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View Full Version : I cant beleive how bad this is getting...


nobagger
03-30-2007, 12:55 PM
I must have given 10-15 estimates for mowing and they are rediculious! This season seems to be shaping up to be one of the worst for prices. I had a lady I gave a 25.00/wk price on a decent sized lawn. At 25.00 that was a great price imo for the work we had to do. She tells me she has a quote for 12.00.....;) from what looked like a nice computer generated estimate sheet. It seems under 25.00 and your golden but anything above, forget it. My advise to the new companies...GET OUT NOW WHILE YOU CAN!

AL Inc
03-30-2007, 01:09 PM
I hear what you are saying, Nobagger. But never forget the BS factor, it might be a problem for you or I to look someone in the eye and lie, but many people in the world have no problem with it. Keep doing what you are doing and build your niche. Low pricing is exactly why I scaled back my maintenace and aim to get more enhancement and landscape construction work. And there are lowballers in that arena too!

F&SLawnCo
03-30-2007, 01:12 PM
Sounds to me like you are targeting the wrong customer base. My sole focus this year has been to really define the type of customers we wanted to add and go after them. We have currently closed 65% of our bids and almost doubled our customer base. These are all middle to high end residentials and we have upsold all but one of them. 2007 looks to be a great year in East Tennessee. This is a welcome change from last year, but we reall studied why we struggled last year and it all came down to the fact that we wre putting our name in froont of too many customers that were in no position to secure our services. In short, if your customers are jumping ship over a couple of bucks you probably don't want them anyway.

DBL
03-30-2007, 01:24 PM
happened to me a few times this year too some i say ok let them do it others like one i put $40 bid on she said the last guy did it for 30 i say 35 and thats a deal and got it but some people are just killing the industry

aklandscape
03-30-2007, 01:26 PM
I had a guy I work with come up to me yesterday and ask me about lawn pricing wars and people cut throating prices and he knows nothing about the business. He said that he had heard guys being laid off going out and buying a riding lawn mower and instantly their a new business. Then, just like you say, charging like $12.00 or $15.00 on a lawn that should be at least $25.00 or more.The rochester area has had a lot of lay offs in the past few years so this is desperate people trying to start their own businesses to make ends meet. But talk about not knowing your costs!! Even if your illegal doing this and having no insurance and not reporting your income,that's not even minimum wage after the costs of gas,oil,and wear and tear on equipment. But, on the other hand we talk about this every spring, how these guys under cut everyone, then around July the guys equipment goes to pot or he starts to not show up because he's found another job that's easier. My philosophy is, I have plenty of things to do around my own house to do, so if you get this guy for $12.00, good luck when he hurts someone or breaks something, I'm not dropping the gate for that much.

jdlawn
03-30-2007, 02:08 PM
What exactly do you mean by lowballing? Like charging $15 to mow a 5000 sq. ft lawn when it should be $25-30 + ?

Turf Troll
03-30-2007, 02:38 PM
What exactly do you mean by lowballing? Like charging $15 to mow a 5000 sq. ft lawn when it should be $25-30 + ?

If you know about what a lawn cost you to mow, most of your competitors charge plus or minus 5 or 10 bucks near you and some person comes and charges half that and you shake your head.

I've lost two lawns,
and I started two new lawns

I'm focused this year on putting flyer's in neighborhoods where I want work.

Got get the mowing area tight, I'm already crying about gas.

BD Bone
03-30-2007, 02:41 PM
I likewise share your pain. We have put an all out campaign this season, the first major one we have really had to do in nearly 11 years of doing this business. We have lost 2-3 of our commercial accounts and 2 of our residentials this season due to "price" gouging of lowballers or other newbies in the industry. We were told by one of our clients we have had for 6 consecutive seasons, "anyone can mow grass nowadays"... and they are a commercial client and the message has been, the "bottom line is the bottom line".

