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What do you do when you have only one customer that wants the yard bagged while.....

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by soloscaperman, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. soloscaperman

    soloscaperman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,054

    I have one customer that has tree's that are falling down slowly but there is a good amount. She doesn't live that far from my house but there is really no point to go all that way to mow and keep bagging. The wife is picky and doesn't like leaves. I told them that all my lawns are finished and wanted a fall cleanup and maybe one last cut in a few weeks. I told them it will cost normal cut plus $15 to bag. The bagging should take 30 min extra, give or take. I tried to nicely tell them that it would be better to wait till they all fall down since it will be rough going all the way up here for one lawn. ( I started thinking to myself that how would a customer feel if I was in there shoes and heard that) Well I smiled and said sure I will be here Thursday.

    I think I am going to mow it short and make sure not to go to crazy bagging. I kind of felt bad because I like to treat each customer like my business was just souly based on them but I have 30 more and it would be nice to keep all of them on schedule.

    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,526

    we never wait till all the leaves fall, right now with cleaning leaves it takes about 10-12 days to run the route. we keep making rounds till either snow falls or the lawns go completely dorment.
  3. soloscaperman

    soloscaperman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,054

    The problem Clark is my mower doesn't have a huge bagger system that hooks in the back of the mower. Money reason's I used my old metal grass catcher. She has a lot of tree's and it gets crazy in CT with leaves. Basically I get the vibe the Wife wants it perfect and the husband doesn't want to spend the extra money since it's coming out of his pocket not hers. There seems to be a huge pile in the back so I said I would have to blow those because the mower can't handle that pile. I tried to make the situation extreme but at the same time I am flattered that she really cares about her lawn.
  4. Southern Pride

    Southern Pride LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Memphis
    Messages: 1,382

    Hmm. That's a tough one but I like to come bi-weekly and cut (mulch) to keep the lawn leaf free. This way it stays looking good and you avoid that big PITA cleanup. My problem is everyone is too cheap to keep me coming and want the one big cleanup. The only thing is it is just as much if not cheaper to have me keep coming then that one fat cleanup bill. Silly, cheap people.
  5. soloscaperman

    soloscaperman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,054

    I hear you south pride people want there lawn leaf free but at the same time don't want to pay for it. I mean this customer has a lot of leaves! If I mulched them it would look messy and the lawn spirals around the freshly painted house and the $1400 mulch that I did. I am in a pickle but I will bend over.
  6. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I presume it's the leaves that are falling and not the actual trees, lol.

    Well, I hate to say but it sounds like you have a customer that's too far away and you don't have the equipment to service them properly. You kind of contradict yourself though. You say they aren't far away but then say you don't want to go all the way out there. If you want to keep them I think you need to go ahead and make a special trip out there and service it. Otherwise they'll find someone that will. What you might want to do is use gator mulchers and mow the lawn and then go back over the areas where there are a substantial amount of leaves remaining and bag only those areas. I'm not sure that $15 is enough for the extra effort. It wouldn't be for me, but that's your decision.

    I don't quite get how you're done mowing already. I do have some crappier lawns that have all but stopped growing, but I have several that are growing like crazy and still need weekly service. The rest of them I will continue to service every 2 or 3 weeks. It's really not good for the lawn to let the leaves pile up, and you risk having winter roll in before you can get all your cleanups done if you wait until all the leaves are down. Our first snow is usually around Thanksgiving!

    The way I handle it is my mowing season officially ends October 15th and any mowing after that gets billed at an hourly cleanup rate.

    I think you're lucky to have a customer like this. It's the ones that want me to wait until the last leaf drops that drive me crazy. If they want service, service them!
  7. soloscaperman

    soloscaperman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,054

    Thanks Darrly. I was realizing that some people are real picky and it has to be there way or they will find someone else. The way I was talking to them they prolly thought I didn't care but I realized that there the boss, it's there lawn and they pay me. The customers are getting cheap where 98% of them want to wait till every leaf falls and want to wait till the neighbors are down. I have some up the street that are new homes that got built. The problem is that they are heavily treated, no tree's and the freakin competitors scalped it!?!? So if I mow this week or next week people will think I am ripping them off! I gotta play this by the week.I am getting phone calls or emails sating wait till the leaves fall for the leaf cleanup.
  8. sdk1959

    sdk1959 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 909

    I do the same thing and agree 1000%!!! I don't understand the mentality of customers and LCO's that think waiting to the end of the season for all the leaves to fall and doing one huge clean-up at the end makes better sense than mulching or bagging over several visits during the season.

    First off logistics.- Daylight is at a premium in late fall and everyone will want a full clean-up within a 2 week period.

    Manpower, equipment, dump fees.- Leaf loaders, dump trailers or dump trucks, tarps, 3-4 man crew, extra blowers for that crew, walk-behind blowers, windshield time to and from the dump plus time at the dump and dump fees, and the need during the rest of the year to store and maintain that extra equipment.

    Aesthetics- The yard looks like CRAP for ALL OF FALL till the BIG CLEAN-UP.
    Leaves under the shrubs, against the house posing a fire hazard, if the homeowner has dogs, all that dog-crap hidden under the leaves. But heaven forbid if you mulch the leaves during the season "oh my gosh, leaf litter" never mind that again for ALL OF FALL the yard looks like crap if the customer or LCO waits till the end of the season to do a clean-up and that any mulched leaves decompose and are totally gone by the following April- May. Plus it amends the soil.

    I do leaf mulching for my regular customers and they like it. I alway's love to hear "what happened to all those leaves" or they tell me a neighbor told them "you didn't get very many leaves this year".
  9. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I tell people that it's best to "do the getting while the getting is good". In other words, get the leaves before they're all wet and matted or piled up in a corner. I also tell them that there's no way I can service all of my properties before it snows if I wait until every leaf falls. Heck, some oak trees hold onto them until spring!

    The longer I'm in business, the more I take control of it and run things my way.
  10. soloscaperman

    soloscaperman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,054

    Most of my clients are from $35-$65 if they want there lawn bagged till it gets super crazy then I will have to charge an extra $30-$40 I still want to make money for the fall cleanups. I have a buddy that's a landscaper and he scalped his lawns 2 weeks ago!!!!!!!!!!! He said that when it comes to leaves there will be so many down that the customer will never do it and you can charge even more since there are a lot LOL. I told him what happens when you can't get to all of them or if we get a lot of rain?? I told him you will be spending more time blowing a huge amount of wet leaves and that's not fun.

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