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View Full Version : True Professionals Don't Mind Lowballers and Novices


Sean Adams
12-31-2012, 02:43 PM
You hear it all the time, or at least I do...

"I'm sick and tired of the lowballers and scrubs ruining everything. They underbid me and they drive the price down and I can't compete."

You can do one of two things here.... you can get angry (which most lawn & landscape business owners do) or you can get BETTER!

Take the opportunity to truly separate yourself and your business from the "here-today-gone-tomorrow" guys working for beer money. Create scripts and marketing pieces that show the clear difference between you and the people who are not serious about this profession.

Explain why people should hire you. Describe the benefits of doing business with you. Show why you are different and clearly better. Don't assume or take for granted that a potential client can see the differences. This is your job - educate them, make it clear.

It will pay off.

To read this blog post and more like it go HERE (http://www.lawnbusinessreport.com)

Clean Yard
12-31-2012, 05:28 PM
Well put i have a younger company, but growing in leaps and bounds. I would be one of the higher priced company's in my area. But I get more work then my employees and I can handle. Because i am always willing to go that extra mile with everything, and don't be afraid to socialize with your customers, that is how you build relationships and the word spreads fast through the community friends and family. Always follow up with your customers to see if they are satisfied and if they are not fix it right away. It shows you care about them and there property. I have never really asked what others are charging but i have been told im a little higher but the work they receive is worth it. For mowing trimming so on i charge $1 min. pressure washing $2 linear Foot single story and so on.....

Smallaxe
01-01-2013, 07:04 AM
A lot of people need lowballers becuz they can't give the lawn a priority level that is going to cost them hundreds of dollars a month... I remember starting out as a teenager and little old ladies needed their lawns mowed... I knew that these type of jobs were always going to be low priced in comparison to those people that had an interest in their grass and wanted to be the best in the neighborhood...

The thing is,,, you really have to be good to set yourself apart from the herd... those who whine about how,,, "It's everybody else's fault...",,, generally have that excuse for everything... striving for excellence isn't as much fun as bashing other people becuz they're not like you... :)

Good Post...

weeze
01-01-2013, 12:05 PM
i take pride in being different from everyone else because everyone else is weird to me.

jsslawncare
01-01-2013, 01:04 PM
I'm known for quality, not price. I like it when a "lowballer" cut's a yard right beside mine. You can see the difference.

herler
01-01-2013, 01:33 PM
I just now spent way too much time worrying about the competition.

Triton2286
01-01-2013, 02:05 PM
I'm known for quality, not price. I like it when a "lowballer" cut's a yard right beside mine. You can see the difference.

Do you then put a sign between the lawns with your logo that says "<Mine and Theirs>" ??:drinkup:

yardguy28
01-01-2013, 02:22 PM
personally i ignore my competition completely. whether its novices, low ballers, or another professional.

i focus my time and energy on my business. set my prices where i need them to make a profit for me. put out the kind of quality i need to maintain the kind of clients who hire me.

i don't care what joe's lawn is charging down the street. i don't care how ed's turf is doing things. i'm not concerned with what kind of quality pro man is putting out.

what matters to me is what yardguy is charging, what kind of quality yardguy is giving.

i don't compete with the others. meaning i don't negotiate price or quality of work. if someone gets an estimate, it is what is. it does no good to tell me what the other guys gave you for estimates. i'll simply tell you to hire them then. i've had that happen i can't tell you how many times. i give an estimate, they think on it and i get a call telling me they found so and so to do it for this much. i tell them, well, hire them then. chances are they really didn't find someone with that price but i don't negotiate price or quality.

weeze
01-01-2013, 02:56 PM
personally i ignore my competition completely. whether its novices, low ballers, or another professional.

i focus my time and energy on my business. set my prices where i need them to make a profit for me. put out the kind of quality i need to maintain the kind of clients who hire me.

i don't care what joe's lawn is charging down the street. i don't care how ed's turf is doing things. i'm not concerned with what kind of quality pro man is putting out.

what matters to me is what yardguy is charging, what kind of quality yardguy is giving.

i don't compete with the others. meaning i don't negotiate price or quality of work. if someone gets an estimate, it is what is. it does no good to tell me what the other guys gave you for estimates. i'll simply tell you to hire them then. i've had that happen i can't tell you how many times. i give an estimate, they think on it and i get a call telling me they found so and so to do it for this much. i tell them, well, hire them then. chances are they really didn't find someone with that price but i don't negotiate price or quality.

this is the right way to do things. i agree 100%.

yardguy28
01-01-2013, 03:37 PM
I've lost jobs over $1 a cut because I won't budge on my price.

weeze
01-01-2013, 07:08 PM
really? $1? lol that's crazy.

