Mowing when too "wet"

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mwalz, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. mwalz

    mwalz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,178

    I have this high end residential yard. The front of the property, sides, and 3/4 of the back are dry even a day after it rains. the problem with his yard is that the back is on a hill, and there is a drain at the bottom. The thing is if i wait til the whole back yard dries, then the grass will be 1' tall. And i know he wants it cut every week. He texted me today and said it was too wet to cut yesterday. I assume because i left a couple ruts in his lawn on accident. I only put the mower down as far down the hill as i could go without rutting. The only problem is when i made a turn at the bottom the 2 front caster stuck out and left some good ruts, more or less made the grass brown because of the mud there was also another place where i thought it was dry, turns out it wasn't. I end up trimming 1/4 of his back at the bottom each time. I texted him back at 9am and he hasn't replied when he usually replies within an hour.I don't want to loose the account but what would be some good strategies to avoid this?

    I currently have to cut it on Tuesday mornings because i work a second job in the afternoon that can't be worked around and it is always wet. So i asked him if i could get to it on Fridays in the afternoon so there is a better chance of it drying out. here is a pic for reference. You can see the bottom of the hill to the right and it is a hell of a big hill. the pic is from last week. This week i had to cut it a different direction so that's why the casters went in to the wet spot on it. Sorry for the long post but i really don't want to loose him as a customer. And i would like some help with suggestions.

  2. newguy123

    newguy123 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,096

    From what I see; hardly anything for him to complain about, but people always do. I think you asking him to come on Friday would be the best option; if he doesn't want you to cut cause it's wet that's understandable. But you're the business owner; yes you "service his lawn," but he's not your BOSS if you know what I mean. Just flat out tell him; I'll be here Friday; don't even let him say no. Especially being you have a second job; you don't have time for him to say no. You're in charge buddy...
  3. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,286

    OP I feel your pain. It has been very wet here this year and we have had to cut in less than ideal conditions.
    When the turf is soft, nothing you can do will make the cut 'perfect'. Customers have GOT to understand that OR you do not want them as a customer. I have had a few who have Nit Picked me when they see a few greasy spots in the turf. They are no longer my customers because they are not reasonable. I mean what the heck, I either mow it when I can OR it gets a foot tall and then you have a real mess. Some customers get to telling you when to come. Sorry, DROP!

    If the guy starts giving you crap unreasonably, drop him.
    Your cut looks pretty darn good to me.
  4. S&S Lawn ServiceLLC

    S&S Lawn ServiceLLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 159

    I agree, your work looks just fine.
    What I do on a wet ground is mow a way that you won't have to get yourself in a bind on your turn arounds.With that being said, what's the problem with that pic? Nothing.Like previous comment, your the boss, your doing the best you can under the circumstances. If he can't understand that then he is looking for a reason to make a change.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    Hate that crap, more than anything because it is probably completely preventable.
    I've mowed yards so wet there was standing water.
    So wet it left ruts that you mow cross-wise it feels like a tractor tilled it.

    I didn't use to get mad, I used to believe that nonsense about drainage and such...
    I have ONE yard out of 60+ in which it is truly a drainage issue (but it only happens when it rains a LOT and that makes sense).
    Now it's not that it irritates but so much, however having to PUSH a 500 pound mower through a wet area to prevent getting stuck on a 98 degree day when there isn't any standing water anywhere... When most yards are so dry the soil is cracking...

    It prompted me to do further research...

    In most cases I have found it is an issue to do with an unbalanced irrigation system meaning the Homeowner needs to turn DOWN the timers corresponding to the ZONES that are affecting the muddy areas. Nothing at all to do with drainage, it has to do with an adjustment to the irrigation system controller.
    Getting them to do it and then have it done right, that's another story.
    Reason I hate it.

    Oh believe me, I'm well versed on irrigation timer controllers.
    Still some won't let me near due to pride issues, they won't admit they either don't know how to do it themselves...
    The joy.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  6. mwalz

    mwalz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,178

    I really do appreciate the feedback guys. This pic was from last week when it was actually wetter. Up by his house(i took the pic from by the drain) was really soft, and he didn't complain because either he didn't notice any ruts, or he didn't care. This week it was right in the center off the lawn. So maybe it was noticeable. I'm going to give him a call tomorrow hopefully if i can get a lunch break around noon from my other job if he hasn't texted back. Still sucks i have to use the trimmer on 1/4 of his lawn, but the job must get done!....Not to mention that hill in the back that has to get trimmed every time...Takes as long to trim as it does to cut.
  7. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,286

    Charge him extra for the hand trimming.
  8. mwalz

    mwalz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,178

    Well then he will probably have someone else do it, it really doesn't take that long, only about 5-10 mins. Not enough really for me to charge more. It's just a pain, and today i didn't get home til 8 and i worked all day, and did not get one chance to call him all day. I will Saturday.
  9. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    The best way to handle a problem?

    Is to prevent it from happening.

    You know that an area is a problem because it will rut you get the 21" mower out and do that area everytime.

    Also if there are sprinklers I would ask if he can shut off the system on the day that you mow. A lawn should not burn up if it gets watered six out of seven days.
  10. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    We have a couple yards like that, one is such a big area it's not even feasible to weed whip it. Even push mowers sink down and scalp.... We just skip and get it next week. Nice thing is even if it's rutted when we are done, it's so water logged it will be fine in a couple days
    Posted via Mobile Device

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