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When only 1/2 the yard needs a cut...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by topsites, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Now I'm not talking about the odd lawn where 1/2 did not grow or whatever, I'm talking specifically about customers who want me to do a certain portion while they do the other...

    Years ago I made a rule concerning this: NO 1/2 cuts, all or nothing. Over time this rule fell to the back of my mind and this year, especially since things were slow, I accepted 2-3 of these odd ball jobs.

    What I find more and more is these people are just playing around, and their silly game later always extends beyond the obvious initial bit, it's like we start with some rigmarole and later there's more, and more, always a little bit more bs over time.

    In the first case, there was the front yard and a field off to the side, they did the back... Sure enough, last time I showed up some pushmower had cut the front and the field is getting semi-tall. I suppose I could've cut the stupid field and billed them, but instead I just crossed this one off the schedule, I'm tired of the game already and I'm not taking a chance on not getting paid.
    The second case, it's been 2 weeks since and I haven't seen my check... That's not to say they won't pay eventually, but here again we go with the silly game and if it's not a game, well it sure looks like it.

    Has anyone else experienced this, do you guys accept this 'front yard / back yard only because I do the other part' type of jobs?

    I don't think I'll be taking on any more of these, should've stuck to my rule but I forgot lol ...
  2. daveyo

    daveyo LawnSite Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 907

    Sometimes when I give a quote, the person will tell me "can you give me a price for just the front because I'll do the back myself". I say sure, that'll be $x, they then reply " but I'm doing the back myself, thats when I explain wheater where doing the back,front, or both it's the same price, full price! What happens 95% of the time is I'll end up cutting the whole property. Listen, mowing lawns is good flow, but it isn't the major percentage of my business, I can't afford to drive around doing half lawns for half the price.

    O'Donnell Landscape Design
  3. J&R

    J&R LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 835

    If you have a min price stay with that price.
    I have 2 yards like that. I charge the what it would cost to cut the whole yard.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Ok, I get your drift and that makes sense, it's similar to 'all or nothing' but without the terminating effect of same, it is smoother.

    Here in my case what I run into is folks with 3 foot gates, I can not service these yards because my Wb is a 4-footer and end of story. We can argue about this but to me it's the same thing as no bagging, I just don't do yards with smaller than 48" gates.

    That's where it starts... After I look at the yard and I can see I can't get through the gate comes their 'Yes I know but I'm cutting the back...' Guess it's one of those where I should've seen it coming.
  5. CutInEdge Lawn Care

    CutInEdge Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 677

    No we do not do that. Played that game. We have a set minimum. Big Mac(cut grass), Pickles, Onions, Ketchup, (trimming, edging, blowing). You can pick or chose which one you want but the price stays the same. 99.9999% of the time the answer is no and it dont bother me.
  6. Ric3077

    Ric3077 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,113

    I have 1 "back only" and 2 "front only" customers. And the back only trims herself...so all I do is cut it for my minimum of $25. Takes about 17 minutes. I told her if she wants the front cut it's $5 more (tiny would take 3 minutes tops) and if she wants trimming it's $15 more. Anyway she paid for 8 cuts in advance so no worries there. One of my front only customers is an old co-worker and only wants bi-weekly cuts...and the only front only is a few weeks behind on payment but is catching up...I don't mind these accounts.
  7. CutInEdge Lawn Care

    CutInEdge Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 677

    Topsites, if you have a written or verbal contract to just cut the front the what is the problem. You mentioned that when pulling up and realizing that you cant cut the back due to large equipment and customer is understanding that you will not cut the back then the agreement is set. Offer them a fert in the front. We have a $35min yes I know we cant cut the back but for the $35/cut you get will get 2 ferts/yr or I charge X amount for areation or overseeding I will take this off the amount for service when you call. So possibly EOW cutting $10 is being applied to their fall leaf clean up or what ever was agreed upon. Your still bringing in $$$ and it's a win win for both you and customer. Just dont look into the back yrd. It's kinda like being afraid of heights "Just dont look down" payup
  8. daveyo

    daveyo LawnSite Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 907

    If business is slow like you said, I wouldn't turn down yards because of the gates. I would get a used 36 and start tacking on clients. The more properties you cut the more business you drum up. I hardly have any customers that don't need at least some of my services besides mowing. The list goes on and on as far as what you can offer. The more educated one becomes about his/her business the more you can offer. For instance, when Im cutting a property I'm always checking out the property to see if the bushes need trimming or is the turf being attacked by a fungus or insect, does the mulch need to be topped off, are there weeds in the beds? etc. etc.. At some point I'm definitely drumming up business, I like to talk to my customers ( Some people on this site disagree) I think it's time well spent. I let them know "hey you have a fungus" this is it right here and this is why it's here, I can treat and correct the underlying problem for you heres how. Bingo more business, the customer also knows if they have any future problems or needs I can service them professionally. Anyway, how are you going to expand if your slow and turning down business because of gate size.

    O'Donnell Landscape Design
  9. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,281

    All or nothing....we have too many customers for all that hassle. when you get into doing something special or different for easch customer, it makes the job a pain in the ass. You gotta tell you guys "onlyFront" blah blah blah.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yeah, despite some good arguments to the contrary, I'm sticking to all or nothing myself, just the game aspect of it all turns me off.

    Contract or verbal, when a game is in action, what am I supposed to do when the bs starts, take them to court? Man, I don't got the time to go spending hours in court over this and I don't got the inclination to waste a federal judge's budget over some grass cutting stupidity. In lieu of this, I suppose I could argue (explain things) with the customer? Forget it, I like the Big Mac Ketchup Pickles blablabla thing, that's my whole mentality as well.

    As for deck size, I buy only 48's or bigger because in my sick mind, nothing smaller gets the job done faster and the customer is not willing to pay the extra $5 it takes to deal with a smaller mower and +$5 is still not enough for me to harass around with extra equipment, it's just not worth it to me for the same basic reason I don't bag (too much hassle for the money).

    One might argue about leaving money on the table, but at the same rate this is what carves my niche and it's the way I see things.

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