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The Public

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MOturkey, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    I already know I'm going to catch some flak with this post, as there will be some who will think I'm in the wrong, but it was just too "funny" not to post. I was working outside yesterday morning, getting ready to head out mowing, when my wife brought me the phone. A guy, Jeff, asked who he was speaking to, and I told him my name. He said he saw my "mowing" sign in my yard, and that his mower was in the shop, and he needed someone to mow for "two or three times", until his mower was fixed.

    I told him I really appreciated him calling, but that I simply don't do temporary work like that anymore, and only take on regular maintenance accounts, but there are several here who probably would. Thanking him again, I bid him adieu.

    When we loaded up to leave, my wife was laughing, telling me the phone rang about 5 minutes after I went back out, and that the caller asked for Neill. My wife said he is outside, but I'll go get him. He said to not bother, but tell him this is Jeff, and that if he isn't going to mow, he needs to take his "mowing" sign out of the yard.

    Now, I'm sure a bunch are going to jump on this, but I decided last season to no longer do "one time" or "my mower is in the shop" mows for anyone I don't know. For me, they just haven't worked out. I spend my time and fuel to go bid, get the job maybe 30% of the time, then have to work it into my schedule, knowing I'm only going to get a mowing or two. It just isn't worth it, for me.

    I was amused that someone I've never met, apparently thinks I should immediately begin jumping through hoops just because his mower is broken down. For those who will say, "well, you are advertising", it would have been exactly the same if the caller had lived outside my service area, or required a service I don't provide, such as bush hogging. I get several calls a year from people needing someone to bush hog.

    There are probably a dozen auto repair shops listed locally in our phone book. If the transmission in my Jeep were to go out today, and I started calling them in order, I'm guessing more than half will tell me they don't do transmission work.

    I took Jeff's attitude to be one of "Hey, you are the lawn boy, and I need you here pronto because I've got a problem, and it is your duty to fix it". But, that is just me. :)
  2. I agree with what you did 100%. I only take on full-service, high-end resi accounts....if they don't fall in that category, I don't do them. I will do one-time cleanups, or landscape cleanups a few times per year, but that is about it. One-time or a few-time mows are more headache than they are worth.
  3. MTenterprises

    MTenterprises LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 326

    I would have done the same. I have been burned by too many of these types.
  4. Lbilawncare

    Lbilawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,119

    If you don't need the work, don't sweat it. I only do vacation and "my mower is broke" jobs when things slow down a bit in the summer. I also charge more for them than I would for a regular customer. If they are out of my way I usually decline them.
  5. HPSInc

    HPSInc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 763

    those are the places that you do and you end up running over some hidden pipe and ruining your mower, or will meet the customer from hell who then blames you for a dent in their garage door from a rock that must have shot out from your mower lol. im sure their not all bad. ive done a few but i was just starting up and any work was good for me. a year later im already turning them down cause my scheduled commercial maintenance and landscape installs are priority. its your business and you can run it how you choose. i say good for you :)
  6. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    I learned that one time cuts are definitely not worth it. Usually the property is poorly managed and as someone mentioned above the lawn you'll hit something and tear up you mower or you get a call because you cut it 3.5 inches and the guy wanted it 1.0 inches thinking he won't have to hire anyone the rest of the summer.

    I've also learned to steer clear from offering bi-weekly work. The bi-weekly clients always want the lawn cut to the dirt as well thinking it'll last two weeks this time of the year and don't ever want to pay a cent more than a weekly client. Of course in the summer when all grass is stressed and all I won't cut my weekly clients weekly.

    A friend actually helped me steer in this direction and so far its been worth it.
  7. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,465

    I do them.I show up and throw the price out with is higher ,and it has to be done then ,not come back later.
  8. Jeff Tracey Enterprises

    Jeff Tracey Enterprises LawnSite Member
    Messages: 104

    I'm with small stripes, I quit taking biweeklys too not only cause they want it scalped but it's just a pain in the ass trying to squeeze them in and having to check my records on if they got done last week or not.

    And I have people call me with the mower broke stories all the time too. I look at their yards and shoot them super high and if they say do it I single cut it and leave. The way I see it is just cause you waited 3 weeks to call me doesn't mean I'm gonna spend 2 hours at your house trying to make it look like it should!
  9. WHIPPLE5.7

    WHIPPLE5.7 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 958

    I did a power rake job for a lady the other day and she was like 75 and said she had bad knees so she would like to work every other week mowing into the budget. I told her $30. Then she said well my neighbor catches that outer 20x6 section would that make it less and I said no. The she said how much from the front only every other week. I was like just forget it, I could see quickly how cheap she was. House was like $350K and brand new leather/ sun roofed vehicles in the garage.
  10. GrassIsGreenerLawnCare

    GrassIsGreenerLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 636

    Same here. This happens frequently when we are out. I always hit them with $10 extra than I normally would and tell them I can do it cheaper if they signed on to weekly mows.
    It has actually got us some decent non-mowing jobs too.

    But I guess if I were way too busy, I wouldnt bother

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