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Two for Two - Woo-Hoo! First Scheduled Mowing Clients

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Old 05-07-2012, 10:05 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Picked up a "new", old customer today.

This one was a guy I cut biweekly last year. $60/cut - one of my highest priced jobs. I mowed while the house was on the market. He ended up renting the house and then the renters were responsible for the lawn.
He called today - it's back on the market and he wanted to know if I'd like the job again. Heck yeah. It was a beast last year with a 21" mower, but now that I have my walk behind, that $60/cut is much more profitable. (Plus I cut several other lawns on that street, so it's convenient)
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:26 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Originally Posted by Hedgemaster View Post
Last Friday I was mowing and had my usual lawn signs out in front of, and behind my truck. (busy road, lots of exposure)
As I was loading up, a lady from across the street walked down, and while looking at my "Taking New Clients!" sign, said "Oh, good, you're taking clients - I saw you cutting last week, and wondered if I could get a quote?"
I walked over to look, we talked a bit, and I gave her a quote. She said she'd let me know this week if she's going to use me.

One thing I'm doing differently this season, is I'm not giving price breaks just because a lawn is next to an existing client. I simply give a fair price for the job. So far it's working for me.

I picked up a biweekly today. I had done a "one time" cut for them several weeks ago and gave prices for weekly/biweekly cuts in case they were interested in having me continue mowing on a regular basis.
They called and said they were having trouble finding time for the yard and could I begin cutting on a biweekly schedule? No problem - I charged an extra $10 for the second "first" cut, as it had become a bit overgrown.

When I did the lawn the first time, the owner asked for a price to cut the vacant property next door. He said he'd pass along my quote of $45 to the owner of the property. I told him "That's the price TODAY... it will increase if the lawn is left to grow more."
Today, I was asked again (by the wife) about doing the lawn next door. I explained that I quoted $45 4 weeks ago, but now the price is $80. She said she'd pass along the info.
When I got home I answered a call from the owner of the vacant house.

"Yes, $80 sounds fine - what would it cost to keep it maintained on a regular basis?"

I told him $35/biweekly. He's sending a check for $115 for the first two cuts. (RIGHT next door to the other biweekly and in my neighborhood to boot!)


Get this. I'm headed over to get this overgrown mess under control and the phone rings - it's the owner of said mess.

"I just got a call that one of the neighbors started cutting the lawn. I don't know how far he got, but the neighbor told him that you were hired to mow it", he said.

Son of a GAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! WTF?!!!
Why can't these people just call code enforcement instead of CUTTING THE MESS and ENABLING these deadbeat homeowners? Seriously... what good does it do to bust yous a$$ to mow a property that SHOULD be maintained by the person who OWNS it?
TWO other neighbors saw me mowing the other day and asked for my number to give to the homeowner - said they were rhinking of going over and mowing it themselves. Idiots.

Anyway, I get over there and sure enough, the neighbor had cut the whole thing. It wasn't pretty, but how the heck can I charge what I quoted for a lawn that's already been half finished? I was pi$$ed.

I decided to go ahead and mow it again at a lower setting to get it down even with the next door neighbor that I'm cutting. I spent a LOT of time weed wacking, so I may just keep my quoted price close to the original $80.

The owner said that he has already mailed me a check for $115 ($80 first cut and $35 for next cut) and told me to see what it's like when I get there.

How many times can this happen to me? I don't know if I mentioned it, but several weeks ago, one of last season's clients called to thank me for mowing. I hadn't been there.

Someone had cut his lawn and he didn't know who did it. "Come back in 2 weeks" he said. About 2 weeks later, the SAME thing happened a day before I was going to cut it. SONOFABIOTCH!!!

Near as he could figure, someone is supposed to be cutting the house next door that's for sale, but cut his by mistake - twice!

So I stop by today to cut and NOW I find his lawn is mostly destroyed. We heard about it on the police scanner a day or so ago - a drunk plowed through a guide rail and went through his lawn, tearing out trees and ripping up the grass, leaving a trail of glass and plastic debris everywhere, and ending up on it's roof as I recall.

I just threw my hands up in defeat. I guess I'm not meant to mow this lawn. LOL

I have to post pics.
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:45 AM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Update on the above post:

The place that was cut by a neighbor worked out. He was OK with the quoted price and didn't hold it against me that the neighbor had already cut it. I told him that with the little bit of time savings I experienced (due to the neighbor knocking it down already) I was able to do a few little extras that I wouldn't have otherwise.
He has already sent a check for 4 more cuts.

The lawn that had been cut by the mystery person and was trashed by a drunk?
Well, it turns out his prior lawn guy was cutting the lawn again without discussing it with him. The guy had "quit" due to a heart attack and that's how I got the job last year.
Apparently these guys have a 15 year relationship and the client doesn't have the heart to tell him "no". He said he likes my work better even though I'm $10 more per cut.
Meh. If it were another lawn, I'd feel differently, but his is a bit of a pain to mow, so I don't care if I've lost it.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:15 AM
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It is great to see all this growth occur overtime!
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:45 AM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Speaking of "over time"...

I did an estimate late last season for a woman who wanted to pay to have her daughter's lawn cut, hedges, beds, etc.
I gave her a quote for the lawn, but wanted to speak to the homeowner before quoting the other things. Long story short, communications broke down and I didn't hear back from anyone.

