Being obsessed about your own lawn care business.

Are you a stickler for high quality when it comes to lawn care? Do you find you need to perform a perfect mowing each and every time? If a job is not completed up to your standards, do you go back and redo it or do you just pass it by and work on it the next time you service the property? That is the question brought up on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. In this discussion, we look into whether or not it’s a good thing to be obsessed with your finished product.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I have to admit, I am my own worst critic. This past Friday I mowed a customer’s lawn twice. I wasn’t happy with the first cut and the second wasn’t much better. After I had to mow some other properties so I left but I wasn’t satisfied with the job I did. I drove past the property on Saturday and it just wasn’t up to my standards.

So, I sharpened my blades, re-scraped the deck and went up and did a free cut on the lawn today and it looked much better. I felt better about it too. However now I am wondering, am I being too obsessive? Should I mention it to the customer or mark a free cut on their next invoice?

She gets her lawn fertilized by a different company and they blast it with nitrogen. Due to this, it grows about 8 inches per week. On top of that she asks me to use my 21″ mower on her lawn. Some folks are just afraid of the cut they’ll get from the big mowers I guess and it just didn’t do well this time. The blade sharpening was just a precaution and wasn’t a necessity. I just wanted to make sure everything was perfect.

I wasn’t worried about giving a free cut in this instance as I lost no work in the process, just a bit of gas. On top of that, she always gives me a tip anyway. Even if she never finds out, I feel it was worth it to me. I feel better about my finished product. If I did this for any other customer, I might not tell them because they may think they can get a freebie more often.”

A second lawn care business owner said “I commend you for taking the time to notice it didn’t measure up to your standards. That is the sign of a quality business owner and one that is not simply in it for the money. From my experience, holding yourself to a higher quality and care level can have huge payback down the road.

I find myself obsessed with quality as well. At the end of each day the staff and I, pressure wash the underside of the mowing decks, then spray Teflon, and give the blades a quick sharpen. They get a good sharpening on Sunday afternoons. I am a stickler for keeping the blades sharpened, the mowers washed, all the oil levels checked, and grease in the joints of the equipment.

I have found some people are afraid of the bigger mowing equipment due to lack of knowledge/understanding as well. So what I do is educate them and simply say ‘look let us mow it the way we do every other client then we can talk about your concerns.’

They fear the big stuff is so heavy it will ruin their lawn. When this is brought up as a concern, I use golf courses to kill this myth. When they fear that operators will damage their trees and shrubs as they fear they will hit them, I explain our operators use the utmost care. I also explain that a ZTR will go around a tree in seconds….etc… I generally find when a customer is hesitant about a piece of gear, they simply do not understand so we spend a few moments explaining things out and so far it has worked every time.

If you are concerned about being obsessive, I think the obsessive companies, if you want to use that term, are the ones in this for the long haul. The profit/time driven companies come and go. Yes there are some that make a big profit and still do quality work so I don’t want to generalize that. However, the company that has an eye for detail, is personally the company I would want to take care of my property.

My customers are not just another dollar bill. We care about what they need and this is what I like to convey to our clients. So far it is really paying off.”

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