The lowballers are showing up already.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by WHIPPLE5.7, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. WHIPPLE5.7

    WHIPPLE5.7 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 958

    Myself and about 4 or 5 other companys have been doing spring cleanups and giving estimates for weekly mowing since early March here. The five of us are pretty close on prices and we have the right equipment for the job and the know how to do it right. This week about 5 more new guys showed up the classifieds and have been bidding about 1/2 what the jobs should be just to score them. These guys don't have any good equipment and their work look like total crap but they are getting a lot of the jobs because they are cheaper. Eventually the price gas, their work quality, and other issues will take them out of business but until then they are hurting the guys that are for real. I know I'm not overcharging because after busting my butt I make enough money to cover equipment, gas, taxes, and a little left for my personal bills and that is it. To those reading this post who may be a lowballer do realize that your affecting three differant sources. The LCO that does a good job and is legit, the customer you just left their yard looking like a 7 year old did it, and yourself when it all catches up to you and you are piss broke and tired of working for nothing.
     
  2. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,186

    Lowballers will always be among us .
    They have no over head other than gas and equipment and maintence, taxes is usually the last thing to worry about .
    Don't feel bad they're here to craigslist is a cesspool...LMAO...
     
  3. Flex-Deck

    Flex-Deck LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,846


    Maybe instead of moaning, you should look at your operation. I had three low ball bids thrown at three of my customers last year, and they basically told them they had a dependable person doing the job they wanted, and were not interested. I try my best to talk to my customers regularly about how we are doing, and what they want done. I found out a long time ago that my perception of a good job may not be what their perception is, and I think it is very important to leave each job having done everything well that is important in the eyes of the customer.

    With that said, IMO it is also important to understand I am not a heart surgeon, and do not expect to make $500/hr. I have been underbid many times, but I have gotten some of those accounts later after the low bid operations could not produce - GUESS WHAT - Those accounts are now very solid, and safe from low bidders- AS LONG as I do not skimp on quality and timeliness.
     
  4. WHIPPLE5.7

    WHIPPLE5.7 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 958


    I don't really see any gaps in my operation other than I'm still a little new and trying to get my name out there. I also don't charge $500 per hour. My rates are $40-$60 per hour depending on what equipment I'm using and how much gas I'm using. I'm getting lots of work and very often my customers give me an extra $20 tip and tell me their yard has never looked so good. I'm just sick of burning gas to give estimates and having the customer tell me another guy said he would power rake, do flower bed cleanups, etc. for a total of $75. Its not feasable To properly power rake a 1/3 acre lot for $75. I spend 30-40 minutes actually power raking, 30-40 minutes hand raking and loading thatch into the truck, and 20-30 minutes going over with the 21" mower to pickup the very last bit of thatch. This is the proper way to do it. That comes out to about 1.5 hours and actually 2 hours when I end up dumping the thatch at the recycling center and they charge me about $8 per trip.
     
  5. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,186

    Thats the way it goes win some loss some...
     
  6. riverwalklandscaping

    riverwalklandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 759

    Henry Ford was a 'lowballer' at the time, and look how well that turned out, average people could afford a car. Lowballers are needs, like bees, i hate to get stung, but we'd have no flowers if it were not for them. They provide both a service to those who cant afford for someone to do it the right way, and just want it done, and they force us to be efficent, and innovative inorder to stay ahead of them, like you said the really bad ones run out of business, so who cares.
     
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Interesting concept...

    Yup, very true, no argument there.
    But until then...
     
  8. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,326

    Sometimes a mid range company will do spring cleanup as a loss to get the account for the year. Normally they aren't real busy and need work. I know they definitely do that in the fall to hold an account.
     

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