When size does matter.

When size does matter.

Hi all

Another month has come and gone. A busy one as well during all the public holidays.

I’d guess I’d touch on the whole “size” thing in this chat. Not only does it sound very confident and impressive but I truly believe that in my game, size does matter. I actually see it as USP of Vans Slashing and Mowing. USP, that is a Unique Selling Point. It simply means that I have something special that my company offers customers. Something that other similar companies does not or can not offer.

I received a call from a property owner this morning. His conversation went pretty much like this: “Mate, I’ve got a block of just over an acre. My little ride on mower died while I was trying to mow the grass that has been getting out of hand over the holiday. Can you slash or mow it down?”

It is actually a type of phone call that I regularly get. It is easy to underestimate what is needed to cut grass that has been growing for a bit.

Here is a few photos of a practical example I saw last week. This is typical when a mower is too small and is simply just not designed for the task.

When size does matter.

fig1. Clearly the mower used to mow this block wasn’t up for the task. Resulting in a higher cut and a very untidy result.

This block was bordering a property that I was asked to slashed. I couldn’t help but notice how untidy this looks. So what happened here? Whoever mowed this block probably used a ride on mower that was not up for the task. Unless it was the owner mowing his own block, seeing work like this does make me a bit hot under the collar. Here’s why.

1 – Mowing a block so high results in more regular mowing than needed. Costing the customers extra.

2 – Using too small equipment makes that it also takes longer to mow. If the owner is charged per hour, guess who is on the short end of the stick?

3 – Well, it simply looks awful and l couldn’t help but wonder if the operator actually turned around, looked at it and felt satisfied.

So, what is the right way to solve this? Here is what happened on the bordering block.

When size does matter.

fig.2 Just to show how long the grass was when it got slashed.

 

In figure 2 shows how high and thick the grass is. I ran it over with a 115 horse power tractor and a 7 foot wide Extreme Heavy Duty slasher.

Overkill you might think. Well, the tractor might be a bit big on the block in relation to a mower.

Let me entertain you with the results. A picture is worth a thousand words.

When size does matter.

Can you spot the difference? The further block was previously shown and can be seen here in contrast to the area in the foreground that was run over by the slasher.

Here is some more photos, explaining the difference.

When size does matter.

 

 

I used my watch as a reference to indicate the two different results. See that the grass on this block covers the watch completely. Remember, this was mowed only the day before I slashed the bordering block.

 

 

When size does matter.

 

 

This is my watch just after the slasher went over, cutting grass down that was really thick and two feet high as was shown before.

 

 

When size does matter.

This picture clearly shows all three areas. The “long cut”, neatly cut” and “uncut”. Clearly showing the difference.

In the foreground can the questionable work standard be seen. To the right of the tractor, the newly slashed area and obviously to the left of my mean green slashing machine, the area yet to be slashed. It is about 5 meters to the left of where the tractor is now, where I took the photo of my watch 10 minutes later.

So what does this whole rant means for you, the property owner who has to hand over your hard earned to some guy you never met and who’s phone number you got from local search?

Make sure that the company you engage to do the work has the right equipment that will be able to do the work required. Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask them how low can he mow or slash the grass. Ask if he lets the cutting deck overlaps to make sure every single grass stalk is cut down? Ask for photos of previous work, ask for references or ask to have a look at properties the contractor has worked recently or is currently working.

Don’t be shy to ask for a “before and after” photo. We have a few customers that asks for it.

Keep in mind, bigger equipment’s running cost are more than the cost of running a small domestic grade ride on mower. So, don’t be put off by the contractor quoting you a rate of $100 per hour to slash your block. While the contractor with a 40 inch mower deck and a 12 horse power petrol engine might charge you only $50 per hour. The tractor will most probably do the same block in only a few minutes while the ride on will probably run for an hour or more to cover the same area. Add to this the difference in that quality of work as explained earlier.

