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E.L.I.T.E.LawnCare
12-30-2006, 07:45 AM
I started my business 5yrs. ago, my first bid was on a Apartment complex 20 units on about 14 acres we had no knowledge at that time about commercial bidding anyways the prop. manager wanted all the weeds pulled from every flowerbed around every building, so we put the bid in at $1300.00 per week. Unfortunately we lost the bid to the company that had been doing it the past 4yrs. the manager was nice enough to let us know that the guy they had was charging $1100.00 per week so they stuck with him. This same complex is looking for a new lawn service for 2007, I was told by some buddies in the business that some of your fellow low ballers has this same complex bidded down to $375.00 per cut. I dont see how you guys survive charging these low rates. I drove through there the other day and they have weeds all through the flowerbeds, grass growing high around the back of buildings and fire hydrants, the sidewalks wasn't edged. This is something to think about, my sis stays in a apartment that is charging her $730.00 per month for rent, they have hundred of units out there(do the math), so knowing that when I went to bid her complex my bid was for at least $750.00 per cut (winning bidder $400.00 maybe a little less, and he's running 4 full crews how he's making money on that?) You don't have to sell yourself short, I took a bid from a large company here he was doing 12 acres for $325.00 per cut, I got the bid for the past two years for $550.00 per cut no joke.

Roger
12-30-2006, 07:54 AM
.... I dont see how you guys survive charging these low rates. ....

how he's making money on that. ....


These are both assumptions that may be wrong.

BTW, how does the monthly rental of your sister's apartment figure into the rate the owner is paying for lawn mowing? Have you had an opportunity to see the P/L on the operation of the apartment complex? This information would help to understand the relationship between their income and their willingness to pay $XXXX for lawn mowing.

Tharrell
12-30-2006, 07:57 AM
Something I've only recently learned, lowballers aren't always the newbies. A lot of guys with multiple crews lowball because they have to keep their guys busy. I can prove it too.
The solo operator like myself is caught in the middle of this mess.

freddyc
12-30-2006, 08:48 AM
dont forget a few things:

1/ someone had to purchase that apartment complex--they didnt get it for Christmas

2/ think of the insurance you'd have to carry on a multi unit place, sewer charges, plumbing, cleaning..... all services cost money and its the managers job to get the best deal they can.

3/ you show some nice equipment in your post--lots of it including a recent truck. Not all lco's have major payments with interest.

Making money always comes down to revenue vs expenses.

Do you consider the first guy who was charging $1100 vs your 1300 a lowballer?? Wheres the cutoff-- 50% of where you are, 25% ? I see posts on here all the time about questions on pricing. Its not always clear cut what the market rate is. For the guy who knows that its $X and he goes in at 30% less, then yeah, thats a problem....but when you're hungry for work and you scrape for jobs to feed your family, you're not always thinking about whether you can afford the new exmark Z in 2 years.

I'd like to see a poll on here to see the ratio of people with great equipment vs the guy with 10 year old stuff--which ones are doing the most complaining about low ballers.

HenryB
12-30-2006, 08:58 AM
Something I've only recently learned, lowballers aren't always the newbies. A lot of guys with multiple crews lowball because they have to keep their guys busy. I can prove it too.
The solo operator like myself is caught in the middle of this mess.

Agreed. Most lowballers are american guys born and raised w/ multiple crews. Often the biggest LCO's are the cheapest. Ego and greed equate to enormous gross and very little net.

carcrz
12-30-2006, 09:23 AM
Sometimes the larger companies are also able to get their costs at a lower rate due to larger quantity purchases. Also, if their overhead is already covered by current customers then the rest is all profit.

Lawntime Mowers
12-30-2006, 10:23 AM
Someday I hope to grow up and be a Lowballer. But for now I think I'll just make more money and work less. Or is it work smarter not harder....I guess I'll have to keep my chin up and dream that someday I can grow up and become a mega-lowballer too.:dizzy:

lawnjockey56
12-30-2006, 10:29 AM
i wish instead of directing at the lowballers there was a way to direct these to the people who actually hire them lol-they have to know they are getting what they pay for for when they see such gap in price

Uranus
12-30-2006, 10:29 AM
Someday I hope to grow up and be a Lowballer. But for now I think I'll just make more money and work less. Or is it work smarter not harder....I guess I'll have to keep my chin up and dream that someday I can grow up and become a mega-lowballer too.:dizzy:

Let me know when you get there. Then I can become a mega-supreme-lowballer.:laugh: All lawns any size $5.99 to cut, trim, and blow:laugh:

Prestige-Lawncare
12-30-2006, 11:04 AM
Because this guy has a nice truck, and some nice equipment, (that he obviously takes very good care of) ... you don't think he has a right to complain about what others are charging for their services? It is obvious that in a couple of the situations he mentions, that the rate is to low, and therefore the quality of the service the property owner is getting is equal to that price.

I understand that most times it is true that the customer gets what they pay for ... but in the case of this post ... it reinforces to us that the LCO's who operate this way are the ones that not only make it hard for us to do business, but it also hurts the whole "green industry" in that area.

Nice looking set-up you have there ELITE. Image is what we sell ... and you are portraying a neat and professional image for your company.

Good Luck ...

.

coolluv
12-30-2006, 12:14 PM
I'am no expert on the subject of business and I'm in the process of learning all I can. I started this lawn business in late June 2006 so that I could know what is was like to own my own business. I have a full time job and I don't rely on this to survive.(Thankfully). I want to see how far I can take it and learn as much as possible. So far I have to say there are alot of people in this business in Atlanta. I have only a few customers that I picked up last year and I had alot of calls. But I can't tell you how many people are doing half acre lawns twice a month for $25.00 a shot. I look at these lawns and I think minimum is $40.00. I think alot of people get into this business thinking they are going to make a ton of money and hey how hard can it be I can cut grass. So out they go and get a couple of mowers and a trailer and hey I'm a business man. They figure if I can make enough to pay for my stuff and put a couple bucks in my pocket thats great. But in reality they haven't made enough to continue on for years to come. Next thing you know there gone. Next season someone else with the same frame of mind comes along to take their place and the cycle continues. In any business you must move past the point of making enough to break even and then to a point where you can pay yourself a living wage. A living wage is one that a proprietor's family can live on. At this point there is still no real profit because all the the income is consumed by the owner's need for a living wage and the need to save enough for future equipment etc. There is nothing left over. This is the situation in which you have now purchased a job. The business becomes successful when you can move beyond the point that you are just earning enough to make ends meet and to a point where there is money left over after a respectable wage is provided. The ability to earn a real profit is the dividing line between owning a job and owning a business. People see companies with alot of expensive equipment and big trucks and think that these guys are just rolling in the doe. Reality is that most companies make between 5 and 10 percent. You have to gross alot of money to make a decent living and a profit. Well I could go on and on but I would just like to let all the newbies with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads make sure you know what its all about before you make the jump. I don't know how it will end up for me but I know I'm going in with realistic expectations and with both eyes open. And for the low ballers out there I will keep my eyes on the classifieds for when your equipment shows up. Thanks for letting me rant. Dave..

