Over grown lawn / should I give up the customer

Brucey

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Upstate NY
Never talk hourly rate targets with clients. It's too complicated to explain that your $50-$60 an hour target includes travel time, equipment/depreciation, gas, insurance etc. I have one client where I charge a straight $50 an hour but that is strictly for me and a backpack blower during leaf season, as the husband sometimes does what he can beforehand so time to completion can vary from 3 to 5.5 hours.

Charge what it costs to mow them, or replace with a bunch of quicker, more profitable jobs.
 

Stripes4daze

LawnSite Member
Location
Wisconsin
Tell them it needs to be cut twice a week. Monday/Friday. I would let them know this, especially if they are loyal. Most likely only need it twice a week during May/June. Some people are clueless and have no idea.
 
OP
J

JakeZBOG

LawnSite Member
I appreciate all the advice. I started off 6 years ago and charged both 35. At the time I was young, hungry, Willing to do anything to get a customer. I also worked for there neighbors which since then am not.
It’s hard to explain. This part of the area I’m located in use to all be farm land and the soil is great! They both fertilize and water, and I cut WEEKLY. It amazing me how it grows so fast in one week. I agree in the hotter months it’s an easier cut but early season it’s a nightmare. If I don’t bag or double cut it looks horrible with clippings everywhere.

one of the two, she got me her daughters lawn. It’s a biweekly cut for $30 but takes about 10-15 minutes to do so I was nice and tried to factor that in aa I make money there but not here type of mind set.

Again great people, great customers, pay weekly.

however never any cleanup work only cuts, and I can’t see them going for a every 4-5 day schedule or being bumped $10-15 a week making both $60 where I’d be happy and shut up lol

I have a Heart and honestly care so much for all my customers. That’s sometimes my demise as I don’t make as much as I should with some. It’s hard to putfeeling aside when I want great relationships with them all but I know as much as I like that, I need money lol

I’ll take all the advice and more advice Is always welcome and appreciated
 

Hurryupelectric

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Charleston
I waited tables for 15 years and as a tipped employee we learn to take the good with the bad. I have definitely taken one for the team on some lawns and it sometimes got me some cake yards. Maybe consider the easy money yards part of the hard ones and look at the group as an average, might even out looking at it that way.
 

Youngandfree

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
VA
Do you know what their watering schedule looks like? It only needs to be watered once/week. You should bump their price a bit because nothing you pay for today costs the same that it did 6 years ago. Especially because you are double cutting and bagging. Bagging is an add on option for a premium. Or its priced as a premium mow if it is bagged everytime, IMO.
 

Brucey

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Upstate NY
I have a Heart and honestly care so much for all my customers. That’s sometimes my demise as I don’t make as much as I should with some. It’s hard to putfeeling aside when I want great relationships with them all but I know as much as I like that, I need money lol
I don't think it's bad to have compassion, and believ in karma. Especially if your schedule isnt completely full, and you are in growth stage, like you say any profit is better than none within reason. Once you are maxed out on capacity, you can consider the less profitable ones for replacement.
 

OakNut

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Pittsburgh PA
I had a customer that I took on that was right between two others I had been cutting for several years. The new people who moved in asked my customer for my number and I gave them a price based on what I had quoted the previous owner before they moved out.

I started mowing and all was well.
Then came the $2 plastic solar lights - in the grass - everywhere.
And the cheesy, metal lawn decorations, and "spinners", and other crap.
THEN they tilled up a large garden area about 25'x40' in the back yard and made it "grass". (the cheapest seed used, producing the worst "grass" I've ever seen - plus it was full of nutsedge)
AND they started paying True Green to "fertilize" a lawn that was in no need of fertilization.

In the end, it all added about 30 minutes onto a 30 minute cut.

I didn't want to lose the customer - nice people and RIGHT THERE where I'm already mowing several other lawns.

I finally talked to him and explained it all. I knew I had to put it in terms that he would understand, because "a few extra minutes here and there" is not something that a customer understands as being a "bad thing".
"I would honestly make more money, if I paid YOU $30 every week to NOT mow your lawn." In the time it takes to mow this lawn, I could mow two others.

He was cool about it. He understood. We parted on a good note and remained friendly, always saying hello afterwards.
 

phasthound

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Mt. Laurel, NJ
I had a customer that I took on that was right between two others I had been cutting for several years. The new people who moved in asked my customer for my number and I gave them a price based on what I had quoted the previous owner before they moved out.

I started mowing and all was well.
Then came the $2 plastic solar lights - in the grass - everywhere.
And the cheesy, metal lawn decorations, and "spinners", and other crap.
THEN they tilled up a large garden area about 25'x40' in the back yard and made it "grass". (the cheapest seed used, producing the worst "grass" I've ever seen - plus it was full of nutsedge)
AND they started paying True Green to "fertilize" a lawn that was in no need of fertilization.

In the end, it all added about 30 minutes onto a 30 minute cut.

I didn't want to lose the customer - nice people and RIGHT THERE where I'm already mowing several other lawns.

I finally talked to him and explained it all. I knew I had to put it in terms that he would understand, because "a few extra minutes here and there" is not something that a customer understands as being a "bad thing".
"I would honestly make more money, if I paid YOU $30 every week to NOT mow your lawn." In the time it takes to mow this lawn, I could mow two others.

He was cool about it. He understood. We parted on a good note and remained friendly, always saying hello afterwards.
You handled that perfectly! :clapping:
 

ArTurf

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Ark
I appreciate all the advice. I started off 6 years ago and charged both 35. At the time I was young, hungry, Willing to do anything to get a customer. I also worked for there neighbors which since then am not.
It’s hard to explain. This part of the area I’m located in use to all be farm land and the soil is great! They both fertilize and water, and I cut WEEKLY. It amazing me how it grows so fast in one week. I agree in the hotter months it’s an easier cut but early season it’s a nightmare. If I don’t bag or double cut it looks horrible with clippings everywhere.

one of the two, she got me her daughters lawn. It’s a biweekly cut for $30 but takes about 10-15 minutes to do so I was nice and tried to factor that in aa I make money there but not here type of mind set.

Again great people, great customers, pay weekly.

however never any cleanup work only cuts, and I can’t see them going for a every 4-5 day schedule or being bumped $10-15 a week making both $60 where I’d be happy and shut up lol

I have a Heart and honestly care so much for all my customers. That’s sometimes my demise as I don’t make as much as I should with some. It’s hard to putfeeling aside when I want great relationships with them all but I know as much as I like that, I need money lol

I’ll take all the advice and more advice Is always welcome and appreciated
There’s ways to fertilize and water without excessive surge growth but we could talk for hours on that. I know you’re probably not in the application or irrigation side of things but if you could control those inputs then the lawn might be more manageable mowing wise. Like you I started out just mowing and dealing with crap like this. I eventually progressed to where I control most of the inputs and life is easier for all.

An example on watering, most will just set a schedule and leaves it at that not really determining the actual needs. Water management is the maybe the most overlooked aspect of lawn care.

There’s also this mindset among both homeowners and applicators that wildly excessive growth is a good thing.

While I know this info won’t help you right now it may be some food for thought in the future.
 

OakNut

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Nobody waters lawns here (except maybe in the high rent parts of the sburbs), but TONS of people buy into the "need" to pay for fertilizing.
All they do is make the grass grow fast. Weed control? Hahahaha!
Customer sees green tall grass and is happy to pay for it.
I see overgrown grass and I get angry.
They will PAY to make the grass GROW faster, but won't pay extra to have it cut extra.
 

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