PDA

View Full Version : Can't compete with larger companies


dirtwork
04-01-2004, 07:09 PM
Hi all. I recently bid on a large mowing job for a commercial property. It would take one man about 8 hours to mow, edge,trim and blow. I bid $285 per mow only to be under bid by a much larger and very reputable company for $150. The company would use a crew of three hispanic workers paying them $8 to mow. How can a one man operation compete?

Trevors Lawn Care
04-01-2004, 07:31 PM
Thats what i say, or how can someone with small equipment compete with three 72 inch decks. I just bid at a baptist church today, hopefully that goes well. Ive only got a ztr 44 in, 33 walk behind. I just figure that in the beginning you will have to bite the bullet and do it for cheaper than they do it, then eventually when you have established enough money and good will, you cacn turn away the cheap jobs, and buy large equipment and get in big time.

THIS IS NOT A GET RICH IN ONE YEAR BUSINESS. I DONT THINK PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT.

DJL
04-01-2004, 07:51 PM
I think you are targeting the wrong customers. Why target clients whom you KNOW (you said it yourself) you can't compete with? To me that is bad business practice.

Chances are the company with the 72" mowers aren't going to be running around trying to bid on $25 - $50 residential lawns. Why is that? Cause that have a business plan that works...

lawnman_scott
04-01-2004, 08:22 PM
well by everyone else's standards here your already a lowballer. Just curious how you found out 1 the price, 2 wage of employees of the other company, and 3 race of other companies employees. Here is a hint, run your business, not theirs.

Trevors Lawn Care
04-01-2004, 08:37 PM
Who gives a rats ass if you are called a lowballer. I am a lowballer, i just have to work a little more for the same money, but i still get the money, and guess what?! My company is growing, I am getting new accounts, and eventually i will be able to spend $10 grand on a nice 72 inch mower. Dont let anybody get you down by ccalling you a lowballer.


"whoop de do basil"


trevor

Let it Grow
04-01-2004, 09:59 PM
And isn't that eveyone's goal...to spend 10 grand on a 72 inch mower.

CDJLANDSCAPING
04-02-2004, 12:01 AM
This is only my second year and first full time so I hope that I am not speaking out of turn. I HATE LOWBALLERS Lowballing kills us small guys. I used to try and fight it but now I give my fair price and thats it. New customers want to haggle, not me. I tell them the price is what it is because of the quality of work. I lose 50% of my bids but once i have them thats it. I have never been fired and I have picked up next door niegbors on 5 of my accounts..

Frosty_03
04-02-2004, 12:30 AM
I agree with lawnman_scott. Don't worry about what you can't controll. Just get out there and be successful, remember you have to fail to be successful. whay are you trying to compete with what you know is a loosing fight. Just controll what is yours and the rest will come. If you been in this business for four years you should know that you will have days that don't turn out the way you like them too. When that happens to me I just try that much harder, oh by the way I am a Mexican and I pay myself way more than 8 bucks an hour. Just keep keeping on!!! and dont try to compete with the big guys or you will lose your mind.

specialtylc
04-02-2004, 02:06 AM
Originally posted by CDJLANDSCAPING
This is only my second year and first full time so I hope that I am not speaking out of turn. I HATE LOWBALLERS Lowballing kills us small guys. I used to try and fight it but now I give my fair price and thats it. New customers want to haggle, not me. I tell them the price is what it is because of the quality of work. I lose 50% of my bids but once i have them thats it. I have never been fired and I have picked up next door niegbors on 5 of my accounts..
If you are getting 50% of the jobs you bid on then you are doing better than the bigger companies. Thats a darn good average.

jajwrigh
04-02-2004, 01:18 PM
Why even try? Target residentials and smaller commercials. Most big companies don't mess with too many residential around here so they are ripe for the pickin.'

bobbygedd
04-02-2004, 03:55 PM
you can't compete against them, period. the only thing u can do is take on tiny jobs that they don't want. they work for peanuts, but, they make peanuts, alot of times, so it adds up.

Norm Al
04-02-2004, 04:16 PM
lowballers and scrubs are NOT the scourge of this industry,,,,,its the big guys!

rodfather
04-02-2004, 05:43 PM
Don't worry about the large jobs now...instead find your niche in the marketplace.

Doc Pete
04-02-2004, 06:05 PM
Originally posted by rodfather
Don't worry about the large jobs now...instead find your niche in the marketplace.

