Weekly vs. Bi-weekly cutting during dry times

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by brymenke, Sep 17, 2004.

  1. brymenke

    brymenke LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    This is my first season in the business and I have a question regarding frequency of cutting. I started the season cutting everyone weekly, but then during the dry part of the summer several of my clients requested to go to a bi-weekly cut. My question is how do you guys handle that situation. Do you increase your fee for bi-weekly cutting vs. weekly to help make up for money lost? Do you strictly cut weekly? How do you handle this situation? Thanks, Bryan :blob3:
  2. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 1,796

    My suggestion is make up a fee schedule so the customer has that in advance of a weekly cut, a bi-weekly(w/extra charges for extra gas+time+dump fees,etc.) edging, one time and weekly, biweekly, break it all out so they know what it would be and put at the bottom subject to change to cover yourself in case gas goes way up or they hang onto the same schedule for a long time and include it with your contract. If they want to go with someone else move on. Fixed contract would be the best because it would be easier to guestimate your monthly budget.
  3. all ferris

    all ferris LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,309

    Yes, it's starting to get pretty dry around here. I cut all my clients on an as needed basis. Cutting the lawn when it is really dry really isn't good for the grass and customers may get mad. This year has been pretty good so far but it's dry here now so I will skip some lawns this next week. I'm ready for a break anyway. Maybe I'll even do a little rain dance tonight with my friend, bud light.
  4. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    Yep, fixed contract. OR, a guy here in this area, if the customer calls and wants to go bi-weekly, he charges 50% more the following week. He sells it as the customer is saving 50% on the skipped week's pay.
  5. Andyinchville2

    Andyinchville2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    I try to accomodate my customers wishes BUT if too many customers request a skip mow or change to 2 weeks from 1 week mow I have to start drawing the line and say no or rotate skips amongst the customers....Remember each mow you don't do is $$ out of your pocket....Also, even in dry months, weeds always seem to grow and stripes always need to be gone over to keep them looking nice....so there are reasons to mow even when it looks like there is hardly anything to mow.....Of course we use contracts and can hold them to the weekly mow if needed but again we do accomodate unless it starts to hurt financially....Never had been a problem w/ us tho...just have to explain to the customer that you need to make a living too....Also remind them how hard it was to cut when it was growing real fast and you had to double cut....the slow season is to offset the earl;ier hardshi[p you had to deal with....
  6. mastercare

    mastercare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 289

    Set your procedures to the customer in the beginning of the year. I tell the customers that I give them a price for WEEKLY cutting. That means that I will be cutting from when the grass starts all the way through the end of september. Once October hits, I may be skipping a cut here or there, depending on what it needs. But, the choice of whether to skip or not is at MY discretion. Now, if October comes and the lawn is borderline, the customer asks me to skip a week....I'll keep them happy. If it'll be too long, and they're just trying to save a buck, I'll cut anyway.

    When I give them a price I tell them that this is for WEEKLY cutting all the way through end of Sept. I don't charge more in the spring when its growing like wildfire....and I don't charge less becuase they're not watering it enough. There's no reason here in MI that the grass shouldn't have enough growth during a week to cut it every week. If it doesn't, then they need to turn on the sprinklers or let me fertilize it. October is the only month I'll skip lawns, and its my call.
  7. mbricker

    mbricker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    These guys are right about having a set monthly contract price, with frequency to be determined by conditions. And the lco has the final say as to frequency.

    But I am in an area with a lot of low-priced competition, and a lot of cheap customers. It is normal for people who don't water (won't water) to start asking lco to skip cuts in the dry part of the season. (Right now that is why I am at home, on the computer, at mid-day.)

    In my area it is nearly unheard of for lco's to ask customer for a contract, or for customer to be willing to agree with contact. We all charge by the cut--regardless of whether we bill monthly or otherwise--because that is what we have to do to get the business.

    Early on, I saw that some lawns nearly always dry up, and should go on something other than a weekly schedule. I currently mow about 30 out of my 70 accounts on a one-and-a-half week schedule.

    Here's how:

    Mondays and Thursdays are reserved for one-and-a-half week accounts. Mrs. Smith and other customers in NW part of town are mowed this Monday, Thursday of next week, the 3rd week they don't see me, the 4th week I am there on Monday again. If you mark this out on a calendar, you will see that you can fit 3 of those schedules in. I do have 3 different areas that I am in on a week and a half basis. It sometimes seems I am doubling back on my tracks, because in those same areas I also have lawns that get watered, the owners are more particular, and get weekly service--on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. (However, at one time I did have one-and-a-half week accounts also scheduled Wed/Sat.)

    This helps avoid some of the skipped mowings. If the lawn is growing fast at the beginning of the season, it will sometimes look a little more ragged than if mowed weekly, and I may have to take a little extra time. But later in the season when it is dry and doesn't need mowing after 7 days, it will probably look bad enough after 10 days the customer doesn't think they are being ripped off when I show up and mow.

    This does not cut into my revenue, it just means I serve more customers at less frequent intervals to get the same revenue. My thrifty (CHEAP) customers LOVE this option. Most months they pay for 3 mowings, and about every 4th month they only have to pay for 2 mowings.

    But I almost always refuse a customer who wants every 2 week service. They are just too cheap, and their grass will look too bad before it gets mowed early in the season, and I don't want any of my lawns to look like I just ain't showin' up to do the job. After all, other people in the neighborhood are also looking, and judging me by what they see, not by the agreement I have with my customer.

    As for right now, with all the rain we had even thru August, I am darned glad for dry spell and a little break.

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