View Full Version : The Lowballers Are Already Out

02-29-2004, 10:54 PM
I got a call yesterday for an estimate, and went over there today. The yard was just a little bit over 2 acres. With 1/2 of an acre to get cut every other week. I bid it for $80. Then the guy tells me that he had someone cut it for $52and fert for $30 . I simply told the man i couldnt touch it for that. I gave him my estimate for 6 apps , bed weed control and mowing. The grand total was $2665.00 and thats not including leaf removal. I went ahead and fax it to him so i guess i will see what happens.

02-29-2004, 11:05 PM
There will always be people out there bidding lower then you, taking properties that you want. They will do it to me again this year.

03-01-2004, 01:03 AM
It has been happening all week to me, I know where you are coming from. I think I'm going to modify my bid sheet, so that all other expenses are not included, that way they will see a lower cost. I have already lost 3 this way, due to added expenses of jobs other than mowing.

03-01-2004, 01:19 AM
do u think that is a good price for that? they tru-green doing the ferts

03-01-2004, 02:05 AM
If they can fert. 2 acres for $30 . They must be spreading that damn thin. More power to them! Your $80 sounds pretty good for mowing as long as theres not too much string trimming and dont have to bag it.

03-01-2004, 09:08 AM
You bid $80 for a half an acre to cut every other week? Seems kinda high to me.

03-01-2004, 09:21 AM
Nah,he's not too high.Looks like 1.5 acres to cut every week and .5 acres every other week.So,every two weeks he'd be cutting the full 2 acres.Actually sounds a little on the low side if I'm reading his post correctly.

Metro Lawn
03-01-2004, 11:39 AM
I want to know where I can buy enough fertilizer to do 2 acres for $30.00 My cost from Lesco averages between $30 & $60 an acre just for the material.

03-01-2004, 12:45 PM
Originally posted by Metro Lawn
I want to know where I can buy enough fertilizer to do 2 acres for $30.00 My cost from Lesco averages between $30 & $60 an acre just for the material.

Nah thats easy, usually when people bid that low they never put out fertilizer.

03-01-2004, 01:35 PM
Theres a company here that does just fert, spraying and aerating. I've seen a couple of there bids and they are right at or less than I can buy the raw material for. Their is a number on their bids that might be their sq-ft estimate. It is only 1/3-1/2 of what I actually measured. So are they planning on applying only 1/2 rate? Or their going to use a lot more product than they thought? They have been in business for many years so I don't think they would be using more than planned. They call it "heavy fertilizer" on their bids. WTF does that mean? They used to do all liquid but costumers are starting to demand granular for the fert. they must be able to buy in some big bulk quantities, and who knows about quality. I want to talk to them some time and see just what formulations they are using, or if they even know.

This company is the one reason I don't count on fert. I offer it and if I get the job great but I concentrate on my mowing and
other stuff.

Sorry but I had to vent a bit, and this seemed like a good thread to do it.
Btw, my prices are about $4/ 1000 sq-ft + $10. So 10k would be $50/app.

I don't think this is out of line.

03-01-2004, 03:02 PM
the reason i bid it for 80 was there is hardly any trimming. maybe 10 minutes of all the trimming. I could do everything in 45 min.

03-16-2004, 01:10 PM
$80 for 45 minutes...wow

Albemarle Lawn
03-16-2004, 02:12 PM
If you are being awarded more than one out of three, congratulations, you are a lowballer (MY OPINION).

I call it the one-third rule, kinda like the one-third rule for cutting grass, you should never whack-off more than one third of the plant stem at any one grass cutting.

Here, we only have 3 full time emplyees, we are slammed, and we have a fancy $4000.00 yellow page ad.

I summarily turn down work nearly every day for not being "on my route" and then bid high on everything. We only "get" about 10% of our bids.

I truly beieve in skimming the cream off the top. I let the crud drift to the bottom where the sucker fish (aka lowballers) readily scoop it up.

It works beautifully....we get maybe 2-3 delinquent payers PER YEAR! Yes the ad is expensive, but we make enough to pay for it in one week. Its nice not having the headaches of 10 employees and 4 low profit crews.

I profit with one crew what most of the "big" operators around here profit with 3 crews. They can spin their wheels all they want cutting $500,000 homes for $30, because I have enough work at premium rates to keep me busy and then some.

To pull it off, one thing has to happen, and its simple: You have to have a live person answer the phone and you have to return customer calls and emails. No exceptions, even PITA customer calls and calls you know are for work you will turn down. You have to cross the t's and dot the i's and never leave a customer or potential customer "hanging"


03-16-2004, 02:28 PM
Awesome post KB!

Well said.

