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Mahoney3223
04-05-2010, 10:03 AM
Sooo....we bid out a 4+ acre church for weekly mowing.....and I just received word as with most everything else commercial we bid new this season...that the winnning bid was $90.00........This year has to be the worst I've ever seen in my life for lowball numbers be it from large Lco's to solo's...this is almost getting comical....anyone else seeing some ridiculous hack numbers?

Yater
04-05-2010, 10:09 AM
Supply and demand. There's an increased supply of lawn guys and the demand for them has lowered.

DixieFerris
04-05-2010, 10:49 AM
Partially your own fault. You have to be in front of these people all the time and sell them on the business/safety/reliability of your service. Price should come up last if at all. Stop competing on price, its a dead end road. We have lost some this year too on price don't get me wrong despite everything we tried to tell them, but we are winning waaaaaay more on the story of our company, not on the pricing and we are usually in the middle to upper price range

mowerdude777
04-05-2010, 10:54 AM
I have seen a lot of ididots on cl offering 10 dollaring mowing, I am considering SLOWLY ditching mowing and moving up to hardscaping if this crap continus

Yater
04-05-2010, 11:02 AM
The problem with mowing grass is:

EVERYONE has done it. In other trades, people hire a tradesman because they can't do the work. Welders, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, et cetera. "Quality" is a tough sell to someone who just wants their grass "knocked down".

mowerdude777
04-05-2010, 11:07 AM
The problem with mowing grass is:

EVERYONE has done it. In other trades, people hire a tradesman because they can't do the work. Welders, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, et cetera. "Quality" is a tough sell to someone who just wants their grass "knocked down".

Very well said I think that some think it will also be easy money by charging next to nothing when they are really practialy paying the coustomer. Almost all of my coustomers hire me because I provied high quality work, but the ones who just want the grass knocked down suck because when they see someone offering mowing for half my price they will think they are getting the same work.

ffemtmcd
04-05-2010, 11:13 AM
1. these $10 lawn guys will put themselves out of business relatively quickly
2. Do you really want the customers that just want their grass knocked down (as commented above)?

Might also ask customer if the $10 lawn guys are insured and licensed - especially if applying chems

Mahoney3223
04-05-2010, 11:21 AM
Partially your own fault. You have to be in front of these people all the time and sell them on the business/safety/reliability of your service. Price should come up last if at all. Stop competing on price, its a dead end road. We have lost some this year too on price don't get me wrong despite everything we tried to tell them, but we are winning waaaaaay more on the story of our company, not on the pricing and we are usually in the middle to upper price range

Trust me buddy I sold them on the company. I gave them the licensed speech, how we've won chamber of commerce awards, our large properties we mow and do work for...you know what won on PRICE! He even told me on the phone, I don't know how well it's going to work out for that price but we've got to go with the lowest bid...in Ohio, on account of the awesome economy, I knew we would be down this year. I get it. I get the fact that licensed, insured criteria is by the wayside in our recession. The only thing that speech works on is commercial snow removal because of the liability issue. It's a lot easier to sell safety with snow vs grass. No one is going to slip and fall because the grass isn't striped right. The problem is price is winning out 100%. These laid off guys and even big companies are totally messing up the market.

Stevegotcrabgrass
04-05-2010, 11:32 AM
yea, it sucks...i've ranted before about it. What I do now is give my potentials my price. If they try to negotiate, I just say no. If they say " so and so will do it for cheaper" I say You get what you pay for and leave. I am not wasting more time on customers who do not want a landscaper and company to maintain their property and only want a guy to cut grass. I like my customers who appreciate the little things we do which most fly by night companies will not. Little things like bring the paper up to the door. Bring up the trash cans for the old ladies. Maybe even telephone calls to the customers to see how things are going and if they are happy. Taking the time to talk with the customers about their properties, their dreams, their visions etc. Customer service goes a long way. The best customer is the one who says, just do it and bill me. No questions asked about money, if a customer starts talking too much about pricing, and how his last guy did it for less etc. I ask them why they are looking if the last guy was cheaper..

topsites
04-05-2010, 11:40 AM
Sooo....we bid out a 4+ acre church for weekly mowing.....and I just received word as with most everything else commercial we bid new this season...that the winnning bid was $90.00........This year has to be the worst I've ever seen in my life for lowball numbers be it from large Lco's to solo's...this is almost getting comical....anyone else seeing some ridiculous hack numbers?

That's rough, even for a church and even lowballed, that's just way bad lol
I did assume you did get the acreage right, on the other hand 3-4 acres on a church is not unusual.

But I was waiting for the usual thread where folks speak of lowballing yet the winning bid ain't half bad,
that's the kind of crap I been seeing quite a bit of here lately, I was waiting to see the figure $150'ish...

This however?
That's beyond comical, I'll give you ridiculous, it's just wrong.
LOL, yeah, $90 for 4 acres, that's bad.

golly

On the other hand, LET them take advantage of these guys, sucks that you lost the contract but hey...
I look at it this way...
I get so sick and tired of some of the BS on LS, they ask these total noob questions (and not everybody is like this)...
But we try and try and tell them, they either don't listen (this I can handle) but when they start to wanting to argue...
Gets to the point it seems in ways the only way some of these guys are going to learn to respect this industry is
after some folks have done got took and raked through the coals, you know, learn things the hard way.
Sucks to have to be done that way, but what can you do?

Wish them luck.

Mahoney3223
04-05-2010, 11:49 AM
Topsites,

It is the correct acreage. I measured it on GoIlawn. This has been the pattern around here lately. I'm seeing $25-30 an acre on properties 2+ acres large. This is the norm anymore. I don't even know where to begin.

FuturePilot4u
04-05-2010, 12:41 PM
that why i went and still am residential mower except for a few clients who i have always had.....its more money in commercial for the time! for me at least

sfddelta1
04-05-2010, 05:22 PM
most of these guys at least in the south will be out as soon as it gets a 100 and the new has worn off and they find out its more than just riding on a mower

it is crazy the number of calls I get in july and august that are needing a lawn service due to the fact the one they were using will not show up anymore

one of the other problems is if you got a little credit john deere or exmark will loan you enough money to purchase the equipment you need to get started

SCAGMAN411
04-05-2010, 05:24 PM
same issue here some bleep in the hideout is offering 24.95 mowing for all lawns, looks like i'll be home again this season, i hope they go out of busniess

topsites
04-05-2010, 05:42 PM
Topsites,

It is the correct acreage. I measured it on GoIlawn. This has been the pattern around here lately. I'm seeing $25-30 an acre on properties 2+ acres large. This is the norm anymore. I don't even know where to begin.

That's hard core but on 4 acres $30 isn't that low either...
Try $30 an acre, the problem with some is all the trimming,
but I did a 3+ one for $100-$120 a year ago.

It's really not that bad, you can scoot in the open areas once you learn the
rough lay of the land (like where the holes and such are), so once you get a couple of
passes away from the paved areas and the buildings, open that baby up!
Can't see the difference on a big yard, the small ones you can but the big ones?

Careful with low-hanging tree branches, slow around any obstacles but other than that...
FLY baby, fly lol

I know what you mean thou, once it's as cheap as you can get...

Mahoney3223
04-05-2010, 06:26 PM
yeah I know what you mean topsites but 28.00 per acre????? I will sell everything I own and go to work for someone else before I lower my pricing to that. I know these guys aren't insured properly and are scabs but before people cared about quality now they say ah these guys stink but i'm saving $40.00 a month!!! look boss! i know it's early and the pricing will get better as the hacks fall off the face of the earth but still, I never in my right mind, thought I would see $28.00 per acre in my neck of the woods. Ever. I was wrong.

Yater
04-05-2010, 06:40 PM
That's hard core but on 4 acres $30 isn't that low either...
Try $30 an acre, the problem with some is all the trimming,
but I did a 3+ one for $100-$120 a year ago.

...

This....I've done an acre for $50 and was out of there in an hour. Mow, blow, and trim around the house. In 3 years, I never even met the homeowner.....and I had another account 2 minutes away, so it was a decent gig.

Thunderbolt
04-05-2010, 07:38 PM
The lowballers will go away when gas gets to $4.00 a gallon.

grassman177
04-05-2010, 07:42 PM
for the first time ever i have seen this to be a very big problem this year. getting rediculous even. i hope it does not get drug down too far or i may be looking for another line of work

yardguy28
04-05-2010, 07:43 PM
1. these $10 lawn guys will put themselves out of business relatively quickly
2. Do you really want the customers that just want their grass knocked down (as commented above)?

Might also ask customer if the $10 lawn guys are insured and licensed - especially if applying chems

i'll take any kind of client. from the one's who just want there grass knocked down to the one's that want the highest of quality when it comes to there lawn and landscaping.

anyone willing to pay my prices is more than welcome to become my client.

93Chevy
04-05-2010, 07:52 PM
Maybe one of the church members is mowing it at cost, or something like that.

yardguy28
04-05-2010, 08:42 PM
i don't mind giving advice so long as your not a competitor of mine........

if someone can tell me how giving advice to someone who lives in north carolina, utah, or florida is hurting my prices in my business when i live in indiana then i'll stop giving out advice.

but on the flip side if everyone stopped giving advice there wouldn't be a need for this wonderful forum full of very usefull information. if it was every man for himself no one would be sharing ideas with anyone else and this industry would never progress.

there are a lot of great ideas there circulate through this website. and the only way those ideas get listened to and implemented is by sharing them. how would anyone learn how do something they didn't know how to do or to improve upon something they already do???

if someone from new york wants to know what i charge for a lawn mowing i got no problem telling him because he's not my competion for one thing and for another every state has different costs of living which hugely affects the prices so my prices wouldn't work in new york just like new your prices wouldn't work in indiana.

Meezer
04-05-2010, 08:57 PM
I have seen a lot of ididots on cl offering 10 dollaring mowing, I am considering SLOWLY ditching mowing and moving up to hardscaping if this crap continus

Don't quit your mowing jobs just yet. There's been an influx of lowballing idiots into hardscaping as well:angry:

jrush
04-05-2010, 09:41 PM
I just got word I lost a OK mowing account, baseball fileds. I think all they do is show the bidding people the bill they pay now and say beat it...I did'nt really want to because it was a little low, but I still could make money on it if they gave me my price...I was way underbid. And guess what I bet they do at the end of the year? Yup, do the same thing, open bids and say now beat this, hell in a couple years they can cut the bill in half at that rate. I only bid on it because of the economy, turns out I signed up 9 new residentals so it worked out but still I don't like to lose money. Let's say they pay $7k now, the bid was $6400, next year $6000, so on and so forth. Hell I saw a flyer from another LCO saying they will beat any price by 5%, so they get the lowest bid call him and sight unseen he's already obligated to beat the lowest lowball estimate. I don't get it.

Mahoney3223
04-05-2010, 10:22 PM
Everyone always says ohhh the lowballers will go away...true in 2008 going into 2009 there really weren't that many outrageously low prices. Quality still meant something and people actually hired you when they said you were hired instead of calling you back in 5 minutes and saying "your bid was undercut by a last second bid, sorry"...maybe $4.00 gallon is what we need....at this point I don't know what the answer is. I know my company has steadily grown each and every year by at least 15% (which is above average, I know)...I figured this year would be tough with the hacks..and I FIGURED I might not grow at all. But I never thought I would lose every single bid but one by 30-40% margins. We aren't the most expensive service in town, nor are we mowing lawns for $25.00 either. But my paper is flooded with $15.00 city cuts etc. I don't know if we've reached the tipping point as far as how low the industry gets before the prices rebound somewhat but we gotta be darn close.

Yater
04-05-2010, 11:06 PM
The lowballers will go away when gas gets to $4.00 a gallon.

That won't happen again anytime soon. Also, it didn't scare them off last time.

milkie62
04-05-2010, 11:07 PM
It may seem like you are playing up your business by telling the customer that you are insured and such,but most commercial customers will tell you what they require for insurance.Also some commercial properties will have their own specs that the LCO would have to comply with.
Unfortunately this is a business that is really easy to get into and there is no industry standard in pricing.I also would look at price.If I was paying someone say $60 to cut my grass and only cut my grass and my brother in law said his son is starting a business and will do it for $45 guess what ? I am jumping ship and if it does not work out I could go back to the $60 price and I saved $300 for the season on a 20 cut season.
I have always said my hats off to you guys that are full time and making a go of it.

topsites
04-05-2010, 11:19 PM
I will say this...

I think a big mistake we tend to make is trying to justify our prices by mentioning costs to the customer.
First off, I honestly think they DON'T CARE.
Plus I am sure they hear it so much, it has got to get real old...

Do you really think I give a rat if the auto mechanic's tire mounting machine costs 10 grand?
Why it costs $25 to mount a tire, that's all I care about but I don't want to
hear about the machine, I want to hear $20!

Now if they can't do it, then they can't do it, fine.

But I think trying to explain cost to the customer is a waste of time, personally.
I also think some might take it as an insult to their intelligence.

So I TRY not to do it, the ONLY cost(s) I mention at times are material supplies to be used, for the job, for them, their yard.
And I believe that helps, even if they don't understand.

FuturePilot4u
04-06-2010, 09:31 AM
this summer buddy, it gonna be close, gas is already almost 3 bucks here in ohio

lawnlandscape
04-06-2010, 09:43 AM
Prob a member of the church that offered that price.

Maple Wood
04-06-2010, 10:01 AM
Lowballers never die they just loss their balls!

Maple Wood
04-06-2010, 10:03 AM
Seriously their will always be lowballers. Individually they will come and go. When 1 goes 2 more rise to the challenge to take his place.
You must have a competitive advantage to stay in bis.

WHIPPLE5.7
04-06-2010, 10:59 AM
Most Churches around here have a shed out back with $900 sears rider and members of the church volunteer to mow since many of them can't match their 10% offering plate cash.

TheC-Master
04-06-2010, 11:06 AM
I'll say it again and again. You find your market and cater to them. I don't waste my time with customers who want cheap and only cheap. I want a person who wants quality and service. We know you can only choose two. These people will be your customer for 10 years and drop you for someone five dollars cheaper. I have a customer who lost his job and when he works again he will hire me back. He said to me, "You gave me the gift of time back into my life. That was the most important thing to me and the type of customers you need." I agree with him and that's exactly what I go for.

carolinaprolawncare
04-06-2010, 11:29 AM
Lowballers are in every business and it is part of the free market economy. If you have quality you can charge what you need to make a good profit. “Quality creates demand”
Posted via Mobile Device

Yater
04-06-2010, 01:36 PM
If you have quality you can charge what you need to make a good profit. “Quality creates demand”
Posted via Mobile Device


Good luck with that. I think you meant "quality commands price". How much demand is there for a turbo carrera (relative to the auto market)? You don't have to pick a niche in the lawn business. Some customers live out of state and want their empty lot "knocked down" every 2 weeks....others need daily attention.

yardguy28
04-06-2010, 05:42 PM
I will say this...

I think a big mistake we tend to make is trying to justify our prices by mentioning costs to the customer.
First off, I honestly think they DON'T CARE.
Plus I am sure they hear it so much, it has got to get real old...

Do you really think I give a rat if the auto mechanic's tire mounting machine costs 10 grand?
Why it costs $25 to mount a tire, that's all I care about but I don't want to
hear about the machine, I want to hear $20!

Now if they can't do it, then they can't do it, fine.

But I think trying to explain cost to the customer is a waste of time, personally.
I also think some might take it as an insult to their intelligence.

So I TRY not to do it, the ONLY cost(s) I mention at times are material supplies to be used, for the job, for them, their yard.
And I believe that helps, even if they don't understand.

you have tire mounting machine??? lol.....

seriously i think you completely correct.

people don't care about they "why". most people just want the price. if it's to high they will tell you no. they don't care about your quality of work or that your insured or that your using expensive commercial grade equipment.

i think most people expect anyone in this business to do quality work. after all if your in this business why would you not do quality work? i know i know there's tons of scabs that don't but i'm coming from a person looking for lawn service perspective.

dodgerfan
04-06-2010, 05:56 PM
It is bad this year & I picked the wrong time to do this fulltime! I had 20 accounts and more requests this winter so thought wth. We have So many LBers I've even lost accts that I've had for 10 yrs b/c they aren't thinking quality thery're thinking WOW $10. Theirs guys, kids & even families! doing an acre for $20-$25 with alot of trimming. I honestly don't know how they can afford it. Maybe they don't know how to add :hammerhead:

Economy must be worse than I thought :dizzy:

jnrogers
04-06-2010, 05:57 PM
I just got lowballed on 2 factorys I bid on big time. They dont even asked about your work just do you have insurance and how much they even told me they didnt care what it looked like as long as it was cut. My father in law has mowed a few yards for a realtor and she called him and asked how much on these certain yards, he told her $40 dollars (they are roughly 3/4 acres) and she said she found someone for $20 so he told her he would not do them for that. I hope they tear something up because I know they dont have insurance.

lawnworker
04-06-2010, 06:09 PM
This is the worst it has been in 18 years. The advertising is bringing in zero customers- just price shoppers We have gone straight into hot summer temperatures from the worst winter on record. I know lawn site has a section for start ups, my advice to anyone who is thinking of starting in today's world--- don't do it!!! unless you have a lot of cash and just want to cut grass for free!! I am forty five six old and I am very worried about my future, if I stay in this line of work. I am going to finish my teaching degree or get a degree in environmental studies and go for a government position with the EPA or the parks or something. This line of work is getting to be a fnnnnn joke.

dodgerfan
04-06-2010, 06:24 PM
I hear ya! I just turned 40 & have been in the business (part-time) for years. Even had great contacts through golf courses ect. but omg.

The problem with these LB is that as soon as 1 goes out of business there are xxx more willing to step in but ending up doing the same thing, gone before you know it. It's a never ending cycle plus how many of them do think actually pay any taxes.......Hmmmm.....thinking......my guess 00000000 sounds about right!

Lightningllc
04-06-2010, 07:35 PM
Just seen a yard sign today it said, Any lawn up to .5 acre $10 per cutting. In michigan we also have this new company going around giving $18 cuttings and free snow removal.

I can not beleive the commerical this year half prices of past years and free this and that to go along with it.