Team-Green L&L
12-30-2006, 12:42 PM
This is a great statement! 10% net is about right. Doing $250,000 in sales left me with a $30K salary - random expenses. Poor staging and payroll are the biggest consumer of profits. Investments are considered a profit if you have done enough research on an investment before saying "that's neat" and buying. I cannot claim success on that end, but that fact remains true. I am an impulsive shopper like a lot of small business owners.

dcgreenspro
12-30-2006, 12:48 PM
you guys should be happy because all it should do is drive your prices up. If your quality and appearance are both there, then you can get what you want. Also, how long do you think these guys will last?
I will admit that people bidding like that is ridiculous and stupid but hey, to each his own

MJK
12-30-2006, 12:57 PM
This is a great statement! 10% net is about right. Doing $250,000 in sales left me with a $30K salary - random expenses. Poor staging and payroll are the biggest consumer of profits. Investments are considered a profit if you have done enough research on an investment before saying "that's neat" and buying. I cannot claim success on that end, but that fact remains true. I am an impulsive shopper like a lot of small business owners.

You did $250,000 in sales and only made $30k? Thats horrible.

Grass Kickin
12-30-2006, 01:01 PM
I'll agree with you guys that low ballers suck the life out of guys who are trying to do this the right way. I see a guy who has a sign on his truck "any lawn cut $5.00" around my area. I've never actually seen him working though. I think that reputation and quality at a fair price will keep the rest of us in business with consistency.

LemkeLawns
12-30-2006, 01:05 PM
Is any person that can provide a servive for a lower price considered a lowballer? This past year I recieved a contract and I was about 8k below the next bidder, with a yearly profit of 20%. The next lowest bidder has five mowers I have Two. I run a 60" and 72" exmark. He runs small residential mowers, exept for a 48" grasshopper. What took him and 4 others all day and then some takes me and another 7.25 hrs. If a LCO is inefficient why should the customer pay a high price?

ed2hess
12-30-2006, 01:25 PM
I would have thought that lawn cutting prices in Flint Mi. would be at an all time low. Isn't this the area where all the auto workers are being layed off?

Team-Green L&L
12-30-2006, 01:58 PM
You did $250,000 in sales and only made $30k? Thats horrible.

My salary does not directly reflect profits Mike. Much of our profits were reinvested in other markets and some in this one. Many proprietors don't use CPA's, nor do they stay on a consistent salary. It is real easy to spend too much money if you aren't paying yourself as an employee.

Proper growth charts are beyond my comprehension and I have way too little time to invest it monitoring our profits. Our managing partners decide on salaries based on performance once a year. That salary is not altered until the following year.

J Hisch
12-30-2006, 03:01 PM
I think understanding a few different types of the way owners run a business will clarify this issue. I will employ my workers a lot less than I will employ myself. I would rather make 5 dollars per head times 10 employee's in the field per hour than my self out working for 55.00 per hour and working all day. but by expanding and having multiple crews in the field even if they are grossing 500 per day per crew. By volume and volume alone will you have staying power in this business. So call them lowballer or whatever but run your business as you see fit.

RedMax Man
12-30-2006, 03:14 PM
Condo's alway go for the cheapest bid unless the really care about their curb appeal. Their's a small one right down the street from me only 10 units. My dad rebuilt all the decks several years ago because he knew the director. Since then he has bid on several jobs there and i bid on the snow management this season and we didn't get any of it. they had a guy come and reroof and from what i could see all they used were hammers, no power tools and did it dirt cheap. maybe i will try for the maintenance in the summer.

Prestige-Lawncare
12-30-2006, 03:26 PM
This thread has sure brought out a lot of different opinions on pricing. Bottom line is ... it shows how the many different personalities approach this business in their respective areas. It's not to say one person is right, and all the others are wrong ... but more likely many are right in what works for them.

To me ... low ballers are the ones who price a $45.00 lawn for $20.00 ... period. Whether it be because they are a young kid wanting to make a couple of bucks with dads mower, or with a mower dad bought for them ... or they are a person who does this part time, and relies on another employer to supply their medical insurance and the other niceties that go along with working for someone else. I'm not crazy about part-timers ... and in reality they don't affect my business much at all. Like the guy who started this post ... I use nice equipment (and buying all new in '07) ... drive a nice truck, and portray a very professional image to my customers in my community. Most of my properties are in neighborhoods of homes of $150K - $300K, and the $20. lawn guys have a hard time cracking that market. Be it an ego thing for the homeowner or whatever ... most of these customers want that "image" of a LCO like myself parked in front of their property. I live in one of the neighborhoods like this ... but as a note ... I do not mow any lawns in my neighborhood. This is where I live, and if I'm out walking the dogs or riding bikes with the kids, I don't want to be stopped by my customers to talk about their lawn. My time is theirs when I am working ... but it is mine when I am not working!

Beau Rivage
12-30-2006, 07:44 PM
I own a job...but it's a lot better than the one I'm about to dump.:laugh: :drinkup: I've kept my overhead as low as possible though, so I sleep fine. If I can't survive for long against lowrider lawncare, I won't go bankrupt. If worse comes to worst I can always grit my teeth and go back to corporate America. :cry: (I'd rather take a beating, but I kind of like having this roof over my head)

GarPA
12-31-2006, 04:25 AM
You did $250,000 in sales and only made $30k? Thats horrible.

I'll say....something's wrong. 25k alone should go to the company as "profit"...and thats beyond salaries and wages.

whoops...I commented before I read all the posts...sorry

Team-Green L&L
12-31-2006, 10:18 AM
I'll say....something's wrong. 25k alone should go to the company as "profit"...and thats beyond salaries and wages.

whoops...I commented before I read all the posts...sorry

I posted similar results in another thread. Everyone will find different numbers. The only way to judge net is to see what overhead each company has in an itemized format. Only then can you see "where the money went" and begin to make changes. $25,000 net from $250K strikes me as a man who has invested quite a lot back into his company to secure growth. If you aren't BROKE for 5 years, you are spending your company's money...not yours. The key is to know the difference.

PROCUT1
12-31-2006, 11:36 AM
Heres another question......

A lowballer by definition is someone who INTENTIONALLY bid at a certain price that he KNOWS is going to be the lowest bid to get the job. This is usually planned.

Are most of these "lowballers" really lowballing or are they just working cheap?

There is a difference.

crzymow
12-31-2006, 04:26 PM
I think alot of them just dont know how to bid, especially on large commercial jobs.

GarPA
12-31-2006, 05:26 PM
I think alot of them just dont know how to bid, especially on large commercial jobs.

and, many of them don't even know their own production numbers per account. I have an "acquaintence" who I cover for when he's on vac. He's been in the business at least 10 years....and when I ask him what is the avg man minutes spent on account A, B etc, he doesn't know....and most of them are high end BIG residential properties... he thinks I'm nuts that I record employee manminutes per account, every day. When I've tried to explain to him we sell manminues, and to sell it at the right price we have to know what those numbers are, he looks at me like I'm nuts. I might be nuts but I know where where we're making money and losing money and adjust fees accordingly.

crzymow
12-31-2006, 06:50 PM
that is why i bought the clip softwear to help keep track of those things. just starting to learn all the little things that can help out in the long run

Likestomow
12-31-2006, 08:09 PM
I'am no expert on the subject of business and I'm in the process of learning all I can. I started this lawn business in late June 2006 so that I could know what is was like to own my own business. I have a full time job and I don't rely on this to survive..... Well I could go on and on but I would just like to let all the newbies with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads make sure you know what its all about before you make the jump....... And for the low ballers out there I will keep my eyes on the classifieds for when your equipment shows up. Thanks for letting me rant. Dave..


