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He says its because she's not a regular client. I think it's an excessive rate, even if she's not a regular client. I think he is taking advantage of her because she his elderly. My mother was sheltered by my father and her mental state is declining. But, she insists that it's a good rate and won't look elsewhere. My mother is OCD about cleaning so what she thinks is a lot of leaves is actually a skimpy and very small amount of clean-up work to a normal person. This landscaper has barely any work to do and he is charging her way too much to do it.

Should I just let it go? It bothers me to see her taken advantage of this way.

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When caring for a client I was observing her mobile manicurist taking her to another room to be paid. I was concerned. I alerted the family to look into their mother's checkbook and what a shock we found. An $85 service was paid for by check in the amount of $300. The family instructed me to be on my toes the next week to see if the manicurist took my client into another room to be paid. I had asked the manicurist what her fee is and she said, "It varies." I was instructed to ask her this by the family. I asked her what the range is for a manicure and pedicure and she said "$85 and up." The client was again asked to pay $300.
The family went to the salon where the manicurist was employed and reported her to the salon owner. The manicurist was asked to return the overage and she was reported to her State Board. It is very common for elders and those who are vulnerable to have their innocence exploited. We have to be their advocates and always challenge injustice. If the landscaper is asked to give you a quote for service and you get that quote in writing, all parties will be better off. I do agree that $52 is a fair rate for landscaping. Just know ahead of time what you are going to be paying for. You can always ask that the work be customized, minimized etc.
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Well I hate to tell you all what organic farms use to fertilize the fields. I can remember the familiar smell of manure spreaders in cornfields in the Spring. So much for clean country air.
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The same with all wildlife that parade through a garden that isn't fenced off.
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Dog owners don't usually let their dogs poop on neighbor's lawns. We have strict leash laws in NYC and I've rarely seen loose dogs walking the streets in my neighborhood.The curb grass is not the property of the home owners--it's owned by the city. In fact, the city often owns part of people's front lawns and many owners aren't aware of that fact because the city hasn't had a reason to claim it..yet. The reason they do so is in case they ever have to widen the streets, they can claim the property to use--also if they have to fix the streets, they don't have to ask you if they want to pile materials on your curb grass.

Cat poop is as bad, if not worse than dog poop, especially if you are growing vegetables in your garden--it can get you sick.
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Decades ago I owned a really rough tortie cat... oh my gosh, no one, and I mean no one would step foot on her property.... she would come out from the bushes all fluffed out, running side ways [cat owners know what I mean] and the dog and dog walker would quickly hi-tail it as fast as they could, never to return. Neighbors wanted to borrow her to help keep the dogs all their lawns.

Now if only we could have controlled that cat not to go after the UPS guy... [sigh]
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In NYC, we expect dogs to poop by the curb. If you live in an apartment building, you have to let your dog poop on curb grass because the street is filled with cars and there isn't any lawn in the front or back for them to poop on. As long as people pick up the poop, I don't have a problem with it. Dog walkers are the eyes and ears of a neighborhood. Trust me, criminals hate dog walkers!
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I could never understand why dog owners can't train their dogs to use their own lawn. Service dogs learn. One neighbor has a rescued dog and that dog actually goes on a walk, she has trouble keeping up with him... rarely does he stop to leave "messages" for other dogs.
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By the way, there are people you can hire who only pick up dog poo in yards. God bless them. They deserve whatever they get paid.
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No, the dog poo is not in my mother's yard. Her yard is immaculate. My father was an organic gardener. I was talking about dog poo by the curb and on curb grass in general. Not everyone picks up after their dogs. I don't use pesticides either and my dog goes for long walks but the curb grass is public turf and I can't control neighbors. But, if you read about leaf blowers you will be informed that they tend to blow up dog feces, pesticides, bacteria, mold and other things into the air. Plus, even if people pick up the poo, there still a bit of film that sticks to the grass.
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CaregivingNYC, you said there was dog poo? That would explain the high price. My lawn guy insisted the dog poo be picked up or he would not mow. He did not want to have to hose down the machines before moving to the next job. Homeowners don't want you to show up reeking of someone else's dog poo.
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Even households who have teens, you rarely see them out mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. Are they afraid of breaking into a sweat and earning a few bucks [$25 or more]? Afraid of missing a Tweet?

