Scheduling Efficiency

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Lynden-Jeff, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,405


    I'm trying to figure out the best way to route and schedule my customers when I start my company. I plan to advertise in specific areas and there for possibly schedule Days for certain areas. I'm thinking I will offer weekly and or Biweekly cutting services so I will have 1 day each week for each area. Does anyone else do this? I can cover all of my service area with 5 days I'm pretty sure. Do you guys ask if the customer wants to be home when its done or just tell them a window when you will be there?

    Also as far as billing if I have a customer that has 2 cuts per month would I be better off to invoice at the beginning of the mother (on the first cut of said month) or at the end of the month (last visit of the mother). How long should I give people to pay?

    Thanks guys!

  2. chriscraft

    chriscraft LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    We have 1 route book per day per crew and we work in a circle. Its the most efficient way to get the most homes done per hour. all homes are put in thier area route so if your route is a tuesday and someone in that area wants to be cut on friday it"s tough cookies. You cant make money if you have to drive the same area on different days. Some of our monday friday routes overlap so they can choose a day tho. We bill once a month because weekly costs 4 times as much in postage and is non profitable, plus very time consuming if you are billing hundreds of customers a week. We allow usually 2 weeks after billing to pay before we call them for payment.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I have to do this due to fuel and workload or I would never get anything done, not to mention fuel would go through the roof: I operate on a fuel budget of 100 dollars a week during peak, and it works like this: Fuel budget is 10% of deposit after the deposit is made but max of 100 / week. Things are tight this way, I like that because more profit.

    So, what I do:
    - schedule all same kind of work ALL day, example: MON and TUES all grass-cutting, WED all mulch maybe one hedge trim, etc... but try as much as possible to do one thing all day, then another day either same thing again or something else but always same thing all day <- Very efficient.

    - once you have your props setup for the day's work, either think about their locations and or pull out a map if you need to, and route them like ducks in a row: What I mean is you want to do them one after the other and never have to double back or drive any longer than you need to - It takes some doing but after a while you get better at it and you can just do it automatically but at first you have to write it down on paper for some time so it pays off, even today I still sometimes write down the order of my stops on a spare piece of paper, then follow that so I go either in a big circle or mostly a straight line but never have to go to Canada to get to Mexico, so to speak.

    The night before:
    - UNLOAD your WHOLE truck! Then, load ONLY the stuff you need for the next day and that is all, no extra tools except the emergency stuff (I do carry a whole toolbox with me and belts and parts but no lawnmower if I'm doing mulch, so to speak). This keeps my trailer and truck bed empty and clean and neat looking, very professional and much better than someone carrying the whole store with them because less stuff can get stolen but more important, less crap gets in the way because when you need a tool, it's one of two or three and stuff never gets tangled up, also less maneuvering crap around on the trailer and your mpg is better, it rules!
    After the day is over:
    - If the next day's work is the same as today, your truck is good to go, I do maintenance on the mower while it's on the trailer and see you later.
    - If it's not, unload whatever then reload for the next day.

    Fuel up everything the night before. Carry no fuel onboard thou you might want to carry some mixed fuel - I have a syphon and I only carry a spare quart of mix (in an old quart oil bottle), my weedeater lasts several yards between refills, the blower easily goes all day, most of the rest of the small stuff does, too.
    Straight fuel stays home: My Wb lasts all day on a full tank easy - Do be ready to stop at a service station should you have forgotten to fill up the Wb the night before, but try to remember to fill it up the night before.

    Fuel up once / week: Have a couple 5 gallon cans as spare and fill these up, too. This is what to use the night before to refuel the mower, keep them at home in the shade as this saves trips to the gas station: Stopping for gas wastes time and yes fuel also.
    Carrying extra fuel onboard reduces your mpg, increases the possibility of someone stealing your gas (with the can), and also fuel boils in the hot sun and this reduces your fuel's power (mix fuel is somewhat an exception as the 2-cycle mix is a stabilizer but still).
  4. Evergreenpros

    Evergreenpros LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,154

    Kind of off topic, but I started offering bi-weekly service and have since dropped it and would advise against it. Travel time is the same, cutting takes longer, trimming takes longer, edging takes longer and blowing takes longer. If they want it bagged it will generally take more than 2x as long as weekly because you have to mow much slower or you'll plug your mower.

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