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View Full Version : first estimate... shot down in flames


mindset063
03-24-2006, 04:00 PM
I just got back from an estimate for a spring clean-up on two properties. One was a huge job (3hrs at least), and the other not so bad. The properties are owned by the same guy. I estimated $200 for the first property and $80 for the second property. The guy said i was way too expensive. I asked what he normally paid for spring clean-up and he said $120. I told him that I would match that price (200 for both properties). He said he needed to talk to his wife, which means he's calling others' for estimates. :clapping: Oh well, more people will call:dancing:

EPIC
03-24-2006, 04:23 PM
SOUNDS TO ME LIKE YOU GAVE A VERY GOOD ESTIMATE. HE IS JUST ONE OF THOSE GUYS HOW WHATS SOMEthING FOR NUTHING. damnnn caps on again.neways 200 is low if it take more than 4 hours on both jobs you got drive time trip to the dump i am sure gas helper maybe. i say dont worrie about it let him get a nieborhood kid or some hack job

pe@ce

OutdoorExtras
03-24-2006, 04:58 PM
If you think you gave a fair bid you should not have taken $80 off of your bid. Chances are good that he was just trying to get you to lower the price, and it worked pretty damn well.:laugh: On the other hand if you continue to get the same "way too much" response on other bids you may have to reconsider your prices.

kingofbling
03-24-2006, 05:20 PM
I just got back from an estimate for a spring clean-up on two properties. One was a huge job (3hrs at least), and the other not so bad. The properties are owned by the same guy. I estimated $200 for the first property and $80 for the second property. The guy said i was way too expensive. I asked what he normally paid for spring clean-up and he said $120. I told him that I would match that price (200 for both properties). He said he needed to talk to his wife, which means he's calling others' for estimates. :clapping: Oh well, more people will call:dancing:

I just started out a few days ago, and i notice 99% of the time the transaction goes faster if you ask the customer what they usually pay for the service they are wanting. So far it has worked out for me except one time. I ask them what they pay and if the price sounds about right i tell them its a deal.

IMO its a waste of time having them bring your original price down.

Your going out to there home or prop to give them a estimate, not bargain prices with them like a used car salesman.

sheshovel
03-24-2006, 05:22 PM
Exactly right..customers are not afraid to lie to try and get you to lower your price.Never ask them what they paid to have it done before..The answer will ALWAYS be lower than your price.That is the oldest cust trick in the book,he "got"you to ask what he pd before by saying you were too expensive..then gave you a cheap price that immediatly got you to respond by lowering your price...no way don't fall for that!Stick with your price!

topsites
03-24-2006, 05:45 PM
I just got back from an estimate for a spring clean-up on two properties. One was a huge job (3hrs at least), and the other not so bad. The properties are owned by the same guy. I estimated $200 for the first property and $80 for the second property. The guy said i was way too expensive. I asked what he normally paid for spring clean-up and he said $120. I told him that I would match that price (200 for both properties). He said he needed to talk to his wife, which means he's calling others' for estimates. :clapping: Oh well, more people will call:dancing:

I had that problem the other day, quoted the guy like 75-90 on a 100-120 job and 'oh gee well if you can do it for 75, then it's yours...' That and some mulch job I gave him a decent price on as well, and still he's hesitant and wavering and back-and-forth the old song and dance went, talks about how his regular guys do it for x-amount (I'm like thinking what am I doing here if you got someone already?).

In both your case and mine, what we should have done is said right back to them: oh I am sorry I made a mistake, the price should've been (regular price +50% = 150 in my case, 300 in yours).

My guy said he had to talk to his wife, too...
But I don't even give them the chance to shoot me down anymore unless they react real fast. I called the guy this morning to tell him I wasn't coming out, neither for the grass cut nor the mulch.

What he should've done is jumped on my price, but what's going to happen now is some other Lco gets to partake in a grand piece of natural selection. I'm sure he'll find someone to do it cheaper, but it ain't gonna be me.

Let them call around, it's all the window-shoppers and tire-kickers calling right now anyway because it's still early and these early birds know all the tricks (most of them do, anyhow).

mindset063
03-24-2006, 05:49 PM
This advice is priceless.... So much to learn about estimating and how make my price sound right.

Tom c.
03-24-2006, 05:50 PM
Hi Like she shovel said dont ask how much the other guy charged. Figure a hourly rate. I am in the northeast and the rates vary alot you should add in overhead, gas etc or if your using any power equipment and make a chart. like straight labor then a rate using equipment. Like 25.00per man hr or 50.00 if using equipment: like trimmer or blower etc. Then when you go to make a bid youll have a better idea and itll look better than asking how much the other guy charged . Watch for people who add stuff in after you give them a price. I get that alot they add extra things in and then argue when you give them the bill. GOOD LUCK!!!!:usflag:

topsites
03-24-2006, 05:53 PM
The only good news is, these type of folks can never leave well enough alone.

Here you and I both gave someone a nice discount and still it wasn't good enough, and it has been my experience that is how it ALWAYS goes with these folks (which is how you can tell). How come they can't take a 20 or 30% discount and leave it at that, I do not know, but most of them want at least 50 percent off and really 60-75% would be nice. Even then, just for kicks I gave one such low-baller an upfront price of like 70% off the regular, and still he says to me: ohhh that price kinda high....

I honestly think most of them just play their silly game without a clue and even if you quote rock-bottom prices, still the bs comes out their mouth before they even think about what they just said. The only thing I have found stops the bs from coming out their mouth is a high starting price (it does, it shuts them up cold and on the spot).

