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Question for lawn/landscape guys

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Dstosh, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. Dstosh

    Dstosh Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    For those of you who do lawn care and landscaping, do you feel obligated to plow your mowing customers?

    We cut about 60 lawns and plow about half of those people.

    I got into a few more commercial lots this year, and I am having a really tough time balancing both. I want to have the lots next year, but I also dont want to leave a bad taste in my residential customers mouth in fear that I might not get any additional work from them.

    I feel that I almost "owe" it to my mowing customers, because they are pretty much my bread and butter during the warm season. It is obvously easier to build a relationship with a homeowner and try and develop a sence of loyalty.

    Commercial to me it seems is cut-throat and you can never gaurantee the lot the folowing year. Or you may be asked to bid, but you might be lowballed. You never really know

    I'm kinda in a quandry for next year.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,548

    my commercial accounts require snow as part of the contract. some i wish i didn't have but am not going to risk the lawn work .i have worked to get and keep my customers and can't risk giving them up because i can get better snow work, it just isn't worth it..especially in this economy IMO
  3. lilweeds

    lilweeds PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,178

    I don't do alot of Residential work, but the ones I do have understand that the commercial stuff comes first, and then I will come and clean them out if they want. I have two of them who just can't wait and they have someone else plow there drive. The others are ok whenever I get there.
  4. Woodland

    Woodland Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    I don't feel obligated as you say, but would worry that if the "somebody else" they found was another landscaper/lawn co. I might lose their summer business. Thus far, I haven't had to turn down, or wanted to turn down a summer customer for plowing. The few that I do are cherry accounts.
  5. cfdeng7

    cfdeng7 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 376

    In my area if u don't plow your lawn accounts another landscaper that does plow will take them. This being said I plow all of my lawn accounts.
  6. Dailylc

    Dailylc Senior Member
    Messages: 226

    If it were me I would continue to plow the lawn accounts. Like you said they are your bread and butter all year long. It's easier to retain than to get a new customer. Could you add another truck to the fleet to pick up the extra workload, or maybe sub out some of your work.


    IPLOWSNO PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,620

    dont bite the hand that feeds you imo
  8. Jon Schuler

    Jon Schuler Member
    Messages: 30

    Yes even if they are cheap on plowing. We lost a big account one time when a snow plowing company all the sudden decided to move into lawn maintenance and low ball me bigtime on the lawn. Now if it is at all possible we try to get both.
  9. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    Not at least offering it to residentials is and invitation to have your competition get a "foot in the door".....and yes it is hard to balance. I'm just glad thats not a headache for me anymore.......all of my maintainance is commercial too so it's really the same but different. When it was a problem, I had a jeep that did the resi's when that didn't work I subbed them all to the same guy and he signed a 5 yr non-compete that extended to any service we provided in addiditon to snow and landscape maint.
  10. Alpha Property

    Alpha Property Senior Member
    Messages: 668

    i got 4 snow and lawn customers this winter because one of the other bigger guys is doing commercial only snow, we'll see how many more i get when the snow melts, i think alot of his resi's are upset because he won't do their snow this year anymore
  11. djagusch

    djagusch 2000 Club Member
    from mn
    Messages: 2,107

    I don't plow most of my residential customers. Most have neighbors that snow blow it or have someone else plow it. From time to time they do ask and I say I can plow it if they wish, but I do explain my time frame of getting there (68 town homes, one large commercial lot, then comes my 10 or so residential). Most retired people don't mind the wait and the others understand why I can't come sooner. If they can't wait I have a person I suggest that doesn't do lawn care. My other commercials have a excavation company do their lots.
  12. WINTER 3

    WINTER 3 Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 80

    This all depends on your situation. My plow route is very tight. The radius is around a 4 mile circle of town. I love to plow for my maintenance customers. I don't want them to look for anyone else. the balance of residential to commercial plowing is very important for cash flow. If you are booked the tell your customers you are booked, tell them you will put them on the waiting list and as you add equipment you can take them on for plowing. If you are looking to grow, your current customers are your best new customers
  13. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    we only maintain two single family homes, which we don't plow....however, on the commercial side of it which we do quite a bit of maintenance, the only reason we do lawn care is to keep the contact for the snow plowing.
  14. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Do all 60 want snow plowing? That seems like a good amount for 1 or 2 trucks to make money at.

    I would take them if they asked, but most do it them self. Snow is funny that way. People will go out and shovel/blow snow, but they don't want to give up the time every week it takes to keep the grass mowed.

    If they asked I would do it. I wouldn't want another company getting a foot in the door.
  15. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,756

    Yeah, it boggles my mind why someone would want to do the back breaking snow work. Mowing is easy and takes place in decent weather most of the time. I do have some customers that only want plowing too. I understand that. I wouldn't tell one of my mowing customers no. If I couldn't handle them, I would sub it out to someone like a roofing company or something. There are a lot of construction/roofing companies that do plowing, that don't really compete against me.
  16. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I don't plow any of my lawn customers. I make them feel quilty by telling them I would understand if they leave me for the guy that plows their drive.
  17. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    It goes either way(for me). Some are snow only-some are lawn only. Some, I wouldn't want their lawn work and some I wouldn't want their snow work:dizzy:
  18. Corman

    Corman Member
    Messages: 30

    As I read your post, I couldn't decide if you were kidding or not. The profit is better with snow removal than mowing here. I wish it dumped like this every year, I would only work 1 month out of the year.
  19. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    There are definitely some of my lawn customers that I would like to plow, and some of my plowing customers that i would like to plow also.
  20. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,756

    I was talking about why would a homeowner want to do the backbreaking work, but hire someone to mow their lawn. I wasn't kidding, I just worded it wrong. I agree, snow removal is a lot more money.