View Full Version : while talking to commercial clients how do you find out what they are paying or

01-29-2001, 09:22 AM
while talking to commercial clients how do you find out what they are paying or what they paid last year to get an idea of the kind of service they were getting. thanks


01-29-2001, 09:41 AM
Good luck getting numbers out of anybody while talking to them.

I have had no success doing that for anybody. Usually, they think you will be cheaper...

I have only found out numbers from them after my bid was way too high.

01-29-2001, 10:15 AM
Just be upfront and ask them what they paid last year and if they were pleased with the service. Does not work with everyone but some will tell you. If they paid a low amt last year they will expect to pay about the same or lower this year. Some people don't care what the lawn looks like as long as you are cheap. If the amt they paid to the previous contractor is extremely low it may not even be worth your while to bid. They will think you are trying to rob them and the quality of your work is irrelevent to them.
The only reason you may want to put in a bid on a place like this is in case no one else does and you get the contract or in case the owner is tried of the cheap service and is looking for quality work.

Davis TLC
01-29-2001, 10:40 AM
Dylan pretty much hit the nail on the head with his post. You can ask them what services were provided and what they liked or disliked, ask them what services they are looking for, i.e. basic mowing,trimming or full service. In some cases the company will let you see the previous bids, but these case are rare. If they do tell you what they were paying the previous operator, it maybe correct and it may not. If the grounds look rough and unkept,then this could be and indication that they are only looking for the cheapest service they can find. Now if the grounds are neat and well kept then they maybe serious about their appearance to the community, and they are interested in paying for quality services.

01-29-2001, 01:21 PM
It really doesn't matter what they were paying. Your price should be based on what you need to charge to make your desired profit, no the other contractors prices.

01-29-2001, 02:55 PM
you hit the nail on the head,perfect answer.!

01-29-2001, 03:32 PM
Its still nice to know what they were paying (and I agree, outright asking them will usually get you the figuer) so you can decide if it will be worth your trouble to write a bid, present it, etc.

01-29-2001, 10:28 PM
I agree with the lawnguy 100% on this. Knowing their current contractor's price shouldn't affect my price, but it should clue me in to some things.

It can benfit you if you use that information appropriately, rather than as a means to take all the thinking and planning out of an estimate.

Perfect example, I found out the Auto Zone in my area was being plowed for $25. Their lot is approximately an acre. How much time would it have been worth for me to chase after such a poor paying account? This illustrates the benefit of knowing the price if they are willing to divulge it.

I try to be flexible regarding levels of service I am willing to provide, as long as the customer isn't expecting full service at mow, blow and go prices. Sometimes people aren't comparing apples to apples and knowing pricing brings up a whole new list of questions to ask a prospective customer.

If the price is lower than you think would be profitable, a good question is, "Is price or quality most important?" The answer to that question will give you a feel for the situation.

Mueller Landscape Inc
01-30-2001, 12:11 AM

I believe it is important to "qualify" a potential client before you meet with them. While you are talking with them on the phone, you should get an idea as to what they might expect to pay. You can save yourself countless hours by not meeting with people who really can't afford you. I know that some companies charge for their estimates. This can really filter out those people who are shopping price only.

Just a thought...


02-05-2001, 07:51 PM
just bid the job the way you need to to make a profit, if you dont get it because of cost then oh well.

02-05-2001, 08:50 PM
I like to ask the potential customer what they been paying and what kind of service they were getting for this money. I then use this as a selling tool by telling them what I will be doing and then my price. Always tell them about the quality of work they are going to be recieving before the price.

02-05-2001, 09:18 PM
jaclawn post is correct..


you should be asking them if you can submit a PROPOSAL the next time the protperty is recieving bids...

spend your time building relationships in the community and providing good services and stay away from the lowest bid WINS !!!!... NO, the lowest bid usually LOSSES MONEY!!!

Would you take the lowest bid on your next surgical procedure, maybe some one who does brain surgery only on the weekends???

Develop a relationship as a business person who knows the importance of making a profit to keep a healthy business in business...

Theres always some dirtbag property manager who wants the low price..

I bid a municipal bid last week for the local parks district, there were seven bidders , high was $ 603 per week, I was in the middle at $ 380 per week, ( and the largest company in the process)and the low and of course the bid winner was $ 225 per week. This was over 12 man hours of work per week, mowing only. Wasted my time in putting the bid together. Never bid for that agency again.

02-05-2001, 10:56 PM
thats why i want to find out how much they are paying so if they are paying dirt i won't have to waste my time measuring for chemicals, walking around the property, wasting my cell phone, etc. for a property that wouldn't have been worth it..

02-05-2001, 11:13 PM
JML, you're right in wanting to know what the account has been paying. If they don't want to tell me then I know they are not the type of people I want to work for. They will dump you in a second the next time a cheaper guy comes along. In some cases however they may not be able to tell you. I bid on a church account last year and the board of directors prohibited giving that info out. I just found out who had been doing it and called the guy and he told me everything.