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How to get RICH doing Lawn Service 2

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by topsites, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I learned a valuable lesson from the low-balling over time and I will say MOST of the time when I low-ball it is NOT entirely intentional and I suspect MOST low-balling Lco's are in the same boat - It is NOT usually what we meant to do, thou yes SOMETIMES I low-ball intentionally. MOST of the time however, the reason I low-ball is because the customer is INFLUENCING the price while I'm trying to give my estimate, they are throwing hint after hint all of which translated mean 'I DONT WANT TO PAY MUCH' and it gets worse...
    When someone is influencing, they are in effect selling a piece of their soul to satan and in so doing, they reveal pieces of themselves to ME! In this process I can almost always detect their 'price range' which has nothing to do with how much money they have or whatever but their 'price range' is how much they THINK it should COST and MOST of the time, said range is WELL below my MINIMUM! So here I am with someone who will NOT shut up long enough to let me clear my mind so I can give them a straight price and it messed me up a LOT in the past but I got a little something foder azz now.
    At this point the ONLY solution is to quote them at LEAST your NORMAL price PLUS 20 or 40 percent so as to make SURE they did NOT mess you UP! And the more they influence, the higher you need to go to make SURE.
    But if you're the ONLY one giving them an estimate, this is not much fun and I just as soon leave without ever giving them a price.

    However, IF they say they have someone ELSE coming to give an estimate, this is where the true benefit comes in. I noticed as a rule, NOBODY ever mentions they already HAVE an estimate but they almost ALWAYS tell you when there's another one coming down the road.
    So at this point I say something about I'm taking this home to itemize it properly and I'll have their estimate in 1-2 days. What this does:
    - You are the LAST person to hand in the estimate so EVERYBODY else coming to give an estimate ALSO gets to hear the bs. This helps in that LIKELY someone ELSE might get messed up by all the influencing and unintentionally quotes them a low price right then and there (yeah, like my dumbazz used to do).
    - YOU meanwhile need to make SURE you do NOT get skru'd and really, I prefer making the price about 20-40% higher than NORMAL for reasons:
    1) If I'm the cheapest, I don't want this job.
    2) I want to start a FIRE when they look at it, I WANT them to have a proverbial heart-attack so they tell EVERYBODY (wait) this way it helps prevent ME from getting nearly as much INCOMING (yes because once I got INTO the low-balling field it is really HARD to get out, EVERYBODY hounded me, ppls who want something for nothing are a dime a dozen).
    3) It GUARANTEES the person who GAVE the lowest price WILL get the job! (you may think this is good, but I know from personal experience this is not the case when I am said person)
    AND: WHEN that person who GAVE the lowest price GETS the job, it is quite likely they will HEAR how much *I* quoted them (as my price is a bit ridiculous).

    Here is an example of how it works:
    I had an estimate in spring it was a LOT of work and yes you guessed it I fell for it hook line and sinker and quoted a NICE price of 400 dollars which left me NO room to play, my hands were tied so tight if I made ONE mistake it was going to cost ME money... Oh but of course, it was STILL too much (sigh). So, I left since THEY had ANOTHER estimate coming...
    A day or three later I get a call and got the job and sure enough the other guy quoted them a RIDICULOUS price of 1,600 dollars (see how that works).... I realized as I worked that although his price really WAS outrageous that *I* could've easily quoted 600 for the job and likely still got it but see it never works like that.
    So now I got to BUST my AZZ (not only because it was SO much work but I was also bailing water out of my ship to keep from SINKING) and I barely squeaked out of there with a 30-dollar/hour rate, all the while thinking about it. I wasn't pizzed, this is the price I paid for education, but the NEXT time:

    Months later I had the same problem... The price SHOULD've been around 600-750 for this other job but the constant influencing kept throwing me OFF and in this time I SAW the customer was THINKING it should cost 200-300, that was the 'price range.' I really hate it when I can see someone else thinking, don't people realize what they are doing????
    Ahhhh but I had learned....
    Yup, gotta run to the house add all this up, have your estimate in a few days (while you get your other estimates together) & tyvm. 2-3 days later, handed over the proposal in a SEALED envelope (so I could LEAVE before they looked at it) and tyvm again (the proposed price: $975, 450 upfront, balance upon completion - yup, no more Mr. nice 600-750 dollar guy).
    Whoever quoted the LOWEST price BEFORE I gave mine is GUARANTEED the work (it's a LOT of work!). HOPEFULLY they quoted at LEAST 600 however when I was there the first time the influencing kept making me WANT to say 400 (which would've STILL been too high for customer), so I wish them ALL the best of luck.
    Word of mouth spreads, and *I* will NOT be bothered for some time but IF I am, same game all over if it's going to be like this.
    THEY who got the job will LIKELY hear MY outrageous quote straight from the horse's mouth. This will float around in their mind as they work and if they don't see it now, it is only a matter of time before they do and if they NEVER see it, then there goes another company out of business as Natural Selection takes over.