I just found out I last a lawn acct after 12 years to a guy doing it for half my price and cutting the owners home 2 acres for free.


What has this come too, Mcdonalds pays more than lawn cutting does.

Minimum wage would put more money in your pocket than $10 cutting half acre.

N.TX
04-06-2010, 08:30 PM
I charge 10 bucks but i charge 200 bucks for trimming their shrubs.... its in the fine print :cool2:

Yater
04-06-2010, 08:53 PM
I charge 10 bucks but i charge 200 bucks for trimming their shrubs.... its in the fine print :cool2:

Yeah, I'm sure your customers LOVE you!

lawnworker
04-06-2010, 09:06 PM
If I graph out the current pricing trends, my projections show in 2020 we will have to pay customers 45.00 dollars to mow a 1/4 acre lawn.

jrush
04-06-2010, 09:28 PM
Just seen a yard sign today it said, Any lawn up to .5 acre $10 per cutting. In michigan we also have this new company going around giving $18 cuttings and free snow removal.

I can not beleive the commerical this year half prices of past years and free this and that to go along with it.

I just found out I last a lawn acct after 12 years to a guy doing it for half my price and cutting the owners home 2 acres for free.


What has this come too, Mcdonalds pays more than lawn cutting does.

Minimum wage would put more money in your pocket than $10 cutting half acre.

free snow removal? you're kidding me, so basically they're mowing for almost nothing, and literally plowing for nothing. That in no way shape or form makes any sence...let alone dollars.

93Chevy
04-06-2010, 09:32 PM
Do what you have to do to stay in business...That's my rule.

If I have to charge a little less for a certain customer, I'll charge less if I feel it will open bigger doors for me. Either I want the account or I don't...if I want it bad enough, I'll make it work...I'm not a lowballer, but I try to make decisions that will benefit my business.

Mahoney3223
04-06-2010, 09:35 PM
Well today I finally won a bid that was priced correctly. I almost had a heart attack because all I've been hearing all season is that I was competitive and they liked what I had to say but I was LB'd. We're going with them because we have to bla bla bla. I even told one of the churches I had when I lost it to a hack teacher and his cub cadet that I was sick and tired of the economy speech, I was tired of hearing about the economy. You just put on a 10,0000 roof. You have money, I know you do and you know you do. You let people pressure you and I'm disapointed in you. I told him to call me WHEN the hack fails to show up or blows grass on the road, in the beds, breaks a window etc. He even told me, I'm sorry you guys had the place looking great but I have to do this so the board saves money. Yeah, whatever. He then had the balls to ask me to still do the mulch at a discounted rate. I told him no way in hell was I doing that. Good luck. The funny part is, this church was so incredibly picky about everything. I can't wait to see what it looks like after a nice week of rain!

I also got my contract renewed for my condo's and 15 other properties after months of stalling by the company. That was a welcome relief. In this economy your either holding on to what you got by the skin of your balls or you losing out on every bid. I just lost a bid on a big home improvement store by $5.00 a cut. To a company that couldn't provide insurance. They said they would call me to do it if he can't come up with it!! This is a national store!! This year is a joke! Hang tough brothers everything will turn around because I believe it has to. I will tell you one thing, I am not answering one more ? from a newbie on this forum about help with a bid, or how to get started etc. These are the guys that are taking food out of my family's mouth and yours. Everyone should band together and stop helping hacks who f*ck us over! It starts now.

milkie62
04-06-2010, 10:33 PM
Well when I have 2 customers side by side or across the street it makes sense to me that I can shave a couple of bucks off the price seeing as I do not have to load and unload and no drive time involved.

Mahoney3223
04-06-2010, 10:47 PM
We're not talking about that scenario buddy. But thanks, good to know! Good luck to you

NLC09
04-06-2010, 11:37 PM
We have experienced the same problem in our area. Across the board, residential & commercial. Very bad year for lawn professionals. One of the contractors that lowballed us was a very reputable landscaper in our area.

Mahoney3223
04-07-2010, 10:56 PM
Just look at how many newbies are on this site with "hey another new guy etc." That is what is ruining our industry.

ALC-GregH
04-07-2010, 11:11 PM
Just look at how many newbies are on this site with "hey another new guy etc." That is what is ruining our industry.

Not necessarily. It's the ones that don't know what they are doing that are screwing it up for everyone. If a person wants to open a business then they need to spend a solid year studying and doing tons of research so as to understand how it work in general. Then comes the material side like, merchandise. In our case, equipment and such. Guys are always posting this verses that threads and if they would have done their homework they wouldn't have to ask such a simple question.

I do understand where you're coming from though. I'll help anyone out on here if they have a problem with something but I'm not going to feed them info that takes some guys years to learn or understand. If they had any sense about them they would be trying to get as much money as they can possibly get when they bid a property but because they never studied and learned what running a business is all about, they think making $30 in a hour is good money until it catches up to them. Then equipment and other stuff is being sold to cover the IRS bill they got in the mail and they take the MickyD's job flipping burgers and feel relieved from all the stress they endured having to cover the tax audit they got hit with.

Yater
04-07-2010, 11:15 PM
Just look at how many newbies are on this site with "hey another new guy etc." That is what is ruining our industry.

"Professional" and "industry" also apply to escort services. If you want to step it up, make it happen.

Mahoney3223
04-07-2010, 11:44 PM
"Professional" and "industry" also apply to escort services. If you want to step it up, make it happen.

I'm making it happen Yater!! Don't you worry!

Grass Shark
04-08-2010, 02:53 AM
"the economy is bad, I lost my job, I think I'll through the self propelled craftsman in the trunk of the cavalier and cut lawns for $10 each, I'll get a lot of work!"

-SAD BUT TRUE

topsites
04-08-2010, 08:35 AM
I think this problem is only going to get worse in the coming years.

Mahoney3223
04-08-2010, 04:35 PM
Here's my CL post...lemme know if you guys like it?

Hi folks, I'm blow hard Bob. I got me a searz ridin tractor and a snappr push moewr. I will do any yard for $2.00. I will do an acre for $3.00. I'm the future of lawn care. Sign up now! I got me no insurance, no licesnes, no driver's license but I'm cheap! Be a moRon like the rest of the idiots on here posting and hirez me. After all I'm just lookin to lowball real companies! Yipee Kay ay!

nobagger
04-08-2010, 06:16 PM
Sooo....we bid out a 4+ acre church for weekly mowing.....and I just received word as with most everything else commercial we bid new this season...that the winnning bid was $90.00........This year has to be the worst I've ever seen in my life for lowball numbers be it from large Lco's to solo's...this is almost getting comical....anyone else seeing some ridiculous hack numbers?

There is a company around here that has 5 or 6 crews, they are all over the place, all Mexican's, all illegal (I heard from tons of other guys) any ways, he has stole two of my accounts, one of which we got back in two weeks. This other account is a condo place and I bet he is less than half. I was actually talking with another landscaper today he said he bid a job that was 1.5 acres he bid 80 bucks and this other company was 26 bucks!

cozymonkey
04-08-2010, 06:52 PM
Hopefully it doesnt get this bad but one of my bestfriends dad owns his family masonry business that has been operating for 52 years and he is shutting it down next month. I only mention this because they to have to put in bids for jobs and such like lawn services and he said the main reason he is shutting down is because potential clients are making him PAY TO PLACE A BID. He tried this for awhile just adding in the price for bidding into the bid. But now he says he is losing contracts because his competitors are not including it in their bids. If I ever have to pay to place a bid I am out!

Mahoney3223
04-09-2010, 07:32 PM
Well I saw some one work that the companies that lowballed horribly did at some of the properties today. Should be an interesting year. I guess people don't care about shoddy looking work, block cutting, grass left on walks, missed trimming and strips of grass everywhere. Either they're going to get fired quickly or I can have my guys start mowing like slobs and charge 50.00 less everywhere. ay ay ay:hammerhead:

93Chevy
04-09-2010, 07:50 PM
Hey, the faster you get done, the cheaper you can be. We're obviously doing something wrong here.

yardguy28
04-09-2010, 10:34 PM
i think in this day and age you have a "lawn service" for everyone.

the pita people have pita lawn services. the up scale people have the professional lawn companys like you and me.

anyone that cares what there property looks like won't put up with sheoty work for long. or at least i can't imagine they would, even if the price is cheap. businesses especially but even a lot of home owners want there property looking perfect.

rain man
04-09-2010, 10:51 PM
Around here anything that has two wheels and can be towed has a lawn mower on it. Thanks politicians for the great economy.

cookslandscaping18
04-09-2010, 10:57 PM
The way u guys think u will never make it. Do u guys shop at walmart. I would say so because it is cheaper but walmart still does really good profit wise. Everybody wants cheap over quality right now so u have to change u ur thinking. If you want to make it through this time u going to have to think how can i give descent prices with good quality work those will be the ones who make it.......

Mahoney3223
04-09-2010, 11:34 PM
we're all making it cook. we're just tired of the ridiculous f-'n prices. i know how to make money. i am just tired of being the guy who has the companies properties looking perfect and then getting a pat on the back then stabbed in the back in the spring by the same guy who was anal about the property because he's saving $5.00. then the property looks like hell and i was never allowed to let it look like that but he's saving 25.00 month so hey why not? it's a joke.

brandonppr
04-10-2010, 02:38 AM
Hi I just started mowing. *trucewhiteflag* Don't shoot.
I just started last year. I used a regular push mower. I had about 4-5 yards a day. Last year there were tons of other people wanting to cut lawns and my prices were either the same or a little higher. I only lost 2 due to being lowballed. I saved up and bought a self propelled. I did the best job I could do on each lawn. By early fall I had about 8 lawns left a week. I had most of my customers move away. I saved the money I made last year and bought a scag rider. This year I only had 4 left from last year. 2 moved and 2 were pleased with my work, but needed to save money and they are cutting there own. In my area a lot of people have been moving out and a lot of new people have been moving to my area. On one street I had last year there were 9 houses on it. In one week 8 houses on that street sold and 8 new people moved in. The only one that didn't sell there house was the lawn I was cutting. This year I raised my prices and I have had more people wanting me to cut there yards than last year. I have not seen but one other flyer besides mine this year.

Sorry to hear about everyone having trouble getting jobs. I believe that when things get bad it only levels the playing field for those starting out. The good companies will win in the end. The ones used to making big bucks and have a lot of money in equipment, employees, etc along with debt will have trouble adjusting to going back to the way they started out again. Its like everyone is starting over when it gets bad. The economy will come back. The ones that stay and do a good job will be ahead of the game when the lowballers start in a good economy. It just won't work anymore and people will want quality again.

piste
04-10-2010, 08:55 AM
Someone who submits a lower bid and does the work for that price is NOT lowballing....anymore than someone whose bid is higher is price gouging the customer. I think a lot of guys should spend the summer at Camp Quitchabitchin!!
Posted via Mobile Device

Mahoney3223
04-10-2010, 11:21 AM
When you do a shoddy job it is. Spoken like a true LB'r

txjoe
04-10-2010, 04:25 PM
In SE Texas we have been dealing with this for years. The illegal mexicans have been coming in and undercutting everyone. I just keep pegging along. With that cheap price comes a quick job that doesn't cut the mustard with most people. I will keep giving quality work and charging as I have always charged. I am busy with new customers calling every week....and haven't advertised in 7 years.

piste
04-10-2010, 07:13 PM
When you do a shoddy job it is. Spoken like a true LB'r

Ummm...not even close. That's just quality in line with price. And if customer is happy and service provider is happy...that's leaves you as the guy who didn't get the job and feel the need to whine about it...falsely claiming the guy lowballed without even knowing what that means...have fun at Camp....Quitchabitchin.

Mahoney3223
04-10-2010, 08:14 PM
look. 4 acres for 90.00 is ridiculous. i'm not going to get into an argument with you about this. if you think that's good money then your an idiot. and most likely unlike me, your a solo. solo vs company with crews is totally dif. 90.00 might be awesome if your a solo on your sweet garden tractor.

Smitty58
04-10-2010, 09:09 PM
I put out 500 door hangers with the price already on them so they didn't have to call for a price. I thought that was a good strategy, not 1 single phone call! Getting very frustrated and seeing more and more lawn care guys jumping into the game I made a choice. My dad always said "if ya can't beatum, joinum" so I ran an ad on the local forum. Picked up 6 new customers in less than a week. Price was lower than I thought I would go ,but actually they pay better (per time spent) than my others. Around me there are tiny lots, I mean like 1/6 of an acre. These take 15 minutes top to do everything. On the other hand some of my bigger lots (1/2 to 3/4 acre) take 45 to 60 minutes. So why not target the small yards and give them a price they will jump on vs what everybody is asking and have them say "I'll think about it" if they say anything. All I'm saying is I figured I had to try something and so far it has paid off for me. Does that make me a lowballer?

Lightningllc
04-10-2010, 09:37 PM
I put out 500 door hangers with the price already on them so they didn't have to call for a price. I thought that was a good strategy, not 1 single phone call! Getting very frustrated and seeing more and more lawn care guys jumping into the game I made a choice. My dad always said "if ya can't beatum, joinum" so I ran an ad on the local forum. Picked up 6 new customers in less than a week. Price was lower than I thought I would go ,but actually they pay better (per time spent) than my others. Around me there are tiny lots, I mean like 1/6 of an acre. These take 15 minutes top to do everything. On the other hand some of my bigger lots (1/2 to 3/4 acre) take 45 to 60 minutes. So why not target the small yards and give them a price they will jump on vs what everybody is asking and have them say "I'll think about it" if they say anything. All I'm saying is I figured I had to try something and so far it has paid off for me. Does that make me a lowballer?


I don't think you should worry about lawn care, Man those decks look good stick with something you know decks!!! Screw this lawncare crap you are an good carpenter stick with it!!!!!

rjh4758
04-10-2010, 10:22 PM
Its all about overhead.

Lets face it if you have crews with new equipment chances are good that you will have a fairly high overhead(Truck/equipment payment, workers comp. ins., liability ins., ect.).

Then you have the solo guy, sure some are in the same boat paying all the above with one guy working but some have no or very little overhead. That can be from a guy that has all his commercial equipment paid for and just paying Liability ins, maintenance, fuel cost and income tax. Then you have the guy that is running around with Murray mower, craftsman 21, all in the back of his little Ford Ranger. With no insurance, not paying taxes on his income and so on.

Now I do not condone or particularly care for the latter but they have and always will be part of the business (so called low ballers). I am sure there are plenty here that were the latter when they first started out. Be it a 10 year old with mom and dads mower making extra cash or a newbie not knowing what the hazards of operating without insurance can be.

Now who do you think can do the job cheaper?

The legit solo or the big operator can never compete with the "low baller" in price. But not everyone or should I say not even the majority want some kid from down the street, some guy working out of the back of his truck or a whole crew of illegals mowing their lawn. Why because they know they are uninsured and could damage there home or lawn and if they get hurt on their property they could sue the home owner. There are some that simply can not afford more and would never use our services simply because they could not afford us and if they did we might have hard time getting paid any way. Then there is always the cheap skates that are usually PITA's anyway. But you can not blame the customer for shopping for the best deal, we all do it, we just don't like it done to us.


I know it sucks but we all need to watch our overhead in this economy. Maybe we need to put off that new mower/truck/trailer another year or two so you can keep your overhead low and be competitive in this economy.

topsites
04-10-2010, 11:14 PM
we're all making it cook. we're just tired of the ridiculous f-'n prices. i know how to make money. i am just tired of being the guy who has the companies properties looking perfect and then getting a pat on the back then stabbed in the back in the spring by the same guy who was anal about the property because he's saving $5.00. then the property looks like hell and i was never allowed to let it look like that but he's saving 25.00 month so hey why not? it's a joke.

Yeah but that same guy called ME and wouldn't let me bid a dime over!
It ain't always the lowballer, I know darn well what I can bid and what I can't,
there are times I just throw a price out there but most of the time I know
EXACTLY how much they're willing to pay and it ain't always all that either.
Sometimes folks like that make good customers, just as often thou...

Three years later sends me a letter saying he decided to go with a company
that can more readily meet all his needs. :dizzy:

Kind of pisses me off, never wanted to spend the money with me but when I was to the point that
I could offer those services he was looking for anyhow, that's when he left for other waters.
Which makes me think someone else came in and offered a better price, same shoddy service.

But what I did understand...
SOME customers want an Lco that's along a certain stage in their development.
Some WANT the new guys, others want the somewhat experienced 3-6 years in guys, a few still want the old timers (8+ years),
each has its advantages and disadvantages but there certainly exists a difference.
Some customers are forever, others are not.
Price to them is only the bargaining point.

rain man
04-10-2010, 11:30 PM
Agreed about all kinds of people. To satisfy them all we wear different hats. When we become unsatisfied we throw down two and pick up two until we get a hand we like. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

topsites
04-10-2010, 11:41 PM
Someone who submits a lower bid and does the work for that price is NOT lowballing....anymore than someone whose bid is higher is price gouging the customer. I think a lot of guys should spend the summer at Camp Quitchabitchin!!
Posted via Mobile Device

That's just the thing, too, I think some people become so good at what they do that one day they are SO good
that can't nobody afford them... I guess one could say they done became TOO good lol

Did you know Sears, Roebuck & Co. used to be Teh Walmart?
Sears, Roebuck & Co was a household name way bigger or at least as big as Walmart.
They were the BIGGEST corporation in America at one time, they were SO
big that you could order a house from them, no joke, it came in a kit.
Not no shack, a full blown house, an 18-wheeler was used to deliver the parts (yes all DIY lol).
Yes there exist houses today that were built from an order that came out of a Sears catalog.

Their stores used to be SO packed with people it makes the busiest Walmarts look a bit lame in comparison.
This, however, is not the case today, Sears is not the household name it used to be,
their stores are almost always empty of customers.
So what happened, why did they become a shadow of their former selves?
It is very simple, they were too good.

They didn't think anyone else could come even close to doing what they did.
They were wrong.

K-mart and Wal-mart both walked all over them, the entire time they never realized their mistake.