Back in the 1950's when I was old enough mow the lawn, we had a push mower with a grass catcher attached behind it. Gosh I mowed my parents lawn into the 1970's. By then I advanced to an electric lawn mower :)
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I have mowed it now and then. But I prefer to mulch and my mother thinks it looks messy. I help out with trimming the hedges and bushes. You have to understand that ten leaves on the ground is a " big fat mess" to my mother. To me, it's just a few leaves!
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If it quite small, maybe you could mow it yourself.
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Jessie Belle, I agree with you...but working in retail is hard work and working at McDonalds is hard work too--so are white collar jobs like adjunct college teaching jobs---which also comes without benefits or the security of steady work.

Years ago, most people moved to suburbs because they enjoyed working on their lawns and gardens. I never saw landscapers around the neighborhoods. People either mowed their own lawns or hired a local teenager to do it. Today, people are too busy working 60 hour weeks to bother with mowing their lawns.

There are certain jobs that will never pay a lot or are seasonal in nature. Most landscaping companies shovel snow in the winter. They ask for the entire payment upfront and if it doesn't snow you lose the retainer.
People need their services year round--in the fall for leaves--in the summer for lawns--in the winter or snow.

.
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freqflyer, I think it depends on the type of grass you grow. Golf courses use a special type that needs frequent mowing. My grass looks lush and green all summer with only a mowing or two a month--depending on how often it rains.
Personally, I'd rather see wildflowers instead of grass. I'd see a lot more bees and butterflies then. If you look at California and the water shortages there, you can see that it simply makes sense to start looking at planting drought resistant bushes and plants instead of grass. That would resolve the grass problem or sure and would save on water bills!
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My lawn mowing guy charges $40 per cut, and that is weekly unless he feels the lawn doesn't need mowing [during a dry spell] he will not mow maybe 4 or 5 times during the season. At the end of fall when all the leaves are down, I pay him an extra $40 to blow all the leaves into the flower beds.

But I will see neighbors who use contractors with 4 guys mowing even if the lawn doesn't need it. Chances are they charge less per cut, but the bottom line is probably the same for the homeowner.

CaregivingNYC, it is better to mow every week when the lawn is growing then to wait 2 or 3 weeks.... then it becomes too thick and it takes the lawn mower person or crew much longer to mow as they need to keep going over the lawn numerous times.... then the cut strips will turn yellow.

Now my Dad uses the same lawn mowing person I do [I've had the same person for over 10 years now] but he has been charging my Dad $45 per cut and there is a reason for that.... Dad had a habit of calling the fellow and saying his lawn doesn't need mowing, and then the 2nd week it took the fellow longer to mow and clean up the cut strips.

And if a homeowner isn't a "regular client" it is not unusual to charge them much more, as the contractor probably needs to pay "over time" to his crew.
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An important thing to me is that the person receives a living wage for their effort. Lawn work is seasonal, so the worker has to make enough in a few months to make up for the lesser amount of work in winter. They can't work when it rains. In the past 4 years in Alabama, it has rained A LOT. The person cutting the lawn has to load and transport the equipment, trim and do banks, mow, then use the blower before packing things back up. That is a lot of work and is often hot. It deserves a good wage and maybe a cold soda at the end. The landscaper has to feed a family and save for retirement, too.

