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View Full Version : bid it low to get in the neighborhood.


1MajorTom
06-11-2007, 08:53 PM
How many times have i read on here, "i bid it low so i can get in the neighborhood." How freaking stupid is that? You pull up to a lawn, it clearly is a $40 lawn, but you bid it for $30 hoping to pick up mrs jones and mrs smith who are neighbors. Meanwhile, all summer long you are sweating your ass off, cutting a $40 lawn for a measly $30, and no one has even noticed you in the neighborhood. "i want to get in the neighborhood so i will cut it too cheap", is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. Finally, a year later, mrs smith waddles over and says, "hey lawn boy, how much to wack down my weeds", and you say $40. Mrs smith gasps, and says, "$40?, mrs tuman here is paying $30, why is mine more?" To sum this up, it's just a bad idea to go into a neighborhood and bid low. You'll pick up customers in the neighborhood for doing nice decent work and for your dependability.
Lawnboys aren't walmarts where they price some things low to get people in the store.
you agree?

Sandgropher
06-11-2007, 09:08 PM
I have not done that but in the early days folks would tell me that if i give them a good price they have lots of other properties ,friends and relations that require my services,,,,,after a few months with nothing happening i would wonder if they really do have other properties, i suspect plenty of people use this trick on unsuspecting LCOs.

bohiaa
06-11-2007, 09:15 PM
Read your history,,, in the early days there were people called BLOCK- BUSTERS.............

they would buy a house in a neaborhood, pay tooo much, rent it to blacks,
it would drive out the whites. the whites wanted to sell so they would take a lower price, the same person would buy the house move in another black family, futher drive down proptery value and the cycle would keep going....

Block Busters they were called..... same thing here,,,, it makes ya money buy you get people who want to kill you

jpp
06-11-2007, 09:17 PM
Jodi,you feel better now. I agree with you Shall I dare say the word we all don't like to see on here. That is what they are doing to get into that neighborhood and we all know what that does.

JP

Grits
06-11-2007, 09:20 PM
I agree, it is ******ed.

DUSTYCEDAR
06-11-2007, 09:21 PM
so if i set up my hot dog cart across from u and sell for 25% less then u what r u going to do lower your price? or fail? maby ill throw in a free drink also now what u gonna do????????
i have seen guys do this with lawn mowing and they take the block or at least enough to make it tough on the guys that r also mowing so do u want fries with that???????

justinduke
06-11-2007, 09:30 PM
If they want to mow it for nothing let them. Too many other yards out there to worry about a couple you're not going to make any money on.

jc1
06-11-2007, 09:36 PM
I have bid low on my first customer in a neighbor hood with these specifics. I give them a low price per cut ($30) with them understanding that it should be this amount ($45). I tell them that I'll do it for that amount for one year, but for each customer that they get me on the street will gain them another year at that price and if they spill the beans on their deal the price goes up. I have been very sucesful using this strategy in 2 areas. The first customer on both these streets are my best salesmen. I have over 8 houses in both neigborhoods at $45 each plus the original at $30

lawnspecialties
06-11-2007, 09:37 PM
...... How freaking stupid is that? .....Meanwhile, all summer long you are sweating your ass off, cutting a $40 lawn for a measly $30, and no one has even noticed you in the neighborhood.......


MAN! That was intense!

Seriously, I have one neighborhood that I have several accounts around 6000 sq.ft. but a high dollar area. Minimum $200 per month. Funny how I've actually grown in this neighborhood and I originally overbid because I didn't really care if I got it.:rolleyes:

captken
06-11-2007, 09:42 PM
How many times have i read on here, "i bid it low so i can get in the neighborhood." How freaking stupid is that? You pull up to a lawn, it clearly is a $40 lawn, but you bid it for $30 hoping to pick up mrs jones and mrs smith who are neighbors. Meanwhile, all summer long you are sweating your ass off, cutting a $40 lawn for a measly $30, and no one has even noticed you in the neighborhood. "i want to get in the neighborhood so i will cut it too cheap", is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. Finally, a year later, mrs smith waddles over and says, "hey lawn boy, how much to wack down my weeds", and you say $40. Mrs smith gasps, and says, "$40?, mrs tuman here is paying $30, why is mine more?" To sum this up, it's just a bad idea to go into a neighborhood and bid low. You'll pick up customers in the neighborhood for doing nice decent work and for your dependability.
Lawnboys aren't walmarts where they price some things low to get people in the store.
you agree?

