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View Full Version : a low-baller got low-balled!


lawnsaspire
04-04-2012, 08:37 PM
i don't really consider myself a lowballer, but I PROBABLY used to be when I first started out. At least Ive always carried insurance. Anyways, I had a new customer call me yesterday and say they were hiring someone else to mow for $20, i was doing it for $30. Very small yard w/ hardly any trimming. They said they didn't like the fact that I didn't blow off their whole driveway or deck last week. I'll admit I blew the grass off the drive but left the seeds from the tree. But the deck was elevated so no grass got on it and I don't normally just blow off anything but the mess I made from mowing unless it's a cleanup job. I guess I should get used to this but it's never happened to me so I wanted to share it.

grandview (2006)
04-04-2012, 08:39 PM
I thought you were going to do it foe 10 bucks when I read the title!

jsslawncare
04-04-2012, 08:43 PM
Truthfully, we were all lowballers in the biginning. (At least I was)

GMLC
04-04-2012, 10:01 PM
I always blow off all hard surfaces like the driveway, walkways, patio's, decks etc. Weather it's my mess or not. It only takes a minute extra and it goes a long way.
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lawnsaspire
04-04-2012, 10:10 PM
Ok I realize I shoud've blown off all the hard surfaces first, but i was in a hurry that day from all of the rain. plus i know they were just using that as an excuse as I've done their fall cleanups the last three years with no problems. they called me in feb this year and asked me to mow. I said 30 plus a dollar or two based on gas prices. so whateva. This time of year with all of the crap falling off of trees, I'd be there forever if I blew all the hard surfaces off every time.

Ducke
04-04-2012, 10:17 PM
Ha
Great Topic Title.
I thought you were going to say you under cut the low baller as well.
As for blowing off the raised deck I would most likely just given it a quick blow if I noticed it was dirty but it I couldn't see it it would not have got done.
Maybe the customer wasn't worth it if they were going to be that picky. Just saying.

Outdoors_Unlimited
04-04-2012, 11:27 PM
Always blow the ENTIRE site.

I get many compliments, and referrals based on the attention I pay to details.

But then, I charge $40 for a half acre, when my competition charges $20.
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MTenterprises
04-05-2012, 12:08 AM
Always blow the ENTIRE site.

I get many compliments, and referrals based on the attention I pay to details.

But then, I charge $40 for a half acre, when my competition charges $20.
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Agreed! I blow off drives, walks, porches, decks...regardless. It looks nice and makes the customer feel good.

BrunoT
04-05-2012, 03:06 AM
Homeowners don't know that your $30 price includes cutting corners as well as the grass. So don't do it. Ask them exactly what they want and price it accordingly.

Ironically for "low-baller" in the title, you might be a little high for your market. If it's really small with almost no trimming and you're in/out in 20 min, someone could still make some money doing it for under $30 (though unlikely at $20). This is an example of why you might consider lowering a price if you start doing it and realize you're making too much. Eventually they catch on and price shop. Psychologically $28 would be better and you might still do ok.

Blowing off raised decks or not probably should have been discussed beforehand. Think of every gray area you can think of and be explicit about those things in a contract or quote form.

I don't do raised decks unless asked, due to liability with nick-knacks and other stuff that eventually gets blown down in a storm. Some people practically have glass menageries perched up there. I just prefer not to get blamed every time a bird feeder gets knocked down by a squirrel.

MOturkey
04-05-2012, 07:55 AM
I generally blow off everything I can get to, but if I give anyone any type of written bid, I always say something like "blow clippings from hard surfaces", which translates to "I clean up any mess I made". That said, I normally do more than I agree to, even if it is just climbing a couple of steps and blowing off a porch or deck.

I'm guessing in this situation, money talked more than anything you did, or didn't, do. The new guy may do a great job for $20, but, then again, he may not. I've, many times, told people I don't have a problem being underbid, IF the service they render is as good or better as what I have been doing. Virtually every job I have lost due to pricing through the years, when I drive by the properties, they are cutting corners.

elitelawnteam1
04-05-2012, 08:25 AM
I don't believe it had anything to do with cutting corners, the homeowner was simply trying to justify why he was switching. He was getting great service, but he doesn't want to sound cheap, he knows you are always concerned about details, so he'll leave you thinking about what a "bad job" you did, and if only you did it the right way. It's happened to me before. Because their rationalization is sooo stupid and silly (not blowing off decks). If you ever made a mistake like that, a normal person will either ask you to return and correct it, or to remember to do that going foreward, unless they found a better price.