Right on old man:o
Just like a crew of 5 can't make money on a 1/4 acre, as a solo guy I don't even look at properties bigger than 2 acres.
DP

mtdman
04-02-2004, 07:11 PM
You gotta know your target. As a solo operator, I don't bother to bid larger jobs like that when a crew can come and do it cheaper and faster. At the same time, I can handle smaller yards probably cheaper and with better quality than a crew of workers just there to rip through the lawn. I know my niche and target, and stick to it. That's all.

amar
04-02-2004, 08:21 PM
Im suprized this hasent been brought up yeat. Most large Co's will loball bid the grass so they can keep their foot in the door and get the snow account.

SodKing
04-02-2004, 08:30 PM
"lowballers and scrubs are NOT the scourge of this industry,,,,,its the big guys!"

Thank you....

NC Big Daddy
04-02-2004, 08:41 PM
Originally posted by amar
Im suprized this hasent been brought up yeat. Most large Co's will loball bid the grass so they can keep their foot in the door and get the snow account.

It's call a lose leader. I do it all the time. I'll mow for cost or even under cost so we get the things that make money. Irrigation, applications, pine straw/mulch, flowers, design/install and foul weather clean up just to name a few.
If all you've got is a 48" walk behind don't bid the large commercial properties. There is NO way you can mow 10 acres with a 48" wb cheaper than a crew of 4 with 3 60" z's going. Not going to happen. Just my opinion and best of luck.

Avery
04-03-2004, 12:54 AM
And I cannot compete with small companies on jobs like small to medium residential. No way I can show up with two large Z's and several helpers and do it as cheap as a solo or small company with less overhead. There is a market for every size business. Find yours.

Frosty_03
04-03-2004, 01:20 AM
Well said Avery everyone has there nich best of luck in 2004 :cool: :)

Vladslawn
04-03-2004, 02:31 AM
Excellent advice/reminder here! Business plan is a must.

I'll add to the above (if I may)-- know your competition, their strengths & weaknesses. You'll have to compete with them and distinquish yourself from them as being better for the consumer. That is beat them at their strengths or weakness.

Pursue what you like to do and what your good at.

Regards

Vlad

bastalker
04-03-2004, 02:43 AM
I look at it like this.... If you are turning out lawns similar to Eric Elms, there is no LCO in town that can touch you!!! No matter what you charge......

Let the rest fight it out!!

PS....Pics to follow........

C & T
04-03-2004, 11:50 PM
How big is this property that you bid on that would take you 8 hours to complete?
I know a landscaping company in another town that only uses two guy's (which are white if that matters) do take care of a business park with 10 commercial properties and they finish in less that 8 hrs only using a 1 scag tiger cub or wildcat (can't tell which one it is), back blower and a trimmer. One guy cuts the other trims.

I have 3 commercial properties in one area and it only takes me between 1 1/2 to 2 hrs on each by myself and that's cut, trim, blow / cleanup.

sildoc
04-04-2004, 04:50 AM
Look at it this way. You could have one Major Company that has diversified itself three ways. 1. 2 man crew large area commercial. 2. 2 man crew Small area commercial. 3 1 man crew residential.

Of these they make money on their 8 1 man crew residential and 5 2 man crew small commercial. They keep their 2 man crew large commercial as an advertising which gets them their residential. What can you say?????
Find them and then do it right so you don't lose them.

brucec32
04-04-2004, 05:29 AM
Originally posted by dirtwork
Hi all. I recently bid on a large mowing job for a commercial property. It would take one man about 8 hours to mow, edge,trim and blow. I bid $285 per mow only to be under bid by a much larger and very reputable company for $150. The company would use a crew of three hispanic workers paying them $8 to mow. How can a one man operation compete?

You certainly weren't high on price. But what is your equipment like? Is it the most efficient available?
Remember, the bigger the property the more equipment efficiency matters. Going to a 60" deck from a 48" isn't a big deal on a 1/4 acre lot. But on a job that takes 8 hours to complete it might save hours.


Large and/or commercial jobs are hard for a solo operator to compete against big companies with inexpensive immigrant labor. So quit going for them and find your niche with smaller properties. Big companies generally hate the quick in/out jobs, since they don't pay enough relative to the managment and seat time involved. I rarely see anything but small business owner/operators in residentials.

