View Full Version : Tired of bidding low to get account

07-13-2002, 07:28 PM
I have a prospect that I gave a bid to for yearly service. Exclusive community, 1/2 million dollar properties on salt water. I have 2 in a row and he would be the third right next to them. Incredibly, in my area the going rate is $60/ month for basic lawn care and $100 month for basic + shrub trimming and weed control. I bid him $125/ mo. He wants to get 2 more estimates. I'm going to go up on my existing properties in this area because the work involved demands it. I have a feeling that I won't get this guys biz because he will get a lower bid. So be it. I am getting worked up thinking about all the sweat that goes into maintaining these beautiful properties for so little because there are large companies with crews of wetbacks that low ball in this area. I'm drawing a line in the sand and am prepared to pass on anymore business in this area unless I hook up with people who don't mind paying a little more for my superior service than the low ballers. Geez, they probably pay at least $10K in property taxes every year but balk at an extra $25/ mo. for great maintenance.
Thanks for letting me vent. Any comments appreciated.

07-13-2002, 07:46 PM
Wetback or not there is still not a lot of profit margin there. Are you saying 60 a month or a stop?? How long do these properties take to service?? What do these properties mean to you?? If you are losing money on them fancy or not. Re-consider.

07-13-2002, 07:51 PM
in my area the going rate is $60/ month for basic lawn care and $100 month for basic + shrub trimming and weed control.

$60/$100 a MONTH :confused: How small are these accounts and how often? I charge $30 min maybe $25 if two or more are next to each other, each week. People that tight don't deserve your superior services! JMO

Are We Having Yet???:blob2:

07-13-2002, 10:00 PM
Welcome to south Florida. Home of the retired folk. These accounts I'm talking about are yearly contract customers. Visit weekly April thru October, bi-weekly Nov. thru March. They take 20 to 30 minutes to get in n out except for full service and they need shrub trimming 3 to 4 times a year and herbicide weeds as needed. I probably should have prefaced this post to Florida LCO's only. We have to compete with lower rates on average than many parts of the country. We do alright but have to be selective with the customer base. Over time, the better customers who pay well and appreciate good service makes up the large part of the biz. Takes time and weeding out the less desirable customers. I'm not indigent from my business, I was just venting a little like everyone does from time to time. Overall, I earn on average between $30-$35 hr which may compare to many other parts of the country in this field.

07-13-2002, 10:19 PM
I hear you. I've got a few million-dollar residential properties that I provide maintenance for. One in particular is 125.00 per week has very little lawn and all kinds of shrubs, groundcover, weeding, 18 irrigation valves, even a small vineyard. We bust our azz trying to get this property done in 4 man hrs. to maintain our margin, but it does make me think that we can probably do four 30.00 mow blow and gos in probably less time without the super frantic pace. Maintenance is cutthroat around here with regard to competition.

Chuck Sinclair
07-13-2002, 11:01 PM
California and Florida are about the same, low $ for maintenance the differance between us and say ill is we are year round (We don't get winters off)

07-14-2002, 08:32 AM
the problem is supply vs. demand... from what i here from my sister who is a orlando fl. resident. she tells me that there only two different jobs in fla. (landscapers and realestate agents) sounds like to me the supply of lcos. is extremly high! this will systematicly drive prices down...

07-14-2002, 08:49 AM
Just another reason not to bash the mow go and blow guys. We figured this out long ago.

Get rid of those accounts and find a crappy yard that takes 20 minutes in/out. These have proven to be more profitable than the so called "high end" lawns.:rolleyes:

Dennis E.
07-14-2002, 09:46 AM
I've been in that position. Sometimes in that type of area the neighbors will "get together". You are doing one or two properties and they are enjoying your prices and work and the word gets out. Any new prospects will expect you to give them the same deal. Time to raise prices or get out of that neighborhood.
Like mentioned they will not bat an eye when paying the tax bill or paying a plumber,electrician,etc. for services.
I have a few that think they have a "burger king" contract.(Have it their way,contract does not mean squat to "them")
It is only a few so it is not too much trouble at this point. As new work comes I will increase the price (again) or replace them.
It's good to be busy but at the end of the day you HAVE to make money. I've told a few in the past(jokingly)that I'm in this biz to make a living,not get exercise.

