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landstroker51
12-28-2004, 08:52 PM
A homeowner in a neighborhood where I do alot of work had a swimming pool installed. This is an upper class neighborhood - doctors mostly - homes from $300,000 upward. Anyway, they ask me to give them an estimate to come in and install a new lawn. The pool guys left a rough grade. I would have to install top soil, seed and mulch over. Approximately 5500sqft. Most of the topsoil would have to be wheelbarrowed in because of bad access. Anyway, I
come up with an estimate of $3500-3700. Job is completed at that price at customers satisfaction. So I give the lady the estimate - she opens it up like a maniac - looks at it and...... here is the best part!
SHE TELLS ME THAT THAT PRICE IS WAY TOO HIGH AND SOME OTHER PERSON (NOT CONTRACTOR) IS GOING TO DO THE WHOLE JOB FOR.....$400.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Are you kidding! The topsoil itself was around $1000. Also come to find out another company gave an estimate near mine. So she went with the $400.00
estimate.
Well since I am always in the neighborhood I kinda check on whats going on.
It took this guy 3 weeks to spread topsoil and I know its not up to finished grade. He never put seed down or anything yet.......... now its covered in snow. I am glad these people learned the hard way. I hope they call me to fix it.....triple the price now!

Lux Lawn
12-28-2004, 08:58 PM
They will get what they pay for thats for sure.It sounds impossible to do it for that price.

sodgod
12-28-2004, 09:00 PM
Wow thtas great!! sux for you but it kinda makes you feel good in some ways.....hope there happy now. which part of central Ny are you? I'm in rochester. sounds like central ny....bunch of cheapos lol

TClawn
12-28-2004, 09:25 PM
$400 would not even pay for me to arrange the delivery of the materials

landstroker51
12-28-2004, 09:37 PM
Exactly, I dont feel bad because I didnt get the job.
I just love when the lowballer comes around and cant handle the job!
It gives a sense of relief if you know what I mean.

ed2hess
12-28-2004, 10:29 PM
In our area they would have sodded it for about $600... and hydro mulch would be less all day long. Yep they would have spread about a inch of top soil before hydro... Some of the biggest companies do the work and yes they make money! For $3700 they would have probably put in 2 trees and some shrubs and extended the irrigation to the back. We will send some of our Mexican guys on there to show you how to keep you cost down! It is all about volume no cherry picking down here!

yrdandgardenhandyman
12-28-2004, 11:09 PM
I had to learn the hard way a couple of years ago. NEVER bid a job if you are clueless and I was clueless on this one. I was the unintentional lowballer. These folks had a new house and had a lowspot where the utilities were brought in and had settled about 2 feet. Gave a bid of $700.00 to bring in topsoil and bring it up to grade, level and seed. Where I made my huge mistake was in estimating the amount of soil needed. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Ended up having to raise my estimate by double. Fortunately, I called it an estimate and the homeowners were good sports and paid. The lady did tell me that the final price was right at what the next higher bid from mine was. They did like the quality of the work though. Live, learn and don't lowball. I got very nervous about halfway through when I realized I had underbid so much. :o

YardPro
12-29-2004, 08:20 AM
In our area they would have sodded it for about $600... and hydro mulch would be less all day long. Yep they would have spread about a inch of top soil before hydro... Some of the biggest companies do the work and yes they make money! For $3700 they would have probably put in 2 trees and some shrubs and extended the irrigation to the back. We will send some of our Mexican guys on there to show you how to keep you cost down! It is all about volume no cherry picking down here!


no way they can sod for $600.00
that's less than $1.00/yard.
sod will be at least $1.25/yard all by itself without labor.

crawdad
12-29-2004, 09:42 AM
no way they can sod for $600.00
that's less than $1.00/yard.
sod will be at least $1.25/yard all by itself without labor.

