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Scheduling question


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Old 12-09-2011, 08:41 AM
JeffK26
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Default Scheduling question

Maybe i'm not typing in the correct search terms, but i can't find this anywhere. Sorry if I missed it.

How do you schedule? Does the first customer that calls you for a day speak for all customers in that area? Example, your areas are West, East, North and South. A customer from the North area calls before all other from the North and requests Thursday, so are all customers from the North on Thursday? Or do you wait for a few requests and see which day is the most requested in that area?

Thanks!
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:43 AM
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Your schedule will evolve over time. When you're first starting and only have 3 customers, no matter where they live you do them all in one day whether they are on three different sides of town or all on the same street.

It's not only location but also the quality of the customer. I've put my highest concentration of good customers—those that pay quickly, complain rarely and listen to suggestions—on my Friday route which seems to be the most desirable day. I also try to fit other good customers on that day if they are on the drive home at the end of the route.

There is some overlap and I do travel a few extra miles on certain days but over time my routes get tighter and tighter as long as I pay attention to how I maintain them.

I guess my answer is that I'm pretty strict about it but I can be flexible depending on the customer.
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:35 AM
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I work areas on a day.. North on monday, west on tues, etc. I keep friday open to handle weather days. If I cannot work on monday I do those on tues etc. I spell this out to each customer so they know and understand the schedule. This works out great for me. I also have friday to do things like hedges ect. Make sure your customers understand that haveing to leave one area (south) to do thier yard in another area (north) incuures extra expenses on you and you would have to charge extra. However if you work the schedule my way you keep customers close to each other, and have down time each day untill that area fills up. down time is great it lets you do maintenance, and other things without screwing up your weekend.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:48 PM
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Thanks for the tips.

I knew it wouldn't be a big problem with so few accounts, but with my luck i'd have a buttload of accounts happen with no real plan on how to schedule...i like being prepared.

thanks again!
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:53 PM
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One other thing that I do. I don't schedule work on Saturday or Monday. These are make up days in case of rain or days that I'll fertilize lawns. When I get a bigger/faster mower I'm going to compress the mowing route to Wed-Fri and try to expand the fertilizing business to fill Mon-Tue.
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:11 AM
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What we have done in the past is do a 4 day work week. This will actually save you money in the long run. Also, we load the jobs heavy on Monday -Wednesday. We do this for a few reasons 1) if we get rained out early in the week, we still have a light Thursday and Friday to fall back on, 2) its a mental thing. By getting all of your heavy load done early, if will make the rest of the week seem very easy and almost make for a 4 day weekend, 3) and like I mentioned before a shorter work week means less windshield time to save some money
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:24 PM
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All good ideas, thanks for sharing!

I have them cut and pasted on a word document in my scheduling folder...

Again thanks for the tips, much appreciated
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:18 PM
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Have you decided on a mileage "cutoff" yet?
For example, I decided I'm going to stay within ten miles (one way) because otherwise I'm spending too much on gas.

And yes, it's hard when you are starting out. You don't have the luxury of turning away clients and you'll end up spread out too far if you aren't careful.
I had a few calls for a wealthier area, but not enough to justify taking them on - it would have wrecked my schedule and spread me too thin making the drive out there.

Like Mark, I prioritize based on "best clients", but for the most part, I've been fortunate enough to get everyone taken care of on "their day" or the following day. 99% of my new clients didn't give a crap what day I cut on, so that made life easy.

For biweekly clients, I tried to keep most of them on Tuesdays and split them up. Group "A" this Tuesday and Group "B" next Tuesday.

Sometimes you can stagger the biweekly accts and mix them with your weeklies if they are in the same area.
Thursday:
Weekly Clients - Mr. Smith, Mrs. White, Mrs. Green, & Mr. Bill
Biweekly Clients - Mrs. Doe & Mr. Clean

Following Thursday:
Weekly Clients - Mr. Smith, Mrs. White, Mrs. Green, & Mr. Bill
Biweekly Clients - Mr. Magoo



My "buffer days" are Wednesdays and Saturdays and I try not to work Sundays unless it's necessary.

That means I have Monday and Tuesday for mowing. Wednesday is left open for catching up if it rains mon or tues OR for dong project work. (hedges, etc.)
Thursday and Friday are for mowing. Saturday, again, is left open for catching up if it rains thurs or fri OR for dong project work.

So far, this has kept my "early week" clients done by mid week. If you put them off until late week, they may get the idea that they don't NEED weekly mowing, plus it really screws up my schedule when I get too far off track
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Old 12-13-2011, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Have you decided on a mileage "cutoff" yet?
For example, I decided I'm going to stay within ten miles (one way) because otherwise I'm spending too much on gas.
This is a great idea! How long into running your business did you decide this was the way to go? Were you concerned initially when you implemented this step?

Also, what do you tell the new potential customers who call and are too far away?
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
This is a great idea! How long into running your business did you decide this was the way to go? Were you concerned initially when you implemented this step?

Also, what do you tell the new potential customers who call and are too far away?

Almost immediately.
I started by plugging in addresses into Google maps to get directions for going to give an estimate. I started to realize what it was costing me in gas JUST to go LOOK at a property. I decided that 10 miles (from home) would be my max for regular services and that I would go further for one-time jobs or "projects" like hedges/cleanups.

I'm in a pretty densely populated area, so I figured I'd be able to make a go of it even by limiting myself to "this side of town".

Now, if I happen to be working out at my "borderline" and get an inquiry from someone that is beyond my usual max distance, but not far from where I'm already working, I will consider extending myself a bit more.



I just had a call this morning from someone inquiring about service for her parents for next season. She left a message stating where they are located and it's simply not worth the drive to me. I called back to thank her for her interest and explained where I'm located in relation to her parent's house and that it was out of my service area.
I added that "I go as far as areanamehere", on the off chance that she knows someone else who IS in my area. Hey, it's a long shot, but it's better than simply saying "no" and hanging up.
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