View Full Version : Counter Offers ??

03-05-2001, 11:47 PM
I've picked up about 15 new accounts in the past month but I have at least 15 bids out with no response. Have you ever counter offerred a bid. In other words, have you re-offerred the bid at a lower price or with offers of free services such as a 1 time fertilization application ? (Sweeten the offer).

How about approaching known households who use lawn services ? I have 3 neighbors who use a lawn service that I would like to approach. Any ideas ? Matching current LCO's price / free fertilization application ? I talked to one of them today and he said he would like to use me but he knew I could not meet his current LCO's price. He would not tell me what he was paying. I have not given bids without the homeowner asking me for one. Do you guys put bid prices on your flyers before you are contacted ? Thanks.

03-05-2001, 11:54 PM
There is no sense in trying to low ball someone elses turf. There is just way too much work out there to be had. If these other lawns with services look decent, don't worry about them. If they do NOT look too good, then sell your service on QUALITY not cheapness. :)

03-06-2001, 01:03 AM
Nope. My bids are based on what I need to make an that job, if I try to match another I may loose. I lost a $25,000 bid in Oct. for this same reason, they wanted me to meet another companies bid for much less, nope, let them loose money not me.

I avoid doing work for neighbors, friends, or family if at all possible. (except mom or dad)

[Edited by KirbysLawn on 03-06-2001 at 05:06 AM]

03-06-2001, 01:09 AM
Three no`s

Once we make an offer, it stands. I can not see us contacting the potenital customer and saying, Well gee, I see you have not called us back to accept our offer, how bout if we lower the price? Sorta would make us look like we were desperate.

No, we do not intentionally target a household that is currently using another lawn service. We do not want our competition doing it to us, we do not do it to them.

We are trying doorhangers this year to target a few select neighborhoods. And no, we will not be putting a price on the door hangers for lawn service. We offer other services also, and it would just take too much time to look over each individual yard and quote prices for everything. If they are interested, they will call. From there will we will weed out the tire kickers.

03-06-2001, 01:38 AM
I would never go underbid myself! I sometimes have people counter offer to me. I give them a price and they try to negotiate. I always tell them I try to give a fair price up front. That is what I need to do the job. This works 90% of the time.

Kansas Turf Man
03-06-2001, 02:08 AM
Don't do work for friends, family, or neighbors. Many times money comes between things that are more important. I did a job for a friend and few years ago and I haven't spoken to her since. She stiffed me out of 2 grand and I didn't take her to court because I thought our friendship was more Important. Looking back on it I should have taken that bag for what she signed for.

Don't under bid yourself it makes it look like you were trying to screw them in the first bid. Better to lose the game than to die trying to stop the clock.

Good Luck

03-06-2001, 10:30 AM
I just lost a bid a week ago that was promised to me verbally more than once. I was beat by $700 on my bid of $10,700. I just purchased new equipment for that job in particular now I have to find work for it. The guy didn't even call me after he gave me the okay to purchase the equipment. I have very mixed feelings about the whole thing.

We are going to target a few exclusive neighborhoods. The letter will basically offer our services and if they would like an estimate to give us a call. I inquired about the oppurtunity to bid on the commons area of a subdivision but they said they were happy with the current service but I could bid if I wanted to. I will write the association a letter stating that I do not steal others' contracts but if they would like a competitive bid, let me know and the current contract holder know. That is only fair.

03-06-2001, 11:44 AM
Sorry to hear about it spring valley.

There is a lesson for everyone. Never, never buy equipment based on 1 job. Never buy it until it is a signed and sealed deal. In the commercial property area it is way to cut throat to take a chance.

03-06-2001, 12:10 PM

I have definitely learned my lesson. We will recover. Like my wife says, "A verbal agreement isn't worth the paper it is written on."

I won't do what someone else did to me. That is why we will only give bids if the customer honestly wants us to. Like someone said earlier in this thread, I am going to sell on quality an not be a lowballer. There are plenty of big lawn care companies that have lost their customer service focus due to quantity of work they do. I hope to pick up some of that work.


03-06-2001, 12:54 PM

I have read here and was also told by fellow LCOs/LMOs in our area that if you can prove thru a witness that he guaranteed you the bid, then he has to honor your word or he can be sued for breech of contract. I cannot remember the thread but I know there are a few that have covered this topic.

I would consult your attorney if you have a viable witness, as ytou may be able to recover the costs of your equipment, especially if he knew you would be upgrading to honor the verbal agreement.

I also agree that we should never buy equipment until we have a signed contract with a check for the full amount before ordering specific pieces.

