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Low Baller Crisis

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Freshcut Lawn Care, Oct 14, 2004.

  1. Freshcut Lawn Care

    Freshcut Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 393

    Whoops...Have this post in the wrong section! In any case, here goes....

    I am getting a little concerned...I am buying more equipment all the time and there are guys out there Low Balling all over town and I am not sure who is going to be left standing after all said and done!

    My buddy is scaling way back due to this and taking on a new job to make some decent money, along with benefits! This pisses me off because this guy is Awesome! :cool:

    I have only known him for about a year and a half but already consider him a Great Friend to me and my 2 sons!

    We have shared lots of info (beers and laughs) and I encouraged him to get the prices up and not lower them. From what I gather, he did this, but still felt he couldn't stick with it full time!

    Some guys are running around working...just for the sake of working I guess. He told me some of the winning bids (by the Low Ballers) on some commercial jobs and it would just make you sick!

    Any ideas on how to deal with these guys. I guess everyone has a right to work for their own price, but this is getting ridiculous.

    I am certainly not a violent man, so I need some good advice.

    P.S. I will maintain my prices as long as feasible, as I believe there is enough work for everyone, but there seems to be more and more guys running around undercutting!
  2. Andyinchville2

    Andyinchville2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 124

    Same stuff happening here....Lots of lowballers out.....Bad thing is, if your aren't competitively priced and offer good quality somebody else can/will get the business....I thought our prices were low but then we were undercut!....
  3. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,910

    Freshcut, I don't know of anyone anywhere near me who does this fulltime. Everyone has a "real" job or they have other jobs they do. I buy used and build most of my stuff to keep overhead down. Plus I'm a drug dealer on the side so that helps.
    PS this means I sell grass.
  4. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,939

    Cool. They let you do that up there?
  5. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,910

    They'll let us do anything as long as we pay taxes.
  6. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Low barriers to entry so anyone really can get in. How to beat'em? Good question. The problem is really in how expensive all the equipment is IMO. Used will get your overhead down some but then what will the life of the equipment be? Guys get in an get out all the time so there is an endless supply o people. Once you train a guy he can become competition in no time so get any employees to sign non-compete agreements. It's come down to the point where there almost might as well be a lawn service broker for the customer. Guy calls up, I'll pay x amount. OK then broker calls around to meet or beat that price and pockets difference. So an LCO goes out of business. Broker finds another. Unfortunately consumers have no concept of what the cost of doing business for you is so they think you should be doing it for almost if not free. I'd like to see some of the ideas guys come up with on this one as well. People will pay for an arborist but often won't pay for a professional on their lawn.
  7. Evergreenpros

    Evergreenpros LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,155

    Advertise more, find the good customers willing to pay for what they want. Separate yourself. Many people understand the concept of "you get what you pay for" They understand that the lowest bid does NOT necessarily mean the cheapest. Their time is money, they don't want to have to find a new landscaper every 4 months because their current low bid is in jail, or quit because he didn't make any money.

    There will always be somebody "cheaper" than you. It only takes a second to write down a low bid, but it takes much much more to provide a consistent, reliable, high quality, value based service.

    You can put together a property portfolio, print out copies and submit with bids. Show you're proud of your work. Be available for phone calls, don't try and run a business by playing phone tag. At the very least, have on your message when you will be available to answer calls.
    GarPA likes this.
  8. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,381

    If you think you have a low baller problem...come to Florida. It's getting ridiculous trying to compete with some of these idiots. I saw one guy yesterday with a sign on his Craftsman lawn tractor for $8 cuts. The sign was duct taped to the back of the mower. But, the low baller will always be around and there is not much you can do about it. I ignore them for the most part. Most of them don't last more than a month or so. When they throw in the towel I usually pick up a few new accounts that they screwed up. I can usually make some quick $ cleaning up the mess they made.
  9. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,544

    I would rather plant flowers around my trucks than ***** myself out for cheap.

    We don't have a problem with low ballers because of the obstuctionist local zoning ordinances which prevent a company from getting too big unless they are located in an Industrial or Manufacturing area. You can't even be in a commercial general business district or retail area.

    SO, the lowballers can't afford the proper real estate, and they remain at the bottom of the barrel, or in the case of the worst lowballers, at the top of the lake (pondscum).

    KB :realmad:
  10. Green Quality

    Green Quality LawnSite Member
    Posts: 176

    low baller,what a subject,this is my frist yr in the bizz,I see them all the time.working right along with them.but i have insurance,and every other hoop I have jumped threw just too start up!I think I would like to get rid of them all.IT like the old saying **** or get of the pot.I'm thinking about going to some of the township meeting ,and see if I can get something done.to protect my investment.what gives you go buy the books,put most or all your money in to your company,just to have some low baller wipe you out!it's unfair,so called trade practice,in which they are not a so called business.If we pulled togetherwe can put a end to the so called low baller!If I opened a store from the back of my truck,the cops would come and have a big fine for me to pay! I'm going to start writting down plate no# :angry:

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