03-16-2004, 02:29 PM
For 5 step fertilizer program $429 per app, (2 acres right). This does not include grub control.

Mowing @ 32 cuts $2240, Thats a low bid ($70 per acre).

Taking care of the beds would be charged at each application as you don't know exactlly how much product you'll use.

03-17-2004, 03:53 AM
The lowballers can have at it as far as I am concerned. Those guys don't got nothing on me. I give way more bids than they do and I land over 50% of maintenance bids. They can try all they want but I outpace them year after year.....

03-17-2004, 06:31 AM
Originally posted by timinkc
$80 for 45 minutes...wow

hmmmmm that kinda sounds like a response from a customer that doesn't have a clue what equipment costs and what it costs to run a business IMO.

03-17-2004, 08:37 AM
you should have asked him what the quality was like with the other guy to merit him to call you up for an estimate? Interesting

Norm Al
03-17-2004, 08:45 AM
why do people think trugreen is a lowballer?

most all spray services are about the same price per 1000 sq ft,,,including trugreen!

most people miss the measurements and create a BIG differance in pricing,,,,but when it comes to measuring ill bet trugreen does a better job than most of the people who post in here!

03-17-2004, 09:00 AM
The reason trugreen does not have a good relationship with me is because they do applications when there shouldn't be ones, they never do any soil testing yet prescribe that lime needs to be done, they do too many applications, and to me the ones around here are not knowledgeable in pesticide regulations or even their field.

03-17-2004, 09:46 AM
I have a question for Albemarle Lawn, Jim Lewis and anyone else that has some sound advice, great posts by the way, Albermarle, it sounds like your advertising is really paying off with that yp ad, congrats. I placed a small 2 - 3 inch text ad in my area yp, will be out next month. anyways, when doing my fliers the weekend before last, someone came right behind me the next with fliers lowballing mine, i was offering between $30 - $45 up to 1 acre weekly for mow, trim, blowing and edjing, this guy comes behind me saying he will do it for $70 a month, which breaks down to less then $20 a week. how do you guys still land the accounts, is it by shear volume of responses that you guys can pick and choose, I know your both established so you have refferals in your favor, but what would you recommend for a new guy like me starting out to compete with these lowballers..enquiring minds want to know(lol)

03-17-2004, 11:44 AM
Well, there are a lot of things I do that help insure our success. First of all, I am in a great market. I live in the richest suburb of a big city - lots of people with money where I live. That's a great place to start. Even the people in "average" houses around here can afford lawn care. And most of them work too much and don't want to mess with it on weekends anyway. So there is tons of demand here for our service.

With nicer homes and people with more money, comes higher expectations too. First of all, they aren't as concerned with price as they are with quality, reliability, professionalism, and trust.

Price - Sure, they want a competitive price. And you need to be competitive. Cut costs so that you can have a good competitive price.

Quality - more importantly, they want a company who appears to have some experience and does good work. You're appearance, your trucks, your equipment, your words, how you answer their questions, all of these are clues to a customer as to your quality and knowledge.

Reliability - they want someone who appears to be reliable and someone they've seen around town for a while - a company with an established track record who they feel they can rely on. Or if they haven't seen you around, they want to AT LEAST get a feeling that you're reliable and have a track record. Think of ways that you can instill this idea into their minds when they see you in person, your flyer, your truck, etc.

Professionalism - I've always made this my first priority. Even back when it was just me and one truck, everyone thought we were a big company. I put every penny I had into making sure I had the goods to set a killer first impression. I could barely afford to pay my rent back then but when I arrived to a customer's house I had a nice, clean truck that had a fairly new paint job and professional truck lettering. I had a nice business card. I had a uniform on. I had nice, professional estimate forms. I tried to have everything else that a big company would have. And everyone just assumed I had 4 or 5 crews going on because of that first appearance. Now we do. But only because I invested that money to create that professional appearance way back when I could barely afford to.

Trust - at least where I live and in the market we go after, people are concerned about WHO they let on their property. Are they licensed and bonded? Do they appear to be clean-cut, honest guys (or gals)? Do they seem honest when speaking to them? Many guys try to B.S. their way through estimates and convesations and often it's very transparent and just makes you look dishonest. If you don't know an answer - be honest - rather than B.S. your way through it.

There is more I could write about in regards to your questions.

I guess the last thing I'll add here is that you need to advertise, advertise, advertise. And don't just do that standards that every other LCO does. Flyers are killer. use them. But they take a lot of time and everyone does them. So try other stuff too. I constantly have 5-8 marketing methods working for me at any given time. I am not going to tell you what they all are - hehe - but suffice it to say you need to think of other ways to get your name, cards, website, etc. out in front of people all over the place.