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Smitty911
01-20-2013, 11:15 AM
I think I've found the right place to ask.

I'm not in the lawn service business, but here is the situation.

I've had several people/companies over the last 6 years cutting my front yard only, I take care of the back, when I have time. They mow twice a month, my lawn looks like hell, bare, hard ground, poor grass. $40.00 a month, they are here for Mow, Edge occasional hedge - Start to finish 11 minutes.

I know part is my fault for not watering enough, but we don't want to leave water marks on our neighbors cars, I'm in Southern Ca. and water spots are painful to remove. Three large pop up Impact sprinkler heads in the corners.

Not once has one of these "Experts" made suggestions on what I can do to minimize the water on other peoples cars, made suggestions on sprinkle changes, timing, etc. to get a healthy looking yard.

So the question is what do I do to get a nice looking yard again? Water intervals, re-seeding, new sprinklers, etc. etc. etc.

Thanks for your help,

Smitty

willshome
01-20-2013, 02:35 PM
most types of grass need mowing every 4 to 8 days. 2 times a month is just to long. You are cutting to much of the grass blade and hurting the grass (only cut up to a 1/3 at a time)
Most grass needs watering once a week 1". Take a tune fish can and put it on the lawn turn on the sprinklers time how long it takes to fill, that is how long to run you sprinklers. Run your sprinklers at 4am
The water spots on the car, are you watering during the day? don't watering during the day burns lawns

$40 for two mows I would be broke, you are getting a cheap mow

SECTLANDSCAPING
01-20-2013, 03:24 PM
listen to will,

Your paying to little and not often enough. I know its only 11 mins but the guys that will work for $20, know little to nothing about healthy grass.

Water your grass who cares that your neighbors cars are wet.

Cut more often and cut less off at a time.

CHEESE2009
01-20-2013, 05:37 PM
I've had several people/companies over the last 6 years cutting my front yard only, I take care of the back, when I have time.

I understand that lawn maintenance can be expensive, which is why you probably take care of your own back lawn. Makes sense.

Unfortunately, that is probably why the company you had hired doesn't make any suggestions, they probably see that you are not interested in paying more.

They may be ignorant, or they are just making a fair assumption.

They mow twice a month, my lawn looks like hell, bare, hard ground, poor grass.

Your lawn needs to be mowed weekly if you are looking to keep your lawn at around 2 1/2 - 3".

Cutting tall grass down to 2 1/2 inches will often cause damage.


$40.00 a month, they are here for Mow, Edge occasional hedge - Start to finish 11 minutes.

I'm from a different part of the world, so I can't compare prices.

I am impressed that they have included hedge trimming in the price; you might actually be getting more then you are paying for.

We all have lawns that take 11 minutes to complete, this isn't anything to be worried about, especially if it's just your front yard.

I know part is my fault for not watering enough, but we don't want to leave water marks on our neighbors cars, I'm in Southern Ca. and water spots are painful to remove. Three large pop up Impact sprinkler heads in the corners.

That sounds frustrating. Are you able to have your irrigation tweaked so that the water isn't spreading onto your neighbors vehicles?

Not once has one of these "Experts" made suggestions on what I can do to minimize the water on other peoples cars, made suggestions on sprinkle changes, timing, etc. to get a healthy looking yard.

If you could provide a picture of your lawns layout, I think we'd be able to come up with some suggestions that may benefit you.


Good luck!

Steve
01-21-2013, 12:30 PM
This brings up a great topic on what lawn care business owners could include in their marketing. If it is an issue for one customer, it would most likely be an issue for many customers.

Caskey Lawns & Landscapes
01-22-2013, 10:47 AM
Don't take this the wrong way but :eek:

You get what you pay for .......

There is no way that anyone that has a legitimate lawn care business can mow for $20.00 :confused:

I suggest you look for a better service provider and be willing to spend a little bit more ....

Cashin H&P
01-22-2013, 02:57 PM
Don't take this the wrong way but :eek:

You get what you pay for .......

