One-Time Cuts

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by TGCummings, Apr 4, 2002.

  1. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773

    I don't do 'em.

    I used to do 'em, but now I don't. I've been getting a lot of calls about them lately, along with calls to just edge one time or just trim one time, but I've turned them all away. I'm a full-service weekly and biweekly lawn care professional, the way I see it, and taking on these time-consuming one-time jobs just interferes with my schedule.

    I've turned a few of these requests into quotes for full-time service, but I haven't taken on any one-timers this year at all.

    And I don't plan to.

    Do you? Maybe I'm being too hard line about it, but what do I tell the customer? I'll do it one time, but only when everything else is done for the week? If I'm running behind, you get done at the end of next week?

    Or, do I tell my regular customers that the reason I'm running behind a day on their yard is because I took on a one-timer that took too long?

    I've no problem with putting new customers in my regular rotation, because I know they'll keep panning out week after week, month after month, and, hopefully, year after year.

    But I don't see the benefit of one-time clean up jobs.

    Do you?

    BAMARED LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    It just all depends on so many different variables: Size of your co., your schedule, how hungry you are, etc. Personally, I'll bid these jobs high and if I get it then I work it in. But I'm a one man, small operation. From the sounds of your schedule and work load, I feel like you are making the best decision to turn these one-timers away, politely, after explaining to them why you avoid them. Surely they can understand this. If not, then you didn't want them as a customer anyway.


  3. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 648

    I'm new so I don't have much experience to go on. I believe that I will take one timers if I can fit it in.

    I will probably also try to quote a higher price than normal. If they go for the higher price and I have time, great, if not, they can find someone else.

    I figure if I have time, I might as well take the work and the money.

    I can see a different viewpoint when I get closer to a full schedule.
  4. TJLC

    TJLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,308

    I sometimes do one time cuts. I prefer not to, so I price them according to the condition they are in at that time. I had one, the guy said it wasn't too bad. When I went to look at it I said "How long has it been since this was last mowed". He replied "about 2 yrs! It took me about 2 hrs to mow (10,000 sf.) and make look nice. I charged him $100.00 and he was glad to pay it. That was the worst I've ever done. It made me realize why I use commercial equipment.
  5. sunrise

    sunrise Banned
    Messages: 247

    they just want you to do the hard work to get the lawn in to mowing shape so they can get jr to mow it with the push mower
    I don't do it at all.
  6. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773

    Well, I don't have a full schedule. I usually have some time to fill every week, and we are looking to add another full day or so of work in the next couple of months.

    However, I think it's as much an image thing as anything else. I want potential customers to know my time is valuable, just like theirs. I've closed a few regular deals just by telling customers they couldn't have me "every so often". Some want to call me just when they're on vacation, or whatever, and that isn't the way I operate. I want the schedule I set to be drawn up, decided, and adhered to. If they want my equipment and expertise they need to sign up to my service. I guess I'm a little arrogant in that way. :)

    Also, I look ahead to when I'm running crews and I don't want my guys running off schedule for quick side cuts. I'm setting a precedent and a reputation for my business and that doesn't include off-schedule cuttings. Know what I mean?
  7. SLS

    SLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mars
    Messages: 1,540

    Yep, I know what you mean. :)

    I don't do them either...or take on new bi-weeklys.

    I do not have time to flex my schedule anymore for 'one timers' regulars are my priority...especially my weeklys.

    I've only have 2 bi-weekly customers left from my first year but they are easy (shady/slow growing) and the money is good...the rest have hit the highway. I eliminated them as weeklys came in...and doubled my money for the month.

    If twice a month is all that they can afford then they are usually price shoppers anyway and NEVER want extras, like mulch and least in my area. :rolleyes:
  8. eslawns

    eslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 712

    I do them. I even advertise for it. I also charge $10-$20 more for it.

    Also, I won't edge unless there is a defined edge already, I won't bag clippings because they didn't mow for 3 weeks, and I get my money IN ADVANCE!!! I explain all this (or my wife does) on the phone, and have yet to have a problem. I also do short term arrangements, like for somebody who goes on vacation. A lot of people who enjoy taking care of their own lawn will call me every year for vacation or when they travel.

    IMO, this is a very profitable thing to do if you can sidestep the hazards.
  9. Mykster

    Mykster LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 668

    I've only had one of these one timers. I charged this guy what I would've charged him monthly. I mowed, he paid.
  10. James234

    James234 LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 59

    I don't care how big or how small, I ALWAYS do the first cut for free. In my experience (23 years) 92.34% become new full time customers. Just a little advice.

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