KL Squared
04-04-2004, 11:53 AM
i changed our approach this year in the business that I seek. I have 3 cutting crews. each is a one man operation and I am one of them. We marketed the postage stamp subdivision homes only. I am flooded with 1/4 to 1/2 acre lots that I charge $30 - 40 each. I can cut these with similar equipment that you lsted and be out of there in 35 minutes. I put in a lot of work advertizing in areas that keep my accounts close by and minimize my drive time. My business looks like it will triple this year. All of this to say be realistic in what you go after and know your niche in the market. Let the big boys handle the big jobs you can deal with the smaller ones and make a good living.

gravedigger5
04-04-2004, 02:06 PM
A lot of replies on here say to quit goung after those bigger commercial accounts, WHY??? If you really want to do a couple of these keep on bidding. don't lowball yourself, you need to make a profit, don't put all your eggs in one basket, and quit your belly aching cause you already know it is going to be hard to land one of these jobs, but sooner or later you will. I believe a good commercial/residetial mix is good business to have year in year out thru all types of economical changes. Marc

kris
04-04-2004, 02:20 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by SodKing
"lowballers and scrubs are NOT the scourge of this industry,,,,,its the big guys!"

Thank you.... [/QUOTE

:rolleyes:

lowmiler
04-11-2004, 09:42 PM
I can and do underbid the larger operators. Because i can. I have designed my business with low overhead. I have two 60in Lazers with a crew of three. Bring them on. The largest mowing business from here began by underbidding. He underbid some large accounts. But it got his name out and now he is trying to keep the price up. Go Figure. He likely is on here talking about lowballers now.

LwnmwrMan22
04-11-2004, 11:06 PM
[/B][/QUOTE]There is NO way you can mow 10 acres with a 48" wb cheaper than a crew of 4 with 3 60" z's going. Not going to happen.



I guess I don't understand the previous quote. Why couldn't you mow 10 acres cheaper? It would all depend on the overhead.

I guess I look at it, if you're using a 48" walkbehind, you're probably going to have to charge a lesser amount per hour than the 60" z.

I realize that it's going to take longer, but all that means is the profit margin is lower. You theoretically can be cheaper as the people with the crew of 4 and make more money, it'll just take you longer because you don't have the overhead, ie, the 3 z's, employees, the bigger truck (maybe), most likely the bigger trailer, yada yada yada.

I PROFIT more money working by myself, than I did when I had 6 guys working for me. I went from 120 accounts, 50/50 commer/residen. to strictly mid sized commercial (Wal-Mart-sized). I have the same gross now as I did when I had the 120 accounts, but no employee cost, no "whoops, I ran over the trimmer with the mower-boss" cost, and no, "yes ma'am, I'll be over in the morning to finish what the crew missed" cost.

The only drawback.... instead of working Mon-Thurs if it doesn't rain and 1/2 day Friday, it's Mon-Sat from April 15th- October 31st, usually some of Sunday too.

Target the commercial, just don't do it in Minnesota :)

nuchdig
04-17-2004, 12:54 AM
LOWBALLERS bring the whole industry down. It makes no matter if you are a large or small co. The bottom line is that the lowball bidders DE-VALUE the industry. I have not and will not compete on price. I have found my niche and compete based on quality. My clients rarely have an issue with my pricing structure. On the rare occasion that I am questioned on price I simply show the client what is/has been done or suggest we skip a service to bring the cost down. I will never waver from my prices, I work too hard to compromise my abilities.

Grass Groomer
04-18-2004, 11:10 PM
What are all you bellyachers scared of? A little competition never hurt anyone. Maybe its not the lowballers that are the problem, maybe it is the highballers. It's not my fault these guys have huge overhead. They made there own bed, but if I can mow the yard around if for less money then I will do it all the way to the bank. I do primo work but I'm sure there are guys out there who take just as much pride in there work as I do. If they can beat my price and still make money than they know something I don't.
I do not hold it against them if they beat my bid. They run their business and I run mine, something the rest of you should do! Some of you guys say "lowballers devalue the industry", well I'm here to admit that, it is not rocket science. You do good work for a fair price your clients will come. NEVER STOP NETWORKING!!!!!!

meets1
04-18-2004, 11:23 PM
I don't know guys. I get shot down every year on some accounts that I want just b/c the scrubs are running them with sears equipment or daddy just bought young son all new equipment so charge $12.00 a hour and the kids out of sight for the summer. I keep bidding, I offer them total pkg, yard care, fert/spray, pruning, snow removal, ect. Whatever they want - I'll do. If not I network greatly and sub that portion out. I beleive eventually you'll gain a few accounts. My company is this based strictly on 1 compnay doing it all. I just landed a large condo complex - in the past they had 4 crews doing work. We were one of them doing snow removal. Now were THE Crew!