Yes sir, pride comes before the fall.

brandonppr
04-11-2010, 01:05 PM
That's just the thing, too, I think some people become so good at what they do that one day they are SO good
that can't nobody afford them... I guess one could say they done became TOO good lol

Did you know Sears, Roebuck & Co. used to be Teh Walmart?
Sears, Roebuck & Co was a household name way bigger or at least as big as Walmart.
They were the BIGGEST corporation in America at one time, they were SO
big that you could order a house from them, no joke, it came in a kit.
Not no shack, a full blown house, an 18-wheeler was used to deliver the parts (yes all DIY lol).
Yes there exist houses today that were built from an order that came out of a Sears catalog.

Their stores used to be SO packed with people it makes the busiest Walmarts look a bit lame in comparison.
This, however, is not the case today, Sears is not the household name it used to be,
their stores are almost always empty of customers.
So what happened, why did they become a shadow of their former selves?
It is very simple, they were too good.

They didn't think anyone else could come even close to doing what they did.
They were wrong.

K-mart and Wal-mart both walked all over them, the entire time they never realized their mistake.

Yes sir, pride comes before the fall.

That's what I was trying to say.
I know someone with a masonry co that is having the same problem. They do great work. They started out by doing great work for lower prices. The economy boomed and that great work at low prices turned into so much work at high prices that they couldn't even keep up with demand. They are now used to the high prices that were the norm when things were booming and they are not getting business. They are getting outbid on lots of jobs. They do great work, so do the people that are outbidding them. But the people outbidding them are willing to do it cheaper just to get there foot in the door. That will pay off some day as long as they keep doing good work. You got to take the highs and lows and when you get used to the highs you have to be able to move back to the lows when the time comes if you ever want to see the highs again or else there will be someone else there ready to fill that possition, because they have been there the whole time working with lots of customers while you have been sitting there doing nothing because you don't want to take a lower price.

jrush
04-11-2010, 09:03 PM
Agreed about all kinds of people. To satisfy them all we wear different hats. When we become unsatisfied we throw down two and pick up two until we get a hand we like. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Agreed. :clapping:

milkie62
04-11-2010, 10:18 PM
Mahoney3223
LawnSite Senior Member Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Somewhere
Posts: 508

Just look at how many newbies are on this site with "hey another new guy etc." That is what is ruining our industry.
_______________________________________________________________
Why is this ruining the industry.Everyone with any kind of mowing equipment sees the money that can be made and is just jumping on the bandwagon.I say ya'll come on over.
But I know all these newcomers are not going to cut into my electrical business.

txjoe
04-11-2010, 10:25 PM
No, I don't regret all the newcomers that are coming into the business. It just keeps the rest of us on our toes. When we get complacent and getting sloppy with our yards or with our customers, THEN we ruin our name and the business that we have worked so hard to build. I love the work that I do and I always try to do a better job and being compassionate with my customers and know their hardships and how I can help them better. Perhaps it isn't good business.....or good for the bottom line....but it helps to make me a better person and, I hope, shows that I am trying to give them the best job that I can at a decent price.

Mahoney3223
04-11-2010, 11:04 PM
Mahoney3223
LawnSite Senior Member Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Somewhere
Posts: 508

Just look at how many newbies are on this site with "hey another new guy etc." That is what is ruining our industry.
_______________________________________________________________
Why is this ruining the industry.Everyone with any kind of mowing equipment sees the money that can be made and is just jumping on the bandwagon.I say ya'll come on over.
But I know all these newcomers are not going to cut into my electrical business.


Hey buddy. Just because I found LS and joined in 09 doesn't mean that's when my company was founded. I founded it in 2002. Great detective work, columbo!

rain man
04-11-2010, 11:23 PM
I like it when customers are compassionate and concerned with MY hardships by paying their bills on time lol.

firefighter5145
04-12-2010, 01:57 PM
You know I must agree with most of you and express my sincere frustration with our friends from south of the border and their attempt to push the rest of us out of the business.
However, our wonderful government can be thanked for making it very easy for these folks to illegally move into our country, not pay taxes, and ship the money back out of the country. See its hard for American citizens to compete with these people because our cost of living is just that much more expensive. Take housing, gas, insurance (most of them do not even have), food, college, etc. and look at these costs for us compared to those same costs for their family living in Mexico. Not even close, $10 here gets you a few gallons of gas or maybe 2 pounds of lunchmeat. In Mexico that pays your electric bill for your shack for the month. So it's not right to compare apples to oranges... they simply aren't living by the costs as we are forced to live with as American citizens.

That being said most consumers of our services want quality at a decent price. Sometimes the lowest cat gets the job but over time their rep will catch up with them. I know it's hard but just stick it out and hopefully times will get better for all of us.

By the way it is pretty bad in Delaware with these cats and their residential zero turns.

Mahoney3223
04-13-2010, 09:10 AM
our problem up here is a good mix of large and mid sized lcos lowballing to match the rum dums with the station wagon's and push mowers. we don't have to many foreign workers. they used to work for the two largest lcos around here but the h2b got denied in 09 and haven't seen them this year either.

greenstar lawn
04-13-2010, 11:04 AM
One of my customers that i have been servicing for 5 years now said he got a price of $30 to power rake his yard when my price was $100. Not only did i feel embarrassed and speechless but i also felt as if he thought i was ripping him off. Luckily though he just laughed about it and still told me to go ahead with power raking. After i left i kind of felt shitty because i didn't want this guy to think i am ripping him off. So when i went back to power rake i explained to him why i charged $100 dollars and how much work is involved. Oh yeah i also lost a big HOA account this year to a guy that was 30% cheaper then me.

Mahoney3223
04-14-2010, 11:43 PM
well we finally landed a nice sized church to make up for the one that we lost to some hack with a lawn boy push mower and walk behind from 1990. here's hoping to good luck for all of us legit company's fighting the lowball battle

srbarmann
04-15-2010, 12:09 AM
here in cali we deal with illeagal labor........their is no money to be made here on this type of customer. see ya later think its bad now? grant amnesty then well talk

milkie62
04-15-2010, 12:09 AM
I was not knocking you.I just did not know how to bring over somebodies post and I did what I thought was the way to do it.Sorry if I offeneded you.

I am a part-timer.The economy is tough and if a guy is out there trying to make ends meet so much the better.At least they are not on welfare.

I always say here my hats off to the full timers making a go of it.I am first to admit I would not beable to mow day in and day out even with my new equipment.

topsites
04-15-2010, 03:03 AM
No, I don't regret all the newcomers that are coming into the business. It just keeps the rest of us on our toes. When we get complacent and getting sloppy with our yards or with our customers, THEN we ruin our name and the business that we have worked so hard to build. I love the work that I do and I always try to do a better job and being compassionate with my customers and know their hardships and how I can help them better. Perhaps it isn't good business.....or good for the bottom line....but it helps to make me a better person and, I hope, shows that I am trying to give them the best job that I can at a decent price.

See, not everybody sees things that way, and I realize the newcomers frustrate
me too but more when they use a type of trickery or deceit to try and get
something for nothing than anything else...

There will always be the newcomers.
And if they push an old timer out of the way, oh well, and I realize it's hard
to keep up and it SUCKS but in ways that's our own fault too, it is when we
have lost focus on everything but the money, that's when we're really in trouble.

When we lose sight of what got us where we are today, when we fail to understand that money
never does come easy, neither to us NOR to our customers, when we think we are so good,
in short, when we get too smart for our own good :p

Peace out

lawnworker
04-15-2010, 08:32 AM
Topsite you make a good point.It is easy to lose focus.Ultimately I think we all end up doing this for the money, but we do need to care about the customer at the same time.

Mylawnwi
04-15-2010, 09:36 AM
Don't quit your mowing jobs just yet. There's been an influx of lowballing idiots into hardscaping as well:angry:


:nono: We know you love bashing bro. :hammerhead:

Edward Hunter Yard Works
04-16-2010, 09:53 AM
We got burned this morning. We bid a job to do mulch bed prep, lay mulch, leaf and debris clean up at $40/ hour. They accepted the bid, and we were to start this morning at 8 am. We get a call from the guy this morning at 6:45 am that he no longer wants us, because he found a guy an hour after he accepted the bid, that will do it all for $100. You get what you pay for. :mad:

Kiril
04-16-2010, 10:39 AM
I'd like to vote for a change in thread title.

2010 = year of the whining LCO's :rolleyes:

Vacation
04-16-2010, 12:58 PM
This is something all the CEOs and other execs at large companies with many competitors face all the time. Not necessarily lowballing, but less revenue for a period of time. They look to where they can cut expenses and do it if it is justifiable. I know it's easier said than done but that's what us contractors have to do to stay in business.
Posted via Mobile Device

Lightningllc
04-17-2010, 01:38 PM
Well talk about lowballers ya ready.


I have had a site for 2 years I have been charging $1100 a cut plus edge/cleanup/weeding/ etc...


Well the management company got fired and this new one comes in and brings a guy.

He bids $540 a cut / free edging/ mulch/ weeding/ hedge trimming.

This is a 10 acre common site with 50 condo's on it.

It takes 300 yards of hardwood mulch.

Lets talk about lowballer let's talk about i'm giving everything away for free.

GreenwithEnvyLawn
04-17-2010, 02:21 PM
Just a couple observations
First I see that some hate the fact that newbies are starting in this business. Have you forgotten that you were a newbie once? Guess you feel as if you should be the last guy to be allowed to do this job.
Something else I have noticed is the constant talk about overhead and charging accordingly. While this is true and appropriate it works not just for those with a lot of overhead but for those small companies too. Again I'm sure many were there at one time but seem to forget that.
The best description I have seen about the topic is know your market. It's all about the customer base. Times are tough for you me and all of them. Loyalty is almost non exsistent these days so price is king. So basically you have several choices, either drop your prices and try to be more competitve with your competetion, hint the lowballers are your competetion like it or not, find a new niche that will give you the profit you need or give it up and try to find a job in this economy. It sucks and I hate being underbid too, but I don't know the whole story behind it. They could be fully legit and have so many customers that they can charge the low prices and still make profit. There are times, however, where someone will charge an insanly low price and steal the job. Who knows. We all do similar work but we all have different ways that we run our businesses. Hell maybe I run mine totally wrong but if I'm making enough money than I really don't care.

Mahoney3223
04-17-2010, 11:10 PM
I'd like to vote for a change in thread title.

2010 = year of the whining LCO's :rolleyes:

shouldn't you be working to bail out California from it's inevitable bankruptcy

Meezer
04-18-2010, 01:21 AM
:nono: We know you love bashing bro. :hammerhead:

No, I'm just pointing out the influx of lowballers into hardscaping & you happen to be one of them:hammerhead:



http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=311353

firefighter5145
04-19-2010, 08:33 AM
Lowballers hurt the common business of the "professionals". We buy commercial equipment, pay taxes, hold licenses and insurance. Don't give the crap line of "More power to the little guy just trying to get by". BS, make them play by the same rules as all the rest of us. Maybe then will there price come closer to reality.

Edward Hunter Yard Works
04-19-2010, 11:32 AM
:clapping: I agree with you all the way.Lowballers hurt the common business of the "professionals". We buy commercial equipment, pay taxes, hold licenses and insurance. Don't give the crap line of "More power to the little guy just trying to get by". BS, make them play by the same rules as all the rest of us. Maybe then will there price come closer to reality.

Mahoney3223
04-19-2010, 11:54 AM
had a guy call us today...wanted a price on mowing/trimming 3.5 acres....i always ask what they are expecting to pay so i don't waste a trip out there when i could be doing something else more productive. he says oh i don't know i've gotten quotes of 55-75....after i nearly died laughing i explained to him there was no way i could do it for that. he said yeah i thought that was outrageously low. i told him 150. and got it. sometimes common sense pays off.

Malachei
04-19-2010, 12:28 PM
There is a licenses for mowing grass? i'm sorry but that job is easy anyone can hope on mower and do it. Try getting a trade licenses it would help a lot.

Mow'n'Blow21
04-19-2010, 01:21 PM
There is a licenses for mowing grass? i'm sorry but that job is easy anyone can hope on mower and do it. Try getting a trade licenses it would help a lot.

While the actual work involved may not be very hard, providing a quality job, looking and acting professional, and satisfying the customers needs even if it is a little more work is becoming a rareity.

jrush
04-19-2010, 08:03 PM
There is a licenses for mowing grass? i'm sorry but that job is easy anyone can hope on mower and do it. Try getting a trade licenses it would help a lot.

Anyone can hope on mower and do it? :usflag: Well, I guess I have no argument with that.

Malachei
04-19-2010, 09:14 PM
lol hop, i mean hop like a bunny. Should spell check before hitting enter. (:

Mahoney3223
04-19-2010, 10:56 PM
I think there should be a trade license of $1500 a year. This would weed out the hacks with the push mowers undercutting everyone. Or the guys with one Z trying to bid on 5+ acre properties.

GreenwithEnvyLawn
04-19-2010, 11:52 PM
I think there should be a trade license of $1500 a year. This would weed out the hacks with the push mowers undercutting everyone. Or the guys with one Z trying to bid on 5+ acre properties.

Why can't a guy that is licensed, insured but only has 1 commercial grade Z not worthy of mowing large properties. I don't quite see how guys with thousands of dollars worth of equipment and tons of overhead think they are better than the little guys. There is a difference between lowballers and small LCO's. By the way I spent 6 years defending this "free" country so that every citizen has the chance for the American Dream including the lowballers trying to feed their family the best they can.

puppypaws
04-20-2010, 12:56 AM
Lowballers hurt the common business of the "professionals". We buy commercial equipment, pay taxes, hold licenses and insurance. Don't give the crap line of "More power to the little guy just trying to get by". BS, make them play by the same rules as all the rest of us. Maybe then will there price come closer to reality.

I'm sorry my friend but you have no rules to play by, just the ones you prefer to adhere to. This is going to continue and there is no way to stop it. I actually saw two gentleman in their 70's mowing 2 commercial properties just the other day, one was on a JD riding tractor mowing a Kentucky Fried Chicken property and the other was right beside him on an Arby's property with what looked like a Craftsman riding mower.

I only saw one large trailer with all the hand-helds so I figured they were together. I thought to myself, these gentleman are retired but still have the physical ability to get out and perform lawn maintenance, kudos to the senior citizens. You will find many times a company feels more comfortable with their grandfather taking care of the property because of their acquired work ethic and no Hispanic blood.

milkie62
04-20-2010, 01:43 AM
I wonder if the "lawn inspector" puts a sticker on the lawn saying it was mowed properly like the electrical inspector puts a sticker on the meter can saying its OK to supply power to this house ?????
A license to mow a lawn ???? How many years do you have to go to school in order to fill out the application to take the lawn mowing test ???
Is there a lawn mowing apprenticeship ???? If there is,I would love to take it.

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
04-20-2010, 02:53 AM
the problem with mowing churches (around here anyway) is that they will find some member of the church to do it for peanuts if not for free. i never understood why people bother bidding on church accounts in the first place since you know mostly all of them are going with the lowest lowball offer they can. most average churches arent looking for quality like others have talked about, they just want some1 to knock down the grass once in a while for the season

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
04-20-2010, 02:57 AM
There is a licenses for mowing grass? i'm sorry but that job is easy anyone can hope on mower and do it. Try getting a trade licenses it would help a lot.

anyone can HOPE on a mower! Great. this guy couldnt even pass a 1st grade spelling test, nevermind filling out an application for a business license. I bet you are the lowballin hack whos mowing the church for $90 arent you?

Mahoney3223
04-20-2010, 09:13 PM
Why can't a guy that is licensed, insured but only has 1 commercial grade Z not worthy of mowing large properties. I don't quite see how guys with thousands of dollars worth of equipment and tons of overhead think they are better than the little guys. There is a difference between lowballers and small LCO's. By the way I spent 6 years defending this "free" country so that every citizen has the chance for the American Dream including the lowballers trying to feed their family the best they can.

First off thanks for your service. Why does everyone always assume I'm specifically talking about them. I started out with one z myself. And know what? I didn't know WTF I was doing and I never bid on the properties that these hacks are bidding on because A.) I would never have gotten a list because I was too small B.) I knew I couldn't handle it. What I meant was that guys with one Z aren't equipped to handle these larger properties because they bid dumb@## low prices because they don't know how to bid properly. When I started, unless you were decently known you couldn't even get a bidders list. I want 2 go back 2 that because I worked my nuts off to get to where I am and I never got lists before like these morons do now on account of "the economy". It's a F'IN excuse, plain and simple.

puppypaws
04-20-2010, 10:43 PM
First off thanks for your service. Why does everyone always assume I'm specifically talking about them. I started out with one z myself. And know what? I didn't know WTF I was doing and I never bid on the properties that these hacks are bidding on because A.) I would never have gotten a list because I was too small B.) I knew I couldn't handle it. What I meant was that guys with one Z aren't equipped to handle these larger properties because they bid dumb@## low prices because they don't know how to bid properly. When I started, unless you were decently known you couldn't even get a bidders list. I want 2 go back 2 that because I worked my nuts off to get to where I am and I never got lists before like these morons do now on account of "the economy". It's a F'IN excuse, plain and simple.

People will take every account you have without blinking an eye, and could care less if you and your family went on welfare. The name of the game this day and time is I will get the work anyway I can, ethics no longer exists. People think they are civilized, let it come to them getting hungry and it becomes survival of the fittest, the same as in the animal world.

milkie62
04-20-2010, 10:55 PM
But who says this account is mine and that one is yours ? If I got into this business and I dropped off bids at every business along a road and managed to pickup a few of them how am I pissing someone off.That is why they call it a bid.Don't the LCO's try to hit all dealers for the lowest price ? Its the same thing.....

rain man
04-20-2010, 11:30 PM
We don't have "lowballers" around here. They all call themselves "landscapers". To hear them tell it they can do everything from change a tire to paint your home and everything is priced less than $15.00. Set your goals and go for them.

LLC Erie
04-20-2010, 11:48 PM
There is a company around here that has 5 or 6 crews, they are all over the place, all Mexican's, all illegal (I heard from tons of other guys) any ways, he has stole two of my accounts, one of which we got back in two weeks. This other account is a condo place and I bet he is less than half. I was actually talking with another landscaper today he said he bid a job that was 1.5 acres he bid 80 bucks and this other company was 26 bucks!