Hi Jody,
I agree. It brings us all down. The price of gasoline has driven most of them in my area out of business. I see less and less startups on the shoestring buget this year.

Lets here it for OPEC!:nono:

captken
06-11-2007, 09:59 PM
Finally, a year later, mrs smith waddles over and says, "hey lawn boy, how much to wack down my weeds", and you say $40. Mrs smith gasps, and says, "$40?, mrs tuman here is paying $30, why is mine more?"
Lawnboys aren't walmarts where they price some things low to get people in the store.
you agree?

I am not nor do I consider myself or my operation a "lawnboy" operation. Where you comming from jodi? Just curious. I assume this post is being directed towards? whom? Newbies? Teenagers? Just wondering. kenny.

TheKingNJ
06-11-2007, 10:00 PM
Read your history,,, in the early days there were people called BLOCK- BUSTERS.............

they would buy a house in a neaborhood, pay tooo much, rent it to blacks,
it would drive out the whites. the whites wanted to sell so they would take a lower price, the same person would buy the house move in another black family, futher drive down proptery value and the cycle would keep going....

Block Busters they were called..... same thing here,,,, it makes ya money buy you get people who want to kill you


interesting

captken
06-11-2007, 10:05 PM
I thought a block buster was a WWII bomb....rightfully so.

fiveoboy01
06-11-2007, 11:00 PM
I agree with Jodi.

Limp-noodling your prices for any reason isn't the best way to do business. Why sacrifice it and leave money on the table?

Just like she said, now you're sweating your rear off and for nothing.

I have bid low on my first customer in a neighbor hood with these specifics. I give them a low price per cut ($30) with them understanding that it should be this amount ($45). I tell them that I'll do it for that amount for one year, but for each customer that they get me on the street will gain them another year at that price and if they spill the beans on their deal the price goes up. I have been very sucesful using this strategy in 2 areas. The first customer on both these streets are my best salesmen. I have over 8 houses in both neigborhoods at $45 each plus the original at $30

Glad it worked for you, but what's stopping the person from NOT giving you a single referral on purpose, so they can have their lawn cut for virtually nothing for one year?

What happens if this person NOW spills the beans, and all 8 of those people find out? Do you think you'll keep all 8 of them at that 45.00 price? Sure, you just got to raise the "salesman's" price to 45, but you might just have lost a few of the regular 45.00 customers.

Like I said good for you that it works, but I just think it's a bad idea.

procut
06-11-2007, 11:16 PM
ok, here is how you do it.

You bid the first lawn at whatever it should be. Keep in mind that you don't always get a request from a neighbor. In the rare chance that you do get a request for service from a neighbor, now you lowball (not majorly, five bucks maybe). You see, since you have already made the trip for the origional lawn (which was priced correctly) what you make of the new account is kind of like a bonus. So you can work a few bucks cheaper, and still make out good.

I have done this exact same senerio in several situations, and it has worked out great.

sildoc
06-11-2007, 11:17 PM
I bid my price.
Now When I am in a neighborhood I will intentionally bid lower what I normally would if a new prospect approaches me.
I do this for 2 reasons.
1 less windsheild time
2 I will increase to appropriate price the next year.
I do this because I know it costs me at least 50 per new account to get it. If I can land one with little to no costs I can under bid by 50 or so to get it and then raise it later.
Has worked well.

sildoc
06-11-2007, 11:18 PM
hmm procut and I are on the same wave length or somthing.

jeremyt1998
06-11-2007, 11:31 PM
:walking: What if you loose one of those jobs on the same street. They move or just decide to do it themselves. Now you are only doing one house and you undercharged it. That is what usally happens. You think okay I have one for full price and I have my equipment already off truck. I'll cut them a break. Now the full paying customer decides to move to a nicer area and you are cutting a lawn for 30% off and now its to late to raise the rates. When a prospect comes up to you always charge full price or a little more. They WILL pay more. TRY IT. I bet you get them.

cpel2004
06-11-2007, 11:44 PM
I like that "lawnboy," expression Jodi. Preach sista, Preach! My price is my price. Sildoc why give away your service my friend. There asking you for a reason keep your price the same and see if you get if you do your ahead of the game. Man up! Show some confidence in your quality of work my friend. prices should be going up instead of down. Try giving them a fry or discounted fertilizer at best.

sildoc
06-12-2007, 12:14 AM
I like that "lawnboy," expression Jodi. Preach sista, Preach! My price is my price. Sildoc why give away your service my friend. There asking you for a reason keep your price the same and see if you get if you do your ahead of the game. Man up! Show some confidence in your quality of work my friend. prices should be going up instead of down. Try giving them a fry or discounted fertilizer at best.

