Be prepared to have one of those weeks.

The longer you are in business, the more you learn the importance of being able to handle those weeks. You know which weeks I am talking about. The ones where everything goes wrong. The weather turns foul. Your equipment dies. Repair bills are through the roof. Customers drop you. Sometimes it seems like it just keeps on getting worse and worse. But if you are prepared, you should be able to make it through unscathed where others might just quit and go back to having a day job. Here is a great discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on how to handle those weeks.

One lawn care business owner wrote “well it all started on Monday when my line trimmer would not start. So I took it to the shop. Luckily I have another cheap line trimmer that I can use as a backup.
I get to my first lawn late and my mower won’t stop surging and leaking gas around the carb. So it’s back to the mower repair shop to get that checked out.

In total I get only four jobs done with a total of 220,000 sq ft of lawn using an old push mower with no self propelled power. Monday night I hear back the carb seal is shot so a carb rebuild kit has to be ordered. The dealer tells me it will be 10 days for delivery! So at least for this week and into next I will be doing all my mowing with my crappy back up gear.

By the time Wednesday rolls around, man am I soar! My legs, my arms, my back! Ugh! The one bright news is that my line trimmer is ready. That only cost me $85.00 to have the mechanic clean it up and replace a carb kit in it.

Thursday I put away the mower and line trimmer and pull out the hedge trimmers and the ladders. I physically can’t do anymore mowing so I am thinking it is a beautiful day for trimming hedges. Friday I get a surprise call that my mower carb kit is in and the mower is ready to go early. So off I go to get it, I take an hour out of my day to go and get it from the shop.

Life is good again. The sun is shining, the wind is light, and I have all my gear back and running. What could possibly go wrong now? I go to fire up my line trimmer on my last lawn of the day and the pull cord is hanging out three feet and won’t go back in! Thank god it is Friday! I can’t wait to see what is in store for me stating next Monday. Thank god for having back up equipment and a few dollars in the bank to pay for repairs.

One lesson I have learned with all of this is not to panic. Don’t let your customer see you freaking out or jumping up and down on your non-working equipment. Always act cool, calm, and collected. Go get the back up and show them you are prepared for anything that might happen. Your customers will be impressed at your professionalism. You will learn from experience that you need to back up everything major and minor. Whether it is back up pens in your truck or a back up ride on mower at the shop. Be a good Boy Scout and always be prepared.”

A second lawn care business owner said “I’ve just had one of those weeks for two weeks in a row now. Thankfully, it was all scheduling issues and playing catch up, and not all equipment related.

That said, my leaf blower started choking out on me last week. At one job I was running the mower out onto the wide sidewalk to turn around at the end of every pass. There were clippings everywhere. I thought no big deal, I will just blow them down onto the driveway, and over the hill into an area suitable for such debris. Well, it’s no big deal when your leaf blower is working!
I pull the cord, pull the cord, pull the cord, sputter, sputter, sputter, nothing. Out came the broom for that entire job. The leaf blower started up again later, but it was hit or miss all week. Sometimes it would start, other times it would not.

I bought a new leaf blower today. Making my crappy one the back up, after it goes out for repairs.

Note to self: Buy backups BEFORE you need them!”

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