Should you let the lawn care customer choose how low you mow?

You might think in a perfect world, you should let the lawn care customer dictate to you how everything should be done. They should be able to tell you how often they want their lawn cut. At what height their lawn should be mowed. You should customize all that you do to what the customer’s desires are. However, as we will see from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, doing so can lead to a big mess real quickly.

One lawn care business owner wrote “this is my first year in the business I was wondering if everyone let’s their customers decide how short to cut their grass or if there is a general rule of thumb for height I should be setting my mowing deck to?”

A second lawn care business owner said “I’d suggest setting your lawn mower deck between 2.5″ to 4.5″. That is what I cut at but it will depend on where you are and what kind of grass you have.

Something very important to keep in mind beyond mowing height is you want to set the tone early on that you are the professional and don’t give them too many options. If you are confident in what you are doing and how you are doing it, it will be easier to sell yourself and your service. If someone wants something done a certain way then work with them, but you want to give the perception that you are the expert and that is why they are hiring you.

Lawn mowing height.

Lawn mowing height.

Otherwise if you let the customer choose the mowing height, you will have a different height for every customer and will have to deal with all the issues that go along with those variant mowing heights. Too short will kill the lawn. Too high will make the yard look bad. etc etc.”

A third business owner said “my first cut or so I will cut it low enough so it looks nice. I will ask the customer ‘how fast does your grass typically grow?’ The growth rate can vary from lawn to lawn based on how much fertilizer is applied or how much moisture it gets. Then I will say something like, ‘let me see how this lawn height does…I’ll stop by later in the week and kind of keep an eye on it and we’ll adjust the height as needed. Don’t worry, I’ll make your lawn look real nice for you….it might just take a cut or two to see what your grass does.’

One of the problems when you open the door to letting the customer dictate the height is, they start thinking if you cut it real short, you would only have to mow the lawn every other week and they can save money then. What ever you do, don’t let them have you mow every two weeks. It’s just too much work to do that. The lawn will be a mess trying to cut it after two weeks.

Stick to your guns and nicely let them know you can’t come in and work twice as hard cleaning up a yard for the price of 1 cut. Now…if the above conversation goes well….as most do….you can forget the every other week cut conversation.

One of my past customers (luckily she moved and new lawn customers moved in) was a $40 cut. She asked me ‘hmmm….instead of $40 each week, can you come out every 2 weeks and I’ll pay you $65?’

uhhhhh……….NO.

Why is it a bad idea to go from $40/wk vs $65 Every Other Week?

The first issue is the grass grows very very fast….. Every other week means twice the amount of work and a double cut definitely. More grass will be laying around, more blowing, more clean up……and less money. $65 every other week is only $130 / month. $40/week is $160 with less work.

Work smart!

During spring and fall, I never ever give customers the option of an every other week cut. It’s just way way way too much work. I also never promise that it will be once a week. I try to tell customers that in the spring, if their grass is growing extra fast (if they fertilize, etc), it might be a 5 day cut, etc. Normally, that does not happen, however I leave the option open. To wait an extra week to mow a yard just so you can get less money doesn’t make any sense.

The second issue that tends to happen with every other week cuts is you’re due to show up on week #2 and it definitely needs cut bad. Then it rains for 3 days. Suddenly it’s day 17. Ouch! Don’t even let yourself get into this position.
Mow them every week or walk away (at least in the spring and fall).”

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