What to do when weather conditions keep you out of the field.
The region’s annual rainfall broke records – every one of them. For Stewcare in Delaware, Ohio, a town about a half-hour north of the state capital Columbus, the pervasive precipitation translated to a significant decrease in cutting volume.
On the company’s Facebook page, President Mike Stewart remarked one day that the company had put mowing on hold at one property for 13 days. It was just too wet.
While this is an extreme, the company took an overall bottom-line hit of about 10-15 percent lower revenues because of weather, Stewart estimates. And there’s not a whole lot to do about recouping that.
“We will not cut a property if the conditions aren’t right,” Stewart says. “When it’s raining and you try to mow a yard, it just doesn’t turn out good. You will damage something.”
Mowing a wet lawn causes water to get into the working parts of the mower (ball bearings of the wheels, in particular). “Then there’s the safety issue with employees getting on and off the tractors when it’s wet,” Stewart adds, noting an increased potential for slip and fall injuries on the job.
Maintaining its machines and integrity is more important than billing for a cut.
So how Stewcare handled this notoriously rainy year was by communicating diligently with customers, just as the company always does. “We know we can call them or they can call us directly and they know they will speak with the owner of the company – my dad – or with me, and they get that extra attention to detail,” Stewart says.
Basically, Stewcare picked up the phone often last season. Stewart told clients, “You were on our schedule, but due to rain we are not going to come out and risk making a mess.”
That explanation satisfied clients. “We don’t want to put our name on a property when we can’t provide top-quality work,” Stewart says.
This is one of three stories that appeared in Lawn & Landscape's A Cut Above e-newsletter. To continue reading about stewcare:
Tune in: Stewcare takes its lessons to YouTube.
Fueling the tradition: Stewcare has run an all diesel fleet for 20 years and stands by this alternative for its efficiency edge.