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My worst critic ...


General Business Discussions

A place to talk about general business discussions.
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  #1  
Old 06-29-2009, 07:13 PM
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Post My worst critic ...

... 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.
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  #2  
Old 06-30-2009, 04:16 AM
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Well I do wonder first off, did you get any reaction at all about this from the customer?
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
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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.
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Old 06-30-2009, 08:07 AM
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I like that you have the passion to make things look great and I think this will help you always stand out.
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Old 06-30-2009, 05:08 PM
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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.
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Old 06-30-2009, 05:25 PM
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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.
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:51 PM
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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.
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Old 06-30-2009, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doug1980 View Post
... 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.

Last edited by mark123; 06-30-2009 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:22 AM
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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.
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:50 AM
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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.
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