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View Full Version : Low Balled, or What?


mudman34
03-28-2005, 06:23 PM
New to the site here so let me say hey all, great info here too.

Anyway, helping my cousin with his landscape buisness and he just got an email from a customer we bid a mulch job on. In short the customer said we were to expensive and shared the bid that they went with. The company that won said they would mulch, edge and trim bushes and whatnot for $1800. We bid the job for $5000 @ 2" of mulch. This price includes tax and edging @ $1 a ft. (See job specs below) Keep in mind that currently, edge is non-existent, just mulch running into the grass basically. Are these guys crazy cheap or are we really bidding to much? Thanks in advance for any input, its much appreciated.

Job Specs:
6595 Sq. Ft. or
1100 cf which comes out to 41 Cubic Yards
1346 ft of edging

kootoomootoo
03-28-2005, 06:31 PM
There is no revenue on an empty airline seat. The same guy might bid $5000
the next job......every situation is different....He could be just cheap too.
See plenty of companies bidding cheap just to make payroll between high profit jobs.

The Good Earth
03-28-2005, 07:08 PM
Welcome to the Central Ohio market. There is no money in no brainer jobs. This market seems to get lower and lower each year with companies, and I use that term loosely, bidding below market value. I have lost any and all hope that some of these folks will see the light.

Your best bet is to put together a few maintenance contracts with customers who won't drop you like a hot potato when a new company comes in and cuts you by 20%. Ask the customer straight up if they are looking for strictly price of work or value of their dollar. Find the customers who seek value and you are on base. Keeps those contracts alive and kicking for cash flow. Then spread your business to construction. Construction is where the value of a dollar can be seen. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at a job and figure out if it is quality or not. I find it quite humorous all the new guys I hear wanting to know how to pave this, build that, and price all of it. I love those guys. They will screw it up and I'll make more money cleaning up their mess and making the customer happy. In the process the customer learns the value of a dollar.

sheshovel
03-28-2005, 08:04 PM
Need more info is that a buck a foot installed?
How much are you paying for your mulch?
Are you picking it up and delivering?
How much prep is involved?
What kind of edging are you installing?

dvmcmrhp52
03-28-2005, 08:12 PM
At that price it sounds to me like the mulch is being blown in by someone who owns a blower truck..........
Otherwise they're working for free.

mudman34
03-28-2005, 08:26 PM
Need more info is that a buck a foot installed?
How much are you paying for your mulch?
Are you picking it up and delivering?
How much prep is involved?
What kind of edging are you installing?

- I'm talking about using a bed edger for 1346 feet
- Getting mulch at $29 yard, we've been looking around for cheaper since we've found this forum and see the prices some of you all are getting but aren't having any luck.
- We pick up and deliver mulch ourselves.
- Lot of prep needed with spring cleanup. Its a large lot with 22+ 100 ft trees so needless to say the yard and beds are riddled with branches and leaves.

mudman34
03-28-2005, 08:40 PM
Welcome to the Central Ohio market. There is no money in no brainer jobs. This market seems to get lower and lower each year with companies, and I use that term loosely, bidding below market value. I have lost any and all hope that some of these folks will see the light.

Yeah for the most part his customer base does appreciate quality work and most do compliment us when we're done. This bid was for someone we'd never done work for before but they also said the people that mulched it last year did for for less than than the $1800 quoted to them currently. Considering the shape the beds are in now they obviously don't care what they look like and just want some mulch thrown on, oh well.

sheshovel
03-28-2005, 08:50 PM
I'd say your about $1000.00 overbid then .

SodKing
03-28-2005, 09:02 PM
Yeah for the most part his customer base does appreciate quality work and most do compliment us when we're done. This bid was for someone we'd never done work for before but they also said the people that mulched it last year did for for less than than the $1800 quoted to them currently. Considering the shape the beds are in now they obviously don't care what they look like and just want some mulch thrown on, oh well.

actually it doesn't sound like you are bidding apples to apples...If the people told you it cost them less than $1800. last year and the beds are not currently mulched, then they it doesn't appear that they want it edged this year...

sheshovel
03-28-2005, 09:03 PM
I would call you a $1000.00 overbid then.Just my opinion,edgeing the beds is not brain surgery.Having the 41 yards delivered would save you alot of trouble and your potential client $.For the clean-up 1 hour with a good blower and rake should take care of that.Please do not take offence ,that's what I came up with but I am not there and have not seen the job.Go with your gut and don't worry what the other's bid is.
Sometimes a potential client will LIE TO YOU about the others bids just to get you to go down on yours.Why else would they even bother to tell you the amount of the lower bid either to make you feel bad or wrong or overpriced OR to get you to say" OH really ?then if he bid $1800 then I'll lower my bid to $1200.00" they play that game sometimes.
This has happened to me,when I went to the other person and asked how they could haave bid it so low,they told me they had never bid on that job or even met the client,they mustuve got his name from the telephone book and just used it.Needles to say I did not accept the job.

mudman34
03-28-2005, 09:13 PM
actually it doesn't sound like you are bidding apples to apples...If the people told you it cost them less than $1800. last year and the beds are not currently mulched, then they it doesn't appear that they want it edged this year...

