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Those complaining about lowballers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by PROCUT1, Apr 25, 2008.

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  1. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909

    My question is...

    Why do you not expect the customer to look for the best price?

    The fact is we're talking mowing grass. Most people whether theyre cheap or expensive do an acceptable job.

    Most dont go out of business when it gets hot out.

    Most dont "hack" up the lawn.

    Most are somewhat dependable.

    Yes there are exceptions to everything, but most of the time the firefighter with 10 accounts on his day off does just as good if not a better job than the guy with a 4 man crew and 100,000 in equipment showing up.

    My opinion is most customers prefer a "lawn guy" over a "landscape maintenance company".

    When I need to hire a tri-axle for work, I can get a guy with a dependable older truck for 50 per hour. Or I can hire a trucking company with 30 some trucks at $75 an hour each. A big fleet of new trucks.

    I know the new trucks and big companies overhead is more....But I dont personally care. If I can get a truck for 50, why would I pay 75? Because the truck is shinier?

    Now if the $50 guy became undependable or was always broken down, then I would look elsewhere. But his truck hauls just like the new ones, so Im not paying more.

    Same with all other services I contract out or hire for.

    I had my barn painted. My wife got 4 estimates because we had no clue what people charge for painting.

    Called 4 people out of the newspaper. 3 were "painting companies"
    They were all in the $2500 - $3000 range.
    The forth guy showed up in an older car with a ladder on the roof.
    He said, "You go to home depot and but the paint and Ill do it for $500."

    We confirmed he had insurance incase he got hurt.

    He got the job. I saved $1500-$2000.

    Barn looks great. He worked 2 days and put 500 in his pocket solo and everyone is happy.

    I dont care that the painting companies have truck payments, payroll, offices, shops, secretaries, and all the like. This guy did a great job without all of that. Why would I pay a premium so I can have a 2007 van in my driveway and the job in one day instead of 2?

    You people need to get it through your heads that you are competing in an "UNSKILLED JOB"

    You can cut grass
    I can cut grass
    My mother can cut grass
    My 12 year old cousin can cut grass
    A white guy can cut
    A mexican can cut

    This is a job that anyone can do and most can do a good job.

    Its a myth that most "cheaper" guys do a lousy job or are undependable.

    Insurance is not a big thing. Most guys I have met that "do it on the side" have insurance. Insurance is cheap.

    I find it hilarious that lawn guys compare themselves to auto technicians, plumbers, electricians and other "skilled trades".

    Go and tell a union electrician that went through schooling, a 4 year apprenticeship, training, etc that your job is equal to his and you should be paid the same because you could afford a lawnmower.......See what his reaction is.

    You are providing labor....Thats it.....The customer is hiring you because he doesnt want to do it himself.

    When his kids are watching you out the window, he tells them....."See, thats why college is important, or you will end up like the lawn guy"

    Come down off your high horses and realize this job for what it is and work within those parameters.

    Why is Just-mow-it successful?

    Hes a "lowballer"

    Because he understands the business. He knows what his customers are looking for and caters to that.

    You can talk all you want about "high end accounts" Well they are few and far between and congratulations to the guys that say thats all they service.

    Most people want their grass shorter once a week, whether you do it, I do it, the neighborhood kid does it, it doesnt matter.
  2. DistLawns

    DistLawns LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 120

    I couldn't agree more. Having said that, it still can be a very profitable occupation.Good business is good business regardless what the business is.
  3. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909


    My point is that you cant change the customer. You have to change your way of operating.
  4. jaybird24

    jaybird24 LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 623

    Word Up! Takes knowledge of certain things, but not a lot of training.
  5. pinto n mwr

    pinto n mwr LawnSite Senior Member
    from gr8, mn
    Posts: 422

    you can't go to a union "skilled" person. They are gods that cannot be compared. Maybe the "lawn guys" should become union then I could work only 8 hours a day, no weekends, and get overpaid. I'll complain about lowballers out there based on there s%*!!$ service. I drive by 10 properties everyday that we lost to a company that offered an extremely lower price and they have yet to be serviced. When you're doing 200 unit, 20+acre sites you need a company that knws what they are doing, not some person that will do it for nothing. .02 though
  6. CFB

    CFB LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 515

    Spot on post Procut.
  7. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909

    I agree with you in this respect. Its a real shame that commercial work has gone the way of residential.

    I can understand residential going with the cheap guys. Commercial used to be different. Management companies used to only hire "qualified" contractors. Bids used to be by "invitation only". They used to check references and equipment.

    Not anymore. Now they let anyone with a mower bid on 100 acre condominium complexes. And many times they get the job.

    Look at the posts on here. How many guys come on here everyday that dont have a clue what to charge for a yard of mulch installed, and there very next post is "How do I get HOA accounts?"
  8. jaybird24

    jaybird24 LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 623

    In order to operate as a professional business you need to be well organized, have a good understanding of business, and your field, weather mowing, or electrical. As far as the work itself the level of knowledge needed to mow lawns is low compared to many skilled trades. Now, if you are talking hardscape installation and design, chemical applications, land restoration, etc. the skills needed go up drastically, some just as much as many skilled trades. The companies that do these services are usually much more professional than what is required for a typical mow and go operation.
  9. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    I don't complain. I just wonder how guys can make any money, doing this crap job.

    If you're only going to NET $10 per hour at the end of the season, once your taxes are paid, why wouldn't you work for someone else, inside, in air conditioning.

    We have guys with fliers and newspaper ads willing to work for $25 / 30 per hour.

    I don't care, because they're not my competition. I've worked myself into a very niche market, one that I've streamlined my operation for, and worked my reputation to the point where I've picked up 6 more accounts this year now without even letting people know I was looking for work, let alone placing ads.

    These accounts are in the $350-500 per month range for full service on 1/2-1 acre turf areas.

    I lost my bigger accounts, but I also realize that a company with 4 guys charging $50 per hour is going to be more efficient and thereby cheaper than I am working solo at $75-100 per hour.

    That's fine, like I said, they're not my niche market.

    Neither is the residential market.
  10. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 16,994

    Mowerman22 good to see your doing well. I never consider myself unskilled, I have more equiptment than most rental yards, if you want me to use it you gotta pay, otherswise go rent the stuff for near the same price and get your mother to run it for you. The way I run my business is not something that anyone can do. Even a greens keeper at a golf coarse makes good money because not everyone can do it, even though its mostly cutting grass.
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