There is no way that anyone that has a legitimate lawn care business can mow for $20.00 :confused:

I suggest you look for a better service provider and be willing to spend a little bit more ....

I agree 100% Plus if you are paying them to mow the front that screams cheap to me. He may know alot about lawn care her just does not care about your lawn because you only have him cut the front...

If you called me and asked me to just mow your front yard I would tell you that we will only provide full service. I suggest you you decide if you want to pay for a real lawn care program or if you still want to be cheap and only pay to have them cut the front.

KateLatierra
01-22-2013, 04:58 PM
Agree that twice a month is not going to work and your lawn needs more than just "mindless" mowing. Then again, like the other guys have already mentioned, you've got it cheap. Maybe talk to your current service provider and negotiate a new set up and pricing of course or get someone else. Reality is we have to invest a little more for great looking lawns or landscape.

LawnCareMan280
01-22-2013, 06:01 PM
What I use is scotts turf builder in may or june at the beginning season. And then in the mid season like July& August I would use superior phosphros free fertilizer. And finally use some weed B gone in your tank sprayer or in any chemical attachment if you get lucky aand get some rain whola you got a beautiful yard! Hey I used this stuff and my compettitor who lives next door my lawn was the greenest all season:D Ha HA HA!

SECTLANDSCAPING
01-22-2013, 06:14 PM
What I use is scotts turf builder in may or june at the beginning season. And then in the mid season like July& August I would use superior phosphros free fertilizer. And finally use some weed B gone in your tank sprayer or in any chemical attachment if you get lucky aand get some rain whola you got a beautiful yard! Hey I used this stuff and my compettitor who lives next door my lawn was the greenest all season:D Ha HA HA!

I hope that was your lawn since its a $5000 fine to even advertise using.

patrick6411
01-22-2013, 09:01 PM
most types of grass need mowing every 4 to 8 days. 2 times a month is just to long. You are cutting to much of the grass blade and hurting the grass (only cut up to a 1/3 at a time)
Most grass needs watering once a week 1". Take a tune fish can and put it on the lawn turn on the sprinklers time how long it takes to fill, that is how long to run you sprinklers. Run your sprinklers at 4am
The water spots on the car, are you watering during the day? don't watering during the day burns lawns

$40 for two mows I would be broke, you are getting a cheap mow

This is sound advice.

Smitty911
01-23-2013, 12:49 AM
Willshome and CHEESE2009,

Thanks for your suggestion, I'll reset the sprinklers and check the time. I'll adjust the heads so that only a mist is by their car, I't a Black Hummer and a dark grey 300 so any water spots as soon as the sun comes up. I'll report back.

KateLatierra,

I'll talk with him next time I see him about your suggestion.

Et al,

I think I see the problem in the lawn care world. It's the lawn care service providers.

I hate to be an *** and a few of you have made wild *** assumptions. It's cheaper for me to pay for someone else's time when I can be in my garage working on my CNC Milling machine making parts, doing CAD drawings, etc. etc. etc. Testing Fiber Optic passive and active components pays me a lot more than the time it takes to mow.

I didn't set the price or ask for a discount, he offered I accepted he cuts the front yard, once every two weeks. He edges once a month and hedges when needed. This is the same deal I've had with the last two people. He's been doing it for two years now. He runs a two man crew, plus himself, so he must be making enough money for his needs.

I won't just run out there and throw money at him and say "Your not charging me enough, according to some people on the web, here's a extra $100.00." You must have lost your collective minds. I'm willing to pay to get a good lawn. At this point I'm tempted to get rid of all of them and do it myself. I'm more than capable of laying out a new sprinkler system, wire new controller for multiply zones, new top soil and sod. My last back yard I brought in 10 yards of compost and rototiller it in, I had a great yard in 8 weeks. Heck if I felt like talking to my ex-wife who happens to be a Landscape architect from Penn State, I could have her redo my yard for award winning yard. Shes won several design awards for her Golf course and residential/commercial work.