Oh, tried that game. I discount mowing and up fert, shrubs and other services. It is awash the first year of a new customer, you make a little but with advertising costs going to all new customers you are lucky if you break even on the first year of a new customer. The years after the keeps you because of quality and you actually make money. Upgrades make money. Mowing doesn't.

ke5hbd
06-12-2007, 12:44 AM
Im not going to bid a job so cheap as that I cant clear profit off of it. If it were an elderly single man or woman or a elderly couple or a handicaped person then yes I do lower my rate to accomodate them but im still going to make money out of my side line business which will soon be a full time job and I can tell my current emploeyer who pays my bills to............ Well everyone gets the point.

I dont see why you cant lower your rate just a little to get jobs but now with fuel/equipmeny/insurance etc etc cost eating our hips off Im not doing it at loss.

Ill stop doing it before I loose profit and have to take money away from my fulltime job that supports my family.

See folks i do yards for elderly/retired customers along with disabled customers.

I like working for them as they are my best customers and it doesnt tak long to get waterloged with good cold ice tea from them and the sandwichs which area a regular part of my customers ways of thanking me.

I have a disabled customer who is bound to a wheelchair for the rest of his life and all i do is mow his lawn.

He uses an electric trimmer,blower and edger to finish up because he wants to do it himself and i have never said a thing about it plus he does a dang good job.

I drove up one day and saw him on the ground in front of his house and I asked him if he needed help after almost tearing the door off my tuck to get to him and man did i take a cussing over that as he was telling my that he was cleaning out his flower bed and to go around back to start mowing and by the time I got around front he was finished and in his chair and he appologized to me for cussing at me and told me that everyone treats his differently now since he cant walk and I said i didnt and he said your right.

Moral of my long story is help out but dont loose your shirt.

cpel2004
06-12-2007, 01:24 AM
I would disagree there, Sildoc mowing makes,money your route must be tight you have to take care of your equipment... you can make money at mowing. Mowing feeds your family its not flashy, its hard work but you can make serious money mowing. Its having volume with a tight right route you can make money at just mowing.

Richard Martin
06-12-2007, 03:45 AM
The guy cutting the grass next to one of my accounts did that. A couple of months ago he approached me about taking over his account since he had to travel so far just to cut it and he hadn't picked up any other accounts in the neighborhood. I asked him how much he was getting to cut that 1/2 acre yard. $25 or $30 a cut he said. I passed. I get $45 for the same size yard right next door.

lawnman_scott
06-12-2007, 06:08 AM
Upgrades make money. Mowing doesn't.No, not if you give it away!!

David C.
06-12-2007, 06:18 AM
Handicapped and senior adults get a break

I charge full price for everyone else

My work is spread out over a 2 county rural area

I don't get "jipped!!!"

lawnworker
06-12-2007, 08:11 AM
:) Jodi,I agree. I have found it is best to bid what the yard is worth. I offer no low price for entry into the hood.

sildoc
06-12-2007, 10:40 AM
I would disagree there, Sildoc mowing makes,money your route must be tight you have to take care of your equipment... you can make money at mowing. Mowing feeds your family its not flashy, its hard work but you can make serious money mowing. Its having volume with a tight right route you can make money at just mowing.

No your right I make money mowing but If all you do is mow go to the next mow go to the next you are just paying bills and maybe a little more. Fuel is too expensive to make money just mowing. We are a full service company. I have just a handful of just mow accounts and most of those are from when I started and keep them because they helped me get through.
What I am saying is it takes a lot of money in advertising to get one customer. If you have a near guarantee to get a customer then why not bid it a little low to get the account, especially if you have one close. Tight routes right? What you save in fuel is profit to you.
I don't bid to loose money, I bid to make money. I might not make a ton of money the first year but will still make money. The second year I up the price and sell them one money making services.