KeystoneLawn&Landscaping
01-02-2013, 12:37 PM
I agree with Yardguy, except I do keep an eye on the competition. Never know when you may learn something from them. As for pricing, I no longer change a price after spending time to get to an educated price. In the past when a customer asked if that was the best I could do, I usually would go down a little. I will not do that anymore. I don't just throw numbers around to see what will stick and I provide high quality service. For mowing and plowing I know what I need to charge rather quickly. For larger projects that require planning, I scutinize the quote several times before giving to the perspective customer. The last three sentences is what I tell customers now who ask if thats the best I can do. I believe the valuable customers actually appreciate that response and I know I have landed projects that I wasn't the lowest bid on.

Sean Adams
01-02-2013, 01:01 PM
I agree with Yardguy, except I do keep an eye on the competition. Never know when you may learn something from them. As for pricing, I no longer change a price after spending time to get to an educated price. In the past when a customer asked if that was the best I could do, I usually would go down a little. I will not do that anymore. I don't just throw numbers around to see what will stick and I provide high quality service. For mowing and plowing I know what I need to charge rather quickly. For larger projects that require planning, I scutinize the quote several times before giving to the perspective customer. The last three sentences is what I tell customers now who ask if thats the best I can do. I believe the valuable customers actually appreciate that response and I know I have landed projects that I wasn't the lowest bid on.

Good information. "Coming down" on price should only be a calculated consideration, never on a whim.

clydebusa
01-02-2013, 01:13 PM
Customers like to haggle the price in lawn care and other stuff like buying cars. My standard procedure is to figure the price and raise it so I can lower it.

yardguy28
01-02-2013, 03:14 PM
really? $1? lol that's crazy.

Customers like to haggle the price in lawn care and other stuff like buying cars. My standard procedure is to figure the price and raise it so I can lower it.

I'm not a price haggler. you wanna haggle price call someone else.

when I give a price it's pretty much the absolute lowest I can go and still turn the profit I need.

I'm not out to make as much money off people as I can by nickle and diming them but I'm not out there to give away my services either. just looking to make what I consider to be a decent living.

if I tell $32 a cut that's what it is, PERIOD.

clydebusa
01-02-2013, 06:33 PM
Yardguy that is fine. No big deal, I agree with what you are saying. Saturn car was that way and I would love for everything to be that way. No discounts, no coupons, just post the price and be done with it.

Toro 455
01-03-2013, 07:13 AM
The lowballers serve a purpose. They make me look good.

If someone asks me for a lower price, I answer "Sure! What do you want to leave out?"
When a customer asks me something I always answer YES. Like the song "YES! We have NO bananas!

weeze
01-03-2013, 11:37 AM
i never charge like $27 or $32. it's gonna be $30 or $35. i round it off always. i don't just go in there with one price in mind though. i go in with a ballpark. say $45-$55. $45 is the least i can go to make the job worth doing and $55 is what i'm shooting for to make the job the most profitable it can be within reason. if they say they will only pay $40 i walk. usually i land it at about $50 which is fine.

yardguy28
01-03-2013, 02:10 PM
yeah see I have set prices for everything and that's what they are. if they try and haggle I walk.

cpllawncare
01-05-2013, 10:57 PM
Yardguy that is fine. No big deal, I agree with what you are saying. Saturn car was that way and I would love for everything to be that way. No discounts, no coupons, just post the price and be done with it.