Yep. I know them Maroon Trucks you are talking about. Came to a couple of my properties as well. I had a $135 job( couple of years back) he took for $49......we got it back 2months later. Another one at about the same price we have had for years, he tried and they said "no" and basically laughed at them.


You do know he was here once before under a different name, claimed bankruptcy and moved to New Jersey, worked there, did the same thing and is now back under his present name. All Illegal is correct.

Total Grounds Maintenance
04-21-2010, 12:09 AM
The grass cutting game is a crap shoot. I can't even hire guys in there late teens to college years because they are all doing it themselves. I went to hire a kid last week and the call went like this. Are you hiring? Yes I am. What are you paying? Your experienced so I will give you 12 an hour + if you get done what I give you and its done right you can go home early. HA HA 12 an hour I make 30 for cutting my own 12 lawns. CLICK!

I am concentrating on commercial work only from now on. Let some snot nosed punk or some illegal pay 2000+ for insurance and try to be able to have a sit down with a management company on a 50 acre complex and a 80k seal coat contract. You guys can keep all the $20 lawns and dog feces infested backyards you want. The smart ones are giving it up or subbing it out to other LCO's and making gas $ for the real money making endeavors.

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
04-21-2010, 02:04 AM
Yep. I know them Maroon Trucks you are talking about. Came to a couple of my properties as well. I had a $135 job( couple of years back) he took for $49......we got it back 2months later. Another one at about the same price we have had for years, he tried and they said "no" and basically laughed at them.


You do know he was here once before under a different name, claimed bankruptcy and moved to New Jersey, worked there, did the same thing and is now back under his present name. All Illegal is correct.

i think i know who u guys are talking about. If they are the maroon truck guys im thinkin of...they are around here too. the good news is..i just took 5 of there commercvial account restraunts and bid $10,000 more a year than them. the owner who used em before said he hated there attitiudes and the way they talked to him (and yes they are ALL mexicans) probly illegal too but im not sure bout that indefinitely

puppypaws
04-21-2010, 07:34 AM
The grass cutting game is a crap shoot. I can't even hire guys in there late teens to college years because they are all doing it themselves. I went to hire a kid last week and the call went like this. Are you hiring? Yes I am. What are you paying? Your experienced so I will give you 12 an hour + if you get done what I give you and its done right you can go home early. HA HA 12 an hour I make 30 for cutting my own 12 lawns. CLICK!

I am concentrating on commercial work only from now on. Let some snot nosed punk or some illegal pay 2000+ for insurance and try to be able to have a sit down with a management company on a 50 acre complex and a 80k seal coat contract. You guys can keep all the $20 lawns and dog feces infested backyards you want. The smart ones are giving it up or subbing it out to other LCO's and making gas $ for the real money making endeavors.

That is the nature of the beast, you have lawn maintenance professionals, and you have grass cutters. The largest percentage of homeowners can't see a difference between the two, they want their grass cut, shrubs trimmed, and the grounds left clean. They figure anyone from 8 to 80 can accomplish this. Companies that are strong financially will spend the money for perfection, it's called business from the low to high end, with much more money in the high end.

punt66
04-21-2010, 07:43 AM
The grass cutting game is a crap shoot. I can't even hire guys in there late teens to college years because they are all doing it themselves. I went to hire a kid last week and the call went like this. Are you hiring? Yes I am. What are you paying? Your experienced so I will give you 12 an hour + if you get done what I give you and its done right you can go home early. HA HA 12 an hour I make 30 for cutting my own 12 lawns. CLICK!

I am concentrating on commercial work only from now on. Let some snot nosed punk or some illegal pay 2000+ for insurance and try to be able to have a sit down with a management company on a 50 acre complex and a 80k seal coat contract. You guys can keep all the $20 lawns and dog feces infested backyards you want. The smart ones are giving it up or subbing it out to other LCO's and making gas $ for the real money making endeavors.

its an area specific thing. Its funny how an lco who hires illegals for labor later complains the industry is ruined (not directed at you). We dont compete with illegals up here. All the lco's have a min charge and i have yet to hear anybody's min less then $35. Most LCOs here with more then 1 crew have a min of $45 a cut. So residentials are very profitable in my area. Then everybody wants cleanups and mulch as well.

Malachei
04-21-2010, 11:53 AM
anyone can HOPE on a mower! Great. this guy couldnt even pass a 1st grade spelling test, nevermind filling out an application for a business license. I bet you are the lowballin hack whos mowing the church for $90 arent you?

Before you make fun of others grammar you should take a look at yours first. Don't get mad because a kid out of high school can do your job.

firefighter5145
04-21-2010, 02:01 PM
"I think there should be a trade license of $1500 a year. This would weed out the hacks with the push mowers undercutting everyone. Or the guys with one Z trying to bid on 5+ acre properties."

I would sincerely hope that you didn't specify that folks with a single Z mower shouldn't be involved in 5+ acre jobs! Seeing as that my OWN yard is 5 acres I have never seen a reason to think it doesn't handle the job.

Also, to the guy that gives kudos to the KFC guy on his damn craftsman mower, screw him too. He's just as much a problem to the business as the illegals. I would sincerely hope that KFC along with the other commercial accounts checks for his business LICENSE and INSURANCE. Two words that many in this business seem to conveniently fail to adhere to.

Mahoney3223
04-21-2010, 10:18 PM
"I think there should be a trade license of $1500 a year. This would weed out the hacks with the push mowers undercutting everyone. Or the guys with one Z trying to bid on 5+ acre properties."

I would sincerely hope that you didn't specify that folks with a single Z mower shouldn't be involved in 5+ acre jobs! Seeing as that my OWN yard is 5 acres I have never seen a reason to think it doesn't handle the job.

\

if the shoe fits

sdk1959
04-22-2010, 12:02 AM
"I think there should be a trade license of $1500 a year. This would weed out the hacks with the push mowers undercutting everyone. Or the guys with one Z trying to bid on 5+ acre properties."

I would sincerely hope that you didn't specify that folks with a single Z mower shouldn't be involved in 5+ acre jobs! Seeing as that my OWN yard is 5 acres I have never seen a reason to think it doesn't handle the job.

Also, to the guy that gives kudos to the KFC guy on his damn craftsman mower, screw him too. He's just as much a problem to the business as the illegals. I would sincerely hope that KFC along with the other commercial accounts checks for his business LICENSE and INSURANCE. Two words that many in this business seem to conveniently fail to adhere to.

A trade license for $1500 a year? Are you serious? And who do you think will end up paying for it when it is not enforced? All the legal operations, and you will have yet another expense to incur, and not able to pass on to your customers. Be careful what you wish for.

firefighter5145
04-22-2010, 07:27 AM
i actually quoted someone in an earlier post. My mistake for not quoting the background corrrectly. It was his idea for a $1500 trade liense, not mine.

Mahoney3223
04-22-2010, 07:52 AM
man you guys are too easy

puppypaws
04-22-2010, 02:15 PM
Also, to the guy that gives kudos to the KFC guy on his damn craftsman mower, screw him too. He's just as much a problem to the business as the illegals. I would sincerely hope that KFC along with the other commercial accounts checks for his business LICENSE and INSURANCE. Two words that many in this business seem to conveniently fail to adhere to.

I'm sorry but you are not looked up to with the respect people have of a practicing physician with a medical degree. You mow grass for a living, anyone can execute your job anytime they have an inclination to begin, it's not heart surgery. Anyone that feels the need to generate a little extra spending money from the age 8 to 80 is capable of your job, sorry to burst your bubble but that is just a fact of the matter.

When you feel the need to change your status go to school and get a degree in landscape architecture so you can specialize, until then consider yourself a common laborer.

firefighter5145
04-22-2010, 02:51 PM
Has not a thing to do with the complexity of our business. It has to do with following the LAW. Obviously the person who chooses to illegally conduct his simple mowing business is going to have a lower costs than someone who follows the rules, gets a business license, pays insurance, and files taxes.
You along with a few others keep making it seem like legit lawn companies are trying to monopolize or overstate the complexity of mowing grass. I am not going to disagree with you in the fact that lawn servicing is one of the easiest businesses to get started in. Low startup, fairly low overhead (if you do it the LEGIT way), and quick return on investment. However, my point is that illegals, grandpas, and all of the other Harry,Dick, and Joe's need to follow the right way of doing things. That's all that I am saying. Maybe then would they start to see that their $20 a yard price is just a bit low when it comes to the grand scheme of running a mowing business.

puppypaws
04-22-2010, 08:13 PM
Has not a thing to do with the complexity of our business. It has to do with following the LAW. Obviously the person who chooses to illegally conduct his simple mowing business is going to have a lower costs than someone who follows the rules, gets a business license, pays insurance, and files taxes.
You along with a few others keep making it seem like legit lawn companies are trying to monopolize or overstate the complexity of mowing grass. I am not going to disagree with you in the fact that lawn servicing is one of the easiest businesses to get started in. Low startup, fairly low overhead (if you do it the LEGIT way), and quick return on investment. However, my point is that illegals, grandpas, and all of the other Harry,Dick, and Joe's need to follow the right way of doing things. That's all that I am saying. Maybe then would they start to see that their $20 a yard price is just a bit low when it comes to the grand scheme of running a mowing business.

You are only assuming they are using low prices, maybe lower than the going rate but not necessarily low, this can't honestly be verified as well as assuming they have no insurance cannot be verified. What can be verified is they may be using smaller, cheaper equipment which can lower their cost. The people using an S-10 truck with a smaller lower priced trailer and mowing with a home owner push and riding mower definitely have the advantage of mowing grass cheaper, but we can't blame them for this.

Mahoney3223
04-24-2010, 03:29 PM
someone with a mtd tractor and s10 is not a landscaper. they are a hack. period.

ringahding
04-24-2010, 04:12 PM
FOR SURE! ! My pricing hasn't changed much in the past two years, and I'm 25% to 50% higher then other companies bidding...I thought the Prop. mgrs. were B.S.'in me, but it's happened at 4 Props. this year alone....IDK what to do, but I will tell you ALL....I'm not a part of MESSIN our industry up, by LOW-BALLIN! ! RINGAHDING

puppypaws
04-24-2010, 07:16 PM
someone with a mtd tractor and s10 is not a landscaper. they are a hack. period.

The problem you run into is most of the general public believes anything with blades turning can cut grass, and it most cases it will, whether a hack is running it or a so called landscape professional.

punt66
04-24-2010, 07:25 PM
The problem you run into is most of the general public believes anything with blades turning can cut grass, and it most cases it will, whether a hack is running it or a so called landscape professional.

You dont give the public much credit do you?

Edward Hunter Yard Works
04-24-2010, 07:40 PM
Great day in the morning!!! This thread has gotten HOT!!!!:eek:

kjslawn
04-24-2010, 09:48 PM
I have a cust that gave me a flyer for her yard that she found in her mail box $25. She said it best that wont even cover the cost of fuel. I charge her $85 every week. She is ok with paying for a job well done. Keep them happy and always thank them for the business.

mrealty
04-24-2010, 10:58 PM
Sooo....we bid out a 4+ acre church for weekly mowing.....and I just received word as with most everything else commercial we bid new this season...that the winnning bid was $90.00........This year has to be the worst I've ever seen in my life for lowball numbers be it from large Lco's to solo's...this is almost getting comical....anyone else seeing some ridiculous hack numbers?

I'm new to lawn care, but I'm no stranger to business. It could have been a church member who came in at $90. Also, if I were bidding, I'd see if they could give me an acceptable price. If they said, "$90" I'd start my negotiating. It would be well worth my while to ask them to place an ad for my business in the church bulletins for all services in exchange for the low bid of $90. If they run 2 to 3 church services each Sunday and one Wednesday service with hundreds if not thousands of members, I'd say $90 would be well worth it for me. That's a lot of advertising. Your work will be showcased for all to see as well. Factor in trust: members will think that if the church trusts you, then you are *likely* trustworthy. If you did it that way, I promise you you'd come out ahead.

DuraCutter
04-24-2010, 11:57 PM
I'm new to lawn care, but I'm no stranger to business. It could have been a church member who came in at $90. Also, if I were bidding, I'd see if they could give me an acceptable price. If they said, "$90" I'd start my negotiating. It would be well worth my while to ask them to place an ad for my business in the church bulletins for all services in exchange for the low bid of $90. If they run 2 to 3 church services each Sunday and one Wednesday service with hundreds if not thousands of members, I'd say $90 would be well worth it for me. That's a lot of advertising. Your work will be showcased for all to see as well. Factor in trust: members will think that if the church trusts you, then you are *likely* trustworthy. If you did it that way, I promise you you'd come out ahead.

You're right, that makes a lot of sense. Problem with lawncare is that if every lawncare provider does it that way, there isn't much left that is priced "normal" or doable for a profit. Most other professions don't lowball any work ever. That is why we do more than lawncare to really make a profit. Lawncare is only the way in. My company just bid some work on a condo site. There, the lawncare guy gets $450 a cut and it takes 4 guys and 2 trucks 3hrs plus. That's a pretty low profit. We do some carpentry and 2 guys in 8 hrs return revenue of $1,500. The reason is no one is going to do low, it's a one off. The constant cutting of grass is what makes it a commodity at the whim of the marketplace. It's a no win situation most of the time. Grass cutting should only be your way in to the customer to offer more services, otherwise you're doomed to making a wage forever... amen.

mrealty
04-25-2010, 12:17 AM
Good points, Duracutter. I also forgot to mention that I'd ask the Church to price it at my "normal" rate, say $180, then tell them the $90 would be offered as a charitable donation and then I'd add it to my itemized deduction as a write off. They would totally go for that too.

I hear you on the "way in to offer more services." I'm going to use lawn care to market my other business. They'll both feed off of each other just fine. Can't wait to see how it all pans out.

DwellTek
04-25-2010, 05:11 PM
It doesn't matter what form of construction (residential,commercial) or what type of service you provide (lawncare for instance). All markets and trades are in the same boat.
I have a full time job in sales where I cater to commercial construction contractors and my partime job is my 10 lawn accounts that I do everything for from lawn to handyman work.
The fact of the matter is low ballers are in every shape and form of the economy right now. It's not just your lawncare industry, it's everywhere. I've seen many companies go under over the last copule years and many are treading water fighting to keep the lights on.
The strongest survive these economic down turns. Try to get rid of your debt, and work your but off to build your business. The fact of the matter is grass still grows and people still need to get it cut.
Your salesman ship is your strongest asset right now. Some folks want to pay for quality and others just want the grass cut. Know what your customers want and cater your service to their needs. Don't talk quality if the customer doesn't care. Discuss upsells rather than how great your company is. Sell him more of your services, ask for referals. Listen to what he wants.
To make up for lost revenue either search for new accounts or penetrate accounts that you allready have. Add to your menu of services and become your customers goto guy. Hire employees with multiple skills such as a carpenter, painter and basic handyman skills.
The key is to penetrate customers that you allready have a trusting relationship with. Hire employees with more skills than just running an edger and go after other types of service bids for your exsisting customers.
Good Luck!!!

Yater
04-25-2010, 05:34 PM
I Hire employees with more skills than just running an edger and go after other types of service bids for your exsisting customers.
Good Luck!!!

....and be ready to pay them accordingly. An experienced carpenter gets paid at least 2x what a non-skilled 21 year old laborer does.

firstchoice1
04-25-2010, 06:15 PM
bump, lawn care and almost landscaping have become unprofitable. too many people just don't know enough about starting a business and cost recovery.

9/10 small businesses fail. there's a reason why

DwellTek
04-25-2010, 07:29 PM
....and be ready to pay them accordingly. An experienced carpenter gets paid at least 2x what a non-skilled 21 year old laborer does.

I fully understand a carpenter can make a higher hourly rate than your mower employee does.
The essence of my statement was build on the customers you already have using your existing relationships. How or if you choose to use the concepts is up to you.
Out of the box thinking can help you and your company find new avenues to generate profits.
Best of Luck Yater!!!!

BTW I live in Michigan and a union carpenter loaded with benefits makes roughly $1 per minute and I can find non union carpenters for my side work for anywhere from $15- $20 per hour depending on how complex the work is.

Oh one more thing I saw a Craigslist ad today for a lawncare company that quoted $11 per lawn. What a joke.

g21
04-25-2010, 08:02 PM
OK, I'm going to be the odd guy here in this discussion. I feel for what you are all going trough. But here are my thoughts as I read all of these threads.
First, the whole reason for the initial thread was to complain about not getting a 4 acre property because the winning bid was $90. Maybe I'm missing something but many machines can mow a four acre property in an hour or less. So I'm not sure where your frustration lies on that project. Like I said, either I'm missing something or you didn't give all of the information.

But more important, nowhere in this entire discussion has anyone challenged each other about how they price out their work. To the original poster - what was your price and how did you come up with it? Do you use production ratios? Do you know how many manhours it was going to take you to do the job? Do you know "exactly" how much it costs your company to operate by the manhour?

I mean if your post went something like this..."Man, I bid a job this week and after measuring it, we determined that it was going to take 8 manhours per service and we found out that the winning bid was $90." Then we could all have a good laugh and take bets on how long the contractor will have the job. But to just say, "man, I bid a 4 acre property today and lost it to a damn low-baller for 90 buck." is really irresponsible. You have no idea what his cost of doing business is, what type of equipment he has or plans on using on the job - yet you accuse him of being a low-baller.

And you are dead wrong about 2010. Our family business has had it best year of volume increase in five years. We don't even do residentials and we have gotten more calls from residential customers than we have in years from people who are looking for higher quality. We just give them away to local companies. But we see that families are working more jobs and longer hours and are in need of residential services. Believe me, I know all areas aren't experiencing this. There certainly are areas of the country who are on hard times. And sometimes, (even in our area) it is necessary to become the "low cost provider." But if you truly understand your production rates and your costs of doing business, becoming the low-cost provider isn't difficult and can still be very profitable.

