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Low balling Comercial/HOA stuff

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Weekes, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Weekes

    Weekes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    First off I a not trying to offend anyone just want some straight answers.

    When it comes to residential it seems many of you are all about don't undercut the the going rate it drives our prices down. Then there posts that are all about how cheep you big guys can do it. If you question what I am talking about look back at the last 8 pages of posts there are a couple of these I can do it cheaper posts. Guys saying stuff I'd do 70,000 square ft for $135. Or man I can do a large comlpex for $XX solo no sweat.

    So a residential 1/6 an acre is worth $35 and something 10 times larger is is only worth $135. So "don't drop the tailgate unless you get $35" --- but once your gate is down go as low as you can --- is that what many of you are saying?

    I like this site I do, but man were is the consistency. I just recently bid on 10 1-2 acre HOA properties, I thought I bid fair and from ones I have had in the past and others I have seen I thought I was inline and yet I come here and learn I should have cut all my rates in half.

    Now I am hopeful that I get them. I guess I just gotta hope some of you are not in my area undercutting a good profit, just because you can.

    My Z is faster than yours.

    OK please don't hate the new guy to the site, I am just a bit confused. Should these guys that are posting here for bid help should they go somewhere else. I looked here before I bid mine and began to wonder if I should just give up and go home -- move back in with Mom. How can people stay in the commercial side and survive if your info is accurate for these guys.
  2. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,434

    it all depends what area you are in. some places you can get 35 for postage stamp yards and in other places you get 35 per acre.
    price what you need to make money. dont let anyone else influence your prices. goodluck. and welcome to the site.
  3. EOS

    EOS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    I could not have said it better, you hit the nail on the head, I read all these threads thinking if I have to charge what some of these guy's are charging I may as well hang it up, I have read about some of these guy's charging 50.00 for a acre of land give me a break, those are the guy's that dont pay for insurance,workmans comp,licenses

    WALKER LANDSCAPE LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,415

    I agree your going to have that everywhere you go. I also agree with keeping the prices up or it will end up running us all out. There will allways be someone that can say they can do it cheaper, but It is how long they can keep that up.:hammerhead:
  5. BCNU

    BCNU LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    Look at your job you are bidding on and bid what you think you would make money at and feel good about it. If you get it great if not move on to the next one. Bidding is no more than who wants to make the least amount of money for the same job. I would rather set home in a recliner than to be busting my butt for no profit. Good luck on your bid, hope you have the winning bid!!
  6. barefeetny

    barefeetny LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 533

    thats a very good post 3

    i don't think theres a lot of absolutes in this biz

    i laugh at minimums

    I don't care to mow anyone whos not full service

    i'm a solo 99% of the time

    There are guys who have 5 crews running and they can do good

    Great point i have seen guys blast others for a 25 dollar postage stamp... i won't even drop my tailgate and a few threads later talk about there huge hoa jobs that turn into 22.50 a yard...

    Its a national board... and alot changes in even in the same state...prices and style and spending habits.... Whitey and I are 2 hours away from each other and have different markets. I have other lcos 2 county's away that have different markets.

    The nice part about this site is seeing the variety of solutions and opinions

    Welcome aboard
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Because if it were easy then everybody would be doing it, but I look outside and see everybody's already doing it!

    So first one needs do this crap for about 4-5-6 or 8 or 10 years and then tell me just how helpful you feel like being, that is I mean no offense, but full time and no other income and all of that too... Then someone comes along asking as obvious questions, well, like I said you really have to put in some time first, 3 or 4 years probably, maybe 5.

    I got to the point I realized by giving everybody the flat answer to the question I only hurt myself. First I breed my own competition, then they don't respect it but the absolute worst part is failing to gain the understanding as to WHY it is so. Never mind competition but without that understanding the new Lco then ends up messing it up and that crap comes back on me too LOL

    So, hmmm...
    My suggestion is stick to residentials until such time you feel like...
    Well, just stick to resis for the time being.

    btw I think Owner-Operators might wish to consider stepping down to the position of managers, I find the air is a little more breathable down here. Because I'ma tell you if anyone wants to play around in some thin air I AM GAME lol
    The whole thing about it is, the thin air games require fast straight answers, one after the other.
    I believe when I first started out I think I was like a secretary, not sure anymore, but somewhere down below it was, yup.
  8. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,988

    Weekes, Welcome to lawnsite,:waving:
    I am in Saratoga Springs, where are you at in Ut valley? What areas do you work in? I mainly hit north Ut county and south S.L. county. Mostly fert and squirt, but we do full maintenance too.
  9. Weekes

    Weekes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    Reside in Springville -- Service from Payson to PG currently; mostly weekly maintenance, but fert a number of my clients. One crew currently, but it is a stretched crew with what we are adding this year.

    Thanks to all for the welcome, been reading the forum for about a year now.

    (Something about me going back to just residential, didn't think the comment bothered me at first but maybe it did)
    To any who think I may be new and inexperienced.


    But I hope my five years (now stop laughing I know probably everyone of you have more years than me) doing both residential and commercial lawn maintenance -------- and ------- growing up on a large Idaho farm and ranch (OK stop laughing again, there is a lot to learn about bidding a job when thats what you do during the summer months, how many lawn boys here have built a per foot bid fence---oh I might ad there is a bit of knowledge to be gained about the cost effectiveness in doing farming and ranching) ------- and -------- that fact that this is a business like any other business and I owned my first retail store when I was just 21 (video games yep I sold em and hate em, plus inside all day, ok enough about why I got out of that one BUT seriously talk about learning first hand cost analysis) ------ and ------ having a hard earned business degree (again this business is just like any other business). I hope at least one of these qualities gives me a smidgen of credibility. Guess maybe I am not old enough to qualify as experienced.

    No seriously I bid em as I see, yes I do feel that some of those quotes were low balls. I know each area is different, but when someone justifies a cutting comment by saying they are tired of dumb questions. That was what bothered me an got me to post that.

    These guys really want to know. I really want to know. You can learn from experience or you can learn form others experiences. I lost a lot of money in my first business, not because it was a bad business; but because I pulled out at the wrong time --- sure wish someone more experienced had been there to warn me or help me.

    The smartest way to learn is from others who know, that is why these guys asked this question. They were smart not dumb. At least give them the credit of a good answer or no answer at all.
  10. TScapes

    TScapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 453


    I have a thing about "Low Ballers", but that is a topic that I just don't want to waste my time on today. But listen, you need to know your costs and your costs only. Knowing your competition is good to keep up with simply for piece of mind and having an edge on your comp, that is all. If you can make money.... GREAT! If you find that you can bid a job and get a little more for the work you do... GREAT! If you consitantly low ball it, it will catch up to you sooner or later.

    I have worked for multi-million dollar companies and have seen them in the red. I have worked for smaller companies in the red too! It all comes down to how you bid the job. If you don't bid it correctly, you are going to spend too much of your time doing a job that you may actually be paying your customer to let you do! (I have actually seen this happen.) The best thing you can do is job cost everything. Track it for a season and then look back to see what jobs were the most profitable for you. This will allow you to figure out where your price range should be.

    Me... I finally went on my own after 23 years of working for others. However, I was fortunate to walk away with 10 commercial customers with an average of 42% gross profit. If you charge more and deliver more quality than your competition, you can typically get more for your time.

    However, I don't do the $25 mow and go's! I do full service contract work, so I get the same monthly amount year round.

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