How to handle customers who only want their lawn cut every other week.

Most lawn care business owners will want to cut a lawn weekly. It is more profitable and it keeps the lawn from becoming overgrown. Overgrown lawns take more time to cut and wear down equipment faster. Sometimes you might run into a lawn care customer who only wants their lawn cut every other week to save on lawn cutting fees. How should you handle this? Let’s look and see how some of the members from the Gopher Lawn Care Forum handle it.

Aaron wrote about how he is just getting his mowing season started and in his post he said “I precalled my customers Tuesday night and let one know that if I am to mow his lawn bi-weekly its gonna get ugly. I pushed to do it weekly but he declined soI informed him the extra work for cutting a high lawn will increase the price. Went from 20 to 30 bi-weekly. He indicated he will contact me should he need it to change to weekly. That brings me to a point where I can make a profit from his lawn and not feel like I am cheap labor.”

Chuck joined the conversation by saying “If you are going to cut bi-weekly in the summer charge them for it.  I charge it as a cut & a half.  So a $30 lawn becomes $45 bi-weekly.  It takes nearly twice as long, more gas, & it’s harder on the belts & blades too.  If you alow them to save nearly 50% on lawn care expenses they will never shift over to weekly & have it done right.  There is a reason most operators won’t do this (actually several).
1) can’t make any money.
2) these are usually the same customers that don’t pay or are very slow to pay.
3) it’s abusing the equipment, even though most of us run commercial gear that can take it, it will last longer if you don’t abuse it.
4) The lawn will never bring you any referals because they look bad almost all the time,  By the time you get there after 2 weeks it looks like ####, then there’s hay left when your done so it looks crappy after too.  Or you spend extra time, everytime to keep cleaning it up.
Charge a cut & a half.  It will cover the added expenses & they might then figure for the lousy 25% they save they’d rather have the place look good & ask you to do it weekly.

Along the same lines….  when I get a call for an overgrown lawn I bid it pretty high.  example: If the lawn looks like I would normally charge say $25 & it appears to have 2 months worth of summer growth on it…. well thats approx 8 weeks that they should have spent $25/week = $200 so $125-$150 to knock it back down is not unreasonable. These lawns beat up your equipment, wear you out too, Dull your blades to #### (my blades run almost $40 bucks a set) & you’ll probably hit something you couldn’t see in there & ruin em’ anyway.  Which brings me to another point….  I have a disclaimer in my estimate stating If the lawn is so tall that objects like sprinkler heads, landscape lighting, well pipes etc. are not clearly visible, we are not responsible for damage to such items (or anything they may hit when they come flying out).  Cover your butt!   Your gonna hit this stuff.  I explain we try not too & we aren’t asking for a license to be careless but you can’t avoid what you can’t see.”

So you can see if you are going to agree to cut a lawn every other week, you are most likely going to need to charge more per cut. If you would like to join in on this discussion, visit this post at the Gopher Lawn Care Forum.

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