Do you guys want to keep on complaining or do you want to do something about it? Don't worry about the other guy - fix YOU first. And if you're really open to making a change...I will help you. Let me know.

puppypaws
04-25-2010, 08:15 PM
It doesn't matter what form of construction (residential,commercial) or what type of service you provide (lawncare for instance). All markets and trades are in the same boat.
I have a full time job in sales where I cater to commercial construction contractors and my partime job is my 10 lawn accounts that I do everything for from lawn to handyman work.
The fact of the matter is low ballers are in every shape and form of the economy right now. It's not just your lawncare industry, it's everywhere. I've seen many companies go under over the last copule years and many are treading water fighting to keep the lights on.
The strongest survive these economic down turns. Try to get rid of your debt, and work your but off to build your business. The fact of the matter is grass still grows and people still need to get it cut.
Your salesman ship is your strongest asset right now. Some folks want to pay for quality and others just want the grass cut. Know what your customers want and cater your service to their needs. Don't talk quality if the customer doesn't care. Discuss upsells rather than how great your company is. Sell him more of your services, ask for referals. Listen to what he wants.
To make up for lost revenue either search for new accounts or penetrate accounts that you allready have. Add to your menu of services and become your customers goto guy. Hire employees with multiple skills such as a carpenter, painter and basic handyman skills.
The key is to penetrate customers that you allready have a trusting relationship with. Hire employees with more skills than just running an edger and go after other types of service bids for your exsisting customers.
Good Luck!!!

Good post, go after the niche part of any business you are attempting to make a living at, the more skills you are good at, the better chance of survival. Perform a little extra work occasionally at no cost to let the customer know you appreciate them the same way they should appreciate your work. This makes for a bond between you and the customer that sometimes is hard for someone offering a lower price to break.

I think it basically comes back to the old saying, "treat people the way you want to be treated," and everything will take care of itself. You will run into a disappointing customer occasionally no matter how good you are; but what this is telling you is this person did not need to be a client of yours from the onset.

Mahoney3223
04-26-2010, 07:02 AM
Well Tommy I am a member of Alma and I do know how to bid man hours etc. I am not a hack with a push mower. There is no possible way one mower can mow 4 acres in an hour. I don't know what your smoking. You may talk about using a batwing etc. There is no way to professionally mow & stripe 4 acres in an hour. Period. It would have taken me with two Scag TT's 61'' 2+ man hours. Due to the fact my overhead is $18.24 an hour per man to cover my overhead, that would put me at 52.44 an hour my cost to do this place. When it's all said an done my cost would be at $109.24. This is a three man crew, two mowing, one trimming. Now, the place is done by some average joe with a riding tractor. Obviously this church is just looking for cost not quality. I am ok with that. The problem I had with this price is that I wouldn't have wasted my time and fuel to meet this joke of a maintenance man had I known they were looking for poor quality and "grass cutting". I was told they want a professional job. Now seeing the church and realizing this isn't true. So my original complaint is null and void now considering I was expecting something totally different from them. I am working on getting overhead down to lower my costs etc. Thanks for the wonderful insight Tommy.

milkie62
04-26-2010, 03:53 PM
I would not consider someone with a 21" mower a hack.Just because some of us mow lawns after working our regular jobs does not make us any less a "business man".I have insurance and a dba.I pay my taxes--I have to since I do commercial work.Just because I have lower expenses since my "real job" covers my health plan and retirement.So of course I can work for a lesser rate than a so called "professional lawn cutter" whatever that means.If some church-goer thinks he can do it for that kind of money,let him.He will realize if he made a mistake and will come up with some kind of excuse to either stop doing it sooner or later.
I have bid a couple of jobs at what "I feel" will be profitable for me.I was able to under bid two other LCO's to get the job ($465/cut).
This seems to be the only business that has a fair amount of cry-babies if some part-timer tries to make a few bucks.As I have always said and will continue to is if you only cut grass that is your problem.The hardscapers,pond guys,retaining wall builders,arborists and such that are on this site are the real deal.They have their niche and I do not see them complaining about lo-ballers.
Anybody can walk into Sear's,spend $2k on equipment load it into their 5x10 trailer,pull it home behind their Ford ranger or Chevy s-10 and be an LCO in a couple of hours.So what is the big deal.At least these guys are out trying to make a buck.If all they want to do is cut grass let them.If mowing grass was a real science there would not be any lo-ballers.Some homeowners should be in the grass-cutting business---some do beautiful work on their lawns.
I have one question for the crybabies: How do you professionally cut grass ? I am sure there must be some kind of course or book out there if some of you claim to cut it professionally.

Knight511
04-26-2010, 04:04 PM
This seems to be the only business that has a fair amount of cry-babies if some part-timer tries to make a few bucks.

:usflag: :clapping:

It is all in the attitude... even though I am a part-timer like you, I know I am not going to go mow a yard for $10 like some have bee posting here... I have my level of cost just for the time spent away from my wife much less the actual cost of running the business. yes, there are several people that are quick to cry about the "lowballers" but they would still be crying if they couldn't put food on their table and that is the level some of the low ballers are working at. It is a simple application of market influences... the person that is going to pay $40 for a truly professional cut is going to shy away from a $10 because of the perception of the person not being professional. The same is true of the person shying away from the $40... there is a threshold people are willing to pay and there are several levels an operator can work at.

Personally, I pull the yards that the customer is willing to hit the mid mark for... someone who wants the quality of a $10 has no business dealing with me... I like mowing. I take it seriously. Even if I am a part-time, no talent hack in some eyes here... but that is my lot in the LCO world... :) the little guy. :D

milkie62
04-26-2010, 04:07 PM
I also have a good example here on pricing.
A blacktop company right around the corner from me called me for a bid.I sort of know the guy.I did not know that his property was so big.About 2.5 acres.A couple of low wet spots that will need walk-behind mowing since a zero-turn would sink.I tell him Between $125-150/cut.He looks surprised.He said a guy up the hill use to charge him $60 to just cut it and nothing else.I tell him he has about 40 minutes of weed trimming because of the ditch plus hand mowing for the wet spot.He agrees with me on that since he must have done it.He finally agrees to the initial price and an adjusted price after doing it once.Since he is only 1 mile away it is an easy drive and could be done after eating dinner and still be home for the evening news.I was up front with him and told him I would adjust the price if I could.
So how does that make me a lo-baller by adjusting my price if possible to get a job so close to home.I am out in the country and most everyone out here mows their own lawn.My first job before this one is 10 miles away.

mrealty
04-26-2010, 04:31 PM
This seems to be the only business that has a fair amount of cry-babies if some part-timer tries to make a few bucks.

:) No. It's just that lawn care is the only one you've been paying close attention to. Back in the day, I owned a screen printing business in a busy shopping center in my town. There was always some low balling guy popping up with a printing press in his garage who could under cut my pricing. Many other screen printer owners were "crying" about it. I just focused on what I had control over. Marketing, reputation, character, personality/likability, and timeliness were king. There's more to sales than a cheap price.

I've been in real estate over a decade now and in our area we have some builders coming to AGS from ATL who can do new construction homes for $50 per square foot instead of what has typically been $95 per square foot. Those $50 per square foot homes include granite counter tops, all appliances including the refrig, sod on all 4 sides, sprinklers, brink front, 10 foot ceilings, coffered ceilings and more - no one can touch them. Now we have all these "crybaby" local builders hating on the builders from ATL because they "low ball." Just be careful as to how you define a "low baller" especially when it's a derogatory. Sometimes it's deserved. Sometimes not.

It's everywhere in every trade.

Mahoney3223
04-26-2010, 09:34 PM
milkie,

you are the crybaby. The original intention of the topic wasn't to whine about part-timers. Part-timers aren't my competition. I was bringing to the attention of all how ridiculous the price scalping has gotten lately. $90.00 for 4 acres is cheap. Real cheap. I couldn't believe how low the pricing had gone down here. I don't care about you and your 21'' mower and your "real job" and your "benefits". That was my original point. Now if you want, you and all your solo buddies can go on complaining I'm singling you out and making fun of you for being a solo etc. Not my original intention of the post. I was calling attention to the fact that $90.00 for 4 acres is lowballed. I don't care if your one man doing it or 10. plain and simple.

Mahoney3223
04-26-2010, 09:36 PM
now i should probably apologize for using price-scalped, I'm sure I offended someone on here since all of you take offense to everything people post anymore. when did America lose its balls?:hammerhead:

g21
04-26-2010, 09:39 PM
Well Mahoney,
I never refereed to you as a hack or implied anything of the sort. But unfortunately, your numbers do not add up, and are very off base from reality. And I hate having these types of discussions because there are indeed many variables that come into play. But I can promise you that you have something fundamentally wrong in your estimating procedures and this could maybe be why you are losing out on work.

First, you are wrong about the mowing times. We have a client with 4 acres of irrigated turf under a 5-step fert program. (very lush). My son as a one-man crew finishes the mow, edge, trim and blow in an hour and twenty minutes with a Deere 797 61" ZTR. The Deere he uses is rated for mowing 3.8 acres and hour but he has always gotten more out of it. The factory always rates on the conservative side for safety reasons. If you think it is going to take two 61" Scags 2+ hours to mow 4 acres of turf, I'm afraid it is you that is smoking the funny stuff.

And to have three men on that job would be about as in-efficient as one could be. Again, I can't be sure because I haven't seen it...but I would love to have that property at $90. a cut. We have large condominium properties that two men do in two hours, so I am pretty certain I am right on target.

If you want to provide me with the measurements, I can give you a pretty exact quote and really show you where you are off base. But I have a feeling you didn't measure the property and don't have production ratios as we preach in ALMA. If you measured, and plugged in your ratios, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

I'm not trying to blast you or embarrass you - I'm trying to help you. Establish a set of production ratios for each piece of equipment you own and for each task you perform. Measure your properties that you are bidding on, plug in the numbers, and you will have the best year you ever had - ever! Then you can buy me dinner! :)

Good Luck!
T.

puppypaws
04-26-2010, 10:05 PM
milkie,

you are the crybaby .

Can you believe; what I suppose is a grown man (wondering) calling someone a crybaby...LOL

milkie62
04-26-2010, 11:40 PM
It was funny after I told this one guy that there was no way that his place was going to be done in 1 hr.There was a steep step in the property that a zero-turn would not beable to do without scalping at the top and jamming at the bottom.I do a property for $90/cut that takes me about 2.5 hrs.I would like to get $125/cut for it but I know I would lose it.
I do not work for cheap either but I know my area will not support $125/hr like some guys here claim they get.
Me being a part-timer am happy at $50/hr. I have a Ferris IS3000Z 61" cut with bagger.New I paid $12,500 back in 2008.I think that should be considered commercial by any standards.I get roughly $85/hr for my farm tractor and brush-hog.I do not think my area would support much more of a price increase and I am not about to try and lose the 3 jobs I have.I also get $250 for 3 hrs of roto-tilling including my travel time.Maybe I could get a bit more but for that much on a Saturday morning I am happy with and home by 11 am.
Every area of the country has a different rate.Why would you think that housing is cheaper in some parts of the country.I also have been charging $25 per push for snowplowing for the last 20 yrs with no chance of an increase since that is the going rate in my area,period.

hmc610
04-27-2010, 12:43 AM
Well I got a new customer last week. His yard is about 2 1/2 acres, lots of trees and stumps. He ask me if lawncare was my fulltime job and I told him it was. He said the last guy was only charging him $50.00 a cut but was hit and miss when it got done.
So i gave him a price of $120.00 a week, the job is 30 miles away one way. We cut his yard on Wed. it takes 2-1/2 hrs 2 guys plus 1 hr drive time.
The guy calls me today and says we did a great job and I am thinking this is going good, but then he says I found someone to do it for $60.00 and he is going with him.
That is just great what a kick to the gut. How could anyone cut this yard for $60.00? I said alright and he said that if it didn't workout he would keep me in mind.

milkie62
04-27-2010, 12:52 AM
Thats what I told the guy around the corner from me to get the guy that was doing it for $60.But he still let me give it a try.So he may have been blowing smoke to think I would jump at it.

punt66
04-27-2010, 05:55 AM
Well Mahoney,
I never refereed to you as a hack or implied anything of the sort. But unfortunately, your numbers do not add up, and are very off base from reality. And I hate having these types of discussions because there are indeed many variables that come into play. But I can promise you that you have something fundamentally wrong in your estimating procedures and this could maybe be why you are losing out on work.

First, you are wrong about the mowing times. We have a client with 4 acres of irrigated turf under a 5-step fert program. (very lush). My son as a one-man crew finishes the mow, edge, trim and blow in an hour and twenty minutes with a Deere 797 61" ZTR. The Deere he uses is rated for mowing 3.8 acres and hour but he has always gotten more out of it. The factory always rates on the conservative side for safety reasons. If you think it is going to take two 61" Scags 2+ hours to mow 4 acres of turf, I'm afraid it is you that is smoking the funny stuff.

And to have three men on that job would be about as in-efficient as one could be. Again, I can't be sure because I haven't seen it...but I would love to have that property at $90. a cut. We have large condominium properties that two men do in two hours, so I am pretty certain I am right on target.

If you want to provide me with the measurements, I can give you a pretty exact quote and really show you where you are off base. But I have a feeling you didn't measure the property and don't have production ratios as we preach in ALMA. If you measured, and plugged in your ratios, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

I'm not trying to blast you or embarrass you - I'm trying to help you. Establish a set of production ratios for each piece of equipment you own and for each task you perform. Measure your properties that you are bidding on, plug in the numbers, and you will have the best year you ever had - ever! Then you can buy me dinner! :)

Good Luck!
T.

i am with you on this one. It shouldnt take 2 guys that long. I have a 3 acre lot with plenty of obsticals that takes me as a solo 1 hour 10 minutes. I run a 52" ferris ztr. I get $85 for the cut.

18lmslcsr
04-28-2010, 01:47 AM
I'm glad to hear that some areas of the industry are seeing up swings in sales. Here in SE WI it has been a tough two years. Been ding this for 9 yrs. full time (biz ins., taxes, sales taxes, biz expenses...etc.)
Last year business was down between 30-40%. This year it is starting on the low/down side of the scale again.
Average price for a lawn is approx. $25 (typical 1/8th-1/4 acre lot). Some of the pricing structures I've been seeing a lot more aggressive. $12 -18 per lawn.
I'm finding it harder to keep clients as the majority of seniors are beginning to sell there properties and the newer/younger crop of home owners are doing it them selves or highering the services that can offer the cut at $12-18.
I just can not compete with a $12 cut. $18 cutting is pushing it. I think though in order to keep food on the table and the mortgage paid I'm going to have to be more aggressive on the price and the willingness to do any and all work this season.

C.

18lmslcsr
04-28-2010, 01:49 AM
Lol! I just noticed I have not posted much over the past few years. Biz was full throttle.

C.

fiveoboy01
04-28-2010, 02:07 AM
Whole lot of whining in this thread.

Now I'm not tooting my horn, but my revenue from January to the end of this month has more than doubled compared to 2009, and the month of April alone is nearly triple compared to last year. So any excuses about 2010 being a bad year because of variables such as the economy are simply invalid.

Maybe if some of you worried more about your own businesses, then you wouldn't have to sit here and complain about someone else being cheaper.

There are plenty of people out there who, while concerned about pricing, don't make it their #1 criteria for choosing a service provider. You just have to find them:)

Mahoney3223
04-28-2010, 10:03 PM
Can you believe; what I suppose is a grown man (wondering) calling someone a crybaby...LOL

what kind of grown man (suppose) is named puppypaws?:laugh:

Mahoney3223
04-28-2010, 10:07 PM
I just can't believe your son can mow 4 acres (striped, no clumps, looking good) in an hour and twenty minutes. I'm sorry I've been doing this 10 years and there is no way one man could do all that. I would love to sit down and talk about production ratios and the like. I will get in touch with you on that. But why isn't everyone on here trying to get our prices up. THAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE THREAD!!! i DON'T give a damn whose revenue is up because of what. Guess what? If you live in the midwest and you plow revenue will be high because of the great snow fall we had. Same with dc area and etc. That's not a reflection on your business savvy. If you guys want to mow 4 acres for $90.00 awesome. We as an industry should try and get our prices UP. I know, let's all throw out figures and facts and justify the fact we are selling ourselves short. Good idea.

fiveoboy01
04-28-2010, 10:21 PM
I also see 4 acres in 1:20 mowed trimmed and blown a pretty good stretch unless there's very little trimming.
Posted via Mobile Device

rain man
04-28-2010, 10:22 PM
Not all areas are the same. Once you get 30 minutes from where our market is its like you dropped off the edge of the earth. Economy is shot in so many places. I feel for those who are in tough markets.

milkie62
04-28-2010, 10:35 PM
I have to drive 8 miles to get to my first really good paying customer.A few $30 cuts after that then 5 miles to my commercial job .
I am sorry but there is no way my $30 cuts are going to command any more money than I am getting.They are side by side which helps,only unload and load once.But at least my name is getting out there and I am at least picking up SOME money between sites.Plus these 2 are right on the way.
The high priced guys must be very close to the city or very upscale developments.The one $30 cut I do the yard looks like crap and the guy partially mulches his beds.I had asked him about edging and mulch but he said he likes to do it.Also mulch in my area goes for $30/yd.I asked how much for a tractor trailer load dumped at my house ----only $2/yd less.I wish I could get it for $18/yd like some guys claim.

Mahoney3223
04-28-2010, 10:48 PM
4 acres mowed trimmed and blowed if your doing the old block cut maybe

Mahoney3223
04-28-2010, 10:49 PM
The economy has been shot here in Ohio for about 10 years. To hear some guys on here it's 1995 all over again. Not buying it.

ncls
04-28-2010, 11:03 PM
Average price for a lawn is approx. $25 (typical 1/8th-1/4 acre lot). Some of the pricing structures I've been seeing a lot more aggressive. $12 -18 per lawn.
I'm finding it harder to keep clients as the majority of seniors are beginning to sell there properties and the newer/younger crop of home owners are doing it them selves or highering the services that can offer the cut at $12-18.
I just can not compete with a $12 cut. $18 cutting is pushing it. I think though in order to keep food on the table and the mortgage paid I'm going to have to be more aggressive on the price and the willingness to do any and all work this season.