We have also encountered a lot of non-legitimate lawn maintenance businesses. In fact, one is an aquaintance of ours and they honestly do not think that there is anything wrong with doing this and being paid under the table. They even have asked about how we price and structure our business. I am all for sharing concepts and helping out our "fellow" business owners, however, it has been 11 years of our learning the industry by trial and error, paying our dues and also by educating ourselves and it is frustrating when all people want is to do things that don't seem on the up and up. (Sigh)... just sharing our woes too. Thanks for listening.

Mrs. BD Bone (wife of Big Daddy Bone - BD Bone)... a husband and wife team.

crzymow
03-30-2007, 02:55 PM
I have my prices, If people dont want to pay them so be it. I am done with people trying to get me to come down on my price.

LindblomRJ
03-30-2007, 02:59 PM
You can tell its spring. Grass, weeds, and lowballers come out. Just wait until it get hot out.

AbsoluteH&L
03-30-2007, 03:34 PM
Low ballers suc!:angry: But don't under estimate cheap customers, they could have shown you a bogus estimate too. 10 minuets on the computer could save them a lot of money if someone takes the bait. If you have a price in mind stick with it, don't give in. You don't want that kind of customer any way.

mow & snow
03-30-2007, 07:30 PM
Stick with your price. I only land 1 out of 5 estimates because I won't budge. When someone calls me I ask them if the lowest price gets the job or if quality and reliability matters. If they say the low price wins then I tell them I won't be the lowest. Thus saving me a wasted trip.

1cooltreeguy
03-30-2007, 07:46 PM
We raised our labor price by $5 an hour this year and still am overwhelmed with work. Lowballers will come and GO. They will steal contracts but if we remain professional we will be surprised @ those customers calling us back and apologizing. Try and see.

landscape guy
03-30-2007, 07:57 PM
:canadaflag: When i give a price and they have a lower price from someone else and want me to match it i just tell them that is my lowest price already, if it was lower i would of said it to start with and allot of people do lie about other prices they got.:usflag: :waving:

mini14
03-30-2007, 09:40 PM
dont get mad just walk away.......i give a price and wont budge...i could care less what the other guy was going to do it for......give a price and stick too it..

nriddle77
03-30-2007, 09:51 PM
A man from my neighborhood approached me about cutting my lawn. He said he
would do it "ever 10 days for $15."
He has a crapsman tractor, and Murry push mower with him. He was smoking, and looked homeless. I don't worry about losing customers to people like him.

TNT LawnCare Inc.
03-30-2007, 09:58 PM
Weve signed up 15 new costumers already this year most right in the home area. weve gotten every single client thats called us up this year so far.Ive turned one person down this year because she told me SHE WOULD CALL ME WHEN IT NEEDED CUT ! :nono: .Stick to your prices all of you!! This happens everyyear. Learn to say$30.00- $35.00 for your minmum

chipk1
03-30-2007, 10:08 PM
This seems to happen every year. Springtime you see a bunch of new rigs on the road. But by mid summer, 1/2 of the new guys quit because they can't take the heat. Once fall hits, a bunch more get out due to going broke. Broke because they are to ignorant to secure year around accounts and they don't charge enough to make a profit. They take on all the "just for the summer" stuff and fall on there face when that runs out. I see it every year. If you do good work and do what you promise to do with a reasonable attempt, you shouldn't have any problems. If you loose a customer to a low baller let them go and find a more loyal customer that will pay even more. I have made it my mission to find a higher profit account to replace any lost accounts.

zturncutter
03-30-2007, 11:52 PM
Stick with your price. I only land 1 out of 5 estimates because I won't budge. When someone calls me I ask them if the lowest price gets the job or if quality and reliability matters. If they say the low price wins then I tell them I won't be the lowest. Thus saving me a wasted trip.

This is exactly what I do!!!

Jeds_Lawn_Care
03-30-2007, 11:57 PM
I lost work to a lower price recently for the first time. I said $25 to mow (just mow) a residential. it had a gate so I would have to push mow the back. I got a call from her the other day and she said she had a neighbor who would mow it for $18.