    It truly is win-win all the way.
    ps.: If I sound a bit nasty, sorry I didn't know how else to present this one...
  2. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004

    can you just give me the cliff notes or a basic summary. reading your posts is like reading hyper text markup language. lol!

    i'll try to make it through it, but might fall asleep. if i do go night night, then ill post my thoughts tomarrow.

    how to get rich 2
    how about a consolidated dumpster diving effort????
    5 cents a can you know. lol!!! :p :laugh:
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    i am so sorry it is so long but I really think it is a good read yet would like to hear the comments because I'm a bad judge of my own ...
    thanks in advance for your patience, time, and tolerance
  4. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004


    yes, i catch that hinting. i ask them if they need to sit down before i give them the price.

    my phone has been ringing off the hook lately. so many kids and scrubs went belly up with their low balling and high gas prices. stupid kids finally figured out gas cost them more than what they charged and hence no xbox 360 in their future. back to taco bell. 2 new yards a day not counting what we turn down. only mowing most yards every 2 weeks, but we are book solid. 2 we got today... builder that saw and commented on 2 walkers and stihl equip on truck and trailer wanted us to mow one yard waiting to be sold. $30 yard for most of you guys. after he said we dont have to catch the grass i told him $50. DEAL!

    other down the street in pea ridge in one of the many new subdivisions of the area. couple weeks overgrown. thanks us for coming. other 5 people she called didnt even return her call. again $30 yard for most you guys. $60 first time, $50/week after. brand new 21" and lawn tractor in garage, too.

    we're so dam busy and short on help i just shoot off high prices and often just over the phone if im familiar with their neighborhood. if they say theyre shopping for prices i dont even call them back. if they dont like it i just wave by-by. 95% of the time they shut-up and they agree to my price and thank me for coming to their rescue... as no one else does.

    you said highballing rulez topsites... it sure as f*** does. if i can find 50 more guys i can add 2000 more yards by next year. that is how big my demand is!

    as for you and your post topsites... at first (couple months ago) i didnt really like you that much. (but who gives a f***) as for now.... "no great genious is without an admixture of madness." -aristotle.

    yes i got a lot of respect for you for speaking your mind reguardless.

    as for me... "to be great, is to be misunderstood." -ralph waldo emerson.
  5. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004

    oh yeah.... as for that consolidated dumpster dive. only need to find 20 million cans to split 1 million $$$.

    maybe you should stick to consolidated lawn mowing. it worked for tgcl!!!!
  6. mbricker

    mbricker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 505

    Top, I think you are absolutely right.

    One thing to point out. Bobby Gedd and many others on here will never have the problem you are having. In particular, they will never be getting vibes from some sweet little old lady that influences a lower price quote. But you Sir are obviously such a nice guy that maybe you are too nice for your own good.

    And I think you are onto that, and the corrective action you have decided on makes a bunch of sense. Like you, I have had far too many Lincoln Towncar driving old ladies tell me in the sweetest voice,"OH, my last guy was charging $25. [for a lawn that is worth $40 if it's worth a penny] That's really all I have in my budget for the lawn. Couldn't you pleeeeeease do it for $25?" And sucker that I am, I agree.

    And the referrals: when I started getting referrals from a job I had done for a stupid cheap price, bidding those jobs was nothing but a waste of time, because each of those people called me only because they thought they also would get a stupid cheap price.

    Not no more!
  7. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004

    go neighbor, go neighbor, go!!!

    bg doesnt mow. hes a robot made up by LS to post humorous things on here. :p
  8. Varsity L&G

    Varsity L&G LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 418

    You going to expo?

    Great Post by the way.
  9. Maitland Man

    Maitland Man LawnSite Member
    Posts: 175


    I bid em high........found out the hard way...if I don't I'm the busiest LCO out there...and not making a cent more then the fellow that cuts 3 days a week. :dizzy:

  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    wow i am humbled heh...

    I'd like to add I don't like it when they call this time of year for 'regular year-round grass-cutting' and I can see they have lawnmowers of their own... Reason being is it's a way to get 'on' the schedule while you get 1-2 more grass-cuts before LEAF season starts... The whole scharade is OK but then come LEAF season suddenly they want leaves done too (and for cheap, they had NO problem paying WHATEVER you quoted for the grass-cutting but once the leaf situation comes up, suddenly they reveal their true colors and THIS one is hard to resist as they will make you believe they WANT you to cut the grass ALL next YEAR but it is a SCAM they will NOT get you to cut grass NEXT spring almost guarantee all they want is LEAVES done CHEAP! Yes, we pay 100 / cut and they're all honky-dory but it is only 1 MAYBE 2 cuts and NOW it's the leaves and I wasn't born yesterday....
    So when this happens, I get my 1-2 grass-cuts in and then I revert to the old rule: Leaves are done FIRST (and if I want ONLY) for year-round grass-customers who have been my grass customers *ALL* year, EVERYONE else WAITS until ALL this YEAR-long customers have been taken care of and if nothing else gets done after my year-long customers ARE taken care of, well you didn't think the little scheme still worked on me after 3 leaf seasons, did ya? :) That's right, late bloomers who join the ranks after July don't count come time for leaves.

    LOL I like your saying about 'would you like to sit down first' ahahaha that's funny :)

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