Back to the two photos with my watch on it. The difference in cutting height would probably represent three week’s worth of growth. Should that be maintained to stay within council regulations. The one block would need mowing at least three weeks earlier that the low cut block. On a 12 month basis, guess which mowing method will cost the owner more?

Here is a classic example I drove past over the weekend. Whoever attempted to mow this block with his domestic ride on did completely overestimate the capabilities of his equipment. The result is a messy look, probably a spindle bearing or a bent mowing deck that will cost him and the humiliation of giving me a call that says he just busted his little mower and needs help.

When size does matter.

Clearly visible is the are that the operator tried to mow.

When size does matter.

Can you spot where the little mower has decided that enough is enough. See, I told you, size does matter!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next time your block needs some TCL, make sure you call a contractor with the right tools for the job. Don’t be scared by the hourly rate of big equipment, think efficiency, think productivity, think quality of work, think work standard, think big, think of Vans Slashing and Mowing.

At Vans Slashing and Mowing we believe in old school honesty and ethics. Meaning that we believe it is unethical to mow or slash grass high so that we can do the same block more often. Our customers lives all over Australia and can’t always check on our work, so we need to be honest and reliable. A big part of our work is for local government and councils, meaning we get payed from you, the taxpayers money. We have a responsibility towards our fellow Australians of offer quality, ethical work and value for money.

If you would have any questions regarding this topic, our work or any advice. If you would like to share your thoughts on ethical slashing and mowing practices. please be in contact.

Please feel free to contact us at any time via our website, Find “Vans Slashing and Mowing” on facebook or search “vansslashing” on Instagram.

You can also call me on my mobile at 0429862236.

Enjoy Autumn, keep smiling and make the best of every day.

 

Martin

Vans Slashing and Mowing

Getting results from your contractor

We are back on to the contractor theme.

In the previous discussion we share a few ideas on how to track down the right contractor for your job. As contractor myself, it did made me realize that probably the most important issue when it comes to contracting, is trust.

The customer has to be able to trust the contractor do deliver the results he/she is after. The contractor has to be able to trust the customer’s bank account and that he will get payed for the work he has done. This might be a discussion all be it self.

Getting results from your contractor

Trusty, the tractor. Having fun in the rain while trying not to get bogged.

I do put a lot of effort in to gain the trust of customers, old and new. I feel that is where having a presence in the digital world can help. Having a website, Facebook page, Instagram or any other easily accessible media source, helps building that trust.

Luckily that even in the 21st century, not all is digital and online stuff. Nothing is more powerful than a honest face to face talk. Nothing excites me more than building a trusting relationship with a particular client. Big or small. The fact is, if I as a contractor feels trusted and valued by the client, I will easily walk the “extra mile”. Without necessarily charging more for extra effort or time spent.

I know money makes the world goes around and time is money. Sometimes, being trusted and valued is worth more than extra numbers I can add to an invoice

I knocked on Peter’s door from Aquila again to share some ideas. A few hands-on tips to build that relationship to be absolutely stress free. By the way, Peter is really good. Hit hi, up if you have any questions. He is also on Face Book.

The stage is yours Peter.

Getting results from your contractor

Our John Deere mower, showing off.

How do you keep your contractor honest?

Even the best prepared contracts have issues. So how to you maximise the chances of having a successfully completed contractor job?

In my mind, it all comes down to expectations and accountability.

Expectations

Be clear in your early discussions on what it is you are expecting. You may feel uncomfortable being very detailed in what you want or maybe not even sure on exactly what you need but the more information you can give the better your chances of getting your desired result. Some things you will want to know in advance include:

  • What will the end job look like?
  • How long do you expect it will take?
  • What do you need to do to support your contractor?
  • Who do you call if something starts to go ‘pear shaped’?
  • What will it cost in total (beware of hourly rates)?
  • Perhaps most importantly, what is not included?

