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View Full Version : Poll & Discussion #002


CHEESE2009
09-16-2011, 06:16 PM
Things are constantly going wrong, what would you say is the number one thing that affects you the most?



Equipment is always breaking down.

It's difficult to make a decent profit.

Your customers are unreliable.

Your customers are always asking for you do to little favors.

Your customers are too talkative and eat up a lot of your time.

You find it difficult to provide better quality while maintaining lawns.

The weather is always slowing you down, no matter how hard you try to get ahead.

You often go out of your way for your customers, and in return it goes unnoticed.

You don't have enough time to focus your attention on all corners of running your business.

You find it difficult to stay motivated throughout the entire season.

justin_time
09-16-2011, 09:10 PM
A little bit of every answer

Hedgemaster
09-16-2011, 09:12 PM
Mostly it's the weather.

I work alone, so it's not easy to catch up if I get behind.
I try to keep Wednesdays and Saturdays relatively "unscheduled" to use for "project" work or make-up days for mowing if it rains prior to either day.
It's not possible to keep them completely free of mowing jobs though and I have several biweekly accounts scheduled on Wednesdays now - otherwise, I'm losing money if I don't get any project work scheduled.

It rained on Thursday, so I'll be mowing on Saturday to get finished with all of my Friday clients as well as a few projects.

And just to rub it in a little (again), my clients are WONDERFUL! LOL!!!

Liberty Landscaping LLC
09-16-2011, 10:26 PM
You forgot yourr area is over saturated with LCOs!

CHEESE2009
09-18-2011, 12:48 PM
It really is true, that I could have put more than one option for quite a few of the answers.


Just realized, all my equipment is broken today.

My spare mower, the cord got sucked into the casing, I can't open it. It's a homeowner model, the ones I usually bring back with a warranty (but the warranty is over).

My good trimmer has been broken for half the season now, brought it to get fixed but they half arsed it, never got fixed.

My stepfather occasional borrows the trailer because of the renovations he's been doing, and he decided to move the equipment out of my trailer to somehow make my life easier.

=

The choke to the tractor snapped.

&

He for some reason tried to start my commercial walk behind, and he changed the speed settings that are NEVER changed, so it's obviously very stiff (not rusted) but that's scrapped now because the wires are for some reason bent out of shape.

****-

All I have is a spare trimmer, and tomorrow is Monday!:D


I hate this season, I F'ING HATE IT!!!! One more thing happens I swear to god, I will pick up my equipment and smash it.

shadrach
09-18-2011, 07:50 PM
Late season motivation & focus - especially when mowing starts to slow down.

Ducke
09-19-2011, 01:06 PM
You don't have enough time to focus your attention on all corners of running your business.

I am finding it very hard to get everything done.
Mow, bill, collect, call, advertise, Association meetings, Estimates, Follow ups,
repairs and what ever else I need to do. It can get crazy some days especially at Months end.

Hedgemaster
09-19-2011, 09:05 PM
I am finding it very hard to get everything done.
Mow, bill, collect, call, advertise, Association meetings, Estimates, Follow ups,
repairs and what ever else I need to do. It can get crazy some days especially at Months end.

I've mostly avoided the "bill and collect" problem by offering two payment options:
Pre-pay for two weeks (or more), or pay at time of service.

99.9% of the time, my clients have my pay in an envelope waiting for me.
When someone forgets, they usually have it ready the next day.

The only ones that are done differently are those who I've not met and who do not live at the property being maintained. I will send them an email letting them know the date of service and what is due. Actually, I think I only do that for 3 people now. (the others send pre-payments) Any more though and it could get confusing unless that was the standard way of billing all of my clients. The more payment options you have, the more room for error. (at least when you are doing it all "pen and paper style". LOL

CHEESE2009
09-19-2011, 09:35 PM
It's tough to be a one man army, even a helper just isn't enough - usually they are just for the labor aspect and nothing more.


The easiest part of what we do, is cutting grass! I'm sure all of us can agree on that. Everything else is full of surprises that set us back.