Whew! All this wisdom from a guy with, lets see... maybe 5 months experience?

You talk pretty big there about guys lowballing when you admit you have a fulltime job and don't depend on your mowing money to survive. Why don't you try it out yourself before you take others to task? Yea, just quit your job and do this work full time... then lets see how creative you might become with pricing.

Your comment about watching the Classifieds for lowballers to sell their equipment is arrogant. When you get to the point of supporting your family by mowing grass full time, check back and lets hear what you say then.

Likestomow
12-31-2006, 08:26 PM
...To me ... low ballers are the ones who price a $45.00 lawn for $20.00 ... period....

Well I have to dissagree with your definition. And that is because to define a lowballer, everyone must compare them to someone else... mainly themselves. If I know someone who takes a job at Walmart for $8.00/hr. I don't call him a lowballer. But if I compare him to me, I could say he was a lowballer... hey I wouldn't want to work there for $8 an hour, in fact I wouldn't.

When people see other people working for less than they would, and then make a judgement on them as being a lowballer, it is because they feel like the property in question "belongs" to them and they lost it to a lowballer. It's as though a lowballer is someone who has taken something away from them.

And like you, I don't feel that way. I only want 100 - 140 accounts and that's it. In my town that is a very small fraction of the business. I don't own every job so I can't "lose" them either.

If someone wants to do a $40 job and receive $20 for doing it, why should I or anyone else judge them and label them? Sure I've seen the low price guys running around town, and of course their business image looks different than mine. But that's okay with me. I give them credit for being out there working and not sitting at home being unproductive.

I concentrate on doing the best I can with my business tools and time. I do price jobs lower than other people, but that is because I have excellent equipment, efficient systems and highly trained people. Profit depends on a whole lot more than just gross revenue. Okay, I'm done.

LemkeLawns
01-01-2007, 10:17 AM
I concentrate on doing the best I can with my business tools and time. I do price jobs lower than other people, but that is because I have excellent equipment, efficient systems and highly trained people. Profit depends on a whole lot more than just gross revenue. Okay, I'm done.

There is very few people in this world who KNOW how to work smarter not harder. I tip my hat to you. Ive ticked a lot of people off for the prices I charge, including my own family. But what people dont get is its not what you make, but what you keep. If I can save my customers money I wil.

Team-Green L&L
01-01-2007, 10:33 AM
"Lowballing" is a misleading term. I use it a lot also, but the fact remains that most people are not malicious in their pricing. Companies streamline and reduce overhead each year. With that reduction they have the ability to do a number of things, but you can rest assure that those improvement WILL reduce overhead. Since price and profit are a byproduct of capital and overhead, it is only natural for adjustment to be made. Those adjustments may very well be "lowballing" in your eyes. At the same time, those adjustments may raise the pricing until the new overhead is financed.

It's a big web of crap that never ends. Have fun!

lawnprosteveo
01-01-2007, 10:40 AM
Agreed. Most lowballers are american guys born and raised w/ multiple crews. Often the biggest LCO's are the cheapest. Ego and greed equate to enormous gross and very little net.

This is true...I know a couple of LCO's that are are always bragging on how much grass they are cutting and how much they gross. But they are shelling out a TON of money on their expenses.

coolluv
01-01-2007, 10:56 AM
(Quote) Whew! All this wisdom from a guy with, lets see... maybe 5 months experience?

(Quote) You talk pretty big there about guys low balling when you admit you have a full time job and don't depend on your mowing money to survive. Why don't you try it out yourself before you take others to task? Yea, just quit your job and do this work full time... then lets see how creative you might become with pricing.

(Quote)Your comment about watching the Classifieds for low-ballers to sell their equipment is arrogant. When you get to the point of supporting your family by mowing grass full time, check back and lets hear what you say then.

Let me start by saying that if I offended anyone with my post I apologize. That was not my intention.
It has been my experience that in the Atlanta area there are alot of guys doing jobs for under what they should just to get work. I have had people call me for a quote on their lawn and when I tell them $40.00 they say well the last guy was doing it for $25.00. My response is well,where is he now?

They either say well he stopped showing up or he is no longer in business. My point is people come to this site and they read all the post and they think that this is an easy way to make money and work for themselves. They don't realize that it is a competitive business just like all businesses. They buy some equipment and bid jobs under what they should just to get work, then when they realize that all their doing is wasting their time they get out. Then your phone rings from all the customers that they left hanging looking for someone to replace them at the same cheap price. There is a difference between cutting your price when things are slow but still making a profit, and just doing work for the sake of working. The people that show up every spring and disappear halfway through the year or at the end of the year are the ones that hurt the business.

I have a friend in this business that tells me every year around June he gets so many calls from people that want quotes because the lawn guy quit showing up. You know its hot as he** and that $25.00 bucks don't look so good now. Lawn Care is not the only business that this happens to, they say most business fail their first year and the businesses that do make it past that first year most of them don't make it to the third year. You are right by saying that I only have 5 months experience in this,but I have 41 years experience at life. I also have a friend that has been doing it successfully for 7 years and I have asked him a thousand questions.

I have thought about this business and several other businesses for about 6 years now and finally decided to get into it after careful consideration and planning. I have also read alot about successfully running a business and business in general. I try to teach myself through reading and asking questions. I don't like to do things unless I feel as though I have done everything I can to educate myself and prepare myself for the situation. You are also right in saying that I do it only part-time. That is because I don't have the funds to just buy the equipment and jump in full time.

I also don't really know if this is for me. I have always worked outdoors and have done physical work so its not that its too hard. I want to do this as a way of learning about business and running a business and if it works out and I like it I will continue on as long as I feel it is right. I may just use this as a spring board for another business or whatever. I like to learn and to grow and to experience things, isn't that what life is about. Anyway I don't want to be one of those guys that is out there doing work on the cheap just to make some money.

Businesses fail for one of many reasons. One is that they don't have enough money at startup to live on while they grow the business. Therefore they take any and all work for less than it is worth and eventually are gone. Why would I want to quit my job and do this full time when I'am not ready financially? I would be forced down the road to failure by having to price my work just to put some money on the table?

My friend told me in 2006 he knows of several business that sold out because Atlanta was in a drought and grass just was not growing. People did not need their grass cut every week. I know myself that it was a tough year. But why do you think that these businesses failed. In my opinion it was the low prices that they charge and not being able to survive on profits that where saved because there were no profits saved.

They were selling their equipment to him and other guys for a fraction of what they paid. He even told me that some had to sell their stuff just so they could make the payment on that shiny new truck. I don't think that it is said enough that you have to know your cost and you have to be making a profit. We would all be better off if everyone would prepare and educate themselves before making a decision to start in this or any other business.

