Help! Too many leaf cleanups and not enough time!

The end of the year can bring along with it a frantic pace of yard cleanup. But what do you do when you schedule in too many yard cleanups and run out of time? Another thing to consider is this poor planning on your part? Do you need to re-think the way you handle fall cleanups so as not to run into the same problem next year? That is what this entrepreneur wondered when he wrote about his current dilemna on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I got swamped with work and now I don’t know what to do. I currently have around 20 leaf removal jobs still to complete and the weather is getting worse. I have also just had the worst of luck trying to get them done. I have managed to tackle 30 or so of the jobs already, though it seems I am running out of time as winter is near.

I am starting to get the feeling that I won’t be able to get the rest of these jobs finished. What should I do? One of the things I was thinking is that I could write a letter to my customers explaining the uncompleted services and that I will have to postpone them until next year. I am at the point where I’m getting phone and everyone wants first priority. I’ve just about had it!

A single leaf cleanup job can take me anywhere to a half hour to 2.5 hours. I’ve done all the smaller jobs first and now I have quite a bunch of larger jobs left. It’s been raining almost every day and people have hired me specifically for the end of season leaf removal service I had advertised.

My customers are not all going to understand my excuse. So I’m kind of stuck. I predicted that these jobs would get done. Though with the weather being so very unpleasant, it really ate up a lot of my time giving me nothing to work with.

It’s all very stressful. I’m finding myself procrastinating more now because of this. I feel I cannot help it. I just hate this weather.”

A second lawn care business owner said “I’d suggest do the jobs you can’t do now in the Spring. I am having similar problems. We all have to deal with unpredictable weather. It rained here every day for the last week and it looks as if it will still rain until Thursday. I have over 60 customers still to do but there is so much water out there, nothing is going to be done until yards dry up a bit. I will not move my gear with the ground being so wet. It would just be a mess anyhow.

Even if I had more employees, I still would not be able to get everything done when we have all this major flooding going on due to the rain, still lots of work but by the time it dries the snow may be flying.”

A third added “are there any other landscapers in your area you can call up and partner with to get these jobs done? This is what I do when I get backed up on jobs. There are a few solo owners locally like myself who I can call for a day or two’s worth of help if I need it. They will also call me when they get stuck.

If not that, how about calling on a couple friends or local college kids. Call an employment agency and see if they can provide you with some quick temporary help to finish up your last jobs. Maybe even consider sub contracting the jobs to a local company who might have less work.

The last thing you want to do is let down the customer as that can tarnish your reputation. Last but not least, if all else fails. you may need to triage the remaining jobs and service your best customers first and then if you have too tell the others that they need to find another company to handle the job or they will need to wait until spring.”

A fourth shared “this is exactly why I only do leaf clean ups for my lawn customers, no exceptions. I know I lose some well needed cash at the end of the season, but I have found the weather here gets way too unpredictable at the end of the year. I used to offer one time yard cleanups and I ended up being out in December trying to finish them all up. I didn’t like the rush and I would rather have all of my equipment cleaned up and stored by Thanksgiving.

This week is suppose to be very nice and all my customers will be getting their last mow and cleanup this week then I should be done for the season. I am leaving next week to finish up any stragglers. On the last mowing I will mulch or bag the entire yard and clean out the beds a little bit. I will give the beds a better cleaning in the Spring.”

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