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low-balled by the pros

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by PaulMoody, Mar 3, 2003.

  1. PaulMoody

    PaulMoody LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    Where I live and do business there are so many lowballing unlicensed lawn outfits running around thats its pathetic. I see ol Charlie in his 1972 Chevy with the craftsman mower in the back at every turn. I pass them coming and gowing. So it's no surprise that the residential market has so many bargain hunters. That's why I wanted to be licensed, bonded and insured from the start. I wanted the ability to go to the respectable commercial accounts and be recognised as a legit business with integrity. For the most part the pros around here are of a fair nature when it comes to pricing. It's competitive but for the most part reasonable. However, this year I decided I needed to raise my prices on some of my accounts that have been the same for 4 years. One in particular, I raised from $38.00 to $42.00 per mow. This was totally fine with the company manager and he o.ked it. Today I gave him a call to touch base on aerating and power raking, and he informed me he had recieved a bid of $35.00 from another midsized profeshional company (which he named). He said he would like to keep me but at a more competitive price. to make it short, I had to give back my increase in order to keep the account. This burns me because i know I am doing this job at an already marginal rate. It takes 2 men 45 min. to mow, blow and go with the largest equpt. that can fit through the gate. It cant be done any faster.
  2. PaulMoody

    PaulMoody LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    I got cut off. I feel my price is already low. My question is, would you have given back the accepted price increase or would you walk away? The account is one I like but not one I need.
  3. cajuncutter

    cajuncutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 626

    $35 for 2 guys in 45 minutes? geeeeezzzzzzz that is cheap. At 42 bucks they were still getting a deal. I would have walked away. I am going up this year. On the average it is 5 bucks a yard per cut on my pay by the cut customers. My 12 monthers are going to get a fuel charge of 2 bucks a visit. I figured on the pay by the cut lawns if I loose 2 or 3 the rest will make up the difference meaning less time same pay. With the less time I can fill the slots and if not I will take that spare time and wet a line;) I would rather be fishing anyways:D
  4. cajuncutter

    cajuncutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 626

    I also notice you are on the west coast. Do you all get the same fuel prices as Cali? If you are then I could not opperate at that price, fuel and paying labor..no freakin waaaaaayyyyyy
  5. Lawn Works 1

    Lawn Works 1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    I know it makes ya sick to have to go back down on your price after they had already agreed to raise it. I think I would have kept the account unless I already had another lined up to make more than $35 on. Just my opnion. I am a new biz this year but have been in the profession for a few years. I am hurting for yards right now and wold do just about anything to get a bunch of accounts but I am keeping my prices competitive with the other Pros around so as not to low ball any of them.
  6. welcome to silly season
    This time of year nothing is safe unless you have sign contracts.Its not right but lots of these guys are either hungry or over eager to make a deal.Paul just hang in there.They all cut there throats sooner or later
  7. Organix

    Organix LawnSite Member
    Posts: 113

    That price sounds low to even me and I always seem to be lower than everyone. Your talking about making about 23 an hour. I guess I have some that are that low but even here in cal i can usually get about 30 an hour in residential. I would say keep them as as long as you don't have something better to replace them then maybe try sending him a letter stating the difference between professional service and people willing to work for virtually nothing. Break down your costs and how much you actually netting from the job. If he does not want to pay for professional service then cut him loose.

    But I'm not in the position to cherry pick myself yet, but I did just raise all my customers 5 bucks a month for gas surcharge. That went over just fine.
  8. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    That's ridiculous!

    Any commercial site that sends out for a bid over a $4 increase when I've done the work at the same price for 4 years can hit the bricks!

    Likewise if they have had me for 4 years knowing I do quality work and they want to bicker over $7 difference between me and an unknown company can hit the bricks as well.

    $35 ain't that hard to make elsewhere!
  9. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    I see from your post that the company does take your add-on services - aerating, power raking. That is where you make the difference this year. Do you have a contract, or have you agreed on a price for these services? If so then you should have raised these prices. If not then this is the time to figure what you are losing per cut over the course of the year then increase your price for the add on services.
    You probably aren't gonna make the whole amount back but any additional you make here will be better than nothing. I would keep the job just because they take the add-ons. If it were just a mow job I would tell him to pound sand.
  10. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,076

    Times are tight and people always want "the deal." I am sorry to hear this has happened to you but hopefully you can make back some of the loss through the other services that you offer.


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