I wish I were rich. I would pay the landscaper a lot. The work is hard and I am so grateful that there are others to do it.
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I have been having all sorts of luck making connections with area senior organizations...They are really helpful for having vetted service people - even volunteers. Sending truckloads of workers to mow a postage stamp (or, however big the lawn is - unless it's a golf course), is ridiculous in my honest opinion. How much each worker earns in that instance is irrelevant - just like you wouldn't pay 5 guys to change the oil on your car then rationalize the cost accordingly. Perhaps approach one of the friendly guys and ask him what he'd charge to come "after hours" to do the same work. I encourage you to identify local senior service provider organizations (not home care), senior centers, etc.
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An added note. I've always thought that $25 per week was too cheap. I think they should charge $65 per cut and come every two or three weeks. I have one neighbor who used two men who come by every three weeks to mow. Her lawn looks better than the neighbors who mow their lawns every week. That's OVERKILL and bad for your lawn unless your lawn is a golf course. But once again, it goes back to a poor business model that requires frequent visits in order to make a profit.
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I think you misunderstood. I thought they were illegal workers because they work so cheaply and are very likely being exploited.
Those workers work hard, and I'm sure they are making a minimal amount compared to what the owner gets.
The thing about the teenagers is to make the point that those lawns were nicely mowed by teens to make spare change--with one manual mower.
The business model has changed and we now have unskilled adult workers, working for spare change. You don't get rich mowing lawns--unless you own the company.
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Caregiving - The belief that these guys are "illegal workers" because you feel they're overcharging your Mom is way off base. Do you think the teenagers that used to mow the lawns paid income taxes? The mortgage industry was fully staffed with "legal workers" and they ripped us all off.
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If your mom is OCD, she'll love having a weekly lawn service :)!
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Jeanne, you are right. I think it is heading in the direction of getting the contract and lower rate. The insanity of the weekly mowing of short or dormant grass (yes, they will actually cut dormant grass in August) and the use of agricultural lawn blowers blasting lawn pesticides and dog feces into the morning air--not to mention the ungodly racket--but so be it. I think the time has come.
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I know that here if you pay for the snow removal for the entire season and it snows an average amount you get an exceptionally good deal per-episode. If it hardly snows at all you wish you hadn't signed a contract. And if it snows more than usualy the landscaper does not have a great year!

If you can usually do it yourself and you hire someone just on a per-time basis you have to wait until all the regulars are serviced and pay way more than the usual average price if you had a contract.

If Mom is so meticulous about her yard, why not have a contract and lower rate?
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By the way Pam, I don't think that $13.33 for 15 minutes of work, for each worker, is a bad wage. That translates into $52 per hour. I understand that there are expenses, but still not bad.
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Thanks all. I guess you've put the price in perspective. The thing that bothers me is that those lawns used to be cut by teenagers with one solo push lawn mower--and then by one electric mower. The six workers is pure OVERKILL but that's the trend today.
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I just checked and I overstated the lawn size here. It is only 0.15 acres. The bank just makes it seem huge when mowing. Having grass cut around here is expensive. It seems reasonable, though, when you consider the loading and transporting of equipment to get here. The gas used to be expensive, too. I know landscapers appreciate the lower prices of fuels at the moment.
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Six men for 15 minutes at $80 is only $13.33 per laborer. I note you said "lawns and grounds" so there is more than mowing going on there plus a truck and equipment. Be grateful you are not having to play for six plumbers.
If you try to save money by cutting once a month, you won't. It takes forever to mow and clean up so the price goes up.
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Honestly, I think they are illegal workers. I can't get over the fact that the price is so low either, but I guess that's the reason that all of my neighbors have their grass cut every week. The lots here are very small. We are not talking about a 0.25 acre lawn. The front lawns are a small patch of grass and another strip by the curb, plus maybe a tiny yard. They come with six men in two huge trucks that take up half a block--complete with a riding motor, six huge leaf blowers, and electric lawnmowers. The lawns and grounds are done in less than 15 minutes.
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How large is her lawn?

When I needed a lawn service for my father, I called various senior centers, got a referral from the one in his community, called them and after a short discussion hired them at the senior rate for lawns. Dad has 2 lots to be mowed; the cost was $25, which I thought was reasonable.

That price included edging and blowing the grass off the driveway and sidewalk.
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