Mowing is a way in the door. Profit wise to cost is just not there like it is with trimming hedges, aeration, and dethatching.

coonman
06-12-2007, 10:44 AM
I would disagree there, Sildoc mowing makes,money your route must be tight you have to take care of your equipment... you can make money at mowing. Mowing feeds your family its not flashy, its hard work but you can make serious money mowing. Its having volume with a tight right route you can make money at just mowing.

Agreed. Plenty of money to be made mowing. Compare it it other jobs. I can't find another job that I can work for 20 min and have someone come hand me a $30 check.

pclawncare
06-12-2007, 11:00 AM
I have 2 neighborhoods that i have taken over nearly an entire street about 16 houses side by side anyway they had a neighborhood boy cut them and didnt like his quality so one called me and then he walked me door to door to every one of his neighbors saying this is the new lawn guy i could not believe it i picked up 16 yards in under an hour anyway my deal with all of them was my regular price and they were all the same since they are postage stamp cookie cutter identical but i told all of them that there will be no fuel surcharge for them like my regular customers so they fell like they are still getting a good deal

sildoc
06-12-2007, 11:07 AM
I have 2 neighborhoods that i have taken over nearly an entire street about 16 houses side by side anyway they had a neighborhood boy cut them and didnt like his quality so one called me and then he walked me door to door to every one of his neighbors saying this is the new lawn guy i could not believe it i picked up 16 yards in under an hour anyway my deal with all of them was my regular price and they were all the same since they are postage stamp cookie cutter identical but i told all of them that there will be no fuel surcharge for them like my regular customers so they fell like they are still getting a good deal

I don't understand this fuel surcharge thing. If you can't predict that fuel is going up you need not be in business. Bid your properties that way and you are set.

fiveoboy01
06-12-2007, 11:25 AM
16 yards in under an hour?

that's 3 minutes and 45 seconds per yard. It takes longer than that to speak with a customer, decide on a price, have them sign an agreement, walk to the next house, etc. I should hope you're spending a little more time than that introducing yourself and getting acquainted with a new customer...

I don't do fuel surcharges either. If fuel is going up, then I adjust my prices for new customers. Besides, I price accordingly(even if fuel were low in price) to cover myself if fuel costs go up.

zz4guy
06-12-2007, 11:30 AM
While I agree it is stupid to charge 1/2 price I think it is also stupid for a brand new guy to go out and charge like he has 10 years of experience. Why would any homeowner with half a brain go with somebody with no experience running a business or mowing a lawn instead of a known reputable place??

I lost quite a few properties starting out because I charged at the going rate or a little above. Live and learn...

coonman
06-12-2007, 11:48 AM
This is what is interesting about these forums. Sildoc, you said if you just go from one mow to another without extras all you are doing is just paying bills. This is why I just keep it very simple and easy. Nobody wants to use a 21 anymore, but that is all I use. Example I can a mow a 12 lawn route, not having to travel more than 1.5 miles from my house. The mower will use around a gallon of gas for the day. Trimmer, Edger, Blower another half gallon. The truck maybe a gallon or two. Trimmer line $2, edger blade $2. Insurance, lets say $5 for the day. Advertising has always been a few doorhangers and word of mouth no real cost involved.That should total about $20-25 cost for that day. That route brings in around $400. I know my costs are way less than most, but that is around $375 after expenses for the day of just mowing. I am talking about solo operation.

sildoc
06-12-2007, 03:41 PM
This is what is interesting about these forums. Sildoc, you said if you just go from one mow to another without extras all you are doing is just paying bills. This is why I just keep it very simple and easy. Nobody wants to use a 21 anymore, but that is all I use. Example I can a mow a 12 lawn route, not having to travel more than 1.5 miles from my house. The mower will use around a gallon of gas for the day. Trimmer, Edger, Blower another half gallon. The truck maybe a gallon or two. Trimmer line $2, edger blade $2. Insurance, lets say $5 for the day. Advertising has always been a few doorhangers and word of mouth no real cost involved.That should total about $20-25 cost for that day. That route brings in around $400. I know my costs are way less than most, but that is around $375 after expenses for the day of just mowing. I am talking about solo operation.

