LOW BALLERS --- you may be one

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Likestomow, Jun 3, 2003.

  1. Likestomow

    Likestomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 997

    There is so much whining here at Lawnsite about low-ballers. I would guess that it is being done mostly by the new people. Is this practice right? I think it is a waste of time.

    I think everyone is a potential low-baller. If I cut a yard for $35, another person may think I’m under-cutting the market because he would charge $40 to do the same yard.

    Can anyone tell me what the standard rate is for cutting a lawn? Is it your figure, mine, or someone else’s? How does anyone receive permission to determine that another person’s rates are incorrect? Is this standard simply based upon the fact I don’t like it when someone charges less than me?

    I know of a cutter in my area that charges $17.50 to cut a small yard. He uses a push mower and is very please if he can earn that $17.50 in an hour’s time. Is he violating all the other cutter who would charge more? Should I or anyone else be alarmed at his low price?

    How many yards can he possibly cut in a week? I say not many. Will he ever have enough money to buy commercial equipment and become serious competition to anyone? So he has a few customers… I say let him go in peace. I say let every person charge their own rate and don’t meddle in the affairs of others.

    If your market is tight, then do something to improve your operation and income potential, but please don’t whine. I’m tired of it.
     
  2. steelcity

    steelcity LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 45

    Amen!!!!!
     
  3. Shuter

    Shuter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,171

    I think the low baller and/ or scrub that is referred to on Lawnsite has to do with the guy working out of his car, or junky equipment and giving off a bad image to customers, like poor customer service that gives homeowners/business owners a bad feeling about the green industry. And lets not forget the guys who do not feel it necessary to get insurance and pay taxes and all the stuff that goes along with running a legitimate business. These people are who ruin everyone.
     
  4. Likestomow

    Likestomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 997

    ffshuter - what is actually being ruined? You are exhibiting a victim mentality by saying this.
     
  5. studentlawn

    studentlawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 117

    shuter, i think that low baller you described is the family man trying to find a 2nd income to support his family. for many, lawn cutting is the perfect part time income to support a family. They cannot afford to invest in equipment, or pay insurance, or pay taxes, they just need some cash to make ends meet at the end of the month... whats so low balling about that?
     
  6. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,218

    Hi everyone, my name is Mike and I have been a lowballer:blush: . I'll admit, starting out I made a lot of mistakes, and still do. I lost my shirt on jobs because I didn't know how to price my work. I even had a competitor call me and threaten me because I lowballed one of his accounts. But I learned and things are better now.

    There will always be the bottom feeders who just do the $15 or $20 cuts for pocket money. I just think it is more important to educate the landscapers who want to succeed in this business by getting them involved in the trade associations, etc. Getting as many people into the system as possible will benefit all of us.

    One of the best things I did for my business (besides hiring a good accountant:) ) was joining my local landscape association. I got a lot of good advice from successful people (I didn't have the benefit of Lawnsite 9 years ago.)
     
  7. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,073

    Nope, dont be alarmed by his pricing. But if he isn't paying taxes while the rest of us are, then that just isn't right. Is that how he can be so cheaply priced?

    Received this note from one of our customers when she sent her payment in last month. This is a 10 day account.

    "Please consider lowering your price. $111.30 for 3 cuts is unreasonable considering (Other lawn "company" name removed to keep privacy) cut same grass for $20.00 per cut - no tax. Thanx".
    And this is her second year of service with us, now she's complaining?:confused:

    So we're $37.10 and we should lower the price? First of all this "company" is a woman riding around on a Sabre tractor.
    So I called the customer up. Explained to her that we couldn't lower our price because we are not working under the table like her old lawn service. I told her she was comparing apples to oranges. I asked her if it was fair to penalize us because we were doing the right thing by paying our taxes. And then asked if she would think more us if we were dishonest and didn't turn our money in like the other lawn service was doing. Then I asked her if she thought it was right that the other lawn service did this.

    Boy did she back step. She says, "Oh, I'm sure they are paying their taxes too." She quickly ended the call, but still hasn't cancelled the service yet. So we'll keep her because she's an easy account, but we're not lowering our price.

    Anybody can price how they want. If a state requires that sales tax be collected, then it should be collected! I get so tired of people saying their other lawn service never "charged" sales tax. Our comeback, "We don't charge it either, we just collect it for the State." Geez!!!!!

    People complain about this subject so much because it gets frustrating trying to justify the cost to a potential customer because they don't understand since their last guy wasn't paying taxes.
    Find me ten people on this site that are paying taxes, and when you do, I bet you any money their pricing is not cheap.

    I say this all the time to Matt. For every guy out there that is doing this under the table, they are taking one good account away from us that we may want to have. If they win the bid because their price is cheaper, then so be it. But if they win the bid because they are cheaper and aren't paying taxes, then that ain't cool!

    Price however you want, use whatever equipment you want, haul your equipment around however you want, but just pay your taxes.
     
  8. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,847

    Jodi,

    well said. The sad part is that most companies around here(smaller) dont know to collect sales tax. They know they have to pay income tax (wheter they do or not is their choice), but many dont think about sales tax. I didnt. I only realized after seeing lawnlad post about sales tax that i had to. I fixed that. Now i just add in an extra line in for sales tax on all my invoices and no one complains, because as a consumer, they feel required to pay sales taxes(my theory). If i had raised prices 6%, then i would have gotten a few eyes brows raised, but as an extra line, it passed all with no pre notification.

    Sorry, im not complaining about lowballers.
     
  9. Lawn DOG

    Lawn DOG LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 276

    1MajorTom,
    I'll drink to that. :drinkup: If I drank....
     
  10. Likestomow

    Likestomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 997

    Whether or not one pays taxes, licenses fees or insurance is a personal choice. If a competitor chooses not to pay one or all of these costs, should I lose sleep over it? Should I take up arms? I think doing this can only lead to frustration and lower business growth.

    What I’m saying with this thread is that all this talk about how low-ballers, scrubs, and the like it are “hurting” “everyone” is bunk! If I don’t pay taxes, insurance or license fees, I bear the responsibility and will have to account for these actions, not another competitor. I have to get my ducks in a straight row, and that requires too much time to worry about if others do or do not.
     

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