And we see where saturn car is today don't we? OUT OF BUSINESS! I remember someone on here saying be careful about demanding things from the customer.

yardguy28
01-06-2013, 11:09 AM
i don't see how having set prices for services is demanding.

you don't go to the grocery story and haggle over the price of a dozen eggs. you don't go to best buy and haggle over the price of the computer your trying to buy.

something closer to our work, you don't call up the electrical company and try and get a cheaper price. you don't haggle over what the plumber charged you to fix your toilet. those places provide a service just like we do. why should we set up our business so we can haggle price?

i mean if you want to set things up that way, thats your business. but i don't think it's demanding and there is nothing wrong with set prices. it sure makes things easy on me. i give the estimate and they either hire me or they don't. i don't have to fool around with lowering the price or refiguring my price to see just how low i could go.

some would also add that it depends on how hungry you are for business and i would agree. most of the years my schedule has been pretty much full so i'm not really ever in great need of new business so if they don't want to pay my price thats fine i really don't need the business anyway. remember i'm solo and wanting to stay solo. that means i have a certain amount of slots for the week and once there full, i'm not taking on anymore until there is an opening.

one time jobs are done in the order they are received. regular service is as i said, once my weekly slots are full no one gets in until i either fire a client or they fire me. i work between 40 and 50 hours a week. no more, usually no less.

weeze
01-06-2013, 04:44 PM
i agree on the needing customers is the biggest factor here. if i was full or close to it i would give them my price and they could take it or leave it. i'm not full though since i've only been in business for 2 years going on number 3 so i would be willing to take a job for $5 less because i need the income. it all depends on where you are in your business needs.

Smallaxe
01-07-2013, 07:17 AM
That is a good point... even if I can get $XX.xx from one neighborhood, that doesn't mean that I could get it from another... Sometimes the Pro will price himself out of the game, becuz he has an unrealistic notion of the value of his service...
As long as it is a 'living wage', so to speak, I believe it is a fair price... :)

Duekster
01-07-2013, 08:46 AM
i don't see how having set prices for services is demanding.

you don't go to the grocery story and haggle over the price of a dozen eggs. you don't go to best buy and haggle over the price of the computer your trying to buy.

something closer to our work, you don't call up the electrical company and try and get a cheaper price. you don't haggle over what the plumber charged you to fix your toilet. those places provide a service just like we do. why should we set up our business so we can haggle price?

i mean if you want to set things up that way, thats your business. but i don't think it's demanding and there is nothing wrong with set prices. it sure makes things easy on me. i give the estimate and they either hire me or they don't. i don't have to fool around with lowering the price or refiguring my price to see just how low i could go.

some would also add that it depends on how hungry you are for business and i would agree. most of the years my schedule has been pretty much full so i'm not really ever in great need of new business so if they don't want to pay my price thats fine i really don't need the business anyway. remember i'm solo and wanting to stay solo. that means i have a certain amount of slots for the week and once there full, i'm not taking on anymore until there is an opening.

one time jobs are done in the order they are received. regular service is as i said, once my weekly slots are full no one gets in until i either fire a client or they fire me. i work between 40 and 50 hours a week. no more, usually no less.

Actually have gotten a lower price for electricity. The trick is not to be a commodity or an off the shelf product.

cpllawncare
01-07-2013, 09:09 AM
I personally don't like to haggle prices for the most part, but my mother on the other hand haggles everything and I mean everything, drives me nuts.

clydebusa
01-07-2013, 06:44 PM
And we see where saturn car is today don't we? OUT OF BUSINESS! I remember someone on here saying be careful about demanding things from the customer.

Just used them as an example. Most people dicker on prices of cars and lawncare. Period :laugh::waving::drinkup:

yardguy28
01-07-2013, 07:14 PM
Just used them as an example. Most people dicker on prices of cars and lawncare. Period :laugh::waving::drinkup:

guess I'll consider myself lucky then because I have yet to have someone (minus one lady) to ever dicker over my prices.

they always just say yes or no.

cpllawncare
01-07-2013, 07:26 PM
you don't call up the electrical company and try and get a cheaper price.

And how many power companies are in town? ONE! BIG DIFFERENCE!