So what you are saying is that you aren't saving in a ira or 401k. you don't need oil changes for your truck or mowers, no maintenance needed on any other equiptment. Oh yeah the trailer was free and so was the truck. Tires well they must fall off trees and you pick those up when you blow leaves.
Hmm, I find there is a lot more costs to doing business than just insurance, fuel and advertising. It costs me roughly 20 an hour to run with out paying me or an employee.
I pay my employee 10 an hour plus all the other crap so it comes to almost 15 an hour when added up so that brings it up to 35 an hour when he is with me and then I get paid. Now we average 28-35 lawns a day and average gross per day is right around 700.
Now uncle sam wants his 20-37% pending the year.
I am thinking your 375 so called profit is most likely half that when all said and done.
Sorry to pop your balloon and steel your sucker.

coonman
06-12-2007, 05:14 PM
So what you are saying is that you aren't saving in a ira or 401k. you don't need oil changes for your truck or mowers, no maintenance needed on any other equiptment. Oh yeah the trailer was free and so was the truck. Tires well they must fall off trees and you pick those up when you blow leaves.
Hmm, I find there is a lot more costs to doing business than just insurance, fuel and advertising. It costs me roughly 20 an hour to run with out paying me or an employee.
I pay my employee 10 an hour plus all the other crap so it comes to almost 15 an hour when added up so that brings it up to 35 an hour when he is with me and then I get paid. Now we average 28-35 lawns a day and average gross per day is right around 700.
Now uncle sam wants his 20-37% pending the year.
I am thinking your 375 so called profit is most likely half that when all said and done.
Sorry to pop your balloon and steel your sucker.

My balloon is still here. Sorry but if my costs were $20 an hour, that means I would be spending $160 a day to drive a few miles and mow lawns. No way. If you want to count a new set of tires about every 4 years I guess we can spread out $350 over 4 years. Yes lets count my 3 $10 oil changes a year. Maintenance on a Toro proline 21 is very very minimal. An occasional spark plug and 3/4 quart oil, a couple of new blades every now and then. Actually the trailer was free, because I don't have one. The truck was bought 6 years ago cash, before I was in the business. Here is my setup 2- 21inch Toros, Redmax Trimmer, Echo Stick Edger, Stihl hand held blower bought for next to nothing at a friends pawn shop. I have no employees. I do not count my outside investments as a business cost. Yes the $375 was before taxes, but whether you are a business owner or employee your income is taxed. My first statement was pretty much dead on what it costs me day to day. I guess I have been lucky, my redmax has probably been used on 4000 lawns with not one problem, The echo has been maintenance free so far and the Toro's go a long time. Yes if you have ZTR's and multiple blowers and big expensive trucks and employees your cost are going to be much much higher. That is exactly what I am talking about when I say I keep it simple and easy.

grassmannj
06-12-2007, 06:30 PM
That's right, upgrades make the money. Mowing pays the bills...

Jpocket
06-12-2007, 06:44 PM
Read your history,,, in the early days there were people called BLOCK- BUSTERS.............

they would buy a house in a neaborhood, pay tooo much, rent it to blacks,
it would drive out the whites. the whites wanted to sell so they would take a lower price, the same person would buy the house move in another black family, futher drive down proptery value and the cycle would keep going....

Block Busters they were called..... same thing here,,,, it makes ya money buy you get people who want to kill you

So you mean to tell me if I bought a house in a neighborhood all the white ppl. would move out of that neighborhood? Thats just plain ignorant and steriotypical. I hope you don't share the same views, if you do GOD help you.:hammerhead:

HOOLIE
06-12-2007, 07:32 PM
Geez there's too many neighborhoods I want to GET OUT of, not the other way around.

rob7233
06-12-2007, 07:42 PM
I've had the same ol' story- I have other houses, friends, more work etc. etc .etc. Just doesn't pan out for the most part. Cutting your price to get in the neighborhood just lowers the expectations of your client and other ones (even from other neighborhoods) and cuts into your bottom line even deeper.

So you went ahead and priced it to get the job and not so you can get the job done properly. Afterwards, you spend your first couple cuts looking for ways to cut corners (beyond mere efficiency). Then you wind up resenting doing it when the rest of the neighbors don't exactly all sign up. Then when Mrs. Jones asks you to quote additional work and you give her the actual "real" price, she thinks your prices are too high and your trying to stiff her.