Just my .02


I would never call them up and ask them if they would like a reduced rate. Afterall, why you you price them high if it wasnt necessary to begin with.

Secondly, if they ask if we could lower the price and it was a small amount I would only consider doing so if this was a high visibility, highly recognized property that could somehow benefit you thru the recognition of maintaining it.

Hope this helps.

03-06-2001, 04:15 PM
kris, good point on the high visablity properties,i didn't low ball on my one property, but i bidded low enough so that i could make a few dollars profit, but i wanted it because we cut it every 3 to 4 days the whole season. the main point why i wanted it is because at least a 1,000 cars drive by when we are at the property, i have people who come to me and say i seen you at the site and just say "wow" their yard looks unreal. i know if those people every need anything done in the yard that i secured the job with out even bidding because of that 1 site.

03-06-2001, 09:09 PM
Bids are supposed to be closed to an applicant once his is in. That business about resubmitting an application is BS in the highest order. I was in line to get a contract on a subdivision with over 65 homes in it. Community area, pool, boat ramp, park, the works! Well, come to find out, the contract was to be awarded to me. However,the contractor with the second closest bid (less than 90 bucks diff. per year!) submitted a change to his bid to lower his price 15 bucks per YEAR below mine. That guy got it over a lousy 15 bucks. Come to find out, his WIFE is buddies with a man on the planning board. Anybody else smell fish?
My long winded point is that allowing the resubmitting of bids allows for dishonesty and underhanded tactics.

03-06-2001, 10:07 PM
Thanks guys. Very good advice. I agree, there is plenty of work out there without taking fellow LCO's accounts. I feel ashamed for thinking this even though it was a momentary thought. I've been sticking to my guns on my bid prices so far and jobs are trickling in. I am a little anxious to get more accounts since this is my first full time season.

John DiMartino
03-06-2001, 10:43 PM
Turfer-if you show that your anxious-people will pick up on it,and they'll try to get you lower-you dont even want this type of customer-keep your head up and do good work on the ones you have-then you'll get referall work form those who want good work-more than low price.

03-06-2001, 10:48 PM
Turfer, if you really want the job and think you might have been too high with your original bid what I would do is call the customer and say that I bought a bulk load of fertilizer or whatever and if they sign up for the lawn cutting I could give them a really good price on fertilizing to save them some money. Sometimes when you need work you have to give alittle. Just remember it's still real early in the year you might get lots of calls soon. And it probally wouldn't hurt to call the customers anyway and ask them if they have any questions on your estimate, sometimes they just set it aside and forget it.

03-06-2001, 11:02 PM
When I submit a written bid, one thing that I always ask is the opportunity to counter any other offers that they might have. However, I've never had to actually counter any. I usually get the contract.

03-06-2001, 11:03 PM
When I bid a job, either verbal or written, I always leave room to go down if necessary. I figure that if I don.t over price a bid by $5-$10 a cut, I.m limiting myself. I never see coming down as a disadvantage. Think about it... the customer will feel like he is getting a deal, and I get enough to make a profit. Either way, I see it as a win-win situation.

03-07-2001, 04:23 PM
Kris @ kutnkru,
I talked to my attorney this afternoon and there may be some legal recourse. I don't want to get a bad rep for this but the guy did tell me I had the contract and gave me the go ahead for the equipment. He knew I had purchased equipment when the contract was awarded to another LCO. I am actively trying to secure other contracts so I am not just sitting around feeling sorry for myself.


03-08-2001, 03:01 AM
If YOU are pursuing a account by giving a price and just saying there it is, take it or leave it, there is a chance they will leave it. Alot of guys seem to think the way to make a sales call is to show up once and give a price, if the account wants service they will call and pay the price you qouted.

A good sales routine, when pursuing accounts, is going back or calling to find out why you had not gotten the call back yet. This gives you another chance to make contact with the client. The more contact, the more the client can begin to know you more over your compitition, which could be the deciding point.

Business is a game and part of the game can be counter offers. Sometimes looking desperate to a client is a good strategy to play. There is no dishonor is lowering your price to secure an account. Every business and business owner must do what they feel is right for the survival of their business and income.

03-08-2001, 09:04 AM
I would never just call and offer to lower my price, If a potential client called me and wanted to talk price then that's a differnt story.

Sorry to hear that the guy backed out but that is a breach of contract based on a verbal contract that both parties agreed to. I'd run with that one, to heck with what others think. You had the contract and he backed out after the fact. Tuff luck on him!!!