C.

See, if a scaper picks up clusters of customers for 15-18 per mow, he actually makes more money per hour than one large property with windshield time. I have customers in the outer ring of Cleveland, there are streets where I have 8-12 customers. Drop the trailer gate once, and spend the next two hours cutting between 4-6 per hour.

You might do the best work in the world. You would call me a hack. In those neighborhoods, price rules. Either compete, or waste your money advertising there. I win.

I offer plowing services the same way. If I can plow 12 houses on a street, I can offer the price way cheaper than someone driving from street to street to plow one at a time.

People on this site are so bent on being the best lawn mower. It's not rocket science.

Get enough work to have a weed whacker person, full time person to trim and edge, or if you have larger properties, get another mower, and have them help you cut. That is how you will make the money you are all chasing.

Mahoney3223
05-08-2010, 08:56 PM
I don't think 3 guys is really going to make you rake in the cash..you either need to be a highly productive solo or go big

jrush
05-08-2010, 11:20 PM
I just can't believe your son can mow 4 acres (striped, no clumps, looking good) in an hour and twenty minutes. I'm sorry I've been doing this 10 years and there is no way one man could do all that. I would love to sit down and talk about production ratios and the like. I will get in touch with you on that. But why isn't everyone on here trying to get our prices up. THAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE THREAD!!! i DON'T give a damn whose revenue is up because of what. Guess what? If you live in the midwest and you plow revenue will be high because of the great snow fall we had. Same with dc area and etc. That's not a reflection on your business savvy. If you guys want to mow 4 acres for $90.00 awesome. We as an industry should try and get our prices UP. I know, let's all throw out figures and facts and justify the fact we are selling ourselves short. Good idea.

I do 3 baseball fields, and common areas which is under 4 but more than 3 acres with my 61 Scag it takes 1.5 hours, and trimming takes over an hour.
With that in mind I don't know if the Deere is faster than my Scag.

milkie62
05-08-2010, 11:25 PM
The problem I see with having a crew of guys is that eventually they will catch on and go solo.OR they will just stop showing up.I do not see how someone would work for a LCO for what some are paying.To run a weed trimmer for 8 hrs and look forward to the next day doing the same thing is mind boggling to me.
When I use to work for a buddy who was a contractor and did lawn work we had a 60/40 split.He carried the insurance and had the bigger equipment.I did all the cutting in and trim work.When I worked for him in his remodeling business he paid me $25/hr when he needed me,never less than 4 hrs.
IMO it is better to work at HD or lowe's for $10/hr than to work for an LCO for the same money.

milkie62
05-08-2010, 11:28 PM
I forgot what my 61" ferris is suppose to do in acres/hr but I do not think I am close and it is all open and I am mowing full bore.Maybe 3 acres /hr I am doing on my wide open account.

borwicks
05-17-2010, 08:32 AM
Let me do the math. Wait i cant. is it just mowing? how much trimming, etc. You cant just throw out this number without pics and proper info. There's no reason a 2 man crew couldn't bang that out in under a hour. However, without seeing it, I have no idea. We have a 2.5 acre lot that is mowing and trimming, gets done in 1.35 man hours. We have a 4.75 acre lot that gets done in 2.35 man hours, mowing,trimming,blowing. So yes 4 acres in 2 man hours is doable. That would be $45 per man hour. That is a reasonable price.

g21
05-18-2010, 07:36 AM
The problem I see with having a crew of guys is that eventually they will catch on and go solo.OR they will just stop showing up.I do not see how someone would work for a LCO for what some are paying.To run a weed trimmer for 8 hrs and look forward to the next day doing the same thing is mind boggling to me.
When I use to work for a buddy who was a contractor and did lawn work we had a 60/40 split.He carried the insurance and had the bigger equipment.I did all the cutting in and trim work.When I worked for him in his remodeling business he paid me $25/hr when he needed me,never less than 4 hrs.
IMO it is better to work at HD or lowe's for $10/hr than to work for an LCO for the same money.

Milkie, you started this thread out by complaining about losing an account to lowballers. I along with others have proven to you that the account can be done in far less manhours than you had estimated (guessed).

Now you are making ridiculous statements like this. If you are doing lawn work just as a hobby or even just to provide for yourself alone, you should make people aware of that fact so they don't wast time trying to help you.

To say that it would be wiser for someone to go work for Lowes rather than you, is insane. That means that you have no plan in place for employees to advance and grow as both an individual and a professional. Everyone doesn't want to be a business owner. Some would make great owners, but don't like the risk or the stress that comes with owning a business. But it's up to you as the owner to continue to grow your company in order to provide "opportunity" for your employees. For you to admit that your company only provides a dead-end, 8. hr job means that you have no vision, no passion and no clear objectives on growing a thriving business.

Yes, if an employee has that entrepreneurial flame burning inside, he will leave you one day. But that's part of what being a business owner is all about. Providing good jobs, and yes, teaching and mentoring people that will one day go off and become business-owners themselves and do the same thing. That's a badge of honor that you should wear proudly! That's why it's the "small businesses" that are the engine that keeps this country strong.

You should really evaluate why you are in business. And seek help if you really are interested in "building" a sustainable business.

bradsd
05-18-2010, 11:58 AM
I am thinking many of the guys in my area are drawing unemployment and running a small unlicensed mowing business as extra boot. Many factories in my area have shut down in the last 5 years or so.

clovergreen79
05-18-2010, 01:01 PM
i got into the business this year not because i was layed off, i had a job, but because i wanted to do something for myself. reading articles and talk with guys out of mt area, i thought i could stay somewhere close to everybody else. i actually came in higher than the biggest company in town 2+ acres for $ 70 bucks ? really. they would send 3 men it would take them about an hour. i take 2.5 hours. the big thing everybody is wanting every 10- 14 days instead of weekly. i realize i picked a bad year to start but this is crazy.

PROCUTS LAWNCARE
05-18-2010, 06:41 PM
Got a good for ya,

Friend of mine got out bid the other day. Other guy bid 17 bucks! My friend asked the other guy why so low... He said well I had to raise my 10 dollar minimum!

17 bucks for a yard! You gotta be kidding me!

Mario

mdlwn1
05-18-2010, 06:49 PM
Sooo....we bid out a 4+ acre church for weekly mowing.....and I just received word as with most everything else commercial we bid new this season...that the winnning bid was $90.00........This year has to be the worst I've ever seen in my life for lowball numbers be it from large Lco's to solo's...this is almost getting comical....anyone else seeing some ridiculous hack numbers?

Your just becomming more aware...it's ALWAYS been this way. You just wait them out..they fail or charge what you do. These "lowballers" represent the overwhelming majority of service providers out there..always been that way

JRP LLC
05-18-2010, 07:00 PM
I put a bid in on a rather large mulch job about 40+ yards of dyed black mulch for $3000 I bidded it a little lower because it was at a hoa and could have got me more work. He calls back and says the winning bid was $1200

mdlwn1
05-18-2010, 07:02 PM
If that guy isnt lieing...grab a few beers and a lawn chair....

punt66
05-18-2010, 07:18 PM
I put a bid in on a rather large mulch job about 40+ yards of dyed black mulch for $3000 I bidded it a little lower because it was at a hoa and could have got me more work. He calls back and says the winning bid was $1200

he is doing it for free.

JRP LLC
05-18-2010, 07:23 PM
Yeah, that's 1200 in mulch if you are buying it from the local nursery. I get it for 18 a yd though.

txjoe
05-18-2010, 07:30 PM
My thought is that they usually get exactly what they are paying for. The lowballers probably won't last long.

yardguy28
05-18-2010, 08:02 PM
i think every location is different.......

in my neck of the woods i'm having the best season of my life so far and i know some of the others are too.

every time i turn around my phone is ringing and someone wants something. i'm not saying i've been hired by every single person that calls but the calls and jobs keep coming.

i'm solo and if i keep business i might have to hire some help. and with the rain we've been getting it's been a struggle to stay on schedule.

puppypaws
05-18-2010, 08:50 PM
A fellow called me today and wanted a price on an insurance job. I drove over, looked at the work and asked him what price he had already been given? He said another gentleman quoted him $2800.00, I said that is entirely too much. I asked him what his insurance deductable was on his policy, he said $1000.00. I told him I would have him a written quote for $2500.00 to send the insurance company within 30 minutes, and the worked would be completed by the middle of tomorrow afternoon.

I said I am doing the job for $1500.00 and will give you $1000.00 back in cash to cover your deductable. He said, it sure didn't take you long to decide what needed to be done and how to handle it to my advantage, looking at my watch it took you about 10 minutes. I said if there is not a great deal of materials in the equation, it's really very simple. He could not believe I was taking care of all his problems without a dime coming from his pocket and all his worries completely taken care of.

lawnguyland
05-18-2010, 09:14 PM
A fellow called me today and wanted a price on an insurance job. I drove over, looked at the work and asked him what price he had already been given? He said another gentleman quoted him $2800.00, I said that is entirely too much. I asked him what his insurance deductable was on his policy, he said $1000.00. I told him I would have him a written quote for $2500.00 to send the insurance company within 30 minutes, and the worked would be completed by the middle of tomorrow afternoon.

I said I am doing the job for $1500.00 and will give you $1000.00 back in cash to cover your deductable. He said, it sure didn't take you long to decide what needed to be done and how to handle it to my advantage, looking at my watch it took you about 10 minutes. I said if there is not a great deal of materials in the equation, it's really very simple. He could not believe I was taking care of all his problems without a dime coming from his pocket and all his worries completely taken care of.

Be careful, you just admitted to insurance fraud and unless you're thinking tax fraud too you gotta pay taxes on the 2500, not the 1500 you make. Of course, you wouldn't do this and this is the internet and a hypothetical situation I'm sure!

zmowing
05-18-2010, 09:17 PM
We lost a church we mowed for 15 year. I saw the new company mowing there so I stopped in to talk to him. I asked him how he go this job, he said machine shop is slow so they put an ad in the paper to mow and the church called them.So i told them we got $118.00 per cut 24 cuts a year.He said he gets $95.00 per cut, 15 years ago we got at $100.00

puppypaws
05-18-2010, 09:43 PM
Be careful, you just admitted to insurance fraud and unless you're thinking tax fraud too you gotta pay taxes on the 2500, not the 1500 you make. Of course, you wouldn't do this and this is the internet and a hypothetical situation I'm sure!

This countries government takes care of us so well, I like to do them a favor every chance I get, not that I would take advantage of them any more than they would take advantage of us.....LOL

AmGreen
05-18-2010, 09:46 PM
bid on a church last year and the winning bid was $400 a month. we were at $1600 which was in range of two other bids. couldn't figure it out.

this is exactly why we stick with 90% residential. don't get me wrong, we do commercial but we don't pursue it. i've found that if you can handle the bs that comes along with some pita customers, your turn over and competition on accounts is limited.

yardguy28
05-18-2010, 10:20 PM
why would anyone ask what price they have already given??? that is one of the most unprofessional things you can do PERIOD.......

i do estimates all the time where the person tells me they are getting multipul estimates or that they had one already give them an estimate. i NEVER ask what the other estimates are. some offer the information on there own but NEVER from me asking.

milkie62
05-18-2010, 10:45 PM
At times I am not good at estimating the time for certain accounts.But on the other hand from what I hear on this site LCO's start out an employee anywhere from $8-10/hr.Minimum wage is $7.50/hr in my area I think.How do you expect an adult who lives a somewhat normal life expected to live on those wages where the employer could go under at the end of the year.At least at one of the big home improvement places he would get for the same money and get benefits plus not have to worry about not having a job or being laid off for the winter.
I do pretty well I think for being only a part-timer but would never consider quitting my regular job $65k with great benefits to do this kind of work where not even cut-throating you could lose a bid on a good size property by only 5 dollars.
I get a chuckle out of some guys here that claim they "professionally" cut a lawn.Other than lines being straight,decent edging with no grass blown on the mulch and a clean walk and driveway when done is about as professional can be.An interested 14 year old could be taught to do that as shown by the age of some members here.

sharpcuts
05-18-2010, 11:54 PM
An interested 14 year old could be taught to do that as shown by the age of some members here.

Key word here: "interested". I agree that a 14 y.o. can learn to do it right. The diff between the professionals is the unprofessionals are only interested in getting paid, not doing it right.

As far as the title of this thread, here is my story: I was asked to bid the county courthouse complex, mowing, edging, trim, blow, & hedges. They want performance bond. Must be mowed either before 8 am or after 4:30 pm. ("We prefer Wednesday":confused:). Long story short. Guy underbids me by almost half! :hammerhead: . Now granted I was probably a bit high, but nowhere near that high! But, hey, he can have it! While he's working for free over there I don't have to worry about him lowballing my residential. It's a Lose - Win situation.:clapping:

DuraCutter
05-19-2010, 12:08 AM
Key word here: "interested". I agree that a 14 y.o. can learn to do it right. The diff between the professionals is the unprofessionals are only interested in getting paid, not doing it right.

As far as the title of this thread, here is my story: I was asked to bid the county courthouse complex, mowing, edging, trim, blow, & hedges. They want performance bond. Must be mowed either before 8 am or after 4:30 pm. ("We prefer Wednesday":confused:). Long story short. Guy underbids me by almost half! :hammerhead: . Now granted I was probably a bit high, but nowhere near that high! But, hey, he can have it! While he's working for free over there I don't have to worry about him lowballing my residential. It's a Lose - Win situation.:clapping:

To put it more bluntly just about anyone can cut grass, even an 8 year old. Asides from the rich folk who may be fussy, most people just want it cut. In fact I believe in a movie a while back, a monkey cut the lawn. It's very much like shovelling snow, anybody with an IQ of 40 and over can do it.
Whenever anyone can do a service, prices will "always" be depressed cause the lowballers do have kids they teach their tricks to.

;)

AllSeasonServices
05-19-2010, 12:11 AM
Its a bad economic time. As I see it if I can make it through this without losing my shirt all the fly-by-night guys who are just doing this b/c they lost there jobs will go do something else and demand will increase. And people who are tight right now and have cut back on landscaping will spend more for the quality. And right now its more than just our industry plagued by low pricing. Demand is down everywhere.
So if we want this over a little faster, in November go vote for the guy who will screw the free market the least. If you hear them talking about it not being FAIR that you make more than your neighbor just bc you work harder, thats probably not the right guy.
I blame the politicians... all of em, dont care what party they are!

rain man
05-19-2010, 12:29 AM
Its about turning a profit which will support a living and what it takes to turn that profit. Evidently this isn't as easy as many believe due to the number of people who fail at it every year. Most can sharpen a blade. Few are good at math.

lawnguyland
05-19-2010, 06:42 AM
This countries government takes care of us so well, I like to do them a favor every chance I get, not that I would take advantage of them any more than they would take advantage of us.....LOL

stupid government:usflag:

puppypaws
05-19-2010, 08:28 AM
stupid government:usflag:

I hold allegiance to country and constitution, not a govenrment that twist the constitution to fit their agenda.....:usflag:


why would anyone ask what price they have already given??? that is one of the most unprofessional things you can do PERIOD.......

i do estimates all the time where the person tells me they are getting multipul estimates or that they had one already give them an estimate. i NEVER ask what the other estimates are. some offer the information on there own but NEVER from me asking.

When you walk up and the first thing a person does is call the name of a person and say, "I can't begin to believe what he told me the price would be, he even put on the quote $500.00 for a dumpster." I have no problem asking, because I know he is ready to talk, and he definitely was not going to let this person have the job.

yardguy28
05-19-2010, 10:06 PM
I hold allegiance to country and constitution, not a govenrment that twist the constitution to fit their agenda.....:usflag:




When you walk up and the first thing a person does is call the name of a person and say, "I can't begin to believe what he told me the price would be, he even put on the quote $500.00 for a dumpster." I have no problem asking, because I know he is ready to talk, and he definitely was not going to let this person have the job.

definitly NOT something you will ever find me doing. i don't care what the other guys prices are. it's not like i'm gonna change mine based off of what the others guy estimates. my prices are what they are. take it or leave it.

i've had plenty of times where people call and ask me for an estimate. i give them a price and they call back a couple days later and say so and so will do it for this much. are you interested in doing it for that much. i say nope.

milkie62
05-19-2010, 11:26 PM
I just got a call from a single mother.Kind of a small lawn which I know I can do in about 20 minutes.She said everybody charges her $40/cut and they do it every week.She said nobody will do it every 10 days so she can save some money.She was up front with me.Well anyway it is exactly on my way home from my big every 10 day commercial job.So I told her I would do it for $30/cut every 10 days.I know even with load and unload time no more than 25 minutes.So I make my gas money and lunch money for the day on the way home.Plus I am helping out someone who is having to crunch $$$$.

Ballard Lawn Care
05-20-2010, 12:46 AM
Keeping a personal relationship with my clients keeps the lowballers away,let your rep...speak for your cost go the extra mile some times!!

punt66
05-20-2010, 06:15 AM
Keeping a personal relationship with my clients keeps the lowballers away,let your rep...speak for your cost go the extra mile some times!!

Bingo. We have a winner.

puppypaws
05-20-2010, 07:27 AM
definitly NOT something you will ever find me doing. i don't care what the other guys prices are. it's not like i'm gonna change mine based off of what the others guy estimates. my prices are what they are. take it or leave it.

i've had plenty of times where people call and ask me for an estimate. i give them a price and they call back a couple days later and say so and so will do it for this much. are you interested in doing it for that much. i say nope.

I'm sorry, but must be honest, if you bid against me I will cut your throat if anyway possible, whether the majority will admit it or not they will do the same, and don't fool yourself for one second believing they want. I can promise you this without doubt, if you find yourself in a position of going bankrupt or cutting someone else's throat, you will bleed them in a heartbeat, it sounds good to say you want, but believe me you will.

SangerLawn
05-20-2010, 07:50 AM
I had a flyer in my mailbox on Sunday when I got home. Wish I had a scanner on this computer because I would have to show it to you. Flyer said they will cut the grass, fertilize, and spray for weeds for $15.00 per week. Most properties on our street are 2 acres or bigger.