1st time it has ever happened to me. I'm sure it won't be the last.

lawnprosteveo
03-31-2007, 12:22 AM
I was talking to a customer today...he told me he used a crew of mexicans to do his leaves last fall instead of me....I charge $35 per man hour. That is on the lower end but not the lowest. This crew of four mexicans worked for four hours and charged him $160.00! I guess a guy can afford to do that if he doesnt have to worry with paying taxes, health insurance premiums, or anything else.....:usflag: :usflag: :usflag: :usflag:

jeffscap
03-31-2007, 11:35 PM
I must have given 10-15 estimates for mowing and they are rediculious! This season seems to be shaping up to be one of the worst for prices. I had a lady I gave a 25.00/wk price on a decent sized lawn. At 25.00 that was a great price imo for the work we had to do. She tells me she has a quote for 12.00.....;) from what looked like a nice computer generated estimate sheet. It seems under 25.00 and your golden but anything above, forget it. My advise to the new companies...GET OUT NOW WHILE YOU CAN!

Remind me to stay out of that neighborhood. I didn't know Erie had that cheap of lawn.:walking:

jdlawn
04-02-2007, 01:18 AM
I will sometimes go $5-$10 lower than i would usually if i get a lawn in a neighborhood that i have not mowed in cause i have had numerous people come up to me and ask if i would mow there lawn and have gotton some pretty steady accounts. So sometimes i think it is better in the long run to go a little cheaper than you would usually (if you think you can get some more accounts from it).

topsites
04-02-2007, 01:28 AM
Raise your prices and your problem with the ridiculous counter-offers is fixed.
Try a minimum $30 and a no haggling policy, for this to work it helps to have a firm and set price list where you charge everybody who has such a size lot this much and if it's this big then it's that much and that is all. Work it out to a system kinda like mine: 1/4 acre lot: Min. $30.00, 3/8 acre lot: Min. $35.00, 1/2 acre lot: Min. $40.00, 5/8 acre lot: Min. $45.00, 3/4 acre lot: Min. $50.00, 7/8 acre lot: Min. $55.00

And you see, everybody pays those prices, nobody pays more or less, it's fair and customers can see that and only time it costs more is due to royal pita factor such as very high grass or super steep hills or something wicked, other than that it's same-same for everyone. It says minimum but that is what most people with those size lots pay for my services.
Price too high?
Thank you for your time (say it nice please), then turn around and walk away, and keep doing that.
For some time, you may have to give 10 estimates for every 1 you close, hence why there is no such thing as too much advertising. If you can not afford this, well then you compromise some, the degree of said compromise is in relation to what you can afford, and putting out more flyers would help.

I have my prices, If people dont want to pay them so be it. I am done with people trying to get me to come down on my price.

Yup, that's my attitude.

fiveoboy01
04-02-2007, 02:06 AM
I have my prices, If people dont want to pay them so be it. I am done with people trying to get me to come down on my price.

Sums it up for me.

BeautifulBlooms
04-02-2007, 02:15 AM
Topsites doy ou use that formula for grass areas or for the total property area including house and driveway and deck and pool etc. I measure the Sq. ft. of the lawn and figure $35 minimum, no matter the size of the lawn unless of course it is on my street or something like that, but I won't go lower than $30 EVER!!!! I think I figured the $35 minimum might be valid up to about 15,000 sq. ft. of turf, and above that maybe 15-20K $40, 20-25K $45, etc etc etc. I am new so I am hoping my #'s will be close. I know each property will have its own nuances but I think these average #'s will be close.

Flex-Deck
04-02-2007, 02:18 AM
Stick with your price. I only land 1 out of 5 estimates because I won't budge. When someone calls me I ask them if the lowest price gets the job or if quality and reliability matters. If they say the low price wins then I tell them I won't be the lowest. Thus saving me a wasted trip.

Nice post - I have equipment that does more than the average, and that is my plug. I have come to the point that when submitting a bid I plain tell them that I will not be the lowest, but I have something to offer for the money.

Eakern & Dog
04-02-2007, 09:36 AM
I had a lady I gave a 25.00/wk price on a decent sized lawn. At 25.00 that was a great price imo for the work we had to do. She tells me she has a quote for 12.00.....

