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mark123
06-29-2009, 06:13 PM
... is me. Friday I cut a customer's lawn twice. I wasn't happy with the first cut and the second wasn't much better. I had to do some others so I split. I drove past the property on Saturday and it just wasn't up to my standards.

I sharpened my blades, re-scraped the deck and went up and did a free cut on the lawn today and it looked much better.

Am I being obsessive or something? I wonder if I should mention it or mark a free cut on the next invoice.

Steve
06-30-2009, 03:16 AM
Well I do wonder first off, did you get any reaction at all about this from the customer?

mark123
06-30-2009, 06:47 AM
Well I do wonder first off, did you get any reaction at all about this from the customer? No. I just did it yesterday morning while the customer was at work.

Steve
06-30-2009, 07:07 AM
I like that you have the passion to make things look great and I think this will help you always stand out.

CHEESE2009
06-30-2009, 04:08 PM
I hate when my lines aren't straight. I'll usually go back right away & fix the previous line if I'm unhappy... right after I yell a bit.

doug1980
06-30-2009, 04:25 PM
I'm not sure if I would have done that or not. On one hand it is good to keep high standards to make your business stand out. On the other hand this is a business and the whole purpose is to make money. I do love this type of work but if I was rich I would not do it so I do it mainly for the money. So if time equals money, me wasting time by recutting a yard just because I wasn't happy with it equals money lost. If the customer is happy then I would leave it until the next cut. Just my take on it.:D

picframer
06-30-2009, 05:51 PM
A picture would help provide better feedback, what was wrong with your cuts in your opinion? I do however commend you on taking the time to notice it didn't measure up to your standards, that is the sign of a quality business owner and one that is not simply in it for the money, quality and care have huge payback.

My personal hangup(s) are trimming and grading. Trimming as most of the homes we do are on acreages with lots of weeds around the lawn and towards the woods, where does one stop, 6" past the grass, 12", 3 feet, man once you get going you could be into the whole property, granted the owner appreciates it.

Grading and this is a tough one to convey to staff operating equipment how I want it to look, at first I would simply jump on the machine and start the grade the way I wanted it and then get off but then staff are not really learning and I sometimes wonder what they were tough or are being taught in community college as the staff that run the excavators are all in a heavy equipment operators course. Anyhow I have found it best to simply keep offering feedback until I see what I think it should look like then bring the homeowner in.

I wouldn't offer a free mow unless something is really screwed up and the owner says something, and in my experience they will if something isn't right.

As for blades being sharp, I have a number of sharpeners on cordless drills, I bought the stone from a place called Lee Valley, it's Homer Simpson approved, simply meaning it would be next to impossible to screw up. At the end of the day the staff pressure wash the underside of the decks, spray Teflon and give the blades a quick sharpen, they get a good sharpening on Sunday afternoons, I have an older retired fellow who comes by, sharpens the blades, washes the machines, checks oil levels, greases the equipment etc. He loves doing it and it gives him a few extra bucks.

mark123
06-30-2009, 08:50 PM
... So if time equals money ...
... I don't follow that adage. I believe it to be outdated. Quality and value equals money. Time doesn't enter into it.

:)

I should explain that she gets her lawn fertilized by a different company (my non-compete contract doesn't expire for 2 more weeks) and they blast it with nitrogen. It grows about 8 inches per week.

She asks me to use my 21" mower (some folks are just afraid of the great cut they'll get from the big mowers I guess) and it just didn't do well this time. The blade sharpening was just a precaution and wasn't a necessity. I just wanted to make sure everything was perfect.

I'm not worried about giving a free cut in this instance as monday is my office day anyway I lost no work in the process, just a bit of gas. She always gives me a tip anyway.

It was worth it to me even if she never finds out. I don't think I'm going to tell her because she may think she can get a freebie more often. :p

Steve
07-01-2009, 04:22 AM
This would be something that would make for a great opening on a lawn care website. To tell this story and show how meticulous you are.

I feel it sets the tone of the business.

picframer
07-01-2009, 04:50 AM
I find here people are afraid of the bigger equipment due to lack of knowledge/understanding so we educate them and simply say "Look let us mow it the way we do every other client then we can talk about your concerns.

They fear the big stuff is so heavy it will ruin the lawn, I use golf courses to kill this myth, operators will damage my trees and shrubs as you will hit them, operators use the utmost care, explain that a ZTR will go around a tree in seconds....etc...I generally find when a customer is hesitant about a piece of gear, they simply do not understand so we spend a few moments explaining things out and so far it has worked every time.

I like your business ethic and you will do well.

mark123
07-01-2009, 07:57 AM
Yeah, let's call it "ethics" and not "being obsessive". That's good spin. LOL :D

Steve
07-01-2009, 08:05 AM
Even with the term obsessive, I think there is a lot to say about entrepreneurs who are obsessive about something and are able to profit from it.

It does make you wonder, what ultimately drives any of us to do what any of us do? How many of us are obsessive about what we do or is it more that we can do a certain skill and simply want to profit from it, so it's a financial drive?

How many business owners do you feel are obsessive and how many are profit driven?

picframer
07-01-2009, 02:34 PM
Even with the term obsessive, I think there is a lot to say about entrepreneurs who are obsessive about something and are able to profit from it.

It does make you wonder, what ultimately drives any of us to do what any of us do? How many of us are obsessive about what we do or is it more that we can do a certain skill and simply want to profit from it, so it's a financial drive?

How many business owners do you feel are obsessive and how many are profit driven?

Personally I do it as I love the challenge, meeting new people, working outside and finally getting paid very good dollars for doing it. I have asked the staff why they like doing what we do, their reply has always been they like working outside, love the physical aspect, working at different locations, learning every day, having the chance to operate machinery, never once have they mentioned $$$.

I think the obsessive companies if you want to use that term are the ones in this for the long haul, the profit/time driven companies come and go, yes there are some that make a big profit and still do quality work so I don't want to generalize that. The company that has an eye for detail, is personally the company I would want, I am not just another dollar bill, they care about what they need to do for me and this is what I like to convey to our clients and so far it is really paying off.

jds2381
07-01-2009, 02:44 PM
I would include it on your invoice. Let them know you cared enough to take time out of your busy schedule to make the lawn fit your standards. I don't know how it looked but customers may have 'complaints' and not say anything. You will never know. They will keep it in their head until the next LCO comes along with a doorhanger. Most people don't like complaining. You will never know they are unhappy until its too late!

mark123
07-03-2009, 07:33 PM
She had the day off and was home when I cut the lawn today. I talked her into letting me try the "mid-sized" mower (the big mower) on the back portion of her lawn because "it just does a better job". Next time I'll use it on more of the lawn until I can leave the small mower at home. I really think calling it "mid-sized" instead of "the big mower" made a difference.

I also told her that I did the extra cut on monday and she wanted to pay me for it, which I refused since it was not her decision but mine.

I think I've made a long time customer today. :)