Lawn132012
04-05-2012, 08:43 AM
I think everyone started at one point low-balling to get their name out there. To me I remember telling them that what they were getting was my introductory price. Then right befor ehte year would be ending I went back to them and said next year the price would be "X" BUT if they paid up before the new year (Deposit which was three cutting / treatments) then I would knock off 10% FROM THE PRICE.

This was a great way to build a nice bankroll so I went out and bought another trailer and back up mowers for the following season.

lawnsaspire
04-05-2012, 10:42 AM
Homeowners don't know that your $30 price includes cutting corners as well as the grass. So don't do it. Ask them exactly what they want and price it accordingly.

Ironically for "low-baller" in the title, you might be a little high for your market. If it's really small with almost no trimming and you're in/out in 20 min, someone could still make some money doing it for under $30 (though unlikely at $20). This is an example of why you might consider lowering a price if you start doing it and realize you're making too much. Eventually they catch on and price shop. Psychologically $28 would be better and you might still do ok.

Blowing off raised decks or not probably should have been discussed beforehand. Think of every gray area you can think of and be explicit about those things in a contract or quote form.

I don't do raised decks unless asked, due to liability with nick-knacks and other stuff that eventually gets blown down in a storm. Some people practically have glass menageries perched up there. I just prefer not to get blamed every time a bird feeder gets knocked down by a squirrel.

Gas just went over $4 a gallon here, I won't be charging any less than 30 for the rest of this season. The reason I called myself a lowballer is b/c that's how I feel after reading some of the posts on lawnsite. But in reality my prices are even with or more than most of the solos in my area. Plus as i stated at the outset, I do blow off hard surfaces generally, but i was behind from the rain that day and skipped it. mmy mistake. lesson learned though, thanks for the advice.

Glenn Lawn Care
04-05-2012, 12:49 PM
Even if there is nothing there just go thru the motions so they see you doing it. It doesn't take that much longer and it goes a long way!

Outdoors_Unlimited
04-06-2012, 12:02 AM
Even if there is nothing there just go thru the motions so they see you doing it. It doesn't take that much longer and it goes a long way!

Exactly. If you do it every week, it doesn't build up, and is less time consuming in the long run.
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lawnworker
04-06-2012, 07:43 PM
This is a real gray area. I agree with the poster that does not like to mess with decks, due to trinkets and what not. I also don't think the deck seedlings had anything to do with losing this one. Personally, I don't blow anything but my clippings off hard surfaces. I have never been called to question about blowing off any areas. Where would one draw the line here? What if the customers potted geranium fell over, would you feel compelled to blow that of the deck for them?

Lawn132012
04-06-2012, 10:17 PM
Need to be clear of what they are expecting for what they are paying for. Some may think you are doing over and above what they thought they were paying you for which is GREAT and others may not want your services the following year becuase they THOUGHT you were going to do something that you normally do not do.

IT does take some GREY areas out of the mix

Jbh0724
04-09-2012, 12:24 AM
I can't believe how many of you cut so many corners. I would not dream of leaving a house with a mess, no matter who created it. If their geranium fell over I would definitely clean it up, and pick the pot up and try to save it. Leave the customer a note I found the plant on the ground and it may need their attention. You people seem to be only interested in doing the bare minimum. Its no wonder your customers will only pay the bare minimum. If you want top dollar, take a little pride in trying to create the cleanest property on the street. By reading posts like this, I can see why I have added roughly 40 year around accounts in the past month. My competetion must be as lazy as people on this site.
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Lawn132012
04-09-2012, 11:30 PM
I only look to cut costs on products I NEVER cut corners when it comes to my clients and they are the ones putting food on my table. I always try to make their lawns and grounds better then before I got there.

If I can cut some costs and give my clients the same or better service with different products I am helping them (or myself) keep costs down which they appreciate.