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Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life. It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.

grass growing out of control


Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life.

It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.
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  #1  
Old 08-08-2009, 09:50 AM
tomcat172002
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Default grass growing out of control

I have a customer that I picked up last year. I mulched there lawn last year edged, whipped, and blew no problems. This year the owner says he is unhappy with some of the fertilizing companies so he is going to do it himself, OK. He had mulch put in this year, so they told me to bag so I don't blow grass in the beds. Alright I see his point there. He waters his lawn every day and must fertilzer just about every month.

His lawn is growing way out of control, like I have never seen before. I cut lawns once a week and this lawn is taking me way too long to cut now. Every pass I have to stop and bag the clippings. So I tried to cut at 4 1/4 inches then re-cut at 3-3/4 inches. Well now I am doing twice the work. I cannot tell them don't water and fertilzer your lawn so much, its too much work for me? For doing twice the work, should I charge twice the amount $35; now I charge $70? Bagging is slowing me down as well. I could cut twice a week. I am not sure what to do, what do you guys think?
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  #2  
Old 08-08-2009, 10:45 AM
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Bagging the clippings will strip the nutrients out so if you keep doing it, it will eventually slow it down.

I'd scalp it down to 1/2" and bag it but then you'd probably lose the customer.

Also, watering every day is detrimental to the lawn, he shouldn't be doing that. You may want to ask him to switch to a fertilizer with slow-release or water insoluble nitrogen. Surge growth caused by quick release fertilizer is also detrimental to the lawn.
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Old 08-08-2009, 05:53 PM
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Hmmm. I have the same problem with 2 customers.

One is using a product that is now illegal, which is fine, it works compared to the crap we buy now.

& the other just went crazy with nitrogen. It grows crazy in patches & looks horrid.

I would raise my wheels every time I pass. Eventually you will come across a good day when it hasn't grown so much. On that good day, cut it short. Hopefully you will be able to keep up with it.

I cut at the regular height, my competition cuts at "1" and basically has nothing to do the next week because the grass is always short.

It's a great idea if you can manage it, but I believe it's lazy & reckless.

Some grass you just can't cut short, basically, raise your wheels by 1 if your mower is having a hard time. Keep it at that setting all season round.

Your customer might say something, but just tell him,

"Your lawn is original, to cut it shorter, I recommend 2 mowings per week. Unfortunately the price would go up, so once a week is all I can offer at the height my mower is set to."

You could always mow him twice a week, & deduct mowings in the later season when the grass doesn't grow.... & we basically make free money
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Old 08-08-2009, 10:36 PM
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First of all I would charge him at least 20% more for bagging. Mark is right too much water and nitrogen is not good for his lawn eventually over watering and over fertilization will catch up to him.

I wouldn't scalp his lawn either because that will damage the grass and look like crap as well.
I would explain to him in a nice way your dillema for servicing his yard. Either he backs off on the water and fertilizer or you have to charge him for a double cut
or come twice a week. If he balks at that then he is not a customer that I would want. Remember your time is money!
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Old 08-09-2009, 03:54 AM
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What kind of mower are you using on this property?

I was thinking of a bunch of different ways to possibly handle this.

Can you use a mulching blade?
Or
Can you cut it without bagging, taking care not to blow clippings into the beds?

If not and it's taking you a lot longer I would think you are going to have to charge accordingly or this lawn will be unprofitable.

Maybe you could talk to the customer and tell him that it is taking you twice the time now to bag it so you can either charge him more or simply not bag it.

If the property is unprofitable, it's unprofitable and you either have to charge more, provide less of a service or drop the customer.

What are your thoughts on this?
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:55 AM
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I use a 48inch Scag Freedom Z. (It's a riding mower.) I have tried the mulching blades but I still blow grass into the beds. Scag came out with a Operater Controled discharge Chute. O.C.D.C. . From what I can see it looks like just what I need but its not out yet for the Freedom Z. I think if I cut twice a week I would only have to cut once. It wouldn't take me as long and I would double my revenue. That way I don't want to have to change my price in the middle of the season and bagging wouldn't be too bad. It would be and extra trip but it would almost be like picking up another customer. I know these people can afford it, when I started out it was a pretty easy lawn to do. Now its taking me way to long becasue of the 24 hour sprinkler system. A box of bags cost me $5.50 which would last a month. This account would generate $280 per month twice a week. I could tell them I am not charging for bagging but the twice a week thing is necessary because you should never cut less than 1/3 of the height of the grass. Next year, I am going to raise their price. What do you think?
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
. I could tell them I am not charging for bagging but the twice a week thing is necessary because you should never cut less than 1/3 of the height of the grass. Next year, I am going to raise their price. What do you think?
I just can't get over that the lawn is growing so fast it needs to be cut twice a week.

I would think if the homeowner had the option of lightening up on the fertilizer or having to pay for twice a week cuts, they would lighten up. But who knows. Maybe thats what they want.

Yea I guess you are gonna have to have a talk with them and see what they say.

Keep us posted.
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:29 PM
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Not knowing the specific conditions or how close the beds are together etc, another option would be to slow the throttle down when you get to an area where it gets close to the mulch beds. I've got one property I mow that is about a 2 mower width between beds and I can slow the blades down pretty slow and it won't throw the grass clippings as far. I can't say that there's not "any" grass that hits the beds, but it certainly doesn't paint the mulch green w/ clippings. What does land in the mulch bed I can come back with my blower at the idle speed and spread out the clippings pretty good. May be worth experimenting with. Best of luck, hopefully it helps a little.
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