Nate'sLawnCare
01-07-2013, 08:19 PM
On the professionalism side, I was at the cell store this morning getting my son a phone. When I came out, a guy was mowing at the Chili's restaurant next door, so while I fiddled with the phone I watched him for a few minutes. He was moving pretty slowly, surprising since the grass was pretty thin, then I saw him mow over a clump of paper and it went everywhere. Since the grass was low, I'm sure he could see the paper before hitting it, I just couldn't understand why he didn't pick it up instead. I always pick up trash at any commercial property I service, either before mowing or as I go. Wow. I don't know, maybe he picked up all the little pieces after I left :confused:

Duekster
01-07-2013, 08:47 PM
Mowing trash will often get you fired as fast as any thing else. Perhaps that tells us more about the owners standards than anything else. Tough in the food industry these days. Not sure when the last time I was at one of those establishments. Likely 8 years or more ago. Trash in the grass will not help the image they have.

yardguy28
01-07-2013, 11:35 PM
you don't call up the electrical company and try and get a cheaper price.

And how many power companies are in town? ONE! BIG DIFFERENCE!

one??? really are you serious???

we have like 3 or 4.

cpllawncare
01-08-2013, 12:11 AM
one??? really are you serious???

we have like 3 or 4.

OK! I'll give you 3 or 4, that vs how many LCO's? And yet still how many utility companies can you choose to do business with at your house? Probably ONE! there are three or four here also ONE for each city in the county! My point is, you can't pick and choose utility companies like you can LCO companies so that is not a fair comparison. There are hundreds of LCO's, vs three or four Utilities, try again.

yardguy28
01-08-2013, 07:29 AM
well you can try again as well because your still NOT convincing me to allow people to dicker with my prices.

cpllawncare
01-08-2013, 09:42 AM
well you can try again as well because your still NOT convincing me to allow people to dicker with my prices.

All I'm saying is build in some flexibilty it doesn't have to be a lot but a little. If you show people that your willing to work with them it helps a lot.

Turf Dawg
01-08-2013, 10:43 AM
It is not "lowballers" that get to me. It is the fact that these "lowballers" are not legit that gets to me. I just wish we had an even playing field. Our state, counties and cities or always saying they need money. Well, why do they not go after these people? Our State, Texas, has us collect tax for landscaping so why do they not go after these people? My county charges me the same tax rate as my residence on the value of the equipment I use for my business, so why do they not go after these people? By the time I pay my commercial vehicle insurance, commercial general liability insurance, county taxes, Uncle Sam, pesticide license with ceu's, irrigation license with ceu's and ect........ I am way behind the 8 ball. They can do the job cheaper and still make more profit and that is what drives me crazy.

Sean Adams
01-08-2013, 12:52 PM
What are the potential disadvantages/liabilities of a home owner hiring an illegal or an illegitimate business?

Turf Dawg
01-08-2013, 01:06 PM
What are the potential disadvantages/liabilities of a home owner hiring an illegal or an illegitimate business?

Depends. Probably nothing but let's play the "what if game"

Equipment catches fire and burns house, surrounding crops or other homes

Someone gets injured by flying debris

Expensive vehicle or home damage [owners or neighbors]

and the list goes on

If something happens who is the person going after the illegitimate business or the property owner that hired them?

Turf Dawg
01-08-2013, 01:23 PM
Sorry, I forgot the part that really gets under my skin.

Your area is probably different than mine, but in my small Texas town that has about as many housing authority type homes as the regular homes the Mexican population is going crazy. Now Hose A, Hose B and Hose C gets them a mower and mows for cash at a cheaper price. Now since they are mowing for cash they say they do not have any income and go down and get home and utilities for almost nothing along with food and medical while the legit guy is not only getting under cut but is also making up the difference in taxes to pay the home, utilities, food and medical for the guy that is lowballing/illegitimate.

Burns my arse as bad as a two foot flame

yardguy28
01-08-2013, 01:27 PM
All I'm saying is build in some flexibilty it doesn't have to be a lot but a little. If you show people that your willing to work with them it helps a lot.

why would I want to show people I'm willing to work with them when I'm NOT.

my price is what it is. you either pay it or find someone else. pretty simple if you ask me.

ELS Landscape
01-08-2013, 01:28 PM
One or Two percent of their home value depending in their homeowners policy deductable.

