon-Tues, great!

Most have said they would like to have the greenest lawn possible and would accept a 10-12 day mowing schedule. Great also!

With the lighter days I can add a lawn or 2 and easily make up for the difference. Also, if I get the lawns all on Primo and only visit every 10-12 days I the cost of the Primo Max will be saved in labor, time, fuel, and such.

I will be converting some over to the new contracts starting in August; will keep posted on how it's going. Could such a survey help balance your schedule better? Hopefully it will mine.
 

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Interesting Ray,
I have mostly residentials also but I do have a couple small commercial. The commercials don't care when its cut as long as its cut. I have 3 out of 25 that want it done on Thurs. or Fri. Two of those three make are a total of an acre of cutting on a riverbank but pay well.
I really think I'd open a can of worms if I asked my other customers a preference because right now most are happy to have it cut when I get there. My schedule at the fire dept. along with rain days can make the schedule quite hectic. I like the flexibility. I do 17 on one day and 8 on Thurs. or Fri. depending on my schedule. (end of week are bigger props). As summer drys out I can push them tight and give myself a 6 day vacation when needed then I can go back to a 7 day cycle. I guess I am lucky that only a couple want the end of week mows.
I definately can see how you can benefit from this. You always seem to be a step ahead of the game. Thanks for sharing.
 

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The survey is a fantastic idea

The thing I like about is that you would then finaly know what's on your customers minds and how they think.

As for the cutting days. My schedule is 3/4 of a day on Monday, those are commercials. Tuesday - Friday residential. No doubt everyone wants their lawn cut on Friday, not pratical. I have maintained the same cutting days for more than 20 years.

My customers know where we are and when to expect us. I often can see the wife or whoever leave to go shopping just as we arrive. In some groupings we see them leave down the street and then return after we completed their home and have moved down the street. Have been told that they schedule their shopping or other appointments around our schedule.

As for the request for later in the week. My response is. "Never knew that the quality of the landscaper was determined by the day they cut" and I leave it at that. Nothing changes :)

I do a monthly company letter that is inserted with the billing. Discusses various points of interest, such as watering needs for the coming month and what services are coming in the month or near future. Also include a status of where were at with scheduled work, if were behind with certain aspects of our service due to rain or other reasons. The letter contains other pertinent information regarding the service, care of their landscape as well as house plant info.

The letter is also a great way for us to sell various services we provide.
 

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No more set days for any customers. We had a few that insisted on Thursday/ Friday. Straight up dropping them was very profitable.

All accounts now understand that they get mowed as needed. Any day, except Sunday. We try to avoid Saturday at residentials, too.

No more squeekers insisting on a set day is wonderful. My routes are not broken up anymore.

They can get a 10% discount for Monday or Tuesday if they want. All they have to do is shop around and find someone else who is 10% cheaper.

KB
 

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we always send out two surveys during the year. One in the middle part of the season and one at the end of the season. The results are interesting and areas where you think you do the best in, actually receive the worse score
 

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KirbysLawn,

I like the idea of your survery, however don't let your customers run your business...you have to run it. We cut lawns on Tues, Wed, and Thurs.....friday is our mowing catch up day if need be. These additions you talked about sound good, just make sure the bottom line is improved. We mow on the days its convenient for us, while we are a service business, we won't bend over backwards for people because most of the time it isn't worth it.
 

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KirbysLawn,
You mentioned a 10 to 12 day mowing schedule, that's interesting. Would you mind going into details of the pros/cons from your view point.
Do you not have any problems with this in prime growing season or rainy times of fast and sudden growth.
 

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Originally posted by Rustic Goat
KirbysLawn,
You mentioned a 10 to 12 day mowing schedule, that's interesting. Would you mind going into details of the pros/cons from your view point.
Do you not have any problems with this in prime growing season or rainy times of fast and sudden growth.
Primo.

Also, what did the customer say who you mow on Thurs/Fri------on a 10-12 day schedule it wont always be on these days.
 

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I prefer the flexibility that no set days of the week mowing allows me, and I also primarily just mow, so I have to work every day, not just mowing towards the end of the week. Only a handfull of customers over the years have ever indicated a preference for a specific day, but I try to put the higher end properties later in the week anyway, and anyone who isn't weekly for any reason automatically goes to Monday-Tues. Having set service days would have me jumping through hoops and add more stress when weather or breakdowns prevents sticking to a schedule. If they expect you on Thursday, expect to get a call if you don't show on Thursday. If they just know you'll be there before the weekend, they're more relaxed about it, I think.

I also know that weather means some lawns can be mowed after a rain, and others need more time to dry out, so remaining flexible on mowing days helps there too. I do the "high n' dry" lawns right after the rains, and then the "swampy" ones after things have dried out more.

Finally, though I usually stick to a schedule that keeps visits 6-8 days apart, it's good to be able to get back to a fast growing lawn a day early to catch up, or push a slow growing lawn back a day if you have other more pressing lawns to do first.

