View Full Version : Frustrating Day!

03-18-2004, 11:14 PM
We just got a letter in the mail today from a school that we recently bid on. We did not get the bid on it. That's fine and dandy but since we bought out a local lawn company last year that was really struggling. He got the bid last year on this school and was doing so bad they were about to drop him until we took over. It took alot to get the school grounds back in shape and it really sucks because we bid it just a little higher than what he did last year. We figured it was as good as gold but it was not. The grounds were not only the school but all the ball fields too and it was worth about 20,000 for the year. I would have thought the school board learned last year what kind of service they got with the low bid (also never using this company before).
Then again I know what thought did--- Thought he farted and Sh*t his pants).

Sorry but just venting and the more a person thinks about it GOOD let them have it because when they think it will be easy the school may call because they can't handle it price goes up. Now we know how they think and it's a learning experience.

Good luck to everyone this summer!!

03-18-2004, 11:31 PM
I lost a $12,000 account recently. I t was a commercial account-a marina and storage outfit(no mowing). they hired a woman who lives on her boat to do it for $10 an hour. I think it is safer to have many smaller accounts.

Norm Al
03-18-2004, 11:37 PM
the school board does not care about service.....they may say they do but remember what momma used to say "actions speak louder than words"

03-19-2004, 12:13 AM
So far this early season I have submitted bids to three HOA and the local airport. We have a very professional bid packet and good handle on our overhead and expenses. We have provided each project with good solid win/win bids.

We have won none of them. The first words out of their mouths are " ___ was the low bidder" (meaning _____ won)

Low bids are all they care about. One subdivision, 300 houses, needs a pressurized irrigation system maintained. There is only ONE person that knows how the thing works - he installed it. He has tried to show board members and homeowners the ins and outs but none want to learn. We are bidding the project together and have been told
"yours is the highest bid, we are looking for others..."

No one can know this system, yet they are recieving low bids. Quick cash guys that don't have a clue, and the HOA is only concerned about getting the low bidder.

More power to them...just keep me out of it.

03-19-2004, 12:14 AM
Originally posted by JFGLN
I lost a $12,000 account recently. I t was a commercial account-a marina and storage outfit(no mowing). they hired a woman who lives on her boat to do it for $10 an hour. I think it is safer to have many smaller accounts.
I have one account that pays us $168,000 per year. You can bet I keep them happy.

03-19-2004, 12:21 AM

I agree with the statement that it is safer to have many small accounts.

03-19-2004, 12:23 AM
Guys don't you understand. It is all about the money. Its interesting that some of you become indignant when they want the low bid, but you refer to them by the dollar amount. Hmmm

03-19-2004, 12:52 AM
Its no different than taking my fertilizer business elsewhere because I can save $1.50 a bag. I dont need service just product. Bottom line affects everyone.

03-19-2004, 01:58 AM
Hey I got underbid by 40% on $40000.00 worth of apartments I have don for 31/2 out of the last 4 years the other 1/2 was someone else. I hope to be so buse when they call back I can tell them to go pound sand in a hole.


03-19-2004, 07:30 AM
I am not a big operation but I can deliver service on bigger accounts if I choose. I choose not to. I am not one to live in low bid land, I let the others. You are correct, HOA's, Cemeterys, City projects, Airports can not justify going with higher bids. The people on those boards are there to keep cost down. I have never been to a meeting where they said "He is 10% higher than the low bid and we will use him".

By letting others get tied up with these high output low income jobs I secure the work that they can't handle. On top of that I am too much of a perfectionist to bend over and use junk products so I can just make money. My reputation is much too valueable to do that.
Thats my spin and I know some of you gents do well in this game, you have it figured out. I'll stay with my small ones.

Randy Scott
03-19-2004, 11:08 AM
Schools fall under the same category as municipality work, since they are basically one in the same. If a company submits a bid, in the proper manner according to the bid sheet, with the proper equipment to do the work, they have to take low bid. It's mandatory. Maybe not every community is this way, but 99% of them are. If you don't want to make minimal profit to no profit, don't waste your time bidding. It only took me one season to figure this out. We no longer waste our time or ink doing this type of bidding. The people that get the bids do it for such a ridiculous amount of money, I can't even see how the dirt-bag low-ballers can do it. I don't really care to figure it out anymore as well. There are other people out there looking for our type of service and work.

03-19-2004, 11:34 AM
That is why we are glad we don't have all our eggs in one basket. We try to do some Large accounts becuase it's nice to unload the equipment for a day, but it is also good to have the smaller ones for when this happens. At least we know how the they think and it only makes us smarter.

03-19-2004, 01:30 PM
I lost an HOA today, they didn't say why, they just wrote ''they voted on a different lawn car co''.


03-19-2004, 05:38 PM
One of my Dad's favorite quotes is "You know what happened to thought ?" In his trade there is a man who's favorite quote is " Whats the price " . My Dad is on the expensive side. " Whats the price " is a low baller. Dad's work is still standing after 30 years. "Whats the price's" work is laying on the ground after 3 years and needs rebuilding.

There are price shoppers in all trades. Best bet is to not worry about it. Good work and attention to detail is priceless in the longrun.