I cut the back because I have two dogs that I would prefer not to have loose in the area. I'm pretty sure my wife and my last few tax returns were for over $120,000 year. I'm also pretty sure I worked on a $250,000 quote for a Canadian company that I'll probably get, not bad for three months work or the $100,000 PO that came in last week. So it isn't always the money.

For those that would only provide "Full Service" what the hell does that mean? That I pay you more I get great grass at X a month. No one goes into my back yard, not even the gas man or power company. My side yard is fenced to flush with the front of the house, and the other side is a walkway.

SECTLANDSCAPING,

Water spots are a concern, glad your not my neighbor. I also clean up after my dogs if I walk them. I also don't open my trucks door into other peoples cars. I guess I was raised to show a little respect for other peoples property.

A few of you have touched a few nerves, I asked about getting a good lawn, I didn't asked to be judged on how cheap I am or how much I can afford to pay, or my guy isn't legit, (he has his business lisc and workers comp), he isn't making money, etc. etc. If any of you believe that your clients care if you eat or not, new flash, they don't. They care about you providing a service that you said you would for the price You agreed to. If you make money fine, if not, fine.

Steve,

Instead of projecting "your" problems onto "your" clients, maybe you (the imperial "you") should set up a 5-10 minute discussion once a year and go over a plan for problem yards to get back up to acceptable conditions and discuss the cost to do so. "You" (the imperial) are supposed to be the experts.

Rant over, Flame suit is on.

Smitty

Cashin H&P
01-23-2013, 05:56 AM
I hope that was your lawn since its a $5000 fine to even advertise using.

Let's call the epa on this kid haha

Caskey Lawns & Landscapes
01-23-2013, 06:44 AM
I knew it would end up like this when I read your post...You came on here and ask opinions and now you have decided to slam every service provider as being your problem :confused:

My only thought on this...If someone mows for you for $20.00..He doesn't give a damn about you or your lawn...

Cashin H&P
01-23-2013, 08:59 AM
Your post is proving our point about you being cheap. If your going to pay some one to do it pay some one to do.it right, not pay then to do a half *** job. Your lawn guy probably Hayes your yard, for me that situation would almost be a waste if time

SECTLANDSCAPING
01-23-2013, 10:19 AM
My neighbors like me. So does there dogs since they **** where my daughter plays. I just pick it up and throw it back in their yards. My closest neighbor is a 90 yr old lady. I cut her grass and plow her driveway for free. She calls me on the holidays and wishes me well.

I would be a little ticked about property damage and dog poop but water? You could go hose down my salty trucks right now and Ill make you a cup of coffee.

The issue with your yard was explained. Its maintenance as in lack of it. You cant cut the grass in half without burning it. You cant get by with 2 cuts a month in a warm climate.

If you dont have a problem mowing your yard cut in between the time your lawn guys come or pay him to come more often or even do the backyard.

Smitty911
01-23-2013, 11:17 AM
I knew it would end up like this when I read your post...You came on here and ask opinions and now you have decided to slam every service provider as being your problem :confused:

My only thought on this...If someone mows for you for $20.00..He doesn't give a damn about you or your lawn...

Doug,

I didn't slam anyone that added valuable information, I actually thanked them.

For $20.00 he may not, but as a professional, wouldn't you want to take care of someones yard as it reflects on your quality of service? Wouldn't you also make sure that the persons yard is brought up to "your" standards? Wouldn't you also make suggestions and cost to allow for the home owner to have a nice yard. I'm not the professional, I don't know what it would take or the cost involved. Am I willing to pay for a nice Front Yard, certainly if I get value for the money.

Thanks for your response.

Smitty

Smitty911
01-23-2013, 11:28 AM
Your post is proving our point about you being cheap. If your going to pay some one to do it pay some one to do.it right, not pay then to do a half *** job. Your lawn guy probably Hayes your yard, for me that situation would almost be a waste if time

It hardly proves anything. Nice try though.

The going rate is what I pay, I checked with the people on both sides of me. Two different guys, on the right, he pays $60 a month, every other week, front and back, mow, edge, hedge when needed on several sculpted shrubs. On the left side, he pays $45 a month for every other week, he only mows and edges, no shrubs, larger front yard.