I can only imagine that after she pays the type of person she will be getting for $12.00 a mow.......there will be poop piles behind her azaleas,piss on the side of her house and the dog will be pregnant. :-)

GreenN'Clean
04-02-2007, 09:51 AM
There are a lot of people that is getting laid off from there jobs and there all trying to get in the Lawn Industry and are the ones doing all the low balling around here along with the illegals...

apowell18
04-02-2007, 09:56 AM
this is my first full time season...my min. is $30, but most of my accounts are above $35. I haven't had one customer surprised at my prices (sorry, one did but it was for a complete overhaul of her lawn). I know I look like a lowballer with my rig...I pull up next to other rigs and they just leer at me. Thing is, I'm sure my prices are higher than theirs.

Just can't afford to lowball, not worth my time.

Liquidfast
04-02-2007, 10:21 AM
How can you say you have a minimum???? I don't get it? I have had accounts where if I did charge my minimum, I wouldn't have landed the job and it certainly would have been overpriced.

This week, I did 6 estimates. We service estates and commercial properties only. I already have 10 commercial accounts with the person I was estimating for. Anyway, his PERSONAL property finally became available (this neighbourhood has homes that are a minimum $90-$125 cut EASY 1/4 acre lots) as the current company has been slowly losing his accounts to us and I quote him $125 per cut. This man is worth MILLIONS and he tells me I can have it for $95 per week.

Now, I know in my mind even at $95 I am making out like a bandit as this same house in my hood would be a $45 cut MAX. Ofcourse, I didn't want to look bad so I tell him we could revisit his fertilizer schedule to offset the price but I am sure it can be done.

apowell18
04-02-2007, 10:27 AM
For me, I will not leave my driveway for less than $30...others will say they won't start their equipment for X amount.

fiveoboy01
04-02-2007, 12:44 PM
[QUOTE=Liquidfast;1776519]How can you say you have a minimum???? /QUOTE]

Simple. It's not worth my time, gas, labor, and aggravation to do something for 10 or 20 bucks.

You start doing this, and the next thing you know you're doing a ton of these tiny profit-less jobs, and they're sucking up all your time and resources.

Same reason many other industries have minimum prices.

Idealtim
04-02-2007, 01:23 PM
Nice....
The anual 'g-damn lowballers' thread has started!

It seems to get worse every year doesn't it. My biggest problem with pricing, being that i'm 16, is people asking me, ''Why do you charge the normal rate, your just a kid, you should get half and like it blah blah blah when I was a kid you would be lucky to get yada yada yada.'' As I try to disregard what this person has just said to me, depending on how badly I need this lawn, I will either give a brief justification of my estimate followed with 'take it or leave it', or just a simple 'goodbye'. When a customer starts to tell me what my pricing should be, literally, 95% of the time my answer is 'goodbye'. Just for the record, I know for a fact that my prices are actually on average $5 cheaper than the competition.

bwilder10h
04-02-2007, 02:29 PM
yeah, funny how these pop up every year like it's something new... :rolleyes:


Long story short, people mowing yards for $20 and under aren't in 'business' very long. I don't leave the house for anything under $40 but I have a little more lee-way because it's a part time gig.

WJW Lawn
04-02-2007, 04:37 PM
Sunny boy when i was your age id mow a yard for a whole nickle! Dude...tell him in his day...gas wasnt damn near 3 bucks a gallon, and z turn had a mule hooked to the front of it!

Oh...and low ballers are like alka selzers...they fizzle out. Come June you'll get their clients...cause it gets really hot pushin a push mower in 100 degree weather. Oh and then of course they have the ole home cheapo mower break down...and whadda ya know!! They have no money saved up because they arent really making any...and BOOM...down goes another fly by night.
Truth is...I like lowballers---because I know their business will be mine soon... and their old customers are more than willing to pay my price...because they just learned a valuable lesson...cheaper...aint always better!