I googled the company name and found the name was a legal company. I called them up and found out…..they were not licensed or insured and to top it off…they were using someone else’s company name!!!!!

borwicks
05-20-2010, 01:58 PM
I just got a call from a single mother.Kind of a small lawn which I know I can do in about 20 minutes.She said everybody charges her $40/cut and they do it every week.She said nobody will do it every 10 days so she can save some money.She was up front with me.Well anyway it is exactly on my way home from my big every 10 day commercial job.So I told her I would do it for $30/cut every 10 days.I know even with load and unload time no more than 25 minutes.So I make my gas money and lunch money for the day on the way home.Plus I am helping out someone who is having to crunch $$$$.

very nice. thats how you keep clients and get them. referrals will come from this lady.

puppypaws
05-20-2010, 02:41 PM
I had a flyer in my mailbox on Sunday when I got home. Wish I had a scanner on this computer because I would have to show it to you. Flyer said they will cut the grass, fertilize, and spray for weeds for $15.00 per week. Most properties on our street are 2 acres or bigger.

I googled the company name and found the name was a legal company. I called them up and found out…..they were not licensed or insured and to top it off…they were using someone else’s company name!!!!!

You need a license and insurance to drive a lawn mower, I knew you need these to drive a motor vehicle but have never seen it required to drive a mower, interesting?

punt66
05-20-2010, 04:59 PM
You need a license and insurance to drive a lawn mower, I knew you need these to drive a motor vehicle but have never seen it required to drive a mower, interesting?

you are not licensed????????

borwicks
05-20-2010, 05:06 PM
In iowa you need to have a contractor licence, chemical licence, sales tax licence, just to name a few
Posted via Mobile Device

txjoe
05-20-2010, 06:25 PM
Sorry, in all my years of service I have never stopped at telling people that I can't do the price lower. If they have someone cheaper, I tell them that they should go for it that I can't touch it. I will turn down jobs before I take a loss. NO job is worth it, if i am working for nothing.

Charles
05-20-2010, 07:01 PM
I just got a call from a single mother.Kind of a small lawn which I know I can do in about 20 minutes.She said everybody charges her $40/cut and they do it every week.She said nobody will do it every 10 days so she can save some money.She was up front with me.Well anyway it is exactly on my way home from my big every 10 day commercial job.So I told her I would do it for $30/cut every 10 days.I know even with load and unload time no more than 25 minutes.So I make my gas money and lunch money for the day on the way home.Plus I am helping out someone who is having to crunch $$$$.

That doesn't make any sense. She would have paid $40 for 10 days. You lowballed yourself and took it for $30:rolleyes: Maybe I am misunderstanding. Sure hope so

yardguy28
05-20-2010, 07:58 PM
That doesn't make any sense. She would have paid $40 for 10 days. You lowballed yourself and took it for $30:rolleyes: Maybe I am misunderstanding. Sure hope so

some of us are in the business for other reasons besides money. i have clients who tell me i'm not charging enough. but they never pay any more than i charge and i never raise there price unless i would be raising everyone elses.

for me the money is not the numero uno reason i'm doing this business. just because someone says they've always been charged x amount doesn't mean i'm gonna charge them that same amount. i charge what I CHARGE NOT what some other LCO charges.

Charles
05-20-2010, 08:28 PM
some of us are in the business for other reasons besides money. i have clients who tell me i'm not charging enough. but they never pay any more than i charge and i never raise there price unless i would be raising everyone elses.

for me the money is not the numero uno reason i'm doing this business. just because someone says they've always been charged x amount doesn't mean i'm gonna charge them that same amount. i charge what I CHARGE NOT what some other LCO charges.

So? I charge a fair market price. Whatever the market will bring. You can work for less than me and others if you want. Free country. I am charged top dollar for health insurance etc. I have plenty of happy customers who think I would not be a good business man to charge less than the market would bring. Ya, your clients tell you are that you are not charging enough because it isn't a good business practice to charge less than what you could get.

puppypaws
05-20-2010, 09:00 PM
you are not licensed????????

NO, and I just walked in the door from mowing 3/4 of a mile of paved road at about 25' on each side, and to make it worse I had a deputy sheriff pass me. I'm sure glad he didn't stop and check my mowing license, I was mowing so fast on a Super Z I feel assured he checked my speed with radar.

yardguy28
05-21-2010, 09:36 AM
So? I charge a fair market price. Whatever the market will bring. You can work for less than me and others if you want. Free country. I am charged top dollar for health insurance etc. I have plenty of happy customers who think I would not be a good business man to charge less than the market would bring. Ya, your clients tell you are that you are not charging enough because it isn't a good business practice to charge less than what you could get.

the clients that have told me i'm not charging enough have been acquantences of mine since before i've been in the business and just want to see me suceed.

one client i did some week pulling for before i was in the lawn business. she hired me because her current service was tearing up the turf in the backyard and now has some bald spots that won't grow grass.

another client tells me i don't charge enough because she always thinks what would she want to be paid for doing the job. this lady has a yard smaller than my minimum charge yet she pays me double that amount every time come. we talked about it last time and she figures she'd want more plus she figures its not really worth my time to come to her small lawn so she pays me more.

but on a whole my prices are my prices. i don't care what others are charging. and for the most i am where the market is in my prices. i have had people tell me i'm charging to much or want to much.

Charles
05-21-2010, 12:39 PM
the clients that have told me i'm not charging enough have been acquantences of mine since before i've been in the business and just want to see me suceed.

one client i did some week pulling for before i was in the lawn business. she hired me because her current service was tearing up the turf in the backyard and now has some bald spots that won't grow grass.

another client tells me i don't charge enough because she always thinks what would she want to be paid for doing the job. this lady has a yard smaller than my minimum charge yet she pays me double that amount every time come. we talked about it last time and she figures she'd want more plus she figures its not really worth my time to come to her small lawn so she pays me more.

but on a whole my prices are my prices. i don't care what others are charging. and for the most i am where the market is in my prices. i have had people tell me i'm charging to much or want to much.

Yea just what I said. They don't think you will succeed charging so little. The lady says she wouldn't do it for what you charge. You are suppose to be the business man. You have to think and plan for the long term. You have to plan for retirement. Have extra money for investments. Have money for equipment replacement. Have money for Health Insurance and long term disability in case you are sick or injured. Have money for vacations etc etc.
People who sell Real Estate(for example) know what homes in the neighborhood sell for. That is an important part of their job. They don't want to underestimate and cost their client money or over price and have the house sit. You don't want to over price for the neighborhood or under bid and lose money. Most people in a neighborhood know what others pay and expect you to price in that general range. Knowing what others charge is a good guideline to follow. Definitely not the only criteria. I wouldn't want to bid $40 when the customer is used to paying $50. $10 here and $10 there and soon you are talking about a lot of money. $10 =$30 or $40 a month.

yardguy28
05-21-2010, 01:57 PM
Yea just what I said. They don't think you will succeed charging so little. The lady says she wouldn't do it for what you charge. You are suppose to be the business man. You have to think and plan for the long term. You have to plan for retirement. Have extra money for investments. Have money for equipment replacement. Have money for Health Insurance and long term disability in case you are sick or injured. Have money for vacations etc etc.
People who sell Real Estate(for example) know what homes in the neighborhood sell for. That is an important part of their job. They don't want to underestimate and cost their client money or over price and have the house sit. You don't want to over price for the neighborhood or under bid and lose money. Most people in a neighborhood know what others pay and expect you to price in that general range. Knowing what others charge is a good guideline to follow. Definitely not the only criteria. I wouldn't want to bid $40 when the customer is used to paying $50. $10 here and $10 there and soon you are talking about a lot of money. $10 =$30 or $40 a month.

trust me i have money for everything you named except for retirement because well i have no plans to ever retire and vacations because i don't go on vacation. i'm a solo operation. there is never a good time to go on vacation because there is no one to run the business while i'd be gone.

coolluv
05-21-2010, 04:59 PM
trust me i have money for everything you named except for retirement because well i have no plans to ever retire and vacations because i don't go on vacation. i'm a solo operation. there is never a good time to go on vacation because there is no one to run the business while i'd be gone.

Spoken like a young naive, I'll work till I die, and hasn't felt the effects of aging. I remember when I thought like that. Boy are you in for a rude awaking. Charles hit the nail on the head.

Dave...

yardguy28
05-21-2010, 09:41 PM
Spoken like a young naive, I'll work till I die, and hasn't felt the effects of aging. I remember when I thought like that. Boy are you in for a rude awaking. Charles hit the nail on the head.

Dave...

who said anything about me feeling the effects of aging??? i seriously have no plans to retire. either i'll work this job until i die or i'll work this job until i can't physically do it anymore then i'll find a job i can do until i die.

and how do you know i'm young??? for all you know i could be 50 already......

ncls
05-22-2010, 08:03 AM
Yardguy, I'm guessing he thinks your 28.....Just a guess though.:rolleyes:

johnwon
05-22-2010, 08:31 AM
I just got a call from a single mother.Kind of a small lawn which I know I can do in about 20 minutes.She said everybody charges her $40/cut and they do it every week.She said nobody will do it every 10 days so she can save some money.She was up front with me.Well anyway it is exactly on my way home from my big every 10 day commercial job.So I told her I would do it for $30/cut every 10 days.I know even with load and unload time no more than 25 minutes.So I make my gas money and lunch money for the day on the way home.Plus I am helping out someone who is having to crunch $$$$.
I know from experience that if you can afford to do this, the heart health benefits will far exceed any over the counter or prescription heart pills dollar for dollar.

milkie62
05-22-2010, 10:33 PM
Well my help the unfortunate single mother with a $30/cut every 10 days was after getting a hedgerow cleanout job at my regular rate.I just did her first cut which was a double cut --- about 12" high but thin grass.I quoted her $70 for the double cut.She asked if I could do it for $60.I said I did not know with all the bagging involved.Long story short----I did the double cut in 35 minutes and asked how old her daughter was.She said nine.I told her $50 as long as she took her daughter out for ice cream.She was very thankful.I maybe would not be as easy going if I was a full timer but I am only a part-timer is this business.So the $50 gets put into the ashtray for emergency money.

lawnlandscape
05-23-2010, 08:29 AM
Yardguy, I'm guessing he thinks your 28.....Just a guess though.:rolleyes:

Younger. I'm guessing hes 20.

Charles
05-23-2010, 08:50 AM
Well my help the unfortunate single mother with a $30/cut every 10 days was after getting a hedgerow cleanout job at my regular rate.I just did her first cut which was a double cut --- about 12" high but thin grass.I quoted her $70 for the double cut.She asked if I could do it for $60.I said I did not know with all the bagging involved.Long story short----I did the double cut in 35 minutes and asked how old her daughter was.She said nine.I told her $50 as long as she took her daughter out for ice cream.She was very thankful.I maybe would not be as easy going if I was a full timer but I am only a part-timer is this business.So the $50 gets put into the ashtray for emergency money.

Probably what will happen is if you don't get to cut it regularly she will let it get high again. Then she will call randomly a LCO. He will quote $70 and she will say: "Can you do it for $60?" So instead of paying $35 or $40 a week or every 2 weeks, she may get it cut for $60 every other month. I am not saying she is doing this but a lot of people do. Why do many let their grass get so high? They want to save money. I have cut somebodies high grass and they implied I could have it all year. Then when I am through cutting that high crud they say--"we will call you when it needs it again". They never call. I learned that a long time ago. What kind of person lets their grass get knee deep? Really not like they woke up one morning and said: Dayum!! My grass is knee deep! Grew over night!:laugh:
They don't care whether you burn up your mower or hit some junk in the over grown yard. Where is the compassion for you? You hit a metal survey stake in the high grass and you are screwed. No telling what is in a high grass yard.
Part-time and full time is like comparing apples to oranges. There is no safety net with full time.
People who cut it for less than they could get set future prices for everyone for years to come.

sdk1959
05-23-2010, 09:02 AM
On one of my new accounts I am $10.00 more a week than the LCO who did his lawn last year. How I got the account is I did a fall clean-up for him last year and asked him then who did his lawn service and why didn't you get them to do it. He told me how unreliable they were, how they did a so-so job on the lawn and botched a small grass seed patch job, which I redid for him a few weeks ago. So I told him I would call him next spring and give him a lawn service estimate which I did this spring. He liked my fall clean-up last year and even though my lawn care estimate is $10.00 more a week than his last LCO he went with me.

Yesterday when cutting, his neighbor comes over and wants a estimate on her lawn. It's the same exact size and about the same amount of trimming and edging. She said her lawn guy hasn't shown up for 2 weeks and may not today because it might rain, hence she is looking for someone new.

So I give her the same exact estimate as my customer and told her so- one price for a weekly cut and a higher one for bi-weekly. I could tell by the look on her face that I must be higher than her current LCO, but decided against saying anything along the lines you get what you pay for. She said she will think about it and call me. We'll see.

My point is this. The real problem with low ballers and volume players is with some customers without much business sense think their prices are the norm and your prices too high.

Other customers want reliability and a good job but with a low price they know that seems too good to be true, which it is, and you get the account.

In this economy you will have to go on 4 or 5 estimates to get your price, that's just the way it is for now. You will get the best accounts but you will have to do a lot of estimates-try harder- don't despair.

Jail Bird
05-23-2010, 09:40 AM
I put this same post on another thread and I am new around here so with that......I like this site there is a great deal of good information here.

That said I see guys on here throwing rocks because they feel like they have it all figured out. Those of us that do it differently get classified into categories like "low ballers" and "scubs". I do this on my own P/T as I have a full time job. Right there I've heard it said that guy's like me are a "threat" to the industry because we are not "serious" as we work another job. Well here is my take on this stuff. I have insurance, I have state & county business licenses and I have a name for the business. I have a very good small 42" commercial zero turn, hand held equipment that is more then adequate and a good (albeit small) landscaping trailer. My truck is a 2007 silverado 4X4 with a tow pkg, it's clean most days and has no rust or dents, but it does have like 80,000 miles. My "shop" is my garage and this is the place I sharpen blades and maintain my equipment.
"MY" image is not based in large part on how neat and clean I (or the truck) look or how "good" my equipment is. My "image" is based on how the customer's "investment" looks when I leave it. I have the equipment to do the job, it's well maintained, organized and tidy. I have the recourses to give the customer a good value because I do NOT waste money on an $1800 vehicle rap, an overpriced leaf blower.
It seems to me that if time is money and it's my time and the money I receive will be mine (I.E. the risk is mine) then in the end who is anyone to call me a low baller or scrub. I think the guys who have never worked in this industry and take out a giant loan and spend $30,000 buying bunch of stuff they "really" don't need to cut grass are the true threat to the business. Over the years I have seen them come and go, slick truck new mowers neat uniforms and no accounts. They Promise "my" customers the world because they are "more professional ". Three months later they are out of business selling all that slick gear on e-bay and craig's list. My take is the customer gets annoyed and then is like screw it I will just pay lawn boy $10.00 and be done with it.
In the end it seems to me that the "Industry" standard is driven on what many of you guys feel is a cost of doing business or as my macro economics teacher termed it years back OVERHEAD. Is it the customers fault your balance sheet is screwed up ??? Is it the customers fault you have issues with a year end P&L ??? Aaahhhh no...that would be the fualt of the big time grass cutting guy. I have built my operation so that I will make money giving the customer a good value, I guess maybe I'm a low baller because I rarely see the need to charge more then a $1.00 a minute for my time.
Sure the guys with mowers in the back of a caviler are out there and they can take an account out from under me. That said so can slick Billy with his shinny 20 ft box trailer and no REAL experience. It is BUSINESS and in the end basic economics is to make money and give the customer a fair return on that they invest with you....anything else is BS.

rm25x
05-23-2010, 10:25 AM
Exactly. Its been proven over and over again. Low overhead means more profit, even at lower price points. Why companies think they need $40k trucks, $10k mowers, $4k trailers, $2k in handheld equipment to mow a $20 lawn is beyond me. I guess if you do a ton of big commmercial properties I could understand more.

I would rather have all my junk paid for, and mow $20 lawns all day long then have payments up the wazoo trying to get $50 for a $20 lawn just to hope to be able to make those payments... Just 5 lawns a day is $100 in my pocket, for only a few hours of work. Not too shabby IMHO. Can't make that at McDonalds...

And I am sorry, if a lawn takes you 20 minutes to mow, your still making good money at $15 to mow it if your overhead is low. You can mow 2 lawns an hour (figuring loading/unloading time and drive time) and if your stuff is paid for you just made $30 an hour. To me thats a good wage just to cut grass. A more realistic price is $20 for a 20 minute lawn, so thats $40 an hour. I don't know anywhere else I can make $40 an hour...

A 1/2 acre lawn should be no more then $25 in my opinion. I spend at most 30 minutes on one if there's lots of trimming. Thats mowing, trimming and blowing off hard surfaces.

I know many will disagree, but sorry, profit/loss figures speak for themselves.

puppypaws
05-23-2010, 12:31 PM
Exactly. Its been proven over and over again. Low overhead means more profit, even at lower price points. Why companies think they need $40k trucks, $10k mowers, $4k trailers, $2k in handheld equipment to mow a $20 lawn is beyond me. I guess if you do a ton of big commmercial properties I could understand more.

I would rather have all my junk paid for, and mow $20 lawns all day long then have payments up the wazoo trying to get $50 for a $20 lawn just to hope to be able to make those payments... Just 5 lawns a day is $100 in my pocket, for only a few hours of work. Not too shabby IMHO. Can't make that at McDonalds...

And I am sorry, if a lawn takes you 20 minutes to mow, your still making good money at $15 to mow it if your overhead is low. You can mow 2 lawns an hour (figuring loading/unloading time and drive time) and if your stuff is paid for you just made $30 an hour. To me thats a good wage just to cut grass. A more realistic price is $20 for a 20 minute lawn, so thats $40 an hour. I don't know anywhere else I can make $40 an hour...

A 1/2 acre lawn should be no more then $25 in my opinion. I spend at most 30 minutes on one if there's lots of trimming. Thats mowing, trimming and blowing off hard surfaces.

I know many will disagree, but sorry, profit/loss figures speak for themselves.