Maybe they are using Mexican sod, too!

smlavin
12-29-2004, 09:57 AM
Maybe they are using Mexican sod, too!
Now that was FUNNY! :D

Gene $immons
12-29-2004, 10:03 AM
Great story,

I had a lady wanted a bid on a backyard patio, I was basically laughed at when she saw my price. I would have had the job done in one week. The guy she hired for $3000 less has been there for a couple of months now. The yard is all torn up from the loader he has, that was a big issue with her, lawn is a complete mess. ha ha

landstroker51
12-29-2004, 10:45 AM
just to let you know this lawn was going to be put in by common landscape practices and work methods.
Not some mexicans running around in thongs throwing topsoil all over the place!!! HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

bobbygedd
12-29-2004, 01:44 PM
welcome to the lawn business, this is the way it was in the beggining, is now, and ever shall be, even...till the end of time. by the way, mexicans are not that stupid, most likely an irish guy or some other whitey quoted the $400. i love it when the customer hires a lowballer and gets burned

Kelly's Landscaping
12-29-2004, 03:00 PM
Something I never understood is in our trade we our expected to be accurate with our estimates. If I give someone a price of 3500 for some lawn work I am going to stick to that price. I find it funny how carpenters and building contractors do not seem to follow that code. I had a leaf box made and after one experience with a family member of mine I had the job quoted as a fixed price rather then an open price. The kid is in training I agreed to pay him $200 since the job should have taken no longer then 10 hours. You should have seen the total break down he had after wasting 2 days with half to go and he realized he was not going to make out that well any more LOL. I threw in an extra $150 just to shut him up but it was nowhere’s near what wonder boy thought he should make. He’s from a mind set that his boss gave him quote a job for 30k and if it hits 100k so what. All that matters is you were the low bidder and got the job now that you cost more then the high bidder that’s considered ok.

As for my idiot cousin well I do not use him any more for anything when it took him 6 hours to do the math for the box walls that told me allot. I on the other hand could have done all the math in 3-5 minutes so I was more then a little disgusted. It seems there’s 2 kinds of low ball bidders some are dishonest and plan the raise the price up later and others are incredibly stupid and have no business even giving a quote.

Tn Lawn Man
12-29-2004, 03:15 PM
Quotes are a tricky thing.

It is really what separates the men from boys.

I know I have definitely screwed myself on bidding before, and I will probably do it again. LOL

sodgod
12-30-2004, 02:19 PM
Where in central NY are you?

battags
12-30-2004, 04:00 PM
I had to learn the hard way a couple of years ago. NEVER bid a job if you are clueless and I was clueless on this one. I was the unintentional lowballer. These folks had a new house and had a lowspot where the utilities were brought in and had settled about 2 feet. Gave a bid of $700.00 to bring in topsoil and bring it up to grade, level and seed. Where I made my huge mistake was in estimating the amount of soil needed. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Ended up having to raise my estimate by double. Fortunately, I called it an estimate and the homeowners were good sports and paid. The lady did tell me that the final price was right at what the next higher bid from mine was. They did like the quality of the work though. Live, learn and don't lowball. I got very nervous about halfway through when I realized I had underbid so much. :o

Been there, done that! Fortunately, I knew the customer really well before giving my bid. More importantly, they knew that this was the first install that I was doing and I explained that my estimate was just that, an estimate. I was short by about 40 yards of top soil and they were more than happy to make up the difference.

The real kicker is that the house next door had a lawn put in by one of the bigger landscaping companys in the area. Same size lawns installed in the same week. I did mine with one helper, bobcat, rockhound, and a borrowed dump truck all in three days. The neighbors yard took a full week, at least 5 workers each day, and cost twice as much. The kicker, my install looks WAY better and the neighbors hired me for weekly maint. :)

Brian

JCA1
12-30-2004, 06:28 PM
That was funny!

richard coffman
12-30-2004, 07:02 PM
whenever i bid on a job i take my time and do the math right. being realistic helps. After your burned once or twice, you learn not to do it again, i figure the lowballers just never learn.

Respectfully,

Richard/Owner