We would not have to have threads on low balling. I don't come here to argue or to put anyone down. I come here to learn and to grow. I wasn't trying to be arrogant by making that statement I was hoping that all the new guys who come here would think about that before they come into this business. This is a great place to learn and I wish everyone the best.

Thanks Dave..

SILVERSTREAK INC
01-01-2007, 11:55 AM
i know of 2 guys in my area who use their landscaping as a cover for their drug dealing......oughta call the feds haha

seriously one guys yard is down the street from me, had 3 brand new trucks fully outsited with brand new equipment, new koubouta, new mulch blower setup on a 7500 series new chevy flatbed....it all sits there, every day i drive by, he sends one truck out with a guy who cuts 40 lawns solo a week and claims hes making 275k a year! i dont know but im doing 120 lawns a week and im not even at 100k yet! go figure

anyhow lets see, 14 acers times say, 60 an acre......for a 60" walkbehind w sulki is 840 a week in cuts, for a lazer around 55 and a 48 around 75 an acre, so that plus stick edging, another 90 bucks if it takes your guy around 6 hours to do it, more if you have more to do.....thats done every other week....plus you have weeds, spraying roundup plus gallery (post emerge) plus barricade (pre emerge) will help you tons, but it adds up, around 210 for 8000 square feet i have it figured out to, which is like 25 yards of mulch but you sort of need a sf on the beds, that will be done every other week, and on the weeks when your not spraying then you should be figuring in hand weeding, another 80 bucks for someone or everyonbe to walk around for a few minutes with trash bags....plus crack and curb spraying, one tank of chemical another 60 bucks a month....and all of this isnt considering regular pruning of the shrubs and limbing of trees, plus turf chem apps, plus spring ops (cleanup, edge beds, mulch) and fall ops (leaf cleanup).....which will all go into a yearly contract

so for just cutting and keeping everything weed free lets see,

840 times 4 = 3360 cutting

90x2=180 stick edging

210 times 2 = 420 bed chem aps

60 times 2 is 120 for hand weedings

60 for crack and curb weed spraying

=4140 divided by 4 is 1035 a week

but im sure maybe you have areas of hills which will be 48" cut, more money

plus im almost postive youll have more weeds than whiat i figured 8000sf on your 14 acers

the mgmt will realize when the bushes are growing into walkways and the beds are totally overrun by weeds that theyre truly getting what they pay for

sucks, i know, i have people in my area cutting houses.... 1/4 acre lots with fences for 16 and 18 dollars, stuff i wouldnt get less than 30 for.....i used to get 30 for it back in the 80's, so why are prices going down?? everyone and their mother is a landscaper these days so it seems...

anyhow hope this helps, i feel for you and there isnt much you caqn do besides wait, and keep yourself in communication with the prop manager on your site

topsites
01-01-2007, 12:01 PM
In this world, no matter how you look at it, you always get what you pay for.

So, sure enough this is what almost always invariably happens: The place looks like crap AND / OR the company soon is no longer in business AND / OR the customer is constantly having to find a new LCO... As a side-effect, the customer AND the landscaper usually suffer from frequent to constant frustration spiked by moments of severe anger.

The only good thing comes for Lco's like myself, who enjoy the fact that this helps eliminate the competition without effort on my part.
But it still doesn't really help.

Charge the right price and you fix all these problems once and for all, one way or the other.

GarPA
01-02-2007, 06:08 AM
DAVE..you appear to have some good business sense and have done allot of research before you jump in head first...good for you.
Too many guys think that we are in the business of mowing grass and throwing mulch, ,etc. Not. We are in the business of selling time.
And on your point about here-today-gone-tomorrow mowing guys, as long as flies and **** roaches roam the earth, so will the clueless business start-up guys.Try to ignore them...hard as it is at times

One thing that I did before I ever started this business was to etch in stone that we would never take a mowing only account. Instead, we offer mowing as one of the services in a full service landscape maint. plan. It makes our customers "need" us more than JoesMowandGo who can't or won't do the other services. Yes it takes longer to grow your biz doing it this way but it lays a firm groundwork for years to come and we are able to generate far higher $'s per man hour with the nonmowing services. I've said it many times before and I'll keep saying it....mowing-only has become like milk and bread...a commodity. Everybody sells it and the price is "regulated" at low levels by you know who.

newbomb
01-02-2007, 11:11 AM
The fact is some people including commercial accounts don't really care about quality or who does the work. As long as it's passable and as cheap as possible they will go along for the ride. Truth is it takes time, patience and backbone to develop and keep a good clientel.

AintNoFun
01-02-2007, 11:17 AM
these are usually the guys making no money and are one wave away from their business capsizing...



This is true...I know a couple of LCO's that are are always bragging on how much grass they are cutting and how much they gross. But they are shelling out a TON of money on their expenses.

Total.Lawn.Care
01-02-2007, 11:58 AM
You did $250,000 in sales and only made $30k? Thats horrible.It all depends on how you look at it. You guys also have to remember that by us having businesses, we write off items that non-business owners have and pay for our of disposable income. We all have trucks, lawn mowers, cell phones, computers and internet access. We can write off these expenses where a normal person cannot and they pay for them out of their "Income". Having these things reduces our income because they are part of our business. So, how we spend and account for our money makes a huge difference in what we claim we make as a salary or a profit. It is not all Apples to Apples.

Duekster
01-02-2007, 04:37 PM
Competitive Bid are two words that some times makes people forget about profits.

Price is always an issue but not the only issue. I some times joke with my prospects, you want a better job for less money? :-)

landbud
01-02-2007, 07:46 PM
Customers Don't Want To Pay For Custome Wheels On Your Truck Either .

dwc
01-02-2007, 10:01 PM
There are a few guys on here that have been at this for MANY years such as myself who KNOW what it takes to run a business. I don't care if you are a scrubby lowballer or a 10 crew operation or anywhere in between, there are certain expenses in this biz that EVERYONE has.
The lawnmower dealer doesn't say "well Jimbob since you are only charging 25 a wack while everyone else is charging 40, I am going to let you have this mower at half price." It doesn't happen. Sure he can run used wore out equipment but it WILL break down and it WILL cost a lot of money to fix not to mention all the downtime. While it is in the shop waiting on $500 worth of repairs, my new one is making the big ones.
The gas station doesn't say they will sell Jimbob gasoline for 50 cents a gallon less than everyone.

I say all this to say some of us on here KNOW what it takes to run a business and when we see a SCRUBBY LOWBALLER charging ridiculous prices, we know he is hurting our whole industry and will not be in business long.

Duekster
01-02-2007, 10:04 PM
There are a few guys on here that have been at this for MANY years such as myself who KNOW what it takes to run a business. I don't care if you are a scrubby lowballer or a 10 crew operation or anywhere in between, there are certain expenses in this biz that EVERYONE has.
The lawnmower dealer doesn't say "well Jimbob since you are only charging 25 a wack while everyone else is charging 40, I am going to let you have this mower at half price." It doesn't happen. Sure he can run used wore out equipment but it WILL break down and it WILL cost a lot of money to fix not to mention all the downtime. While it is in the shop waiting on $500 worth of repairs, my new one is making the big ones.
The gas station doesn't say they will sell Jimbob gasoline for 50 cents a gallon less than everyone.