If you don't know what your talking about it's ok to admit it.

If this guy came up and said, "Look your yard is a wasted, here's what I'd like to do. Replace Sprinkler systems to address the over spray concern, remove tree roots that are on the surface, bring in some top soil to even the landscape, put down sod or seed your choice. It will cost about X,XXX.XX when did you want me to start." That is what I'm looking for in a lawn care professional.

Smitty911
01-23-2013, 11:32 AM
My neighbors like me. So does there dogs since they **** where my daughter plays. I just pick it up and throw it back in their yards. My closest neighbor is a 90 yr old lady. I cut her grass and plow her driveway for free. She calls me on the holidays and wishes me well.

I would be a little ticked about property damage and dog poop but water? You could go hose down my salty trucks right now and Ill make you a cup of coffee.

The issue with your yard was explained. Its maintenance as in lack of it. You cant cut the grass in half without burning it. You cant get by with 2 cuts a month in a warm climate.

If you dont have a problem mowing your yard cut in between the time your lawn guys come or pay him to come more often or even do the backyard.

Thanks for your suggestion, I'll start getting the water issue handled and talk with him next time I see him about fixing the issues with the grass.

Once the grass issue is corrected, I'll drag my mower out and do the front in between his visit.

So to get this correct, Once a week as a minimum and adjust the height so that only the top 1/3rd is cut, and water long enough once a week to get a 1" accumulation.


I guess it would have been easier to ask how to fix my lawn and leave the guy cutting my grass out of it. Live and learn.

Smitth

CHEESE2009
01-23-2013, 12:08 PM
I'm taking a step back, and putting myself in the shoes of a client, and service provider.

It's actually very interesting when both sides can justify their ways, but it's not too great if we can't find a solution.

Clients POV
I believe that the service provider shouldn't have accepted the job if he is not capable of taking full responsibility of the lawn, even by providing a 'heads up' to any problems with the lawn.

Regardless if he is only paid to mow and nothing more, the service provider should at least point out any noticeable lawn flaws to the client; If the lawn dies, his current service wouldn't be required: lose-lose situation.

Service Provider POV
We do our best to make the most amount of money for our time; however, we will often accept mediocre work to fill up our schedules, and losing one of these jobs isn't a big deal to us.

If we have 99 clients who all pay the premium cost, that 100th client that pays less will not be taken very seriously.

The same goes for complaints; if 99 clients are satisfied while 1 client is always frustrated with our service... Foresight will tell us not to go out of our way to fix what statistically isn't our problem.

-

It's an annoying situation, but in the case like this, the amount of money paid to the service provider reflects the priority of the client. It's not "right", but it's business.

I personally wish I could accept any/all jobs big or small, but it's amazing how much money a service provider can miss out on by not focusing on better work only.



If a client wants me to mow their lawn for a low cost, it can be done, but there are other people willing to pay more for the same amount of work, and I'm doing my best to avoid other issues that may arise:

Nothing is worse than a client who not only pays less, but also has impossible expectations; I had a client who's lawn could take me 8 minutes to properly maintain, but she had a habit of jumping in front of my lawn mower every second to point something out. Every time I went to maintain her lawn, I was there for 1-2 hours every week. This client was also paying the right amount, but I was actually losing money because of her personality.


It's not that you are a bad guy or wont pay more, we are just afraid of taking chances and accepting low paying work that could end up demoralizing us for the entire season. All it takes is one client to put us in a bad mood.


-


In a nutshell, finding a service provider that can work around your needs is all trial and error. You may want to look into the newer companies, as they wont have any standards yet.... you can probably even heckle them on the price.

You might be switching to a new company every year, but that's because we all become more picky the larger we get. I have nothing against people trying to save money.

SECTLANDSCAPING
01-23-2013, 12:21 PM
So to get this correct, Once a week as a minimum and adjust the height so that only the top 1/3rd is cut, and water long enough once a week to get a 1" accumulation.