Yes, it gets tiring - always chasen, talking, bidding, but I do have the proof! You don't alwasy need the biggest or latest equipment but know your cost. You have to be satisfied!

nuchdig
04-18-2004, 11:42 PM
Originally posted by Grass Groomer
Some of you guys say "lowballers devalue the industry", well I'm here to admit that, it is not rocket science. You do good work for a fair price your clients will come. NEVER STOP NETWORKING!!!!!!
A lot of truth in your post, HOWEVER......I saw this same thing go on in the Christmas Tree industry in the late '80's (I began as a tree farmer & still have 160 acres in production). The lowball "phenomenon" sent many farmers packing that couldn't/ wouldn't compete on price. Then the lowballers went belly up due to their nearsightedness. Sure they sold a ton of trees, but at a minimal profit. The buying culture became accustomed to these low prices and cried foul at anyone who chose to sell at a higher price. It has taken the industry a long time to recover. Never compete on price. I compete on quality and only quality. Sure some companies have lower overhead and can charge an extremely low rate while making good margins. Those companies are doing themselves (and the industry as a whole) a disservice. Why not charge a competitive rate and increase your margin? If you are truly talented at what you do your clients will pay. Remember, people look for value. It is easy to charge a fair price (fair to both the client and service provider) and give perceived value to the client. I don't worry about my competition, though I do worry about the industry as a whole.

LawnMowerMan2003
04-22-2004, 06:34 AM
There are a couple of things I have realized about the residential market that make me realize that you should have no need to lowball or fear competition from lowballers:

1. The biggest complaint I hear from customers who had another lawn service is that they were unreliable, not that they charged too much.

2. Most of my customers seem to be people who are very busy.

It stands to reason that most of the these customers are not going to want to spend alot of time shopping around for the cheapest price and that will value a dependable service enough to keep them instead of risking having the hassle of a service that is not dependable in order to save a little money.

Somebody correct me if my assumptions are incorrect, but it seems to me if I have to lowball the customer to get them then that customer is not as likely to stick around, because sooner or later somebody else will undercut me. Those of you lowballing should think about this.

Also consider that consitantly bidding even $5 cheaper will add up to $100 a week, if you do 20 lawns a week, which means a $400 a month difference.

Sure, you may get your customers quicker, but it's certainly going to cost you in the long run, especially when you lose your customers to the next lowballer because they are more concerned about the lowest price than quality service and reliabillity. After all, you claim that is why they hired you, if you say lowballing works. Apparently you haven't been around long enough to figure it out.

But this is why I don't believe lowballers are a threat, because they get the customers that I really don't want and they will end up driving eachother out of business. If you make the mistake of taking them as a serious threat you risk going down the same road.

moneyman
04-22-2004, 06:49 AM
Lets examine the bidding process..
Companies/people accept bids why?
To get the lowest price in the most efficent way possible.

gator-town
04-22-2004, 07:39 AM
There are a couple of things I have realized about the residential market that make me realize that you should have no need to lowball or fear competition from lowballers:

1. The biggest complaint I hear from customers who had another lawn service is that they were unreliable, not that they charged too much.

2. Most of my customers seem to be people who are very busy.

It stands to reason that most of the these customers are not going to want to spend alot of time shopping around for the cheapest price and that will value a dependable service enough to keep them instead of risking having the hassle of a service that is not dependable in order to save a little money.

Somebody correct me if my assumptions are incorrect, but it seems to me if I have to lowball the customer to get them then that customer is not as likely to stick around, because sooner or later somebody else will undercut me. Those of you lowballing should think about this.

Also consider that consitantly bidding even $5 cheaper will add up to $100 a week, if you do 20 lawns a week, which means a $400 a month difference.

Sure, you may get your customers quicker, but it's certainly going to cost you in the long run, especially when you lose your customers to the next lowballer because they are more concerned about the lowest price than quality service and reliabillity. After all, you claim that is why they hired you, if you say lowballing works. Apparently you haven't been around long enough to figure it out.

