Keeping a good route and schedule is a main part of having an efficient and successful lawn mowing business. What happens when you finish a property early? Do you visit properties that you would typically mow the next day and finish them ahead of schedule? This LawnSite member lost a customer after adjusting his route schedule without giving any notice. How should he handle making schedule adjustments in the future?

Florida.: When you run your routes, if you’re moving fast, do you add any from tomorrow’s routes onto the list? After buying out another company’s accounts, my schedule went super chaotic. I was in the same neighborhoods daily, it was very expensive and not productive. I reorganized everything and made a route from south up north with different zones. It’s very efficient, and we are getting houses done a lot faster and more completed daily due to the tight routes. So, I started pushing houses from the next day onto the current day’s work, and I got fired for being early at one house. Do any of you work like this? Or do you all say, “Monday is your only day. I’ll be here every Monday and that’s it?” I’m really enjoying my new system; as soon as the list is done we start it over.

Todd73: Nope. If I’m scheduled on Wednesday, I don’t show up Tuesday. I show up on my scheduled day unless I have already communicated the schedule change in advance. I expect my customers to have the yards ready to mow on their scheduled day: dog crap cleaned up, fences unlocked, hoses put away, etc. If I show up early, how can they do that? What if they’ve scheduled a party or cookout and I just show up? Or they’re out of town and are having someone unlock the gate, but I show up a day early? I can go on and on, but the point is, I stick to the scheduled day.

knox gsl: I try to stick to a schedule and not go earlier just to not deal with irrigation.

wbw: We only vary at holidays. If you want to change, communication is the key. Also, I would try to change my existing customers and not the new ones.

TPendagast: No one is promised a specific day. That’s ridiculous. I haven’t missed mowing someone in the same week in 16 years. But a day late or day early. My flexibility of routing and management is part of the price. The less flexible I can be, the higher the price.

GRANTSKI: Well, you mention Monday, is that just an example? Because almost no one wants mowing that early in the week. Most people pay to have their lawn mowed so they can enjoy their weekend and their only day or two off in their yard. Only people that get Monday or Tuesday on my route are homes that are for sale.

Mow-Daddy.com: Monday and Tuesday are all commercial. All of my commercial contracts I write say: Approximately every seven days depending on weather and grass conditions. I try and do the same day each week for residential, but nobody is guaranteed a specific day of week. I don’t have written contracts with residential but they are told the same thing. Approximately every seven days depending on conditions.

oqueoque: We also provide a day when they would normally be mowed and tell the customers that we may come one day earlier if a lot of rain is predicted late in the week to avoid cutting soaked lawns if at all possible. How can you promise a day, if on that day it pours all day long? We also work four 10-hour days, which provides flexibility. We never cut on Monday. Monday and/or Tuesday is used for mulch, pruning, installs, etc. The problem with leaving Friday for mowing is what if it rains Thursday or Friday? Then you’re automatically into Saturday. We have a residential route on Thursday. If it rains Monday-Thursday, they get done on Friday and they don’t mind. They prefer Thursday. And my crews prefer to have Saturday and Sunday off.

North Idaho Dream: All I have say is, “Inconsistency is the breeding ground for confusion.” The only time we are behind a day is because of rain. Any “special” request will be considered and priced accordingly if it is out of the way.

Grant11: Customers that need special accommodations are not worth having. You will not make money mowing grass until you realize that.

S-205: I agree, you can’t allow customers to put too many restrictions on your business. Of course, there will be some. Our Monday cuts are commercial, and the low-end residential that don’t pay enough to have a say. Tuesday is more commercial and small residential. Thursday is a picky condo complex that requested that day because their garbage pickup is earlier in the week and it suits them. It kind of sucks for us and is out of the way but we do it because they pay. Then we do six large, high-end residential properties that also pay enough that we will do whatever they want on whatever day they want it. Money and loyalty rules the show – for us anyway. Good customers who we have a relationship with, and who pay constantly, and those that pay well, are the ones that you should be tailoring to.

Grassmonkey0311: We try to stick to the schedule and not jump ahead. I can see why customers could potentially be upset – that’s why we don’t do it. There is, of course, breakdowns, employees, Mother Nature, etc. Our customers know if they usually see us Monday, but don’t on a certain week, that we will most likely be there Tuesday.

rippinryno: A customer likely will think that you’re trying to get more cuts in than agreed upon. If they’re paying per cut, they don’t want more than weekly or whatever is designated.

Skol: In this business, there are a lot of variables that can change a schedule (for better, or worse). I might come a day early on a property if the weather is going to be a factor the following day. I’ve come to know that most of my clients actually appreciate you trying to fit them in before the rain. I’ve had a couple people think I’m trying to get more money out of them, but if you return to the regularly scheduled day the next week, there is no financial benefit to the business.

Kemco: When we schedule ours, we tell them it may be a day before or a day after, however we try to aim for their specified day. We have a few that tell us due to dogs having to be in the house all day, etc., we will prioritize those.

La Chandler: I suppose a fixed service day depends on how you and the customer agree on your objectives. Are you a mowing service or a property manager? If you are a property manager (say for a church or cemetery) your job is to maintain the property within agreed upon standards. So, the day of service is both irrelevant and meaningless. A mowing service is a different animal.

Dawson: I’m very schedule-oriented. I do the same yards on the same day in the same order every week if at all possible. When I pick up a new yard, one of the most common reasons I hear for them firing the old service is inconsistent cut days. Not so much time of day, but a lot of people want to know what day you’re going to be there each week. I do good work, not the best work, but I’m always there when I say I will be. And that’s as important to many people as the quality of the work.