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Bad day! Harsh news....Happy New Year to us.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Mrs. H, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. Mrs. H

    Mrs. H LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 708

    Well, we found out today that we lost one of our major contracts. A two-year deal for our very own church grounds.

    We know the bid goes to the lowest bidder no matter what. And in the past...or at least for the past 7 years there has been almost no competition for this account from local guys. I mean, yeah, one year or two there were people bidding...but for the most part it's been left alone.

    Quite frankly no one can remember the last time one of our own membership ever cut the grounds there as long as the building has stood (since the 80's).

    But, this year the bid packets went out and most of the same bidders put in. David raised the price a little like he is planning to do with all of his accounts this year { From $286.90 per cut [2+ acres price includes spraying, fertilizer, trimming, plus Any-Auto coverage and I believe it's $2 million insurance required]....to $349 per cut}

    Now, I've already got onto him about that jump being more than the 10% increase we were going to put on all accounts...but it's a little late for that disscussion, I guess.

    Well, this afternoon he got a letter stating that he had lost the bid. He found out that a local competitor had bid. This has pretty much knocked him for a loop. I mean, its not that we don't expect to lose a bid every now and then. But, why now and why go for the jugular?

    Seeing as how we've done our best to be friendly in our competition with the other lawn care. Or at least what I would consider friendly. For some reason they (the other 3 major lawn co....or at least 2 of the 3) seem to have it out for David. Like all of a sudden is there not enough to go around? I mean, David goes to places and tries to bid out out-of-town lawn care co or sub-contract through them to get the account. But we wouldn't go to one of the other guy's church and bid...let alone underbid.

    Well, I happened to overhear the conversation that David had with this guy...and he was a complete jerk!! Claiming that he didn't know we went to that church...good gravy, everyone knows it's the Mormon church and there aren't that many of us here. He knows just as well as I know where he goes to church!

    Well, David hung up out of frustration and he didn't want to continue and say something regrettable. The guy CALLS BACK and threatens to get a restraining order! David did nothing to warrent that kind of threat. Then, again last summer David did nothing to get hauled into court by his ex-partner's crew with them claiming to be harrassed by David as well.

    This guy claims he was just protecting his own business and that he's been in business for 25 by working his butt off and that he wasn't going to let David go around saying that he was going to put him out of business! :confused:

    In 7 1/2 years David has never even pretended that he was going to put this guy out of business...or even come close. But, his ex-partner...that's another story.

    We just feel like this year the 2 are going to try to put the squeeze on our bigger accounts.

    BUT>>>I don't think they really know what they are up against. Put the squeeze on a Hartzog...threaten his family's well-being...throw in the mix of a truly genius mania....focused on--even obsessed with becoming #1!

    ...what is that saying about not kicking a sleeping dog:nono:

    2008---I believe we are going to war!
  2. chuck bow

    chuck bow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 701

    competion is getting bad and ugly everywhere , its like every man for himself . I lost one about 3 weeks ago to some punk ass kid who sweet talked this older lady ( she fired him 8 years ago and hired me and low and behold she rehired him ) I have yet to run in to this kid /guy and if i do i will try to hold it in but sure pisses me off . Only thing i got over him is i do his grandmothers lawn( she fired him 7 years ago ) and called me . Talked to her about a month ago and have a signed contract from her now for next year , she told me there noway she will rehire him ...... hes not dependable !!! Its not nice to step on someones elses toes and try to steal there accounts it will come back sooner or later to bite them in a**
  3. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,915

    I am sorry that happened but look, you increased your price 21.65%, that is not a justifiable increase and this is exactly why you lost the account. You could not set down in front of a board of directors for any business and justify that much increase. Think about someone working for you at a fair profit and saying they would have to increase their price 21.65% for 2008.

    Tell me exactly what would be the first thought that runs through your mind, and be honest.

    It makes no difference in the business world who bids against who, that is why they put it out for bids, if they were 100% satisfied with the work and price it would not need to be bid every year.

    The same church member has been maintaining 10 acres of our church property for 7 years, the church is satisfied with the work and price so they have no reason to look elsewhere.

    I don't know how Mormon churches function but I would think they should prefer a church member being paid for their lawn care rather than an outsider. I would say you increased your bid about twice what it should have been and your competitor got the work.
  4. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,332

    Yea, that 21% increase kinda explains WHY you lost it...
  5. vanguard

    vanguard LawnSite Member
    Posts: 202

    I would think they would ONLY hire a Mormon to do the work? :confused:
  6. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,988

    No, they are open bids. Typically they will take at least 3 in order to insure that they are getting a competitive bid.

    Sorry to hear about losing the account, but I would have to agree that the 21+% increase was the sticking point. I don't know about there but around here most of the facilities management or FM guys are able to stick with a contractor they like even if the bid is perhaps not the lowest, however, it must be competitive.

    Instead of calling the competitor, David should call the FM guy and ask very nicely for a list of any problems they may have had with his work. If there are none, that is a great sign. He should also ask to bid on the property again next year. This will ensure that you stay on good grounds. It is not uncommon for Landscape maintenance companies to not work out. We have all seen guys that do a poor job. All church contract I know of have a unsatisfactory work clause allowing the church to terminate the contract. It is possible that the new guy won't work out. If so this would put David in a good spot to regain the contract.

    My brother took over 4 meeting houses and a seminary this yr. because the guy who won the bid didn't keep up on the weeding and pruning.

    BTW, look at it this way, that one account is only like 10 small resi. lawns $$$ wise, so although it stinks to lose it for a yr. It is not the end of the world.
  7. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    I think you are taking this way too personally regardless of why you lost the account. I don't know why you are not bidding every bit of work you can unless your route is full.

    I would suggest you separate your emotions from the biz. I know it is not easy I too have lost long time accounts to unworthy competitors for what I thought was a stupid reason. Didn't change anything except my blood pressure.

    My last bit of advice is when something like this happens wait at least a day before you speak to anyone about it.

    Education is never cheap so hopefully you learned a few things from this experience. This too shall pass.
  8. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 537

    i understand that you upset losing the account . but think about it , the other company's are in bus . to make $$$ if they under bid you shouldn't't have bad feelings or question why the step on your toes .. i do't personally go after my competitor's work but if i can do the job for less and i'm asked to bid on the property i will and their should be no bad feelings.. just a though.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    is it just everyone having it bad cuz i know the feeling, lost our grandmother a week or so ago, 96 years old.
    That sucked, but it'll be all right.
    Just do one lawn, and one day at a time.
  10. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    How is submitting a bid for a property "going after someone"? Its a free country, be mad at the church for hiring someone who doesnt go there.

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