But this is why I don't believe lowballers are a threat, because they get the customers that I really don't want and they will end up driving eachother out of business. If you make the mistake of taking them as a serious threat you risk going down the same road

LawnMowerMan2003 ... you are exactly correct about being reliable/dependable ... they are one in the same ... if you are willing to commit your time and subsequent effort to your customers 99.9% of the time your customers will be committed to you ... excellent response .

lowmiler
04-22-2004, 08:52 AM
In my experience the residential and commercial markets are vastly different.

Residential property owners rarely compare price. They seem more concerned about quality and reputation. They like to know "their" service.

Commercial, on the other hand, tends to be price driven. They are concerned about quality but only as it relates to price.They tend to be profit driven. They just want to know this company can get it done.

Marketing approach to these groups is vastly different.

nuchdig
04-22-2004, 11:44 PM
Hey Lawnmowerman2003....RIGHT ON!!!!! I have never and will never compete on price. Any client that is willing to bail on me over $5 isn't worth keeping anyway. I am interested in building long term relationships. This doesn't happen with with folks that prioritize price over quality.

LawnsRUsInc.
02-01-2006, 10:59 AM
The commercial end is price driven becasue 1 they have a budget and 2 just like you they want to have higher profit margins. Just like you and me if you could buy a lawn mower for $7,000 5 miles from your shop or the same mower 10 miles further wouldnt you make the trip? I know i have loyalty but for the savings i would. Now with the original post u were under bid by quite a bit why is this think on how you can bring your operating cost down to be able to make more money. I know that the owner of this larger co. probably has a smaller profit margain than you or i but they are making more money as an owner. U said it would take you 8 man hours to cut it well i guranty you that they are making more than 18.75 a man hr. An example i bid a commercial property and i was the lowest bidder out of 3 companys. How was this they were figuring on cutting the large field with z's where i was using a toro groundsmaster 580, 1 operator cutting 15' of grass vs. 2 guys from the other co cutting with 72' z's iam cutting more than they are with 2 guys. This is how i cut the cost for the larger properties.

OnMyOwn
02-01-2006, 11:11 AM
The secret to competing with the larger companies is DON'T COMPETE! There is more than enough business out there whether residential, multi-tenant, commercial, industrial, etc. Find your niche and pitch a tent!

I refuse to compete with other companies. You should draw the line and make them compete with you!

LawnsRUsInc.
02-01-2006, 11:32 AM
The secret to competing with the larger companies is DON'T COMPETE! There is more than enough business out there whether residential, multi-tenant, commercial, industrial, etc. Find your niche and pitch a tent!

I refuse to compete with other companies. You should draw the line and make them compete with you!

Dont compete have them compete with you, now how do you do that against a larger co.?? There is competetion in every market everywhere. So you go into bid on a property u submit your bid and so do 5 other co. they are not your competition? your not competing against them to win the contract?

Find your niche i agree but in the lawn maintence aspect there is not an exact niche that you can go after that no one else does.

I agree there is enough business for everyone but if you pulled up and seen one of our trucks at a job you measuring it up you wouldnt submit a bid to do it?

OnMyOwn
02-01-2006, 11:45 AM
Dont compete have them compete with you, now how do you do that against a larger co.?? There is competetion in every market everywhere. So you go into bid on a property u submit your bid and so do 5 other co. they are not your competition? your not competing against them to win the contract?

Find your niche i agree but in the lawn maintence aspect there is not an exact niche that you can go after that no one else does.

I agree there is enough business for everyone but if you pulled up and seen one of our trucks at a job you measuring it up you wouldnt submit a bid to do it?

My point is "Set the Standard". I do not compete because I use my client relationships, involvement, sales strategy, and performance to set me apart from my competition. The smaller guys have to raise to me level of performance, and the larger guys are to impersonal to compete and satisfy my clients. Don't get me wrong, I am a small operation, but I am serious about client satisfaction and retention. Most of my clients would not even allow another LCO on their property to propose an alternative service.

LawnsRUsInc.
02-01-2006, 12:03 PM
I agree with you 110% on that note you have to do that so that way it shows you care by being personal with them (on a business level of course ;) ) One of my larger contracts that i won last spring i showed up to help the guys cut it for the first time and the president of the company seen. He later made a comment to me saying he was suprised to see me out there.

Remsen1
02-01-2006, 01:19 PM
And isn't that eveyone's goal...to spend 10 grand on a 72 inch mower.

LOL! Good one! Actually my business goal is to spend $11 Grand on one :dizzy:

I guess some people are in it just for the toys and to look fancy. Oh and also for the prestige of landing those "big accounts" ooo-oooo-oooo-aaaaaaaaah!