It's a slippery slope. Don't do it. Besides there will always be someone who'll do it cheaper.

racer56
06-13-2007, 10:54 AM
How many times have i read on here, "i bid it low so i can get in the neighborhood." How freaking stupid is that? You pull up to a lawn, it clearly is a $40 lawn, but you bid it for $30 hoping to pick up mrs jones and mrs smith who are neighbors. Meanwhile, all summer long you are sweating your ass off, cutting a $40 lawn for a measly $30, and no one has even noticed you in the neighborhood. "i want to get in the neighborhood so i will cut it too cheap", is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. Finally, a year later, mrs smith waddles over and says, "hey lawn boy, how much to wack down my weeds", and you say $40. Mrs smith gasps, and says, "$40?, mrs tuman here is paying $30, why is mine more?" To sum this up, it's just a bad idea to go into a neighborhood and bid low. You'll pick up customers in the neighborhood for doing nice decent work and for your dependability.
Lawnboys aren't walmarts where they price some things low to get people in the store.
you agree?

This is the best thing on this site I have found yet. All that guy did is work for less and maybe force a guy doing well to take it in the shorts. Guys that do this are out of the industry soon but leave lasting damage on the prices. Great post :drinkup:

Neal's Lawn Service
06-13-2007, 02:29 PM
Read your history,,, in the early days there were people called BLOCK- BUSTERS.............

they would buy a house in a neaborhood, pay tooo much, rent it to blacks,
it would drive out the whites. the whites wanted to sell so they would take a lower price, the same person would buy the house move in another black family, futher drive down proptery value and the cycle would keep going....

Block Busters they were called..... same thing here,,,, it makes ya money buy you get people who want to kill you

that sure was'nt a racist statement

pclawncare
06-13-2007, 06:55 PM
Just to clear things up here a little i did not talk to all 16 customers only 7 or 8 were home at the time but the rest in the neighborhood that were using this kid got the news and called me and signed up within the next week. This is kind of a retirement comunity where all the people are friends and have nothing better to do all day besides sit around and visit so news gets around fast. And for the surcharge thing i only apply that to customers that i bid their yard over 3 yrs ago (which one of these neighborhoods i have been in for over 3 yr) and that surcharge only goes into effect when it goes above 3 bucks a gallon. Again i do not raise my prices the way i keep my prices the same is efficiency. I have become and continue to be more efficient every year so my profit margin stays good. You can knock me all you want and say you dont get it but it works for me

terryzrx1200
06-14-2007, 02:56 AM
Bohiaa your statment on "block busters" is one of the dumbest and most racist remarks i've ever read on this sight. How does this relate to you charging a customer a lower price to get into an area. You go on to say; "They would buy a house for to much!" Who are they, and what is to much? Then if they did rent to blacks why would that cause whites to move out? It is sad to know that you belief that if blacks livie in an area it drives down property value. Are you just dumb, and racist, or did you not finish high school. I'd like to see the hood you live in. Try first reading American history then talk to me. Terry

AintNoFun
06-14-2007, 11:47 AM
so for the you non solo operations.. it would be better to charge $10 more on the lawn and then figure in 10 mins of load/unload and drive time to the next job with 3 guys of unproductive time? I would rather charge $10 less and get a bunch more on the street and save on the windshield time...

johnnywill08
06-14-2007, 11:55 AM
if you under bid, the customers WILL see you as "less than" other lco's.... by pricing properly, or high, and doing good work, people see value in the extra$$.... simple, if u think you're good charge like it. if you suck get otu of the game....

Neal's Lawn Service
06-14-2007, 03:03 PM
if you under bid, the customers WILL see you as "less than" other lco's.... by pricing properly, or high, and doing good work, people see value in the extra$$.... simple, if u think you're good charge like it. if you suck get otu of the game....

WOW! little bitter huh?

fiveoboy01
06-14-2007, 05:48 PM
I don't think he's bitter at all, rather telling the truth.

If you charge more AND do quality work, the customer DOES see the difference, and doesn't care two hoots about paying 10 or 15 bucks more a week.

KTO Enterprises
06-14-2007, 07:37 PM
Sometimes if you charge more, people think if you are charging that much you must be worth it. A lot more people say away from lowballers than most people think.