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Haulin' Grass
06-13-2007, 07:59 AM
I'm tired of being underbid and hearing homeowner say "wow it costs that much". So now I ask what's you budget like so I can try to get your job done within your budget. I had a customer call me for 13 stumps ground, 6-8 arborvitae, top soil and seed. I gave them 1/2 price on stumps and not much mark-up on the rest and never heard from them again. Where the hell is there room to cut cost ? I hope whoever got the job makes more than a $100. OK I'm done whining, sniveling , crying and I do feel better for now:)

AGLA
06-13-2007, 08:13 AM
But, across town someone is charging twice as much to remove stumps and a big mark up on the arborvitae and getting it.

You have to position yourself to get into that market and then you have to work that market. Doing the work on site is the easy part of this business.

Tim Wright
06-13-2007, 08:58 AM
Turn down work that you know is not paying what you want or need. Also, I have a rate that I will not go below because I know that even if I think I can run up to the edge of the budget I will get hosed.

I turned down a lot of work last year because I was not interested in loosing money. I can make more money sitting on the couch collecting welfare, than I can working for a loosing fee, and I am not interested in doing either.

Tim

BlueShieldLawnCare
06-13-2007, 12:31 PM
This drives me NUTS! We bid on several properties that contacted us, including a church that we would have broken even on, and never hear from them again! But the way I figure it is, if they can find someone to do it even cheaper, I can gaurantee it won't be done to the same quality as we do!

Haulin' Grass
06-14-2007, 07:06 AM
AGLA, I'm going to position myself on the shoreline and work that market. Big $$$ down there. All kidding aside I'm considering it. My area is saturated with landscapers ( some mow joes and some legit)so competition is tough and people shop for the CHEAPEST price and expect the BEST job for it. I call it champagne taste on a beer budget. It's all part of the game but I just get frustrated sometimes that's all

Tim, I'm also with you. I'll stay home and keep hours off my equipment if it's not worth my time. I'm in this to make money not lose it and everyone can lose money but few make it

forestfireguy
06-14-2007, 09:08 AM
There will always be someone who low balls a job, be it lack of estimating expieirience or just plain liking to work for nothing. Then there is the possibility that a company with a lower overhead factor just plain beats us out, and can still make money. I gotta tell you guys, selling service, be it plantings, pavers, excavating is the hardest thing to sell, the only way you can do it is to sell people on the value of what you will provide, and I do mean what you will provide, not what you have to say to make a sale. You have to get people to realize some of what we do is providing a conveinience to them, much the way most people don't NEED a boat, or a plane or a $50,000 granite counter top, most folks, not all, could plant their own trees, mow their own lawn and put down their own fert. This obviuosly only applies to certain things, not all services that we as professionals provide, some of what we do is very specialized, retaining walls for example, if you think about it, why should we work for little money, boats,planes,and granite countertops aren't cheap..........and people don't generally NEED those things any more than they need us but you still see them everywhere.......

bullethead
06-14-2007, 10:26 AM
If you don't bid 'em, you can't get 'em...That being said, you need to learn to do a better job of screening your potential customers to cut down on the bs bids (aka time wasters, window shoppers, or cheapos)

Stillwater
06-15-2007, 01:28 AM
What forestfireguy said.....

cpel2004
06-15-2007, 01:32 AM
You guys made alot of great points, I would agree with all of them.

Mountain Gardener
06-16-2007, 01:16 AM
I charge a $35.00 refundable consultation fee if someone calls and wants me to "bid" a job. Cheapo people wasting my time and now $3.00+ fuel changed the way I do business long ago. I want the client that understands value and cheapest price don't go together. I've been around a long time and don't want the "Walmart" shoppers wasting my time looking for the lowest price. That's not what I sell. I only release specs 5 business days under separate cover after the contract is signed and a 30% non-refundable deposit is paid. I don't make a dime with a $35.00 consultation fee but I have a well qualified potenial client that turns into a client a good percentage of the time. If they won't pay it, I still come out ahead because I've not wasted any time or fuel. That leaves me free to be on a jobsite that is paying me well for my time and expertise.

PSUturf
06-18-2007, 12:06 AM
We do the same as Mountain Gardener (but charge a $50 fee). We still only get about 20% of the jobs we bid on but it keeps us from wasting a lot of time.

Haulin' Grass
06-18-2007, 11:22 PM
I already thought of that last year but in a sea of free estimates I'd be hurtin' for work worse than I am now. Need to shift gears and reinvent myself.

BlueShieldLawnCare
06-19-2007, 03:11 PM
That's how we feel, Haulin Green. Out this way it's more along the lines of, "It's only June and we're sweating our asses off!" Temps here already topping 100 degrees.