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Scrub or lowballer?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Patfo, Mar 18, 2001.

  1. Patfo

    Patfo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 36

    Just starting my first year F/T and have a question: What do you consider a scrub or lowballer? I'm starting w/ a 36in w/b with a Proslide, couple of trimmers, backpack blower, and hedge trimmers, all of which are paid for. Only payments are on my used truck. I'm mowing residential accounts. If I can charge $8 less to cut a yard than a big operator who has 3 different crews all outfitted w/ Dixie's,walk behinds, new trucks and plows, has to pay employees and insure them all, do you consider me a scrub or lowballer? My very low overhead may allow me to do this. I am insured and pay taxes- no license required here. I am also a solo operation. Just a question. THANKS!
  2. oneEXMARKfan

    oneEXMARKfan Banned
    Posts: 254

    As long as your are going legit, I wouldn't call you one, but some people would want you to keep the prices high to help the "going rate" stay up.....Never used a Proslide, but from some of the post I've read, you might have to charge more to buy replacement parts for it.... I've heard good and bad about them....(I'm a newbie and may be totally wrong.if so sorry all!)

    AVRECON LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 290

    I wouldn't be cheaper, and your overhead might be more than you realize. Look at it this way if the customer had to go out and rent the equipment that you are using, What would it cost him? The way I look at it from the time I pull out of the driveway and pull back in all of my equipment has to make money. The mower needs money to pay for itself so that I can buy a new one, the trimmers etc.Don't lowball because you think you can, you see this drives the market price down. The guy thats doing the lawn you are talking about may be the real lowballer here.
  4. LoneStarLawn

    LoneStarLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,415

    Remember he will be faster than you on those lawns...therefore his efficiency will make up for his higher overhead...so thinking that your lower price is justified may be wrong...
  5. Patfo

    Patfo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 36

    If I know an operator has a particular account I will not try to undercut that account and take it away. I just want to make that clear.
  6. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Posts: 3,486

    What about commercial auto insurance, liability insurance, & theft insurance (option). Will you be getting a license to apply fertilizers? Just a little to consider.

  7. Craig Turf Management

    Craig Turf Management LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 354

    In my opinion, you are not a scrub if you practice your business in a professional manner. You must educate yourself in the science of turf care and follow common industry standards. You must obtain all required certifications and license. Carry liability insurance. Pay your fair share of taxes.
    Lowballer? Your cost of doing business whatever that might be plus the profit that you desire equals your price. That is a different figure for everyone. If your overhead, cost of doing business is less than mine, you can charge a little less to do the job than me. You are not a lowballer in my opinion, you are my competition.
    This is just my opinion, hope it helps.
  8. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    Why would you ask for less money than the going rate in your area ? Over time this brings prices down for everybody. Not to mention, after a couple of years you may need or want more (say $8 more) and you will have a tough time raising prices to that level. I worked in a different industry and out of school I thought I could do the job for less than someone with high overhead. Sounds great in theory to get more work. However, it is tough not to get a reputation as "the cheap guy". This is a reputation nobody wants. Before you know it you may be cutting corners on jobs since you are not happy with the salary and then the title of cheap guy could be yours.

    My 3 cents
  9. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    As you grow your business you will need more money. If you start out lower than everybody else you are going to have a tough time raising your prices to meet your new demands. I wouldn't start off $8.00 cheaper, maybe 2 or 3 but not 8! If you intend to do this full time then you intend to grow. Don't sell yourself short.
  10. 1st impressions

    1st impressions LawnSite Member
    Posts: 58

    I do not care what your "overhead" is. If you know that you are $8 less then that means you know what the prevailing rate is. Why drop that much? You hurt the whole industry by charging 20-35% less.

    Why not charge $2-3 less and use professionalism and salesmanship to get and keep clients. Even if you only have
    20 accounts, that is $100 more a week or at least $3000 more
    a year.

    One day you will have more equipment and employees. Good luck raising your rates at that time.

    Overhead IS an important factor in determining price but it is not the most important, making a decent living is.

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