This is one of the reasons why when I see this one coming, I like quoting regular price + 50% (at least +20%) because it tends to shut them up on the spot (meaning no more haggle, no more bs, it is over and I can leave now)... I mean, we already know the answer so why go through the hassle and haggle when it can be over before it even starts? Because the worst part is right after I just gave them my lowest price, still they want more and I'm all out of options so now I find myself bending over backwards while I'm thinking 'this could've been over with 5 minutes ago.'

Unfortunately, I wasn't ready for it the other day.

dg0123
03-24-2006, 05:53 PM
Hang in there mindset. Give a fair price and stick to your guns. I have walked away from several estimates because they have tried to talk me down in price.

bumper
03-24-2006, 06:00 PM
Money sounds good until taking some of the cut rate jobs leads to you losing money. Never give the customer the impression you will lower your price, sends the message you can be bought and you don't value your own work.

chriscraft
03-24-2006, 06:45 PM
$200 for a 3 hour job is good if yo ucan get $67 per man hour. araound here you cant actually , at least not usually I dont low ball at all and if i can make $35 per man per hour im happy if i make more great. But the simple fact around here and im sure much of the country (from the hown owners standpoint) Is $67 an hour a lot for raking leaves and pulling weeds? I realize we have better faster eqpt than the homeowner, and spring cleanups suck, they are so much easier if done in the fall. I qoute mine high also usually abot 45 per man hour. i guesstimate 1 hour with 3 guys its appr $135. And yo uknow some schmuck with no insurance no workmans comp no liab ins unemployment insurance is gonna be happy making 20 bucks an hour. I have trouble quoting 35 a man hour in my area and we cut million dollar lakefront properties. How you guys even can get 50-60 70 an hour cutting grass ill never know. They wont pay it here uneless im cutting mobile homes. We can get dbl the pr hour average doing mobile homes than ressidential

mindset063
03-24-2006, 07:30 PM
I just got off the phone with a friend of mine in the business, and he said to stick to my original price and don't haggle; "Just tell them that we are not going to come to an agreement."

mindset063
03-24-2006, 07:34 PM
oh... by the way. I'm hangin' in there dg. No quitter here. Thanks for the support.

Xterminator
03-24-2006, 07:36 PM
Amen, Listen to your friend do not change your price if thats what its worth to you then let them find someone else

Unless you are starving

QualityLawnCare4u
03-24-2006, 08:40 PM
I dont think your prices are to high. The sad thing is in my area the 3 hour one would go for around 60-75 tops for 90% of the uninsured, no license LCO we have here. My estimate on 3 hours would be around 150 for on site dumping only or more if wanted hauled off, or thats the going rate for most legit LCO. It depends on your area/and what your market will allow. I would like to see the day here I can get 200 for a 3 hour job, Im happy when I get 50 per hour. Im rubbing elbows with the big time LCO then!

topsites
03-24-2006, 08:42 PM
I just got off the phone with a friend of mine in the business, and he said to stick to my original price and don't haggle; "Just tell them that we are not going to come to an agreement."

Hey that's actually a really nice answer, I'm going to work on remembering that.

hosejockey2002
03-24-2006, 09:24 PM
Like the others have said, stick to your guns. Remember also that what you estimate to be a 3 hour job can easily end up being a 4-5 hour job, especially when you are just starting. Cleanups have a way of taking longer than you plan on, so BID 'EM HIGH!payup

All_Clear
03-24-2006, 09:31 PM
You bid was right on... Remember that this person will more then likely drop you if someone else comes along and says they'll do it for less, he's a price shopper.

Your friend was right, don't bother lowering prices, it will only lead to the down fall of a business.

All_Clear

befnme
03-24-2006, 10:24 PM
I just got back from an estimate for a spring clean-up on two properties. One was a huge job (3hrs at least), and the other not so bad. The properties are owned by the same guy. I estimated $200 for the first property and $80 for the second property. The guy said i was way too expensive. I asked what he normally paid for spring clean-up and he said $120. I told him that I would match that price (200 for both properties). He said he needed to talk to his wife, which means he's calling others' for estimates. :clapping: Oh well, more people will call:dancing:

i think he lied to you about the price just to see if you would lower yours .

kingofbling
03-24-2006, 10:32 PM
Never ask them what they paid to have it done before..The answer will ALWAYS be lower than your price.That is the oldest cust trick in the book
Of course its the oldest trick in the book, but its also the most used trick when working as a sales person or salesman.

For instance today i went to quote a yard, the types of yards like this customers go for $20-25 a mow/trim/etc around here i asked the cust how much the last person was charging and he said $15.00 per week, i said ok. I told him "well the cheapest i can do it for is $24.00 per week", i then told him to think about it and give me a call. Not a few minutes later he called (while i was on the road) and asked me if i could come over tommorow to mow. I know the guy was paying $20 per mow with the last company because i had customers in his neighborhood tell me there was a mexican guy who used to cut around 13 houses on that street but he stopped showing up all of a sudden.

HOOLIE
03-24-2006, 10:33 PM
A couple points to keep in mind...

Most guys starting out tend to bid too low...not intentionally, but because they are inexperienced in estimating and also they need business, so they tend to cut it close in terms of making a profit. So I would resist lowering my price.

And...customers that tell you "what they paid last year"...think about it...why wouldn't they just call the guy from last year???? Because either...

1- They are 'playing' you to get you to drop the price...or...
2- The previous LCO realized they underpriced it last year and refused to do the job again.

So don't play the game with these people, you need to make a profit payup

cwlawley
03-25-2006, 12:06 AM
Always stick to your estimate unless it is 5-10 dollars. I would never come down 80 dollars. Also, tell them your estimate is good until a certain date. I tell people it is a five day estimate if they want to think about it. That way if they call after I raise the price for waiting and shuffling around other jobs.