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View Full Version : How low should you go


Woody wacker
02-24-2011, 02:37 PM
This will be my first year in the business I was wondering if everyone lets the customer decide how short to cut their grass or if you have a general rule of thumb for height

brian'slawncare
02-24-2011, 02:46 PM
show them the different heights your mower can cut at. perhaps even cut a little block with each different height in one of the back corners of their lawn.

shadrach
02-24-2011, 03:23 PM
2.5" to 4.5" is what I cut but it will depend on where you are and what kind of grass you have. You want to set the tone as much as possible - 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 want 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.

USA Lawn Care
02-25-2011, 12:15 AM
first cut or so.....cut it low enough so it looks nice.....I ask the customer 'how fast does your grass typically grow?"....conversation usually goes something like, "let me see how this 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 it look real nice for you....it might just take a cut or two to see what your grass does."

Just don't let them have you mow every 2 weeks and they want it short short short. It's too much work, it'll make a mess....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 EOW (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.
geez.

cruzgardening
02-25-2011, 01:13 AM
2.5" to 4.5" is what I cut but it will depend on where you are and what kind of grass you have. You want to set the tone as much as possible - 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 want 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.

I totally i agree it all depends where you live and what type of grass your client has.

The way i learned was by following teh heights my co-workers use to cut the yards but not everyone starts working with a bunch of experienced guys like i did. Also my old company use to give us tests every 5-6 months (only the new guys) to see what we had learned they gave us books also which are where i learned what all the grasses are, try sunset's Lawn and ground covers that book helped me a lot with distinguishing the different grasses and how high to cut them.

LawnMoore
02-25-2011, 01:38 AM
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.
geez.


lol, i dont see where that would be a problem.

What are your thoughts on why you would rather cut weekly @ 40 vs bi-weekly @ 65?

@ original poster, is this a question in regards to the first cut of the season, or for general maintenance?

I have read somewhere that the first cut of the season after the last frost, is supposed to be a little lower than normal, but it may have been about a specific grass type only, like St. Augustine.

However during regular season, the only weekly customer i have likes his grass cut at 1 & 1/2 inches, i simply said i cant cut it at 1 & 1/2 but ill cut it @ 2 inches.. he said ok thats fine then, and im sry but i cut it @ 2 & 1/4 :rolleyes: for the fact that he doesnt pay enough for me to hit exposed roots :eek:

oh and i have cut it 6 times @ 2 & 1/4 and him and his wife loves the yard!

Steve
02-25-2011, 01:35 PM
You want to set the tone as much as possible - don't give them too many options.

This is very insightful. What is your view on why less options is good? Do you feel it comes down to, the average person has no understanding of lawn height and if you let them choose the height, they will most likely choose a height that won't look good or be unhealthy for the lawn?

Ultimately does it come down to, they hired you to do this, so they don't have to think about it?

What is your view on how less options allows you to set the professional tone of the interaction? And why is it important to set the tone?

USA Lawn Care
02-26-2011, 12:51 PM
why $40/wk vs $65 Every Other Week?
#1 reason....the grass grows very very fast.....EOW means twice the amount of work and a double cut definitely. If there is now grass laying around, more blowing, more clean up......and less money. $65 EOW is only $130 / month.
$40/week is $160 with less work.
Work smart.
Spring and fall I never ever give customers the option of an every other week cut. 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 to cut a yard just so you can get killed on it doesn't make sense.

USA Lawn Care
02-26-2011, 12:54 PM
plus, one more thing that tends to happen with every other week cuts......
so 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.
cut them every week or walk away (at least in the spring and fall).

Simpkins
02-26-2011, 04:53 PM
This is very insightful. What is your view on why less options is good? Do you feel it comes down to, the average person has no understanding of lawn height and if you let them choose the height, they will most likely choose a height that won't look good or be unhealthy for the lawn?

Ultimately does it come down to, they hired you to do this, so they don't have to think about it?

What is your view on how less options allows you to set the professional tone of the interaction? And why is it important to set the tone?


I'll try to answer the question for him. I believe what he is getting at (and I totally agree), you need to show that you know what you do. That is, you are the go to guy on the matter. Most customers don't have a clue and that is one of the reasons they aren't doing it themselves. They don't want to have to think about it.

In my opinion, you could take this a step further. Giving them options but still show you are "the man". Conversation could go like this.

"Customer, you have XXX type of grass. I would recommend a cut of X inches to X inches. (Explain a little about why you make this recommendation.) Personally, I would suggest X inches as I think this would look the best. Is that what you had in mind?"

Here, you showed off by showing them how much you know when it comes to grass types and healthy lengths. If you notice, you really didn't give them a choice. Most will say, "yeah, that is fine" They feel like they made the choice themselves though.

I don't know....just some food for thought. ;)


Edit
The conversation shouldn't be a long, drawn out exchange. You don't want to annoy them. Just briefly exhibit your expertise.

Steve
02-27-2011, 07:46 PM
How often do you feel you run into customers that even want to get that involved?

Is it often or rare that you get into a discussion on lawn cutting height with the customer? Or should this only be brought up if the customer brings it up first?

Simpkins
02-28-2011, 12:52 AM
How often do you feel you run into customers that even want to get that involved?

Is it often or rare that you get into a discussion on lawn cutting height with the customer? Or should this only be brought up if the customer brings it up first?

I was only in the business for a year but I personally never ran into the situation. It is definitely only advisable to discuss it once the customer brings it up. The least you get into technicalities with them the better. When you start giving too many options it can become a nightmare for you.

If they do bring it up though, I suggest you use what I said. That way they feel they made a choice when in reality you pretty much are just telling them what you are going to do. When you say "Is that what you were thinking?" It is rare for someone to say "No, not really"

If that does happen and their request is ridiculous, walk away. Explain to them in a nice professional manner why their request isn't good. (ie they want it too short and the grass will die out) Tell them that and say you have worked hard to build a good reputation and you don't want people seeing you doing the work and a week later it's brown.

Again, I was only in the Lawn business for a year so pretty much everyone here is more experienced when it comes to the technical stuff. I am a salesman. ;)

brian'slawncare
02-28-2011, 09:01 AM
my neighbor cancelled his lawn service because they cut it too low. Instead, he hired me :)

wellbiz
02-28-2011, 10:47 AM
How often do you feel you run into customers that even want to get that involved?

Is it often or rare that you get into a discussion on lawn cutting height with the customer? Or should this only be brought up if the customer brings it up first?

I put the height I am going to cut it on the estimate form. However you are correct it is rare that you run into someone asking this question. I typically see it from people who want it cut every other week. They like it short so it looks good until the next cut. However I try to explain how grass grows and how you shouldn't cut off more than 1/3 at a time. I can usually convince a client that not cutting so short or going to a weekly service is actually better for their lawn.

Norcal
02-28-2011, 11:09 PM
I try yo stick to one deck position for every lawn about 3" in the summer months you can explain to the customer that at this length it shouldn't require as much watering also I try not to move my decks to much because if you have 1 account that likes there lawn at say 3" and your next account likes to be mowed at 4 and you forget to change your deck oops to late if you have more than one mower you can set one at 3 one at 2.5 or however long you mow

Steve
03-01-2011, 06:45 PM
my neighbor cancelled his lawn service because they cut it too low. Instead, he hired me

Did they tell you what was too low and what they want it at? Is their ideal actually too high or what was going on with them?