The clients are the issue, they come in all sorts of varieties and all have specific needs. It's almost like being a parent for each client, so much needs to be done per client that it's often unreasonable at times. We are not machines, so we absorb a lot of negative energy that does not help us.
If they (our clients) all paid on time, and were to never approach us as we work, we'd all be flourishing - guaranteed that we provide standard quality work, which I'm sure we are all capable of doing.


If lawn maintenance could become automated, we'd be free. Seriously.

It's not so much that there is human error, it's just that we can only handle so much until something breaks; our self esteem, our enthusiasm/passion, the way we end up approaching certain people.


Personally, I loved talking to people. I still am very sociable - but I noticed that I am sick of people now that it has become my job to constantly socialize.

E.g;
I used to love to cook, when I worked in a kitchen I ended up hating to cook.

Hedgemaster
09-19-2011, 09:52 PM
Cheese, I thought of you today because I had my first "OMG, If he tells me to "cut it shorter this time" AGAIN, I'm dropping him!" moment.

My run of "perfect clients" has come to an end. LOL!

This old guy only wants it cut every two weeks (cheap) and expects that if I cut it short enough "it will last" two weeks. Ugh. "Hey, cut it shorter this time" he said today. :rolleyes:
"I can't cut it any shorter - if I do I'll scalp it", I replied. "I'm going to have to cut it twice just to be able to cut it as low as I did the last time because it's simply too high to cut that low at this point".
"Oh, well, are you cutting it as low as you cut hers next door?" Double Ugh. "I'm cutting yours SHORTER than hers", I replied. Apparently, he thinks I'm cutting the neighbor's grass lower than his, thus "ripping him off".

Generally, he's a nice, old guy, but this "cut it shorter" crap has me ready to drop him. The lawn looks like crap after I cut it and I don't like doing things half-assed. When I worked a 9-5 job, I was forced to do sub-standard work by my employer. Now that I'm the boss, I'm not going to let some cheap-assed client force me to butcher his lawn. Well, maybe for the rest of this season, but THEN his butt is GONE! LOL!

CHEESE2009
09-20-2011, 12:16 AM
Yeah, in all honesty - drop the guy and never look back if you can.


http://www.the-games-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Hitler-Downfall-Screenshot-001.jpg

If the client brings fuss to you, he is no longer worth your time. This is now my personal policy among others I need to enforce.

Martywdx
09-20-2011, 09:04 PM
"You find it difficult to stay motivated throughout the entire season"

That's my biggest problem. I'm fine when the season is in full bloom and most all lawns are mowed weekly. But right now it's the in between time when lawns can go 2 or more weeks before a cut. And then some people give you the stink eye even then when you show up to mow. So I got some down time waiting for the leafs to fly....and the snow to blow.

CHEESE2009
09-20-2011, 09:48 PM
Maintaining the passion for what we do is extremely difficult.

When we first started, we impressed ourselves and saw that we could accomplish something wonderful.

Over time, many things will interfere with what we enjoy, and put our passion on standby.


-

For example, when I'm seriously bored.. I'd rather go cut someones lawn for free, than to do a client of mine. It's refreshing, and I don't have the weight of the business on my shoulders.

Steve
09-21-2011, 01:36 PM
Maintaining the passion for what we do is extremely difficult.

I think this is a very good point. What's your view on the things a business owner could do to help keep that passion for his business going?

How does one keep from becoming bored of it?

CHEESE2009
09-21-2011, 06:33 PM
I think this is a very good point. What's your view on the things a business owner could do to help keep that passion for his business going?

How does one keep from becoming bored of it?


I think it's almost impossible. When we add more responsibility into our lives, the more hectic things become. In business, it's hard to look at the bright side when we have too much on our plate.

When we maintain lawns, we adapt to a pattern - all it takes is one out of place client to ruin that comfortable pattern. For instance, if you expect to go cut a lawn and leave, you might be discouraged when you end up talking to a client for 30 minutes straight. You normally think of the time you've wasted, over the clients well being. Negative negative negative, and we can't change that.

Every problem, even the tiny ones can ruin a full day or week. Problems sit with us until they are solved, and it's hard to keep a clear mind and just enjoy the good side of life.