I guess it would have been easier to ask how to fix my lawn and leave the guy cutting my grass out of it. Live and learn.

Smitth
Thats about right. I'm sure you cut the grass to short before and seen it turn brown?

Another suggestion is to send out a soil sample to be tested. You might have to much or to less of something in the soil.

's what I'd like to do. Replace Sprinkler systems to address the over spray concern, remove tree roots that are on the surface, bring in some top soil to even the landscape, put down sod or seed your choice. It will cost about X,XXX.XX when did you want me to start." That is what I'm looking for in a lawn care professional.

The guys who know how to diagnose and treat turf damage are far and few between. You need a arborist not a lawn guy. Your climate is part of the problem too. You would really need someone in your region that has experience with your types of grass.

Thats what I meant about price. I wasnt saying you were cheap but that the lawn guy might not know these things. When you start dealing with the pricier companies they have irrigation specialist, arborist, and pest control people to address these problems.

Caskey Lawns & Landscapes
01-23-2013, 01:42 PM
Doug,

I didn't slam anyone that added valuable information, I actually thanked them.

For $20.00 he may not, but as a professional, wouldn't you want to take care of someones yard as it reflects on your quality of service? Wouldn't you also make sure that the persons yard is brought up to "your" standards? Wouldn't you also make suggestions and cost to allow for the home owner to have a nice yard. I'm not the professional, I don't know what it would take or the cost involved. Am I willing to pay for a nice Front Yard, certainly if I get value for the money.

Thanks for your response.

Smitty

YES ! YES ! & Yes!!

I always give the best service and advice that I can, being a quality service provider is what keeps new customers calling and the current customers happy....In fact,if they need something done that I can't offer, I have many contacts and I make it happen...

I think you need a breath of fresh air, search out another service provider that can help you out with everything you need done, The $20 guy is not going to get you there...

Good luck and I hope you manage to find someone that can get your lawn in shape for you....

Smitty911
01-23-2013, 03:18 PM
Thats about right. I'm sure you cut the grass to short before and seen it turn brown?

Another suggestion is to send out a soil sample to be tested. You might have to much or to less of something in the soil.



The guys who know how to diagnose and treat turf damage are far and few between. You need a arborist not a lawn guy. Your climate is part of the problem too. You would really need someone in your region that has experience with your types of grass.

Thats what I meant about price. I wasnt saying you were cheap but that the lawn guy might not know these things. When you start dealing with the pricier companies they have irrigation specialist, arborist, and pest control people to address these problems.


Thanks, I'll grab the Yellow Pages and look for an Arborist. They can handle the cities tree in my front yard and deal with the lawn issue. Good suggestion.

Thanks,

Smitty

Smitty911
01-23-2013, 03:19 PM
YES ! YES ! & Yes!!

I always give the best service and advice that I can, being a quality service provider is what keeps new customers calling and the current customers happy....In fact,if they need something done that I can't offer, I have many contacts and I make it happen...

I think you need a breath of fresh air, search out another service provider that can help you out with everything you need done, The $20 guy is not going to get you there...

Good luck and I hope you manage to find someone that can get your lawn in shape for you....

I think it time to call in a real professional to have them take a look at the issue and make recommendation.

I was working under the assumption that a Lawn Care Professional (this is what his card says) would be able to improve the lawns condition.

Live and learn,

Smitty

Smitty911
01-23-2013, 03:29 PM
I'm taking a step back, and putting myself in the shoes of a client, and service provider.

It's actually very interesting when both sides can justify their ways, but it's not too great if we can't find a solution.

Clients POV
I believe that the service provider shouldn't have accepted the job if he is not capable of taking full responsibility of the lawn, even by providing a 'heads up' to any problems with the lawn.

Regardless if he is only paid to mow and nothing more, the service provider should at least point out any noticeable lawn flaws to the client; If the lawn dies, his current service wouldn't be required: lose-lose situation.

Service Provider POV
We do our best to make the most amount of money for our time; however, we will often accept mediocre work to fill up our schedules, and losing one of these jobs isn't a big deal to us.