Hopefully, you have chosen a good contractor and you are both clear on the mutual expectations. The final step is to ensure that you get what you paid for and have been promised. Don’t leave it till the end of the job to see if you got what you expect. The end of the job is the worst time to try and fix things. The contractor is finished and moving on and often the changes needed require a heap of rework and cost.

Instead, check visually occasionally or touch base with the contractor throughout the job to get an understanding if anything is becoming an issue. I wouldn’t recommend being a control freak and walking around all day with a clipboard and pen.

This image reminds me of a client of mine who charges $110 per hour, $130 per hour if the client watches and $180 an hour if the client feels the need to give advice during the job! So find the balance between ensuring things go according to plan and giving trust to your contractor to do the job properly by themselves.

Set up the terms of the work in good detail and then check intermittently to ensure everyone understands and delivers what is needed. This will make a happy you and a happy contractor.

Take care and God bless,

Getting results from your contractor

The logo that spells trust.

Peter Bender

www.aquilaconsultancy.com.au

An exclusive blog for use by Vans Slashing and Mowing

Some help on finding a reputable contractor

Some help on finding a reputable contractor

I admit, I must have one of the more enjoyable jobs there possibly can be. Why?, Well, I get to travel all around my “backyard“, access some of the best and most scenic properties around. I get to work in that environment and get payed to do so! Top it all off the a massive big “Thank you” from a satisfied customer and my day is complete. Yep, lucky me!!

 

However, as in any work there are a few things that really ticks me off. The no.1 thing is surely talking to a customer that has been ripped off by a previous contractor. It might be another contractor in my industry, or any other contractor.

The thing is that the contractor’s world can be challenging. High running costs, maintenance of equipment, infrequent work, cost and reliability of labour. All these can ad to the contractor’s frustration level and add late paying customers on top of this and one can probably understand that a “hard for cash” scenario can provoke unethical behavior. No excuse however.

Way to often I come across customers that’s finding it hard to trust a new contractor. that is understandable but I’m still disappointed and annoyed.

So, I pulled some strings and I hit up a Business consultant  to shed some light on this matter in behalf of customers. Enjoy the read and I do hope that it might shed some light on your quest to secure the right contractor for whatever work it is you need to be done.

How do you select a good contractor?

Choosing the right contractor is becoming increasingly more important due to increasing amounts of work being done by small businesses. So what should you look for in regards to choosing a good contractor. I suggest two things – character and competence.
Character – odds are that you are going to need to talk, work and deal with your contractor so you best make sure that they are someone who you can get on with. You can live with having someone skilled but who is obnoxious. However, nowadays there is plenty of choice available so spend a bit more time in your search and look for someone who you ‘click with’.
Things to consider when evaluating character include do they have a good reputation, have they been truthful with you so far and delivered what they promised in regards to information and quote. Are they on time and professional?

Remember that people are like books and movies. If the movie or book starts off poorly then odds are the whole episode will be that way. Don’t get romantic and think that just because the contractor is useless at the start that something magical will happen when you give them the job.
Competence – have you seen their work? Can you see if their equipment and vehicles are in good condition? Poorly maintained gear makes it hard to provide quality work. Is their pricing middle of the range? Remember that there is a difference between good value and cheap. It is impossible to receive good work if you are only prepared to pay an impossibly low figure. You will get contractors that will take the job but you are only guaranteed heartache.

Check out Facebook, Google + or the online directories. Realize that a contractor with many reviews is more sustainable than someone who may only have a few that are done by friends and relatives. Ask on some of the community billboards to see which contractor is getting all the work.
So in essence, do you get on with them and what evidence do you have that they will do a good job? Abiding in these two decision points will help ensure you have the best chance to select a good contractor.
Take care and God bless,
Peter Bender
www.aquilaconsultancy.com.au
An exclusive blog for use by Wide Bay Slashing

Some help on finding a reputable contractor

Some of Vans Slashing and Mowing’s equipment, being prepared for a job near Childers, Queensland.