Fast forward to a week ago and there's a message on my phone from the same woman regarding a quote for the lawn - again.

I went back to look and determined that IF I had permission to enter the back yard through a 4' gate on the side by going a few feet through the neighbor's lawn, I would accept the job. (provided she liked the price) I'm weeding out accounts that must be "push-mowed" in favor of those I can use my 36" walk behind on.

I quoted a price and got the job. First cut is tomorrow - if it doesn't r-a-i-n...
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:45 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Just got my first "turn down" over a HUGE price difference.

I had a call from someone not happy with hr current guy. He's been cutting it for years, but ever since he bought a ZTR, he doesn't mow short enough and does minimal trimming - overall, just getting lazy.

I stopped to look. A townhouse with a tiny front lawn and a larger one in the rear. To get to the back you have to go three townhouses down to the drive that runs around back. OK, so I figure with the hassle of making the trek around back, I would be looking at a minimum of 30 minutes at this job.

I called and when it was determined that she wanted biweekly service, I gave her a price of $35.

"Oh my." she stammered, becoming silent.
"I assume that's more than what you had been paying?", I asked.
"Oh, yes, a LOT more!"
"I was paying him $11!"

(Gimme a friggin' break)

"Wow", I said - "There is no way I can cut for that little. I'll assume he's doing this for pocket change because I couldn't pay my bills charging that little."

"Well, he cuts a lot of them here, so he probably does OK", she said.
"I WAS paying $8 until a year ago, he must have raised his price to pay for the riding mower."

She thanked me for stopping to look.

I've had a few cheapskates tell me I was $5 higher than they wanted to pay, but SHEESH - this one was insane.
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:28 PM
wat5150 wat5150 is offline
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Part of the biz I guess.

Last edited by wat5150; 06-26-2012 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:57 PM
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definitely advertise in all of your local papers. newspapers, auto traders (might get expensive in those but it will pay off), if your local public access TV channel has free non-profit ads, find a way to get on there. i run a non-profit ad offering free services for disabled vets of war. helps get your name out there.

anything you can think of,no matter how crazy it sounds, do it. marketing gets pretty fun, even if you have to spend a few dollars. my most expensive marketing project is an audio cd i burn myself. i get cd's in bulk off of ebay and burn them off. the cd is information about our company (no beer jokes in it, lol) if anyone is interested in hearing it, pm me for details. its only 5 minutes long.

anyway i use these for flyers on cars in parking lots. i get calls back from them, too. i even get work from them. people call about my VERY FIRST flyer which was more of "im a handy man, specializing in lawn care, lookin for odd jobs" kind of thing.

the marketing is the best part.

i got motivated to really go with this after seeing steves best lawn care video (that video also made me WANT to join this forum, and i hate signing up for forums). i'd like to see him get behind the camera again and hope he does soon. now and then we can all use a good boost, and his very interesting ways behind the lens really picked me up a few times when the phone wasn't ringing.

on being shot down and high rates...

my best contracted CX told me we bid HIGHER than he was told by others. we still sold him on 3 services a month. we met him in person, talked shop, got comfortable with each other, and at the end, let him have some time to think it over. went to grab lunch.

came back, and he was ready to sign. guaranteed for the next 3 months now, and he's soo happy with our service. his tenants are super happy and super happy with him now as well.

Last edited by WeekendWarriorLawn; 06-26-2012 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 06-26-2012, 09:49 PM
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thats 3 services a month on 4 properties!
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:18 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Since I mentioned the cheapskate that wanted a 35 minute job done for ELEVEN dollars, I thought I'd mention this one as well.

I went to give an estimate the other day and pulled up to what was a rather plain, unimpressive, and somewhat "dead-looking" lawn. I started looking around and the owner's wife came out. I learned that they just moved in and were RENTING. "Well, that's a bad sign", I thought to myself, as renters usually don't care about the lawn and aren't fond of paying to care for someone else's property.

The sidewalk was in desperate need of an edging and there was grass in all the cracks of the drive. It had been cut recently, but you could tell it was done with little regard to how it looked.

I had been asked for a quote for mowing and edging. "I'd just like to neaten it up some".

I told the wife it would be around $35/cut and that I'd email her husband with the details.

I stopped by today.
To mow, trim (weedeat), and blow off all hard surfaces, the price would

Weekly service - $35/cut
Biweekly service $40/cut

We could discuss edging further if you wish, as I don't know the extent that you want to go to, but to edge the front sidewalk for the first time, add $30 to get it sharpened up and after that, I'd just include maintenance edging with the regular service.


His reply...
Let's start with bi-weekly because I am not sure how quickly the grass grows, and I will add the $30 for the first cut.
When can you start?

Thanks for the quick reply.
Fridays are booked. I may be able to cut tomorrow if it's urgent, but it looked like it had been cut recently.
How does Monday sound?

His reply:


So I go over yesterday and do the first cut. It takes all of 15 minutes to mow, I didn't time the trimming/blow, but it's not extensive.
(The edging took a while - it was bad)

So the previous person (in post above) wanted me to spend at least 30 minutes there for ELEVEN dollars and this guy is cool with $40 for a job that takes less time/work.

There really is no way to know what someone is willing to pay. It's crazy.
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