ALL-American
04-03-2007, 10:20 AM
Mexicans are killing the industry here. Lowest I will go is 25 and find it hard to get new business, when most border jumpers are charging 15-20. I know 3/4 of them pay no insurance and taxes. I wish there was some kind of way for local government to license LCO's. Now don't get me wrong, I am not in favor of micro management by the government, just wish there was some way to control the amount of illegal work. Is it just me or do you get angry when you see the same Mexicans mowing lawns and not paying taxes or insurance. I feel like going up and telling the homeowner WTF!! you pay taxes, why would you allow someone to make money of of your hard earned money. I guess in the interest of saving money. I was thinking of maybe putting something on my flyer's about this, but not sure if it would help of hinder. I thought of saying why our prices were what they were and why other can charge so cheap. Next year I am out of residential all together. I am going to be more focused on commercial. Anyways I'll get off my soapbox now.sorry bout that just get so frustrated some times. :usflag:

dhardin53
04-03-2007, 01:40 PM
Its difficult to judge when its not worth unloading your equipment for so little money. But you sure wont make any money by hold out for a high minimum around here. I am not a low baller, but at times I have to get down and price with them because there is so many.

For me I dint see it getting any better soon. Reason (in my opinion) the LCO is a business that is so easy to packet your income and not pay anything out but gas and equipment. Hows going to tell, evey Tom, Dick and Harry low baller is self employed and liven high on the hog if he takes in a $100 a day tax free.

I'm nine years from drawing my SS and I have brought this up be for and it falls on deaf ears. But the self employed guy that works for 20 or 30 years and pays in little or no taxes will receive little or not SS. I guess these guys don't think long term or feel they will mow till there 90.

Sorry I don't mean to single anyone out but we all should look a little more long term.

J&R Landscaping
04-03-2007, 03:17 PM
I was out in a neighboorhood I work in and someone was passing out fliers. This guy says he'll cut your lawn for $16 a cut. I haven't lost any customers from years past yet but I have not been picking up as many as I was expecting to yet.

I hope I find out who this guy is so I can report him because more then likely, hes a fly by night operation and a POS lowballer!!

From the estimates I have given out, many are saying my prices are higher than other estimates they are getting. I will not come down on my price. I have customers who will pay me what I charge and will be long term loyal customers. I don't need these people who will jump ship for $3 or $5 a cut less. I also try to steer away from people who only get the lawn cut once a month because they have to have it done. I like to work for people who take pride in their property like I do.

lawnworker
04-03-2007, 04:27 PM
16 a cut- that is so unbelievable stupid and dumb. Those are pre 80s prices.
Time has moved on so do rates for operation.

jdlawn
04-03-2007, 10:31 PM
that is pretty much the same as me, most of my lawns are $35-45 but i do have a couple that are $30. 30 is my lowest price. Anyway, i had an older lady that called me and asked if i could mower her lawn, she said it was small. I get over there and it is pretty decent size and she wants it bagged. She intends on paying me $20 cause she had some boy last year that mowed it for that price. I learned my lesson and this week i am going tell her $30 or i cant mow cause i am trying to run a successful business.

buckwheat40
04-03-2007, 11:53 PM
I'm just getting into the business full time this year and I refuse to lowball. I do have a minimum, and I don't go below it unless I'm cutting for my little old aunt or something. But the thing I'm seeing is that some people want their lawns maintained, and some just want their grass cut. Those of us who do this professionally need to go for the maintainance customers because ther will always be a fouteen year old kid out there who would love to make a couple of bucks cutting the neighbors grass. And you really can't blame them, I mean I was that age when I developed a passion for lawn care, but I never would have dreamed of charging someone $40. From what I'm seeing customer base is a very important aspect of this business!

drumbo
04-04-2007, 12:26 AM
I'm nine years from drawing my SS and I have brought this up be for and it falls on deaf ears. But the self employed guy that works for 20 or 30 years and pays in little or no taxes will receive little or not SS. I guess these guys don't think long term or feel they will mow till there 90.

Sorry I don't mean to single anyone out but we all should look a little more long term.

You should be less reliant on the government...put your money into investments...SS is not a retirement plan.

Work your butt off and sock that money into a nice mutual fund and a nice retirement can come sooner than 65. imho