The 1/3 rd rule and then some!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Shawns Lawns, May 8, 2005.

  1. Shawns Lawns

    Shawns Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 638

    Alot of talk is about not cutting more than 1/3 the length of the grass off at one time for ideal cutting conditions. Then talk about customers that want us to cut once every 2 weeks, once every 3 weeks and the "ohhh uhhh can you cut da grass bout once a mont" ( did that on purpose). So i am just wondering what would happen if you went to your 14 day cutter and cut the first 3 inchs off his 9 inch lawn because this generally is the rule of cutting. And when the customer comes out and asked hey are you gonna cut the grass say yes we did we follow the 1/3 rule of cutting. :waving: I am not saying that i or anyone else on here does this, i am just wondering what customers might think if we did. :D
  2. logan

    logan LawnSite Senior Member
    from FL
    Messages: 315

    We only mow lawns if they agree to an every week service.
  3. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    Interesting & thought provoking,
    I wonder how it would go to slip that into the contract that the customer signs, then when they say something about the length, say well 1/3 is 1/3 so if you want it maintained shorter you will have to agree to more frequent mowing, I f i have to cut more than 1/3, Iwill have to charge a per cut for each 1/3 until it is at the hieght you want, so if I double cut its twice the price.
    I bet that would set some thoughts in line.
  4. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    I don't think Iv'e ever actually been able to follow the 1/3 rule in my life. Tried it at home, mowing twice a week, still taking off 2" per cut and cutting at 3". Even if you never fertilized at all and mowed every 7 days you are going to have more than 1 to 1.5 inches of growth in that amount of time.

    I mow weekely, none of this 10 day, 2 week, once a month, or "can we call you when it needs it?" crap. Granted, I DO have weekely accounts that I will skip a week on here and there due to dry conditions or cold weather preventing it from growing much. Generally it's up to my discression and some want it cut reguardless of wether it needs it or not. Most others a week is PLENTY long enough and really could use a cut after 4 or 5 days, but that kind of schedule would be hell.
  5. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,120

    We offer three services for mowing:

    1.) One time cuts, which are usually charged by the hour and there is a $15 premium because they won't commit to future cuts

    2.) Weekly service, which is never too much growth for a single cut on a bermuda lawn

    3.) Bi-weekly service. This service is only available to customers who promise not to fertilize the lawn during the peak growing season...basically, between May 1 and September 1, fertilizers are off limits. If we show up to mow the lawn and it's grown too much and it takes us extra time, there is only one thing that could possibly cause that: fertilizer. We always tell the customer in our welcome letter that if this happens, we will charge double the normal price for that cut and then notify them by e-mail the day after. If they want to switch to weekly service at that time, they can. All of our bi-weekly customers have promised us they won't fertilize the lawn during the peak growing season.

    Also, when we show up to do the first cut, if it's a jungle and it's going to take longer than a normal cut, we won't do it for the normal cut price. We charge by the hour in this situation. So far, I haven't had a single customer tell us to get lost because we needed to charge hourly for the first cut. I never tried this the first two years because I was so afraid of losing a customer. I am actually surprised at how reasonable most customers are if you just have a little back bone and dictate the terms.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  6. Shawns Lawns

    Shawns Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 638

    Good point but what do you do if you find out the customer is fertilizing? :waving:
  7. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,120

    ++++what do you do if you find out the customer is fertilizing++++

    We charge double the normal rate and e-mail the customer the day after to see if they would like to switch to weekly service.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  8. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,731

    Fired a new one this week for that showed up it was like chem lawn thick lush 12-15 inchs high and she wanted bi weekly. No thank you so now the woman wants to sue me for dumping her it never ends and some are very dim witted guess she hasnt figured out yet I know where she lives not the other way around.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    This time of year, I'd have to mow almost every lawn on an every 3-day cycle to stick to the one-third rule. I don't see that happening.
  10. WoodBrothersLC

    WoodBrothersLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 418

    This year we were trying to get rid of the last of our every other week customers. We are cutting almost every lawn every 7 days, and even double cutting a lot of them. Once the rain starts to become sparse then we'll have 4-5 customers on a 10-14 days cycle. As we grow each year we are trying to rid out those customers, but it just is hard to get rid of 35 bucks here and 35 bucks there especially if the lawns are a 10-15 minute cut.

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