What are the potential disadvantages/liabilities of a home owner hiring an illegal or an illegitimate business?

Darryl G
01-08-2013, 01:59 PM
There's one guy in my area that comes here from "his country" every year to do lawn care. He does pretty decent work but does lowball bigtime. I screen my customers pretty carefully and actually refer all the bottom of the barrel customers to him...I figure if I tie him up doing the crappy lawns for the PITA customers he won't have time to go after my target customers. I've talked to him about his pricing before and the way he looks at it he's still making a lot compared to what he can in his country...he says "in my country I am a rich man."

yardguy28
01-08-2013, 02:42 PM
well i understand this is a different situation. the guy you are talking about is from another country but i find it awefully nervy of you to talk to someone else about there pricing.

if someone were to talk to me about my prices i'd laugh and tell them to get lost.

Darryl G
01-08-2013, 02:49 PM
How do you know he didn't initiate the pricing discussion...jump to conclusions much?

yardguy28
01-08-2013, 04:47 PM
well you do make a good point but your post makes it seem like you went up to him and tried to discuss his lowballing with him.

I don't generally if ever discuss prices with anyone. the most I say is my prices are what they are. if clients don't like them they can go else where. if my competition doesn't like them, tough.

Will P.C.
01-08-2013, 05:30 PM
well i understand this is a different situation. the guy you are talking about is from another country but i find it awefully nervy of you to talk to someone else about there pricing.

if someone were to talk to me about my prices i'd laugh and tell them to get lost.

Darryl says he gives this foreigner work so it isn't like he bum rushed him yelling lowballer

ELS Landscape
01-08-2013, 07:00 PM
Where I live it is a fact of life. You pretty much know prices cause they paste them all over your door all year long. My workers go home for the winter be it a two week vacation, one month and one guy is not returning until March.

They work hard. I have never had a client say one word to me but I do let them know that these are employees on a payroll.

Are there former H2B workers out in the wild? Absolutely they are out there. I am sure there are also what we fondly call wetbacks too. The former is less of a threat than the wild H2B landscape worker cause they are often well trained. I think however this is getting to be less and less of a problem

Smallaxe
01-09-2013, 09:15 AM
As long as we're talking about lowballers from another country,,, I wonder what they're thinking when they support Socialism in this country... Does it ever occur to them that the reason we used to be a rich country was because we used to be different from the poor countries of the planet???
As we raise prices we will be loosing work... Its already happening with various cutbacks by some customers and once again,,, only the Joneses will be "Keeping up with the Joneses"... :)

GreenGuysLC
01-29-2013, 11:44 AM
personally i ignore my competition completely. whether its novices, low ballers, or another professional.

i focus my time and energy on my business. set my prices where i need them to make a profit for me. put out the kind of quality i need to maintain the kind of clients who hire me.

i don't care what joe's lawn is charging down the street. i don't care how ed's turf is doing things. i'm not concerned with what kind of quality pro man is putting out.

what matters to me is what yardguy is charging, what kind of quality yardguy is giving.

i don't compete with the others. meaning i don't negotiate price or quality of work. if someone gets an estimate, it is what is. it does no good to tell me what the other guys gave you for estimates. i'll simply tell you to hire them then. i've had that happen i can't tell you how many times. i give an estimate, they think on it and i get a call telling me they found so and so to do it for this much. i tell them, well, hire them then. chances are they really didn't find someone with that price but i don't negotiate price or quality.

100% agree. I dont wiggle either. Could have lost a 20k contract last week when they told me i wasnt low bid...i wouldnt come down...but because they know my quality...they renewed anyway. I dont believe in senior discounts..or church discounts....or bald head discounts or baggy pants discounts. It cost me the same to maintain properties...no matter who you are.
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jrs.landscaping
01-29-2013, 02:49 PM
The lowballers that get to me are on the commercial side, properties that SHOULD be at $65 - $70 they cut for $25 because of the exposure of having commercial work :hammerhead:
As for other companies, I try to be civil with them but some of them I can't deal with for various reasons, if we're at a walkthrough there are a few of them that will come over and talk. I have nothing against the competition, even the lowballers, if they want to make $25 PH cutting grass good for them Thumbs Up