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Musings About Family, Travel And Gardening With Allen Martinson.


Appreciating A Job Well Done

This weekend I was able to spend an entire day in my yard doing everything but mowing and weedeating. The smartest thing Mimi ever did was to make me promise that if we were going to purchase our house and five acres I would not try to mow it myself. Now that I have hired one of the best maintenance companies I know about, I will be forever grateful she had the foresight to know that it would be worth it. When this group shows up, they scatter in all directions. There are usually six to eight guys, each with a specific job. One guy goes ahead of everyone else picking up sticks or getting hoses out of the way for the weedeater guys. The weedeaters go next to get the nooks and crannies while the others get on their mowers to knock out the big open spaces. The blowers come out next to get the garage patio and walkways. They are like a well oiled machine that, after three hours, which is 18 to 24 man hours, has my place absolutely perfect. The company I use has been around longer than most. They know every trick in the book as far as being very efficient while dealing with every detail. Eighteen man hours would mean two entire days for me plus the equipment. That would leave me no time to do what I really like to do in my yard. I have known these guys for a long time. They were cutting Eastover yards back before having a grass cutting company was more common.

I’ve known at least four guys that started their own lawn maintenance business after being trained by the owner of this company; he is the best. We started using this company 10 years ago. During the cutting months we see these guys every week so they are a part of our family. I like to give the guys some deer meat, produce or eggs when I have extra to give away. They appreciate it and I think it makes it easier to go the extra mile when needed. In this heat, an extra mile is a long way. We have a good relationship and talk about plans and dates and future projects. When I know I’ll have company coming for a special occasion, I will let him know two weeks prior so he can adjust his schedule. When Mimi and I are planning new beds or walkways, I talk to him about widths of mowers and how it might work best to flow with his equipment. The more successful he is at keeping my yard maintained, the better my place looks, so it pays off to have this communication. He knows how to handle a yard horticulturally correct. The math on whether or not to get a lawn maintenance company is a no-brainer. They will be better than most people at it with better equipment. The job will be done, leaving you time to do what you enjoy doing in your yard. Some people love to mow and weedeat and I get that. It can be relaxing. If using a service, you can help them improve on the job by clearing the way, getting tables and chairs and toys off the areas to be cut, prior to their arrival.

I think having a great relationship with lots of communication helps things go smoother. When something does go wrong or you are dissatisfied with the job, it’s much easier to have that conversation if you have a good relationship. Things happen when that much equipment is flying around in the yard. Someone might accidentally cut a wire, break an irrigation head, cut a plant they shouldn’t have or break a window with a tiny rock. They could very easily not know they did any of these things. What matters is how they handle it when you let them know what happened. Trust me, it’s not uncommon for accidents to happen, it happens to the maintenance companies every day. They would rather know then for you to be mad about it and you take it off the bill or you get another company to replace them. If they don’t happily and quickly fix the problem, then it’s time to move on. You can get a good idea about the company you’re thinking about using by asking a few questions about their history. I would look at at least three yards they are proud to call one of theirs. Some really good maintenance companies might not be that great at the horticultural part but very good at the maintenance part. That’s all you really need when you have a good garden center around to help you through the horticultural part.

Most of these guys have trucks and trailers and can use most any kind of equipment. You might want to find out if during the slow time of the year, winter, they would be willing to help you get projects around the house done. For instance you can go to a garden center to pick out the plants and set up bulk soil purchases and pay your guy to use his equipment to pick the item up for you. You could take it to the next step and see if they could help you till the soil and help you plant it. If you have that “put you in my speed dial“ relationship you might get help with lots of things such as furniture moving or putting a play set together. It’s nice to have help when you need it. Sometimes they could use the extra money during winter.

The way to ensure these guys will answer the phone when you call is that they know you won’t be too demanding with their time during the busy time and that you were generous when you don’t need them and will for sure be generous when you do need them. Price is not everything when you’re trying to get quality help and someone you can call them when you need help. A little something for the guys or a tip or bonus to the owner when a job is well done or they change their schedule for you is more appreciated than you can imagine and goes a long way. A note about how great they did or how friendly the guys are that do the work can really make the team’s day when the boss reads it out loud. They will begin to look forward to doing your yard and may inspire a little extra loving towards your yard.

Yard maintenance is one of the physically toughest jobs that exists. Remember to appreciate that and give the guys a thumbs up when you see them. Hopefully you can enjoy your extra time in your yard doing the things that really make you happy while they grind out the “have to“ stuff. A well mowed lawn just makes all your work look better. I am hoping that you and yours have managed your own physical and mental health during these confusing times. I hope you have someone you can be a friend to. Sometimes being able to help someone in need is the best thing you can do for yourself.

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