:D ;)

07-14-2002, 10:22 AM
I hear ya on that one. I'm finding the more money people have the less they want to part with it. As far as I'm concerned I'm the one out there in the 90+ degree heat because they don't want to be, so pay me. People seem to think this job is easy because we cut grass. Then let them get out there one time and cut and trim in the heat. They don't think twice about taking credit for a nice looking yard though. I may charge a little more then the average at times but I value my job sights. I will fininsh up then check around the yard to make sure I'm happy with what I done. I cut this one yard while guys were working on the yard next to me. When I did a strip up the side of the chain link fence to the other persons yard they had left HUGE piles of grass all over the yard. I will either rake that or run over it again to mulch it in more. So I see myself, as do many on here, as better then the average. So if they don't want to pay for better work done, drop them. if you can afford to that is.


07-14-2002, 11:47 AM
Originally posted by HOMER
Just another reason not to bash the mow go and blow guys. We figured this out long ago.

Get rid of those accounts and find a crappy yard that takes 20 minutes in/out. These have proven to be more profitable than the so called "high end" lawns.:rolleyes:

Yes Sir Homer. I agree.

07-14-2002, 12:05 PM
I agree with Homer too.

Besides, once you've 'shined up' a crappy lawn with good equipment and proper mowing/trimming techniques you rarely hear anything but praise from the homeowner. :)

"Thank you, mam!".....ka-ching!

Seems that the 'high-end' customer tends to feel that complaining , or overt anal-ness, is built into the price. :D

07-14-2002, 12:40 PM
Not to mention with those high end accounts you have to spend more for tools( hedgetrimmers ETC.) and do more manual labor(weedpulling) at probably lower wages than lawnmowing, I've gone mostly to the "Mow,trim,edge,and blow and go " set up and I do find I am making more money...... Think about it, you go out, drop your 42" zero turn mulcher, mow out the yard, do a qwik trim and edge, maybee a little finish mowing with a push mower, blow the debris clean, place looks good and you leave maybee 30 minutes on the job and you was paid (me) $28.00 for the service

You don't have to do a perfect job, just make it look good, get it done as fact as you can and move on to the next one.... Big or small, and you have less hassle.

07-14-2002, 12:54 PM
Thanks for replies. You guys know exactly where I'm coming from! Agree with Homer 100%.
I'm starting to get a little tired of all the work involved at ridiculously low rates for many of these "high end" millionaire customers with 50 ft. sailboats in back of their house.
Here's the plan:

1. DON'T take on any more business in these area's unless the prospect will pay fair compensation and not what has been the "norm" for ages.

2. Raise current customers in these area's to adequate rates.

3. Concentrate more on "no hassle" mow, blow & go accounts.

Again, as always, I appreciate all the posts and thoughts.

Dennis E.
07-14-2002, 03:06 PM
An experience about well to do people wanting to hold on to what they have and save every penny.

Back in 90-91 I was doing service for a "national chain" seafood restaurant. Franchise owned and run by a husband/wife team.
He ran the place,she did the books.
I had picked up some help,bought some new equipment as things were getting pretty busy.
They had a killer price. At least compared to some other accounts I had in the area. Easy job.In and out in maybe 20-30 minutes.
She calls me in one day and says that I need to lower the price!
Says that since I have help and nice,new equipment it does not cost me as much to do the work now!
I almost keeled over backwards. I asked her to please explain her theory to me on how it was costing me less to do the work.
New equip.,help(labor),more ins.,etc. .... (LOL!!)
I dropped them immediately.
They went out of business a year or so later.