If we have 99 clients who all pay the premium cost, that 100th client that pays less will not be taken very seriously.

The same goes for complaints; if 99 clients are satisfied while 1 client is always frustrated with our service... Foresight will tell us not to go out of our way to fix what statistically isn't our problem.

-

It's an annoying situation, but in the case like this, the amount of money paid to the service provider reflects the priority of the client. It's not "right", but it's business.

I personally wish I could accept any/all jobs big or small, but it's amazing how much money a service provider can miss out on by not focusing on better work only.



If a client wants me to mow their lawn for a low cost, it can be done, but there are other people willing to pay more for the same amount of work, and I'm doing my best to avoid other issues that may arise:

Nothing is worse than a client who not only pays less, but also has impossible expectations; I had a client who's lawn could take me 8 minutes to properly maintain, but she had a habit of jumping in front of my lawn mower every second to point something out. Every time I went to maintain her lawn, I was there for 1-2 hours every week. This client was also paying the right amount, but I was actually losing money because of her personality.


It's not that you are a bad guy or wont pay more, we are just afraid of taking chances and accepting low paying work that could end up demoralizing us for the entire season. All it takes is one client to put us in a bad mood.


-


In a nutshell, finding a service provider that can work around your needs is all trial and error. You may want to look into the newer companies, as they wont have any standards yet.... you can probably even heckle them on the price.

You might be switching to a new company every year, but that's because we all become more picky the larger we get. I have nothing against people trying to save money.

Thanks for helping put this in perspective. My intent was not to start a fight or cause bad feelings. I have a problem lawn currently and I want it fixed. I should have left out that someone was mowing my grass. In hindsite, it seem irrelevant.

From a Clients view, I want a nice yard, if I don't know what it takes to acheive than I need to be educated by the person servicing my lawn. I need suggestions on what I can do to correct the things within my power and the LSP should correct the things within his power. Working together to get a health greenn lawn being the goal of both. It will probably take a combination of time and money on both persons parts to reach the stated goal.

From a LCP view, you don't want to work for cheap, me either. A hint would be to ask what the goals for the lawn are, you'll find out real quick what the client is thinking, do they want Golf Course Putting Green lawns or just keep it from getting a City Ticket. Either way you are in a better position to determine price and effort.

Just a thought,

Smitty

Smitty911
01-23-2013, 03:31 PM
If I were to start a new lawn, how much dirt should be removed and replaced with Top soil and than either seeded or sod laid out.

or Kill everything in the dirt first?

Thanks

Smitty

Grass Doctor
01-23-2013, 04:20 PM
If I were to start a new lawn, how much dirt should be removed and replaced with Top soil and than either seeded or sod laid out.

or Kill everything in the dirt first?

Thanks

Smitty

how you doing smitty911. grass doctor here i will like to see some pix of ur actual lawn that will help us to give you more input

CHEESE2009
01-23-2013, 04:56 PM
If I were to start a new lawn, how much dirt should be removed and replaced with Top soil and than either seeded or sod laid out.

or Kill everything in the dirt first?

Thanks

Smitty


If there is already a lawn in really bad shape, you can use a tiller to rip it up.

You will most likely be able to reuse the soil, but should be adding more.

To level the soil out, you can use a flat rake upside down.

Apply a hefty amount of seed, fertilize, and water.

-

It's a big job.

Caskey Lawns & Landscapes
01-24-2013, 06:13 AM
If I were to start a new lawn, how much dirt should be removed and replaced with Top soil and than either seeded or sod laid out.

or Kill everything in the dirt first?

Thanks

Smitty

There are several ways to attack your problem but quite a few factors as well, I believe I read that you have exposed tree roots ? if so they would need covered with topsoil...Can you show some photos ? it would help to see the area and where it is located....

Smitty911
01-25-2013, 07:58 PM
Sorry for the delay, Its dark when I get home and dark when I leave for work. I'll get photos up tomorrow after I get back from church.

Thanks for the help.

Smitty