I say all this to say some of us on here KNOW what it takes to run a business and when we see a SCRUBBY LOWBALLER charging ridiculous prices, we know he is hurting our whole industry and will not be in business long.

What is a crew? :confused:












:cool2:

firefightergw
01-03-2007, 12:32 AM
This thread has sure brought out a lot of different opinions on pricing. Bottom line is ... it shows how the many different personalities approach this business in their respective areas. It's not to say one person is right, and all the others are wrong ... but more likely many are right in what works for them.

I use nice equipment (and buying all new in '07) ... drive a nice truck, and portray a very professional image to my customers in my community. Most of my properties are in neighborhoods of homes of $150K - $300K, and the $20. lawn guys have a hard time cracking that market. Be it an ego thing for the homeowner or whatever ... most of these customers want that "image" of a LCO like myself parked in front of their property.

Prestige, have you ever provided your customers with a comprehensive "customer survey" in which to gauge what is important to them. What I have found, in my experience, is that most LCO's run around telling themselves that image is everything because THEY want nice things. However, through our extensive "customer surveys" we have found that "professional appearance of equipment" ranks dead last among what is important to our customers. In addition, while equipment came in dead last, "professional appearance of crews" came in second to last.

Our demographic of customers is even or slightly above yours in home costs. The range would be from $175K to $500K. I think if you actively studied what is important to YOUR CUSTOMERS it would greatly affect your expenditures.

PROCUT1
01-03-2007, 09:44 AM
Prestige, have you ever provided your customers with a comprehensive "customer survey" in which to gauge what is important to them. What I have found, in my experience, is that most LCO's run around telling themselves that image is everything because THEY want nice things. However, through our extensive "customer surveys" we have found that "professional appearance of equipment" ranks dead last among what is important to our customers. In addition, while equipment came in dead last, "professional appearance of crews" came in second to last.

Our demographic of customers is even or slightly above yours in home costs. The range would be from $175K to $500K. I think if you actively studied what is important to YOUR CUSTOMERS it would greatly affect your expenditures.


Great response.. I have been saying this for years on here....Whereas a professional image is nice, to customers, we are the lawnboy. I dont care if you are a ten truck operation youre still the lawn guy...We did surveys as well and customers care about, price, dependability, and a decent job. They dont care if your truck is a 2006 or a 1986. They dont care if you mow with a $12,000 ztr or a $99 walmart push mower.

We;re the only ones that care about
Nice trucks
Nice equipment
Uniforms

They care that when they call, someone answers the phone and that theyre not paying more than their neighbor.

Team-Green L&L
01-03-2007, 10:36 AM
Great response.. I have been saying this for years on here....Whereas a professional image is nice, to customers, we are the lawnboy. I dont care if you are a ten truck operation youre still the lawn guy...We did surveys as well and customers care about, price, dependability, and a decent job. They dont care if your truck is a 2006 or a 1986. They dont care if you mow with a $12,000 ztr or a $99 walmart push mower.

We;re the only ones that care about
Nice trucks
Nice equipment
Uniforms

They care that when they call, someone answers the phone and that theyre not paying more than their neighbor.

My partner gave me this same speech in his 4th year making pennies. He is not saying that any longer. With the nicer trucks and trailers, our gross has tripled! No, that is not an over-statement. Our call volume is so high now, that we had to focus on a separate division of sub-contracting to keep the project staging smooth. To each his own, but I'd rather drive in Manhattan than Queens anyday and I don't care what the houses look like.

PROCUT1
01-03-2007, 11:57 AM
My partner gave me this same speech in his 4th year making pennies. He is not saying that any longer. With the nicer trucks and trailers, our gross has tripled! No, that is not an over-statement. Our call volume is so high now, that we had to focus on a separate division of sub-contracting to keep the project staging smooth. To each his own, but I'd rather drive in Manhattan than Queens anyday and I don't care what the houses look like.

Im not saying nice stuff is a bad idea.

Your gross tripled....Yes

But you already said in previous threads that your net is peanuts.

Lawntime Mowers
01-03-2007, 12:18 PM
My partner gave me this same speech in his 4th year making pennies. He is not saying that any longer. With the nicer trucks and trailers, our gross has tripled! No, that is not an over-statement. Our call volume is so high now, that we had to focus on a separate division of sub-contracting to keep the project staging smooth. To each his own, but I'd rather drive in Manhattan than Queens anyday and I don't care what the houses look like.

I'm confused again (like always).
Your business tripled because you have a nice truck and trailer???
Ok, I might be answering my own question here but I gotta ask.

Does this mean you have more people stop you on the job and ask for a bid because you look more approachable?
Or you go to each bid with your new truck and trailer and they like the
appearance?
Do more neighbors take down your number since your mowing next door already and you look more professional than other LCO's?
Do your customers like the looks of your outfit parked outside their property?


I get approached on the job all the time for bids and usually get most of them signed up as new accounts. I use my 35 mpg Mazda to do all bids just to save on gas. I've only met maybe 20% of my customers and they don't even know what my rig looks like. Most of the neighbors are not even home when I mow most of my accounts so they don't even know I exist.

Just so you know, I'm not knocking you in any way. I'm always up for change, I'm just curious how you came to the conclusion your truck and trailer made a triple in business.

dwc
01-03-2007, 09:32 PM
If you guys or your wives went to buy some nice clothing at Dillard's Macy's, or some other nice clothing store, would you be willing to pay top dollar if their store was set up like K-Mart's clothing department or Tractor supply's clothing department? I doubt it. When you walk into one of those nice stores, the atmosphere of a well taken care of and clean store makes you more willing to pay their prices.
When you pull up in front of your customers and potential customer's homes in a 1986 hatchback with your murray hanging out thru the busted out back glass, do you think people will think you are worth your price?

Also, I have never met many of my customers, but I guarantee you they have seen me out either at their house or another location. Most people do not want a fly-by-night looking outfit hanging around their nice home/family.
I can't tell you how many customers I have gained by people saying I saw your trucks around town. They notice!

NMS0219
01-03-2007, 09:47 PM
Since we are talking about low ballers I feel the need to vent some fustration. In the area my company services we have a guy with a truck and trailer with six 21" toro commercial walk behinds, a string trimmer, and a blower. He brings six guys plus himself out to every job. He is way under charging. By way under charging I mean he is charging between $10 - $18 a cut for a lawn me and no one else would even think of touching for anything less than $25 - $35. His quality of work is something to be seen. I know from the years of expericience I have that this guy will not last. I have seen his type come and go. What earks me is the damage he and the rest of them like him do to the market. When the low baller goes out of business or the customer gets fed up with the quality of work they come to me wanting the same price and a higher quality of work. I can't match their price and I sure won't match the quality of work. But try telling that to a customer who for the last season has paid a low ballers price. Sure you can make the arguement that you get what you pay for but, that low price is still on the customers mind. It makes the customer really shop around and really nervious about signing a season contract. My point is that low ballers hurt not only themselves but everyone in the lawn care industry.