Remsen1
02-01-2006, 01:25 PM
Im suprized this hasent been brought up yeat. Most large Co's will loball bid the grass so they can keep their foot in the door and get the snow account.

that doesn't work when they do that and then somebody comes in and lowballs them on the snow plowing. I do lawns and snow, and I wouldn't do snow at all except that I do it so another LCO doesn't come in land some of my lawn customers.

out4now
02-01-2006, 01:45 PM
I saw a few posts that reflected this already but you need to focus on who you can be competative with. You are not big enough from the sound of it to go in head to head with a commerical company like Tru-Green or Brickman. How can you possibly lower your cost of operation as much as they can? Forget the employees for a moment and consider that they are buying materials in bulk, nationwide and are working from econmies of scale. Focus on work that you can be profitable at and then work up into the bigger jobs. You may even be able to buy out a company with some commerical contracts latter.

scagwildcat
02-01-2006, 02:42 PM
what i have found ,was that a one man show as myself, hardly ever gets the nicer jobs, atleast around my area, dont get me wrong, i have work, but i noticed that people tend to hire big crews, even if the company owner is only on site for giving the bid, then the workers take over, i myself perfer to over see things at all times,and most all of my clients like the fact that when my truck pulls up, its one freindly face....also i dont know if its the fact that they have a big crew or not, i noticed that around my area the same people get the nicer contracts .....

nobagger
02-01-2006, 05:10 PM
Probably like many have said, know your limitations. Yeah the "bigger guys" are probably going to be cheaper as they have the equipment and man power to it quicker. If your using a 48 or 52" w/b it's gonna take you a lot longer to do a property vs. a 60 or a 72" rider. It's the business's way of telling you your not ready for stuff this big. But don't let it discourage you keep building and in maybe a couple of years you will be ready.

LwnmwrMan22
02-01-2006, 05:16 PM
What I want to know, is how did you come across a posts almost 2 years old???

paponte
02-01-2006, 05:27 PM
Ok, something is definitely wrong here. 8hrs of cutting for $285? For $150 my guys wouldn't be there for more than 45 minutes. As far as being hispanic, I don't care if the guys were blue. What does race have to do with anything? I'm half hispanic, does that make be bad or something? Should I be getting paid less than you?

Either way you look at it, you have no business bidding in the position that you are in. I mean really, would you cross the Atlantic in a row boat? :nono:

CHRIS MELROSE
02-01-2006, 05:48 PM
Listen.....Most of these big companies lowballing are going off the old theory of "quantity vs. quality"...obviously they are choosing quantity. The dollars and cents all equal out. You have one mower-little overhead. Technically you should beable to mow for cheaper. Big guys have three big mowers-lot more overhead. Technically they should have to charge more. Well this obviously isn't the case. You take all day to mow one property to where they knock out three to four props in the same amount of time...ITS CALLED THE WAL-MART THEORY-VOLUME SELLING! NOT THAT HARD TO FIGURE OUT!
Go mow Mr. Jones lawn and be happy.

riches139
02-01-2006, 05:58 PM
The original post is almost a year old.

LwnmwrMan22
02-01-2006, 07:31 PM
The original post is almost a year old.


Make that TWO years old.

YardPro
02-01-2006, 09:04 PM
Hi all. I recently bid on a large mowing job for a commercial property. It would take one man about 8 hours to mow, edge,trim and blow. I bid $285 per mow only to be under bid by a much larger and very reputable company for $150. The company would use a crew of three hispanic workers paying them $8 to mow. How can a one man operation compete?

here's how to compete....

hire three hispanics and pay them $8.00/hr....

if you can't beat them ... join them..

Gutterball
02-01-2006, 09:28 PM
How can a one man operation compete?

We have one account that is an 8.5 hour/average job, which is close to your time.
to answer the question, a oneman operation should not consider a job that takes that long. We have 3 men on the job and it's knocked off in under 3 hours.
Each man has a specific job and is able to switch off to help the other man, if any one worker finishes his task early.
You should be shooting for accounts under 1hour and preferabley in the 30 minute time frame.
The reason for this is the larger company can't make money on a 30 minute stop, if they have the normal 3 man crew. Arguably, this makes the 30 minute stop, prime territory for a solo LCO.................

yrdandgardenhandyman
02-01-2006, 09:49 PM
What I want to know, is how did you come across a posts almost 2 years old???