Does seem that way, but she requested an estimate for "mulching, edging and to clean up all the debris in beds and yard" her words exactly. Plus she stated that the $1800 dollar estimate included edging as well. Only thing I can think is that they quoted her a price for 1" of mulch and conveniently didn't mention that detail. As far as edging goes, who knows if they are really going to edge it for just leave it like it is.

kootoomootoo
03-28-2005, 09:19 PM
I was talking to a guy on the weekend who just signed a contract with another landscaper to have 1 acre rockhounded and seed/straw. 1 feature tree and a few shrubs.......the price .....


10 grand ...plus the tax as he so eloquently put it.

I'll take easy 5 grand profit for 500 alex. :)

mudman34
03-28-2005, 09:21 PM
I would call you a $1000.00 overbid then.Just my opinion,edgeing the beds is not brain surgery.Having the 41 yards delivered would save you alot of trouble and your potential client $.For the clean-up 1 hour with a good blower and rake should take care of that.Please do not take offence ,that's what I came up with but I am not there and have not seen the job.Go with your gut and don't worry what the other's bid is.
Sometimes a potential client will LIE TO YOU about the others bids just to get you to go down on yours.Why else would they even bother to tell you the amount of the lower bid either to make you feel bad or wrong or overpriced OR to get you to say" OH really ?then if he bid $1800 then I'll lower my bid to $1200.00" they play that game sometimes.
This has happened to me,when I went to the other person and asked how they could haave bid it so low,they told me they had never bid on that job or even met the client,they mustuve got his name from the telephone book and just used it.Needles to say I did not accept the job.

No offence taken, I asked for your and others opinions and am thankful for any feedback. With such a big difference in bids we were hoping for a price check from others in the business. Thank you for taking the time to respond. :) You may be correct about them playing the bid game, we did learn that she is selling the property and I'd assume she would want to spend as little as possible in that case.

GetSomeGOJO
03-28-2005, 10:12 PM
Remind her that a dollar spent on PROFESSIONAL landscape work has (typically) a 6-8% return at the time of sale. But you also sound a little steep.

Try to think of your bids as time, not acres. Does it really cost you a dollar to edge a foot of bedding. I think not, unless you are installing an edge materiel. Also. Bed cutters are nice, but for 1300 ft. (did I remember that right?) do you really need a bed cutter? Two folks with sharp shovels can cut nearly as fast as a bed cutter. That could easily save a buck or two on your bidding estimate.

mudman34
03-28-2005, 10:38 PM
Thanks again for your input everyone. What I'm taking from all this is bascially our edging charge is putting us over the top and therefore overpriced? Do you all normally charge extra for edging or include that into the per yard installed price? If you are charging extra then are you charging the same whether its been edged before or not?

i_plant_art
03-28-2005, 10:40 PM
you know this is a common thing esp. this time of year someone new decides they want to be a "Landscaper" LOL he will fall through the cracks as mentioned in some of the posts above someone said to ask, are you deciding on price or quality. I do this same thing quit a bit, explain and show with picture what quality qork is. then give my $$ if they like it cool if not they get what they pay for. everyone in this business does different "quality of work" IMO you get what you pay for. im not goiung to rant on any longwer about this i could be here for years.... but since you asked my price based soely on the info you gave ( it could be different if there are tons of hills, long distance to go etc etc....... ) my $$ would be $6151.50 thats @ 2.75 a foot for the edging ( by hand, it looks better and is far straighter than ANY machine will ever do) and the mulch is $70 a yard for the first 25 and $60 there after. I pay $14.50 + 9.25% sales tax on mulch here for a yard of "painted" black. @ $29.00 a yard up there man you should be installing it for close to $100.00 a yard. LOL j/k

YardPro
03-29-2005, 07:35 AM
the price for the edging is what sounds high to me.
we just did a 1400 linear foot property last month and it took us 7 hours total, edging and cleanup.

olderthandirt
03-29-2005, 09:17 AM
Since there is not an existing edge I would be charging $1.50 a ft. with a bed edger. $1.00 a ft to redefine a bed.

Tn Lawn Man
03-29-2005, 11:58 AM
what are you charging per yard to install the mulch?

My math might be off, but it appears that you are charging over $80 a yard installed.

If that is the case that would be very high for this area......Middle Tennesse brings from $55 to $75 a yard.