Grass-Masters
01-03-2007, 10:19 PM
Image is good, I wish my image was better. But right know I have what I can afford. But I just got 3 accounts in one sub were a very large company with the best of everything had almost the whole sub. The 3 I did get were his customers, and I am getting the same rate he was. They switched do to poor quality of work. I got 1 and within 2 days got 2 more. My equipment, truck, and image is nowhere near as nice as his. But I take pride in my work, and it shows. I honestly do not think customers care much about image. They care about service. Don't get me wrong I want my image to be as nice as possible, and as I can afford it, I will get it FOR ME.

Prestige-Lawncare
01-04-2007, 10:44 AM
Image is good, I wish my image was better. But right know I have what I can afford. But I just got 3 accounts in one sub were a very large company with the best of everything had almost the whole sub. The 3 I did get were his customers, and I am getting the same rate he was. They switched do to poor quality of work. I got 1 and within 2 days got 2 more. My equipment, truck, and image is nowhere near as nice as his. But I take pride in my work, and it shows. I honestly do not think customers care much about image. They care about service. Don't get me wrong I want my image to be as nice as possible, and as I can afford it, I will get it FOR ME.

Ahhh .... good post ... and a good understanding of the term "Image". As I have often said on here, image is what we sell. That image is created by great service and a very professional cut. No one is going to "tell you" that they like your service because of the truck you drive, or what brand mower you use ... BUT ... they are going to tell their neighbors about your professional service and your dedication to detail on the job you do. This creates a great image in their property.

I think what got me was that at the beginning of this thread, someone made comment as to the truck and equipment this guy has. If he wants a nice truck and nice equipment, that is his prerogative. He probably even has a nice lawn himself, dresses above average, and basically portrays the "image" of a person who cares about the things he has, takes good care of his stuff, and in turn does a good job on the properties he maintains.

Someone said we are only lawn boys ... and that may be true ... but I would be proud to put my service, cut, people skills, personality, and business image up against any of the other "lawn boys" in my area.

Image ... it's not about me, my truck or equipment, or my "lawn boy business" ... it's about the service I provide for my customers. I hope this better explains my previous post to those who may have misinterpreted my words.

Dave
.

Team-Green L&L
01-04-2007, 11:14 AM
Im not saying nice stuff is a bad idea.

Your gross tripled....Yes

But you already said in previous threads that your net is peanuts.

My net was peanuts because we spent $10,000 in internal developments, $10,000 in marketing materials and internet awareness campaigns, and $45,000 in new equipment. Now that's not peanuts.

I stay broke right now because we have a dream of being a "monster" in this industry. As I see it, there are only 50 companies nationwide that play the "marketing" card right and we all know who they are.

That is my objective and it is expensive, but I can still bid 10% under the next guy because of my attention to "costs". That was the whole point in that post.

JJLandscapes
01-04-2007, 06:12 PM
No one knows who is actually a lowballer unless they see what kind of profits they are pulling in on there financial papers

we all know 95% of LCO's waste money un such un-necessary stuff so if u see another company "lowballing" and they are driving an old truck or using dirty equipment there is a 50/50 chance that they are runnign there business more efficiently tahn yours and can offer lower prices



i dont think there is anyway you can argue with my statement if you can i would like to hear it.

jdgent
01-04-2007, 06:51 PM
After being a utility worker for twenty years my best friend told me I was working for peanuts and he was killing it with a lawn care company. I worked both for one year, taking any accounts that came my way. The next year I quit my job and went to work for myself doing residential maintenance and some basic installs. I canceled all accounts that were not profitable, or were too far away, and have it narrowed down to twenty accounts that are within six miles of my home and that guarantee me around $3500 a month in billing. I bid high, very high compared to some for the same work. But I am also a perfectionist and I take my job seriously...customers see this and are willing to pay the extra money. Pricing your service is a matter of what your plan is: Low price/high volume, or, high price/low volume. I chose the latter. There are plenty of plain jane landscapers charging twenty-five a cut and making a living my hitting fifty homes a week. I say mow on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday so that your homes look good on the weekend when it's important...and charge them for the product you provide. Oh, and have a twenty account rotation that you can handle solo.

wowmowwow
01-04-2007, 07:42 PM
i just like to mow

Prestige-Lawncare
01-04-2007, 08:21 PM
After being a utility worker for twenty years my best friend told me I was working for peanuts and he was killing it with a lawn care company. I worked both for one year, taking any accounts that came my way. The next year I quit my job and went to work for myself doing residential maintenance and some basic installs. I canceled all accounts that were not profitable, or were too far away, and have it narrowed down to twenty accounts that are within six miles of my home and that guarantee me around $3500 a month in billing. I bid high, very high compared to some for the same work. But I am also a perfectionist and I take my job seriously...customers see this and are willing to pay the extra money. Pricing your service is a matter of what your plan is: Low price/high volume, or, high price/low volume. I chose the latter. There are plenty of plain jane landscapers charging twenty-five a cut and making a living my hitting fifty homes a week. I say mow on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday so that your homes look good on the weekend when it's important...and charge them for the product you provide. Oh, and have a twenty account rotation that you can handle solo.

Thank you ... except in my case it is around 40 instead of 20 ...and my 16 yr old helps in the summer. Teaching him good work ethics, and to take pride in what he does in all that he does.

We charge for what we do ... but we do it very well.

.

Liquidfast
01-04-2007, 08:57 PM
I also take pride in our IMAGE. Everything we do, from business cards, invoices, email addresses, websites and follow up calls are all topnotch.

I also take pride in our work. If a customer ONLY wants a cut and isn't concerned with how we look at their property and just wants their "grass cut"...this particular customer and our company will not be a good match. I avoid these customers like the plague. They will bicker at every opportunity.

Someone who wants the best will call US. If they don't, IMO, they are settling for second best.

dwc
01-04-2007, 09:39 PM
No one knows who is actually a lowballer unless they see what kind of profits they are pulling in on there financial papers

we all know 95% of LCO's waste money un such un-necessary stuff so if u see another company "lowballing" and they are driving an old truck or using dirty equipment there is a 50/50 chance that they are runnign there business more efficiently tahn yours and can offer lower prices



i dont think there is anyway you can argue with my statement if you can i would like to hear it.

If they were not a lowballer they would show larger profits. Look at the stock market, people fight over stock for the companies that make the big profits. They do not get these big profits by lowballing all the time.

When I think of the term lowballer I think of someone that would charge $20 for a lawn everyone else charges $30+ on.

It is funny to me you never see a plumber or electrician charging $40 an hour when all his competition is charging $65. If you do find one, there is usually a reason why he is not worth what everyone else is charging.

firefightergw
01-05-2007, 10:12 PM
This is a really good thread on the subject and it is nice to see that everyone is having a discussion. Prestige, I can certainly understand your point of view and I think that you and I are both right. As for me, I am a full-time firefighter. I have a crew that goes out Monday through Friday and they do 100 lawns a week. I send them out there with a 1993 Ford Ranger (gas), a 4 X 8 trailer, 36" WB, 2 commercial 21" Snappers, 2 weed-eaters, an edger and two BP blowers. This past year, I bought out all of another companies accounts which caused us to go from 36 accounts to the 100, that we have now. The company that I bought the accounts from had a very nice set-up. They used a late model F150 and enclosed trailer. Both, lettered nicely. They certainly looked a lot more professional than we do. However, these new customers that we picked up overwhelmingly said that we were one of the best, if not the best service that they have ever used. Most of the accounts that we aquired rated our company as more professional than the company that we aquired them from.