03-20-2004, 01:06 AM
If you go into a situation knowing they are going to take the low bidder, why waste your time unless you know you are going to bid very low. It seems to me you should ask what their criteria is for selection of a company, so you know whether you should waste your time or not.

03-20-2004, 01:16 AM
About 4 years ago, I started responding a little differently to people calling and asking me to "bid" on a job.

Right at the beginning, I tell them if they are looking for a low bid, I'm not their man, cause my work is too good to be the low bid. That usually prevents the waste of their and my time.

03-21-2004, 03:01 AM
Originally posted by mbricker
About 4 years ago, I started responding a little differently to people calling and asking me to "bid" on a job.

Right at the beginning, I tell them if they are looking for a low bid, I'm not their man, cause my work is too good to be the low bid. That usually prevents the waste of their and my time.

I'm thinking of doing this too. Got an add coming up in the paper and I want to be able to qualify callers (if I get any).
Someone said on here once,
"Cheap ain't good and good ain't cheap. I'm good!"
I might say something like,
"I don't let the price determine the quality but the quality determines the price."If their first question is "How much?" then It's probably a loosing battle anyway.

03-21-2004, 07:39 AM
95% of commercial properties only care about the lowest price.
But there are some that care about quality. I have one large townhoue complex, that always went with the lowest price. And they always got screwed. Then a year ago they decided to shop around again. This time they went for quality , not price.They hired me, I was second highest in price. They just signed for another 2years. But they are the exception to the rule. Most dont care , they shop every year, and price matters to them.
I am trying to mix my accounts up, large and small.
I think the smaller accounts tend to be more loyale, But only to a point. Price does come into play with them to.

I just put a bid in on a very large contract. I have been after it for over a year. They complained about quality with the last company. Its a 4 year deal. I gave them a fair price. I willl find out this week if I got it or not. It will be interesting to see if they go for the lowest price, or quality of work. I will bet they go with the lowest bidder agian, and they will be back to poor work..... Its a large company, and bottom line will probably be most important.

These price wars only hurt the business. Its hard to increase priceing with this sort of bidding going on....

sorry for the long response.

DFW Area Landscaper
07-29-2004, 09:44 AM
+++++95% of commercial properties only care about the lowest price.+++++

My gut feeling is that there are two types of decision makers: Those who have had bad experiences with landscape maintenance firms and those who haven't. If they're really concerned about quality and appearance, and they've had a bad experience in the past, when they find that landscaper who can make the place look nice year round, they're going to keep him...I would guess.

I'm in the process of re-focusing my efforts from residential maintenance to commercial maintenance. I think it'll be a no brainer when I call on these decision makers to figure out if they're a low bid price shopper or if they're really concerned with quality. A low bid price shopper isn't going to care much about how often the contract calls for the beds to be re-mulched or how often the shrubs will be trimmed or how often an expert would be making adjustments to their watering schedule. A quality concious decision maker would be very interested in those kinds of details.

I think the danger might be this: You come in, do a good job and keep the customer happy. Then, the decision maker leaves and is replaced by a new manager. They start to assume the landscape just looks good automatically. Then, when re-bid season comes up, and you try to raise your prices by 5 or 10% because you think you've been doing a great job, and a competitor underbids you, maybe then you could be in trouble.

I'd love to hear from more experienced commercial LCO's on this issue.

DFW Area Landscaper

07-29-2004, 11:52 AM
I'm not for sure on this, but I think in my state by law they have to go with the low bid. That is if they are like a school or state agency.

07-29-2004, 01:38 PM
just to add my 2 cents on this. I am learning alll about this issue lately. I was recently promoted to facility Coordinator where I work, so I will be responsibile for securing maintenance contracts. I was in a recent meeting, briefing us on the way we handle this.
I will have no choice in who is picked, I must go with low bidder. I know when it comes time for the lawm maintenacne contract I will go nuts, I know the reps of most of the competition in my area as I have been in lawn care now 11 years. Just thought I would let you know how it is on the other side of the issue.

DFW Area Landscaper
07-29-2004, 02:49 PM
I'd say if you start getting the feeling that the low bid automatically wins, bid it as low as you can go. Take a truck out there with a blank magnet to cover the lettering. Run the mowers one pass, if it needs double cutting...forget it. Maybe play with the blowers, forget to line trim and go. If the contract requires you to trim the shrubs every 60 days, trim them once or twice a year. Forget to make a few fert apps too. Then see what happens. They'd have to pay you until they fired you and once that happened they'd be a lot more reluctant to go with the low bid next time around.

That would be exactly what a "go with the low bid" decision maker should get, in my opinion. Low quality. I'm afraid, however, that all too many LCO's get worried about getting a renewal at the end of the term and they try to make the low bid work. Perhaps, a lot of times, the quality doesn't even fall off with a low bid.

Maybe do this: Turn in one bid that's legitimate under your company's real name. Meet with the decision maker and present your quality pitch. Then, file a second DBA with the state under something like Joe's Landscaping. Have a friend or english speaking employee submit the low bid. Then, just wait and see what happens.

DFW Area Landscaper

07-29-2004, 03:04 PM
Originally posted by wkshank
I'm not for sure on this, but I think in my state by law they have to go with the low bid. That is if they are like a school or state agency.

Yes, you are correct, as long as the company with the low bid are qualified to do the work.