Why do you have a problem with someone replying to an older post? Haven't you searched on a subject and found an older post that was worthy of further discussion? That's why these are archived and why there is a search function. Apparently there is enough interest in restarting the thread.

LawnsRUsInc.
02-01-2006, 10:20 PM
Gutter Ball i agree with you on that i should of included that in my earlyer post. A regular 1/2 acre residential lot is hard to make money on even with only 2 guys. I have a single mowing job that takes 32 man hrs, that would be a job that you wouldnt want to tackle on a small scale operation. But the point that i was trying to say in my earlier post i feel sums it up is..... Larger co. can charge less since they have such a large operation that they can afford to lower thier profit margains and not notice it as much as a small 1 or 2 man show. Plus iam sure they want to cut my throat and yours which is alot easier to do than to try to cut the co. with 200-300 employees.

out4now
02-01-2006, 10:33 PM
Listen.....Most of these big companies lowballing are going off the old theory of "quantity vs. quality"...obviously they are choosing quantity. The dollars and cents all equal out. You have one mower-little overhead. Technically you should beable to mow for cheaper. Big guys have three big mowers-lot more overhead. Technically they should have to charge more. Well this obviously isn't the case. You take all day to mow one property to where they knock out three to four props in the same amount of time...ITS CALLED THE WAL-MART THEORY-VOLUME SELLING! NOT THAT HARD TO FIGURE OUT!
Go mow Mr. Jones lawn and be happy.
They aren't lowballing. Lowballing is when you have the same cost of doing business and then undercut anothers price. Big companies are using economies of scale and thus have lower costs per unit even though they may have more equipment, per unit cost will be lower.

Norm Al
02-01-2006, 10:53 PM
big companys want big work so bid for the stuff they dont want!

Gutterball
02-01-2006, 11:11 PM
Gutter Ball i agree with you on that i should of included that in my earlyer post..

Only time will tell, but it's possible the solo LCO may weather the influx of cheap labor better than the larger companies. Sooner or later the bigger companies with start eating one another, and I sure don't want to be one of the employees.......

LwnmwrMan22
02-01-2006, 11:45 PM
I disagree about the solo ops not taking on a larger property.

I prefer larger properties, I feel like I'm the "manager" or whatever, not just some lawn jockey hopping across yard after yard after yard.

Much like a greenskeeper at the golf course, give me 5-30 acres and leave me alone.

Yardpro - I was not jumping on them... just wondering if they actually used the search, or did they read post after post after post after post after post after post after, you get the idea, to get to this subject??? That's all.

I've used the search MANY times.

YardPro
02-02-2006, 08:36 AM
lol.. reread the previous responses....
i wasn't the guy that said anything to you about the age of the post..

yrdandgardenhandyman
02-02-2006, 10:03 AM
Yardpro - I was not jumping on them... just wondering if they actually used the search, or did they read post after post after post after post after post after post after, you get the idea, to get to this subject??? That's all.

I've used the search MANY times.


Ummmmmm. Twas I whom you should be talking to. Yardpro didn't say it.
It's just that a while back I bumped an old thread to the top and someone, I don't remember who, tried to bust my chops for bumping it to the top. I guess I should say, "Who cares how old the thread is? It may still be a valid discussion."
:rolleyes: peace

LwnmwrMan22
02-02-2006, 10:23 AM
dangit... I'm sorry guys.... been up too much lately pushing snow....

I knew it had a "Y" in the name though.... :blush:

CHRIS MELROSE
02-02-2006, 10:37 AM
They aren't lowballing. Lowballing is when you have the same cost of doing business and then undercut anothers price. Big companies are using economies of scale and thus have lower costs per unit even though they may have more equipment, per unit cost will be lower.

In my particular market the "big guys" are doing exactly what I said, Lowballing. They are competing with each other(companies of the same size and nature)and cutting the price just to get the bid....Lowballing. Guess I should of clarrified myself. Smaller operators always look at it as lowballing whenever somebody underbids them-that's the easy thing to say. But most smaller companies should know better than to compete with guys that are larger and more efficient, unless they are prepared to bid a lower rate then they are use to.

burns60
02-02-2006, 05:08 PM
Don't worry about "competing." You can't compete with these guys, yet anyway. Go out and build your business strictly on the things you are capable of doing. The growth in your business will come if you do a good job. Then, you will be able to "compete." These commercial accounts aren't where the money is anyway in my opinion. I've just finished my third year in the business, and have started getting some calls from commercial accounts. So far I haven't bid on one and probably won't. But my point is, if you want these accounts, in time they will come to you, just be ready and able to do the work when the time comes. You aren't there yet, but you will be if you don't try to rush it.

burns60
02-02-2006, 05:20 PM
Yeah, that is an old post. Just realized it after someone had mentioned it. Still worth discussing though I think.