Professional to me and our customers is showing up when you are suppose to, answering the phone when it rings, returning messages and emails promptly, and having the goal and the know how to make each one of your customers lawns look like the best one in the neighborhood. Because that is our focus we can and do charge more. Our retention rate from year to year has been about 95%. Since we are able to cut opperating cost on fancy new equipment (nice trucks, etc.) we are also able to agressively market in the Spring to pick up even more accounts.

The moral is, I guess, if you do "professional work" then you will be seen as professional without having to spend large sums of money on fancy equipment. "Professional work" also means you can charge more and people will be willing to pay. Low-ballers are not a concern of mine. We have been able to grow at will and I just don't think that we compete for the same customers as the low-ballers.

Liquidfast
01-05-2007, 10:37 PM
This is a really good thread on the subject and it is nice to see that everyone is having a discussion. Prestige, I can certainly understand your point of view and I think that you and I are both right. As for me, I am a full-time firefighter. I have a crew that goes out Monday through Friday and they do 100 lawns a week. I send them out there with a 1993 Ford Ranger (gas), a 4 X 8 trailer, 36" WB, 2 commercial 21" Snappers, 2 weed-eaters, an edger and two BP blowers. This past year, I bought out all of another companies accounts which caused us to go from 36 accounts to the 100, that we have now. The company that I bought the accounts from had a very nice set-up. They used a late model F150 and enclosed trailer. Both, lettered nicely. They certainly looked a lot more professional than we do. However, these new customers that we picked up overwhelmingly said that we were one of the best, if not the best service that they have ever used. Most of the accounts that we aquired rated our company as more professional than the company that we aquired them from.

Professional to me and our customers is showing up when you are suppose to, answering the phone when it rings, returning messages and emails promptly, and having the goal and the know how to make each one of your customers lawns look like the best one in the neighborhood. Because that is our focus we can and do charge more. Our retention rate from year to year has been about 95%. Since we are able to cut opperating cost on fancy new equipment (nice trucks, etc.) we are also able to agressively market in the Spring to pick up even more accounts.

The moral is, I guess, if you do "professional work" then you will be seen as professional without having to spend large sums of money on fancy equipment. "Professional work" also means you can charge more and people will be willing to pay. Low-ballers are not a concern of mine. We have been able to grow at will and I just don't think that we compete for the same customers as the low-ballers.


Just to touch on a few points.

Because a co. has nice new lettered trucks doesn't mean they don't have a budget for marketing. You said that you had 36 accounts and you've been able to grow at will ...then stated that you bought out another companies accounts that brought you to 100. So, the "more professional" looking company sold you THREE TIMES as many accounts than what you started with (do you see my point?)

Either way a co. has a set up will argue the fact that "their way" works for them.

In the beginning, we started with a crapbox 1995 ford f-150. We didn't get much biz. I then bought a 2002 vehicle, got it professionally lettered and we grew (I am not saying it is due to the truck but there really was no other reason for it). I'll admit that I was one of those that laughed at the BIG BOYS for being in debt but looking back, it was jealousy.

The harsh reality is this: If you were to take 2 businesses and put them on opposite sides of the street (the nature of the biz is irrelevant at this point) and ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL you have a choice. The first biz has employees outside smoking, wearing dirty sweats and has older beat up looking equipment. Next door, you have uniformed staff, clean equipment and both places have a sign saying "We service for $50.00" GUESS WHICH ONE THE MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION WOULD CHOOSE.

Remember, all things being equal.

I have operated my biz from both ends of the spectrum. My first season, I barely had enough to buy from SEARS. I can tell you that I prefer to have the nice trucks, lettered, uniforms etc......that is MY preference. I know many people in this biz making loads of money and they are the dirty, sweaty, smoking company I mentioned above????? Whatever works. Whatever makes you happy and MOST IMPORTANT, whatever puts money in your pocket.

:canadaflag:

Lastly, our neighbour of 2 years asked for a quote this year, I gave her a price and she told us that she didnt want to ask before because she thought we would be too expensive based on our set up. I actually thought of putting together an old rig and set up to get those customers and sub away...

wowmowwow
01-05-2007, 10:50 PM
nice point liqiud fast

firefightergw
01-05-2007, 11:09 PM
Liquidfast. You do make a very good point. The company sold the accounts to us because they felt the residential market wasn't profitable. It could have something to do with all of that new equipment. At some point, I do see purchasing a later model truck and possibly an enclosed trailer or a box bed with a dove tail gate. However, I have just finished my second year. My goal has been, and continues to be that my wife is able to quit her job. She makes about $50K a year. Next year's gross is projected to be about $120K. I guess, I am frugal by nature. After she is able to quit her job, I can see that the cash flow coming in allows me the flexibility to continue to grow the business, and we are still able to put cash in the bank, then I will probably not have the guys run around in an old truck, etc. However, until then, my point was that you don't have to have brand new stuff to look professional. I agree that it does help and you are right. However, at this point, I can't justify the cost to benefit ratio. Hope you have a great year!

I should also mention that we have four kids. None of them are there yet, but college is getting expensive.

Liquidfast
01-05-2007, 11:17 PM
Liquidfast. You do make a very good point. At some point, I do see purchasing new equipment like you have suggested. However, I have just finished my second year. My goal has been, and continues to be that my wife is able to quit her job. She makes about $50K a year. Next year's gross is projected to be about $120K. I guess, I am frugal by nature. After she is able to quit her job, I can see that the cash flow coming in allows me the flexibility to continue to grow the business, and we are still able to put cash in the bank, then I will probably not have the guys run around in an old truck, etc. However, until then, my point was that you don't have to have brand new stuff to look professional. I agree that it does help and you are right. However, at this point, I can't justify the cost to benefit ratio. Hope you have a great year!


If you have the accounts and can justify it, it WILL be worth it. Having a warranty is a great feeling. For us, it was important to have new trucks as we couldn't afford NOT to have them. The accounts we have/had paid well and our biz was on the line. The very first year I plowed, my 1995 ford broke down 9 times (rad overheated) and luckily my partner knew exactly what to do. When we plow in our new trucks, we have the false sense of security knowing that we will not have problems, and if we do, the warranty will be there...all the best in the new year too.

I know that this post wasn't about plowing however, that was the main reason of having new trucks. I figured at the time I might as well go all out and get them lettered since we put a lot of money into them......

100 accounts is great....keep up the good work......honestly though, you just feel better ( I know I did ) and somehow work better and customers will take you a tad bit more seriously....except those that just want their darn grass cut.

E.L.I.T.E.LawnCare
01-06-2007, 11:09 AM
Thanks for all the feedback, for those of you that had smart remarks must have been the lowballers I was talking about. If the bid was $1300 and someone got it for $1100 great job, but if they found out the bid was $1300 and went in and bid it at $500 or something stupid like that than that is what I meant by lowballing. Yes our main problem around here is the bigger companies and the people riding around with lawn mowers in the trunks of their cars. I take what I do very serious and in fact treat everyones yard like it's my own, the problem is these guys get in way over their heads with high price equipment, expensive trucks, and they have payments on them so they have to take what they get. My service is not cheap and if that means a limited number of good paying customers than so be it, I will not sell my soul to anyone. I prefer to have 20-25 good loyal customers that never complains when they get a bill, compared to 50-150 whinning customers thats always trying to get a deal.

