the lawnman's "one more" rule

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mbricker, Jul 24, 2004.

  1. mbricker

    mbricker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    The lawnman's "one more" rule goes like this:

    "Mister (or Lady) if you plant one more stinkin' shrub I gotta weedeat around, or put out one more tacky lawn ornament, or do something that causes one more riding mower area to become a walking mower area, or that causes one more walking mower area to become a trimmer area, you get yersef another lawn boy!

    "The principle behind the "one more" rule is as follows: You got the right to put any stupid thing you want in your yard. I got the right to care for only those lawns I can do in an amount of time commensurate with the rate I am charging you. And further advance notice will not be given for invoking the "one more" rule."

    This has come about because of about 7 customers, who are always out piddling and diddling in their yards plantin stuff where no one else would think it looks good, and these are all among the customers I just raised the price on beginning of the season. So I kind of feel like raising the price again would just lose the customer anyway.

    Actually, it occurred to me I would send that notice to all 73 of my customers, and tell them "some of them" are on the "list" and see how many just drop me--cause I got too much to do anyway.

    Not really, but I would rather vent here than to my dear sweet customers!
  2. jestermg

    jestermg LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    will you weed around any newly planted grape vines at no extra charge?

  3. Evergreenpros

    Evergreenpros LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,154

    If you just talk to your customers usually they'll understand. They get their lawn cut and pay somebody to do it. Your customers really don't care nor are concerned with your level of profit. When you buy a Big Mac are you concerned about how much money the McDonalds franchise or Corp makes????

    Just tell them nicely that since you have to cut it by hand, instead of with a rider, this will effect the price by $X.XX per visit/month or whatever. They may say "ok, np I'll pay extra"
  4. mbricker

    mbricker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    Evergreen, for some of these customers, yes, a little calm discussion and I'm sure they would have little objection to a modest increase.

    But then there's the gal who has already told me I am taking advantage of her because she is an old widow lady--she absolutely cannot understand why I charge her $5 more per cut than her next door neighbor whose lot is "exactly the same size."

    The neighbor's privacy fence has a gate large enough for my ZTR. This dear old widow lady has a 40" gate and will not let me build her a double gate, so the wb has to be used on her back yard. And she thinks the extra $5 is a rip-off.

    I do not know how to overcome that kind of density.
  5. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Mbricker. can I relate to this thread.
    yard 1) $35 yard 50 minute yard. Customer adds steping stones (over 100) first week, few weeks later added dozens of lawn ornaments. I could not hardly do it with a push mower, much less ztr. When I discussed having to go up they told me they would not pay another penny than the 35. 35 seconds later they watched me drive away with no mow.

    yard 2) 40$ yard. This spring customer adds a dam sidewalk from his front porch to his drive, 75 ft, kong and 34 inches from the front of house. Had to do it with push mower. last month he added another sidewalk from his backdoor to front drive and its only 19 inches from house and 50 feet long, has to be weedeated, This yard has had a total of 25 extra minutes added to it, so next week he gets another price increase.
    yard3) on river, keeps adding sandbags and crossties to stop erosion plus added a huge gravel driveway. Extra time, 1 hour on a stinking $40 yard. I am droppping this one as of August 1.

    Quality Lawn Care

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Last year, one of my favorite customers was having a new patio installed in her backyard. The old one was brick, all uneven. It was surrounded by one big mulch bed with a lot of bushes & plants.

    Come back to mow the next week, new patio is in, but ALL the bushes & plants have been transplanted all along the fenceline, about 2 feet out. Mega-trimming. Mega-PITA. At least she let me raise the price. I've also offered to create one long mulch bed to incorporate all these bushes for next season.
  7. mbricker

    mbricker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    Hoolie, about 4 years ago I acquired a customer with a wide lot, probably 160', and a chain link fence along the back with about 30 shrubs along it. I asked if they would like me to install an edging and mulch along the entire fence to enclose the shrubs. because I had to use trimmer for the grass growing between the shrubs, a strip about 3' x 160'. I gave them all the pitch about how the shrubs would benefit from not having to compete with the grass for water, and how the mulch would also reduce the need for watering. Anything I said about reducing MY effort was downplayed.

    Price I quoted was "too high, I guess we'll just live with what we've got." Except "we" wasn't having to do the trimming, "I" was.

    So finally in desperation, I offered to install the edging for cost of the materials only, and they could do the mulch themselves. Because I really wanted to keep that particular lawn as it was perfect fit in the day I scheduled it. At this point I was telling them I hoped to recoup the installation costs with reduced trimmer time over the next couple years.

    So they agreed and I installed it. The guy even gave me $50 extra for my labor (about 4 hours, as I remember)

    This was done in March, well before the first mowing was needed (Bermuda) By the time I came for the first mowing, they had added a trellis with a couple of rose bushes about a foot and a half out from another chain link fence, and in a corner about 2' out from the fences, a large clump of crepe myrtle!

    BTW, I still do their mowing.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981


    That sucks, man. At least my customer realized the point I was making. She said the whole time her hubby was moving the plants, she told him she didn't think my machine could fit around them.

    I think her wooden swingset gives me more trimming problems than her bushes, though. Hate those things!
  9. moneyman

    moneyman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 136

    oh, yeah its sucks to actually have to work

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