You guys work for yourself, the government is the only one that gives orders you must follow, which means anything you read in forums of this type are only opinions, and opinions are like rear-ends everybody has one. When you like the information you read; maybe or maybe not you will find it useful, utilize what you like, and forget what you don't, really very simple!

Jail Bird
05-23-2010, 12:42 PM
You guys work for yourself, the government is the only one that gives orders you must follow, which means anything you read in forums of this type are only opinions, and opinions are like rear-ends everybody has one. When you like the information you read; maybe or maybe not you will find it useful, utilize what you like, and forget what you don't, really very simple!

You are right when it comes to forgetting things I don't find useful, like committing insurance fraud


A fellow called me today and wanted a price on an insurance job. I drove over, looked at the work and asked him what price he had already been given? He said another gentleman quoted him $2800.00, I said that is entirely too much. I asked him what his insurance deductable was on his policy, he said $1000.00. I told him I would have him a written quote for $2500.00 to send the insurance company within 30 minutes, and the worked would be completed by the middle of tomorrow afternoon.

I said I am doing the job for $1500.00 and will give you $1000.00 back in cash to cover your deductable. He said, it sure didn't take you long to decide what needed to be done and how to handle it to my advantage, looking at my watch it took you about 10 minutes. I said if there is not a great deal of materials in the equation, it's really very simple. He could not believe I was taking care of all his problems without a dime coming from his pocket and all his worries completely taken care of.

Lightningllc
05-23-2010, 06:09 PM
You guys should be charging the going prices no matter what, Mcdonalds doesn't charge customer a differnt than customer b.

There should be an industry standard / Lawn cutting licensing.

So reading the post's I really don't know why you guys are charging so low, If it's considered a hobby buy an airplane not a lawn mower.

In this business there are to many people doing it on the side and driving prices lower and lower. I have to give my employees insurance/unemployment/ payroll, You guys going so cheap it is not fair to a legit company to compete with your prices.

Do all legit company's a favor / Raise your prices

rm25x
05-23-2010, 06:33 PM
I don't see why gouging the customer is ok. Your just mowing the lawn... Your work lasts a whole week...

Hardscape guys, yes they deserve to make more and they do make more. But when your doing the same thing a 10 year old can do, why do you think you should be paid big bucks?

I think I need to just start charging $30 an acre (what the job is worth) and just clean house.

Jail Bird
05-23-2010, 07:01 PM
In this business there are to many people doing it on the side and driving prices lower and lower. I have to give my employees insurance/unemployment/ payroll, You guys going so cheap it is not fair to a legit company to compete with your prices.
Do all legit company's a favor / Raise your prices

What a condescending self righteous post. So what are we saying here, "regulate" the industry ??? Like maybe a national "trades license" ??? Like a pipe fitter or an electrician have ??? That is EXACTLY what we need some government oversight and licensing structure that will bring archaic things like OSHA, Federal clean air act standards, unions & worst the government into a business that was started by the P/T guys doing a few lawns on the side way back when.

I am reasonably sure if we were to sit down and discus the "history" of the lawn care industry we would see that in the beginning there was only guys like Jail Bird and rm25x doing this. The industry as I see it has evolved into this "full time racket" because guys see it as way to make living with relatively few real job skills from the gate. With that comes the advent of guys like you having to "give my employees insurance/unemployment/ payroll". That sir is your choice and your problem. The last time I checked this was AMERICA and capitalism is how we do things here. Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned supply, demand and price are mostly set by market forces rather than economic planning. That is code for your projected P&L does NOT set the price that I your competitor can and will charge.

I bet that when I leave Suzy Q's property the lawn will look as good as when you leave it. So with that, "if" we were to set a trade license standard what would it be ?? I GUARANTEE it would NOT rest with the quality of your work. Most likely it would be regulated more along the lines of environmental issues and safety issues that will DEFIANTLY drive OUR cost of business up. That would not be good for you as it seems you are already having issues with your overhead.

Lastly if you are struggling to make living in this, I suggest it is more then guys like me that are your problem. If I was you I would re-think your business plan, maybe have your guys as sub contractors or let a few go and get on the mower more. You can make money doing this, and if you hustle you can make a allot of money. My point is the beauty of capitalism is it gives you lots tools to make a go of it.

Lightningllc
05-23-2010, 07:17 PM
You just keep on doing your thing, If we regulated this business it would be alot more professional. I seen a guy on a commerical mower cutting with a beer in his hand the other day.

If you have a problem with the goverment that's your deal not mine. I am a large lawn / Landscape / Snow / Irrigation company. I am speaking my mind trying to make the low priced lawn companies understand that cutting 50 $20 lawns a week is not a good living doesn't 50 $30 lawns sound better.

1 Man and a mower should be getting $ 40 to 50 an hour no matter what. There are repairs / Equip cost's/ Repairs / Travel time / Truck cost's / Trailer cost's / Insurance cost's / Gas cost's / Let alone there income.

Just trying to spell it out for new / SOLO people. I have been doing this for a long time so I have low overhead but I also think of the future not just today.



What a condescending self righteous post. So what are we saying here, "regulate" the industry ??? Like maybe a national "trades license" ??? Like a pipe fitter or an electrician have ??? That is EXACTLY what we need some government oversight and licensing structure that will bring archaic things like OSHA, Federal clean air act standards, unions & worst the government into a business that was started by the P/T guys doing a few lawns on the side way back when.

I am reasonably sure if we were to sit down and discus the "history" of the lawn care industry we would see that in the beginning there was only guys like Jail Bird and rm25x doing this. The industry as I see it has evolved into this "full time racket" because guys see it as way to make living with relatively few real job skills from the gate. With that comes the advent of guys like you having to "give my employees insurance/unemployment/ payroll". That sir is your choice and your problem. The last time I checked this was AMERICA and capitalism is how we do things here. Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned supply, demand and price are mostly set by market forces rather than economic planning. That is code for your projected P&L does NOT set the price that I your competitor can and will charge.

I bet that when I leave Suzy Q's property the lawn will look as good as when you leave it. So with that, "if" we were to set a trade license standard what would it be ?? I GUARANTEE it would NOT rest with the quality of your work. Most likely it would be regulated more along the lines of environmental issues and safety issues that will DEFIANTLY drive OUR cost of business up. That would not be good for you as it seems you are already having issues with your overhead.

Lastly if you are struggling to make living in this, I suggest it is more then guys like me that are your problem. If I was you I would re-think your business plan, maybe have your guys as sub contractors or let a few go and get on the mower more. You can make money doing this, and if you hustle you can make a allot of money. My point is the beauty of capitalism is it gives you lots tools to make a go of it.

Jail Bird
05-23-2010, 07:21 PM
My last comment to you is this. You insinuating this is a HOBBY is insulting to many people here. My little one man band enables me to give my family many of the things I never had as kid, for instance putting a kid through the University of Delaware debt free. That is an $80,000 dollar education on $30.00 lawns. I am as LEGITIMATE as you, licensed, insured knowledgeable, dependable, and most importantly I pay taxes......how am not legit ??? I think guys like you drive the cost of lawn care UP. It's not the customers fault you have to charge her an extra $15.00 because you are top heavy is it ??? I wonder what one of your customers would say to "Do all legit company's a favor / Raise your prices". I wonder how they would feel about that.

lawnlandscape
05-23-2010, 09:17 PM
The talk on this website boarders so close with price fixing sometimes its scary.

Everyone does know price fixing is illegal right?

yardguy28
05-23-2010, 09:38 PM
I don't see why gouging the customer is ok. Your just mowing the lawn... Your work lasts a whole week...

Hardscape guys, yes they deserve to make more and they do make more. But when your doing the same thing a 10 year old can do, why do you think you should be paid big bucks?

I think I need to just start charging $30 an acre (what the job is worth) and just clean house.

My last comment to you is this. You insinuating this is a HOBBY is insulting to many people here. My little one man band enables me to give my family many of the things I never had as kid, for instance putting a kid through the University of Delaware debt free. That is an $80,000 dollar education on $30.00 lawns. I am as LEGITIMATE as you, licensed, insured knowledgeable, dependable, and most importantly I pay taxes......how am not legit ??? I think guys like you drive the cost of lawn care UP. It's not the customers fault you have to charge her an extra $15.00 because you are top heavy is it ??? I wonder what one of your customers would say to "Do all legit company's a favor / Raise your prices". I wonder how they would feel about that.

what i also think is insulting is the above comment made that we're doing the same thing a 10 year old can do.

this is simply not true. a 10 year old could not do the quality of job and pay attention to the details we pay attention to. also a 10 year old is not avaible 5+ days a week. a 10 year old can't cut someone's grass at 8 in the morning on a monday or any other day of the week. a 10 year old can't turn out the number of lawns in a day we turn out.

while i may not know the entire of that post i feel that comment is insulting. to many of us here and especially me since i do not do landscaping. 90% of my business is from "what a 10 year old can do".

Jail Bird
05-23-2010, 09:46 PM
It absolutely KILLS me to see this stuff. People on this sight BASH anyone who they in there mind do not perceive as a "professional". Today I have guy that openly admits to committing insurance fraud basically tell me that it's all opinions and none of this really matters. Then we have the lightning lawn care guy making some very snide remarks about how guys like me are not legit company's in this industry. I had to laugh because I open up his web site and it says "SO and SO (his name) was working as a union electrician out of Detroit Michigan when he was laid off. He helped out a friend for a week doing lawn care. He fell in love with making a lawn look so good that he took his tax return check and bought a mower." Well that sounds like me six years ago although one of two the difference's was my O/T dried up I was not laid off. The other differance is instead becoming a "lagit company" I had enough sense to keep my full time job so I could exploit ALL the advantages of staying solo to the tune of like $35,000 grand a year. Most of the guys on here do not see it as price fixing, they want it to be "fair" like lightning lawn care guy said. It is such BS that some guy that has big payroll to make and bunch of idle trucks gets on a web sight and *****'s up a storm because I guy like me works using a profit margins that fits my situation. It is the only place I see all this talk about how everybody is getting screwed because they are not able to screw the customer with "Industry standard" price fixing. I do agree it is going a little far to say a 10 year old can do this "professionally". that said I get my 17 year old daughter out there on the hustler while I trim now and then and works out just fine.

SSMO
05-24-2010, 06:54 AM
So really???. what is the difference if the child at 10 years old cuts the lawn on a saturday at 8 am instead of a monday at 8 am?. Nobody told you to go buy 50,000 worth of equipment and expect to get work. So another quick thought, who says your better then that 10 year old kid at mowing lawns? Your 800 lawn mower is better then his 200 mower? Please re think your situation that you have managed to get into trying to be better at something that anyone can do. Most people would hire that 10 year old kid before they pay for 70 cut when next week its long again at a price of 20. And last thought you were that good when you were 10 years old? Dude, believe me when i say this you are not god's gift to the lawncare industry. Their is plenty of work out there. Go and find it. If you can't, then maybe look at the way you have things priced.

punt66
05-24-2010, 07:13 AM
What is wrong with you people. People want a professional, insured, reliable, and knowledgeable LCO to take care of their properties. I average $85hr mowing with a $35 min and have more accounts then i want. Its not just about price people. You build relationships with your clients and they get to know the way you do business and if your work is good then they are happy and do not want to take a chance to change service providers.

Jail Bird
05-24-2010, 07:37 AM
What is wrong with you people. People want a professional, insured, reliable, and knowledgeable LCO to take care of their properties.
Really, if that was the case across the board then why do we have this incessant whining here about low ballers and "solo" guys undercutting the "real" professional. Nobody would hire these guys and this thread would not exist. Many many home owners (renters even more so) are looking for the best deal they can get. I agree 100% that being reliable is a conner stone to establishing a solid customer base. I do well because I SHOW UP EVER WEEK. As far as insurance, any of us doing this would be stupid to not have it, but I can tell you the AVG middleclass home owner does not care a wit about that. They want the grass cut.....when it grows they want it cut again. Most people hire the 10 year old kids to shovel the snow, not giving any thought to the liability (which I would think is equal to a grass cutting job) all the time. The problem with the 10 year old kid is reliability......I picked up one last week because "schools out" and the kid is to busy to cut the grass.

punt66
05-24-2010, 07:39 AM
Really, if that was the case across the board then why do we have this incessant whining here about low ballers and "solo" guys undercutting the "real" professional. Nobody would hire these guys and this thread would not exist. Many many home owners (renters even more so) are looking for the best deal they can get. I agree 100% that being reliable is a conner stone to establishing a solid customer base. I do well because I SHOW UP EVER WEEK. As far as insurance, any of us doing this would be stupid to not have it, but I can tell you the AVG middleclass home owner does not care a wit about that. They want the grass cut.....when it grows they want it cut again. Most people hire the 10 year old kids to shovel the snow, not giving any thought to the liability (which I would think is equal to a grass cutting job) all the time. The problem with the 10 year old kid is reliability......I picked up last week because "schools out" and the kid is to busy to cut the grass.

well if that is the market your targeting then you wont last long!

Jail Bird
05-24-2010, 08:25 AM
well if that is the market your targeting then you wont last long!

Another EXPERT on marketing......I do and have "targeted" this market. My customer is looking for basic lawn care. The 30 something lady who rents a bungalow for her and her three little door slammers or the 70 year old lady with 1000 sp feet. Guess what 8 years, great customer base from $15.00 (two) up to $80.00 a cut. I have a full plate and most all my customers know me (and I them) on a first name basis. I dare say if I did not need the great benefits my state job has I could retire and expand two fold in a year easy. My overhead is manageable because I know my limitations and have worked my niche within the market place. This business can be very profitable and enjoyable when you give the customer a good value at a fair price.

Charles
05-24-2010, 08:34 AM
I have known people who hire 10 year olds. They complain the kids are not reliable and didn't do a consistently good job. Many don't want to fire them because they know their parents.
Jailbird I don't know what you are so upset about. You don't sound like a lowballer and it looks like you make decent money for a solo.
I am not on the high end or the low end $ when it comes to equipment. Everything is paid for. That is about all you can afford to be when it comes to solo. My Lazer has lasted over 11 years of high volume mowing. Very dependable. Does a great job. Faster than any belly mower. So that $7000+ was a great investment.
I see some of the bigger outfits pulling 3 or 4 mowers. Probably a good idea to have a 1 ton truck. Some people just like new autos and they are more dependable. I like the used stuff myself where it really doesn't matter if it gets a scratch or two or three:laugh:
I just ask the customer what they are used to paying and go from there. If they won't tell me then I go from what I usually charge for that size lawn. I don't intentionally less then what the customer is used to paying. Everything I pay is going up. The cost of living is going up.

JCLawn and more
05-24-2010, 08:51 AM
how about this, I am pretty cheap and I bid a lawn for a guy. It might of been 2 acres. It was 3 foot tall. I said $70 for the first and $45 after that. Another guy did it for $25. LOL!!!! I think he spent that in gas considering he had a rider. He said he is doing other lawns and the guy was doing this for a profit.

lawnlandscape
05-24-2010, 09:12 AM
I agree with Jail Bird. For mowing people care most about price and less about quality. As long as its an 'average cut' or better you will keep most of your customers if you are priced well.

Its starting to seem to me, like the people with thousands of posts (generalizing here, sorry for those of you that are knowledgeable) are the least knowledgeable people here, and are the ones that jump over everyone for everything. Part of the reason they are so unknowledgeable (is that a word?) is probably because, while everyone else on here is out working, they are sitting at home.

I do think its childish for everyone to be jumping all over Jail Bird. From everything said he seems like an upstanding citizen and businessman to me. Is it so bad to have different opinions? Is that not part of the free market?

Schools are starting to get our for summer. Possibly the kids have more time. :laugh:
If you have nonconstructive criticism, why even type it? Your just wasting every ones time including yours.

Lightningllc
05-24-2010, 02:47 PM
Jailbird,

Let's throw names around here, Listen you can say what you want, But until you run a 340 lawn cut company with 12 guys and 2 landscape crews, You can not understand what i am trying to say.

So all I can say yo you is good luck let me know when you surpass a $100,000 in sales. Then we can talk.

SSMO
05-24-2010, 04:00 PM
(Quote)

Jailbird,

Let's throw names around here, Listen you can say what you want, But until you run a 340 lawn cut company with 12 guys and 2 landscape crews, You can not understand what i am trying to say.

So all I can say yo you is good luck let me know when you surpass a $100,000 in sales. Then we can talk.
Lightningllc--(Unquote)

Did and Done it myself. And all you do is chase the money constantley. So the bragging rights about how well you do is kudo's, but really not that impressive if it took you 12 people. I did it with 2 people full time all year long. Snow removal and hauling and sanding and salting. And guess what, we only had two trucks and 2 rider's and a homemade trailer that fit everything.
From commercial to high end to low end we did it all. So the advantage you may have isn't really the advantage of what you may think you have now is it? I rather do the smaller yards and some of the higher class do some snow removal and make my 50 g a year. You can chase that headache all day long to make a few grand. Just gives you the bragging rights at the bar thats all. 3 years long I chased the green and opened a janitorial company that does 6 major accounts in my town that runs by itself I make 60 grand from that after everything is said and done plus my lawn care is 50g. I drive a 79 ford f150 that has some rust. Tell me differently you have to be at the top to make the green? Let the kids mow the lawn...I'll charge whatever the hell I want to cut grass and they seem to be sticking around and the calls come. I turn down 60% of them. Just because I can and can afford to. All out of a 79 ford f150 and an old trailer. Cant be done can it?

Lightningllc
05-24-2010, 09:38 PM
Kuddo's good for you, I was not stating that point. We do over a million a year in sales. But that's besides the point.

Good luck to you all I am done with this thread. I am just trying to get across there is more money out there and to charge what the lawn care should be.

SSMO
05-24-2010, 10:01 PM
dont know what your overhead is and you certainly do not know what mine is so therefore, how would i know what your bidding at and why would i bid at what you bid at? And why would you bid what I bid at. Its business 101.

Free enterprise in America. Anyone has the opportunity to start a business.
And at what price varies, thats the way business is operated. I like how you are up to a million already. I'd care less. congrats.

mdlwn1
05-24-2010, 10:43 PM
What if the hoki poki is whats its really all about?