E.L.I.T.E.LawnCare
01-06-2007, 11:33 AM
Image is good, I wish my image was better. But right know I have what I can afford. But I just got 3 accounts in one sub were a very large company with the best of everything had almost the whole sub. The 3 I did get were his customers, and I am getting the same rate he was. They switched do to poor quality of work. I got 1 and within 2 days got 2 more. My equipment, truck, and image is nowhere near as nice as his. But I take pride in my work, and it shows. I honestly do not think customers care much about image. They care about service. Don't get me wrong I want my image to be as nice as possible, and as I can afford it, I will get it FOR ME.

I was told image is everything when I first started, do a search on here and I have old pics of what we started with. You can only use what you have and eventually you'll be able to afford what you want. People laughed at us and made jokes, but these are the same guys thats lowballing because they have all they equip. financed all of mine is paid for by an acct. that I got from a lowballer(he was charging $350 per cut, I went in the next season did the first cut for free and got the contract for $550 which is still kind of low to me)

E.L.I.T.E.LawnCare
01-06-2007, 11:37 AM
These are both assumptions that may be wrong.

BTW, how does the monthly rental of your sister's apartment figure into the rate the owner is paying for lawn mowing? Have you had an opportunity to see the P/L on the operation of the apartment complex? This information would help to understand the relationship between their income and their willingness to pay $XXXX for lawn mowing.

what i'm saying is why give them a price lower than what their tenants is paying, if you follow this maybe you'll see what i'm talking about. I mentioned this to a LCO thats been in business since 97 & he said he never thought of it like that. I can careless what they paid for the complex, if i'm asked to bid thats how i'm bidding, not $375 for a complex that big just so i can get the job. I will post a pick of the complex and you tell me it's worth that little.

E.L.I.T.E.LawnCare
01-06-2007, 11:48 AM
These are both assumptions that may be wrong.

BTW, how does the monthly rental of your sister's apartment figure into the rate the owner is paying for lawn mowing? Have you had an opportunity to see the P/L on the operation of the apartment complex? This information would help to understand the relationship between their income and their willingness to pay $XXXX for lawn mowing.

http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r226/bigmonn/sagpointeover.jpg
Here is an overview of one of the complexes I was talking about, it is on 15.37 acres, has 11 apt. buildings plus the office building w/ swimming pool and playground, numerous amount of shurbs, all sidewalks has to be edged etc... and is being mowed for $350-$375 per mow.

http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r226/bigmonn/sagpointe.jpg
this is just a close up, so you can see how big it really is.

Prestige-Lawncare
01-06-2007, 11:54 AM
I love these kinds of threads. Actually ... you learn quite a bit about business, people, and the different ways people approach their business.

Good luck to everyone this season!

:drinkup:

Duekster
01-06-2007, 01:41 PM
I know new EQ cost money and all that but I don't try and get it all paid for with one mowing either.

I really don't see how new Equipment would drive up prices. If your equipment is paid for, should you not be charging enough that you can replace it at some point in the future? Or if your Equipment breaks you just go out of business because you can service the accounts.

This whole issue about equipment has no real bearing on low balling what so ever.

People maybe go over board with their trucks.

Ultimatelawncareinc
01-11-2007, 12:59 PM
wow this obviously a issue that should be dicussed more often the funny thing is that after reading this i found i work in the same town with elite lawncare and we compete against each other but i totally agree with him he is saying how the price change is two dramatic between an average price per cut and a lowballer and you guys are coming down on him maybe there just to many lowballers on here my equiment is fairly new but it doesnt me im hight it means i have payroll,gas,breakdowns,insurance,and lots of other bills to run a business i think prestiage logo says it the best about the trailer!

Frosty_03
01-11-2007, 02:37 PM
I think that if I was to worry about lowballers I would find myself starving. Let them do what they want and everyone should worry about ther business. I the comlpex went with a different price than so be it, don't just ponder go out and get the good paying customer, becuase they are out there. Yes Flint does have nice equipement and keeps car of it, and maybe this lowballer as heis calling has some lowprice equipment, however the truth is in the complex it is gone down hill, but if the manager is happy than so be it. I myslef have my st prices and I have had no one ever turn me down. If you go commercial you will need to except the turn downs. You are not going to land every contract. My Motto is SOME WILL SOME WONT SO WHAT, I have no time to worry myself about the lowballer as have been stated here, I myself think that the lowballer has a place here cause they are the ones who set the prices. If they can do it for a lower price than that is their business. People come and go in this business, but if you ask the old timers in this business they would probrably tell you that they worry only about their own not noboby else. Well that is my 2 cents worth. As I said don't worry be happy with what you have. I will let you in on a little secret those that value their property will pay the money, and those that don't will tyr to get by with as little as possible. You have to look at the dermagraphics of where you are doing business.:cool2:

Envy Lawn Service
01-11-2007, 03:18 PM
Something I've only recently learned, lowballers aren't always the newbies. A lot of guys with multiple crews lowball because they have to keep their guys busy. I can prove it too.
The solo operator like myself is caught in the middle of this mess.

How true... chuckle chuckle...

JohnnyRocker
05-04-2009, 04:51 PM
When these low ballers are hiring illegal mexicans, they should be deported back to mexico and the business owner should be imprisoned. how anti-american.

cooltype
06-08-2011, 07:24 PM
Old thread i know but i have got to throw this out there ....the man With screenname "likestomow" has an ad in the newspaper currently that says lawns mowed $15 hahahaha after calling he says he cuts some less than that, what a hack!
Posted via Mobile Device

E.L.I.T.E.LawnCare
06-09-2011, 10:23 AM
Hey cooltype, this thread is very old. I'm just reading some of the replies for the first time and didn't realize how some of the guys I know felt the way they do, Lol. This thread touched a lot of "low ballers" oops I mean other lawn services. Once again this property I had for a few yrs, I took a guy to meet the property owner told him how much I was cutting it for & the guy placed a bid $100 less than my price. (I got out of the buisness because it wasn't even worth cutting here in Saginaw anymore). Anyways 2yrs went by & I kind of was forced back into the business, went back to rebid on my old acct. & found out the same company has under bid his own price, ??????? This is why I posted my original thread about low ballers, how do you under bid your own price? He has the acct. down to the same price the 1st company had it at. Other guys on here had their little smart remarks to make, call it what you want to but its LOW BALLING at its finest. I do worry about my own business Frosty, but when low ballers start to mess with my finances I have some what of a problem with that and you should too. I cut in "rich neighborhoods" and some "rough neighborhoods," bottom line is the size of the property they have and not the size of the home they live in. If I'm cutting a 25,000 sq ft yd in a bad part of town they will pay the same as a customer in a gated community I'm not under bidding just to say I have x amount of customers. Sorry for the lenghty reply, God bless!