What I would like to hear though is a comment from "dirtwork" as to where he has taken the business thus far and if he did indeed pursue the commercial accounts with any success. What about it dirtwork are you still around to give us an update?

paponte
02-02-2006, 06:00 PM
Think you guys are misinterpreting the difference between lowballing and finding another way to do a job more efficiently with less cost. :nono:

NC Big Daddy
02-02-2006, 06:13 PM
I was reading this post with interest until I checked Trevor's profile. He's 18, wish I had that 5 minutes of my life back.

LwnmwrMan22
02-02-2006, 06:41 PM
Don't worry about "competing." You can't compete with these guys, yet anyway. Go out and build your business strictly on the things you are capable of doing. The growth in your business will come if you do a good job. Then, you will be able to "compete." These commercial accounts aren't where the money is anyway in my opinion. I've just finished my third year in the business, and have started getting some calls from commercial accounts. So far I haven't bid on one and probably won't. But my point is, if you want these accounts, in time they will come to you, just be ready and able to do the work when the time comes. You aren't there yet, but you will be if you don't try to rush it.


How can you make a comment like the first, and then follow it up with the second, both that I highlighted??

How would you know if a commercial account isn't where the money is, when you've never bid on one?

allprogreens
02-02-2006, 07:26 PM
You must sell on value and not price.

The value of your experience and service to the customer.

The companies that compete on price can't afford to spend money on marketing & advertising

Last year, a company in my industry (synthetic golf greens) promoted "We will beat anyones price plus 10%" They are no longer in business

Chris
All Pro Greens
Visit the "Contractor Section" of our website:
https://www.allprogreens.com/magazine/spring05-home.html


http://www.allprogreens.com/gallery/landscape/big011.jpg

Evergreenpros
02-02-2006, 07:47 PM
Hi all. I recently bid on a large mowing job for a commercial property. It would take one man about 8 hours to mow, edge,trim and blow. I bid $285 per mow only to be under bid by a much larger and very reputable company for $150. The company would use a crew of three hispanic workers paying them $8 to mow. How can a one man operation compete?


If you're a one man operation you should never try and directly compete with the large companies on price alone. If you want to get big then you have to bite the bullet for a few years to get your gross sales up. The key is not revenue though, it's profit.

You need to offer what large companies can't: Personability, accountibility, consistency, etc.

burns60
02-03-2006, 12:31 AM
How can you make a comment like the first, and then follow it up with the second, both that I highlighted??

How would you know if a commercial account isn't where the money is, when you've never bid on one?


picky, picky.........I said it was just "my opinion", never thought that everyone would agree with it.

One thing I do agree with you is that I do "give Him thanks" for all I have. (and that I don't have to bid commercial accounts)

justanotherlawnguy
02-03-2006, 01:57 AM
Hi all. I recently bid on a large mowing job for a commercial property. It would take one man about 8 hours to mow, edge,trim and blow. I bid $285 per mow only to be under bid by a much larger and very reputable company for $150. The company would use a crew of three hispanic workers paying them $8 to mow. How can a one man operation compete?

You cant compete! Period. IF you are bidding on these properties you will never win, even if you get one you will lose in the long run.

You have to know your market and what type of property you can compete with.

I get calls all the time for large properties and HOA. I bid them, so that I dont lose money on them and you know what, I never get them. I bid em high so that I dont get them. I dont want to spend 8 hours on one property and only make $285.

In 8 hours, how many small yards can you do? Probably between 8-15 depending on your route. How much will you make from that on a monthly basis? Probably alot more.

You cannot compete with big crews running mexicans, so why bother. Everybody knows this, if you dont know it, well then welcome to the biz!!!!!

Go big, get mexicans, then put in the bids for those types of accounts. That is the only way to compete with them....

BESTYARDS
02-03-2006, 02:02 AM
Riches 139, Noticed you are driving a CC M60 Tank. How goes it? Have you operated it long enough to decide whether or not you would still go with CC?
Thanks for your reply.

Bestyards