My strategy is similar, but different, in that instead of discounting 10% for a early-week mow, I would charge a little extra to mow "by appointment" in the prime late-week mowing slots. But once you set someone up on a schedule, it's hard to change w/o offering them a discount.

On warm season turf like Bermuda or Zoysia here, the lawns actually look a little more natural and greener a couple of days after mowing, so nobody seems to mind. Tall Fescue, on the other hand, can look tall 2 or 3 days later, but those are usually the less formal landscapes here anyway, and nobody cares much.

The higher up in price the homes are, the more people are used to having just what they want when they want it, but that's not really my niche. I do a few expensive homes, but even they are pretty easygoing about their yards.
 

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Originally posted by tiedeman
we always send out two surveys during the year. One in the middle part of the season and one at the end of the season. The results are interesting and areas where you think you do the best in, actually receive the worse score
How true. It's always about customer expectations. Properly gauging that when giving a bid can be very important. Some people are perfectionists and want perfect lawns. Others have told me things like "I would kill it all if I could, just hack it down so the neighbors don't complain". Taking a little extra time to figure them out early on can make for a smoother relationship.

Day before yesterday a customer's husband came out and I met him for the first time. Their lawn was rutted from poor sod installation and the Bermuda has "cupping" from the ruts in spots, so I expected to start hearing about that. To my surprise, he was very friendly, complimented my work, and told me the lawn looked better than it ever had and that his neighbors asked for my card. It's all about exceeding expectations while making a profit. The same lawn can require twice the expense to get the look the customer desires.

This is one reason why I stick to mid-level homes. I don't have the low-cost labor to do the little things that top quality landscapes require, use reel mowers or small deck mowers, and by sticking to lawns I can use my better equipment on, I let the machines do the work, not me. I think it's important to figure out what niche' you want to serve before buying equipment and staffing your business. Some guys love the detail work and long 3 hour sessions on a single lawn for a relatively high price. I don't.
 

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I mow any day of the week it's not raining, lately, and any set schedule I had went out the window before the season started. I don't promise days anymore, it just causes problems. If I did, everyone would want Thurs or Friday, and I can't do that. What I tell them is someone has to be first, someone has to be last.

I just dealt with a very irate customer today who prefers me to come on Thursdays, and told me Saturdays won't do. Since she's been a PITA for a while, and a thorn in my side this year, I told her I can't promise her Thursdays and that she was free to look for another LCO that could.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, most lawns I mow are in golf communities and I get a good price for my services. I am finding with my work schedule at Medic (working 12 hour nights) when I work Wed I sleep most of the day Thurs, then go to work Thurs night and work all day Friday and I'm dead tired my night, I'm sick of it.

With the questions asked in the survey it gives me several options:

  1. Give a discount and move the willing ones to Mon-Tues-Wed and keep my sanity.
  2. For the ones wanting the best lawn and would accept a 10-12 day schedule, place them on Primo at my cost and work less.
  3. Keep things the way they are now and go crazy
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    Asking the questions give me a feel for what they would tolerate, since I feel I get fair prices and these are existing customers I do not feel charging them 10% more for Friday mowing would be acceptable...maybe for all new ones.
 

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Originally posted by GLAN
Discount for doing the weekly on a Monday or Tuesday?

Is your work done differently on Tuesday than a Friday?
Wed-Thurs-Fri are prime days of the week.

I happen to charge more for them over Mon-Tues. I also do not give the option, they don't know that I do it.

Nobody wants their lawn mowed on Monday. Everyone wants it on Friday, but that's impossable.
 

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Its a good idea if it is done to strengthen customer relations.In a golf course community it might work.Where people tend to want a higher grade of lawn.Since we do mainly commercial and deal with new property mangers every year it seems.There only concern is how much of a % they spend with us yearly.I understand Ray that your schedule is overwhelming and you have to make it easier each year.Time is money.More business fail each year for time mangement than anything else.So anyway you can improve your time load the better off you are.
 

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Originally posted by LAWNGODFATHER
Wed-Thurs-Fri are prime days of the week.

I happen to charge more for them over Mon-Tues. I also do not give the option, they don't know that I do it.

Nobody wants their lawn mowed on Monday. Everyone wants it on Friday, but that's impossable.
Interesting.
Problem where I am is that there are so many companies out there for one thing. People do change for a dollar difference. Those are not what we want. However.

Much of our growth is from referal. Friends, family, neighbors and they all talk. I couldn't charge a Tuesday customer less than one we do on Friday. The Friday customer would want the same price as the Tuesday.

I am not going into a discussion with them about the end of the week being premium or the chance they would want it done on Tuesday.

My routes are set up and that is just the way it is. I wrote something like this before. I never knew that the quality of the work was dependent on the day of the service.
 

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We try to get some people in during particular days of the week, but we don't charge more for it. We also tell them though that its not for certain. Weather affects scheduling and you can't always get what you ask for.
 

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GLAN, the problem I run into the most, is new customers want to be done on Friday, when we aren't even in the area, so something had to be done.

I have to make it worth while to go back in an area for 1 lawn.
 
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