Was I too expensive or was I lowballed?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Expert Lawns, Mar 29, 2004.

  1. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,660

    Had a call the other day from one of my clients' sister. (referral) She wanted an estimate for a spring cleanup. It was going to take me 3 hours to do it. She wanted the yard hand raked to get rid of the dead spots and dead grass (pretty much a de thatch by hand). Then she wanted all the pine needles and leaves blown out of flower beds, around the house, and out from under the trees. I told her a ballpark of $150-200. My final price was going to be $180 but we never got that far. As soon as I gave her the ballpark figure, she said I was going to have to come WAY down in order to meet her other estimates. I couldn't believe it. Was I way off? I feel my services are worth the money. The yard wasn't too big, so not too much raking, but there were a lot of left over leaves and pine needles. Like I said.....$180 for 3 hours. Seems right on to me.
     
  2. bayoulawn

    bayoulawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 211

    If thats your price then you were right on.
    You dont have to honor anyone elses price but your own.
    Stick to your guns.
     
  3. Trevors Lawn Care

    Trevors Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,180

    i got something like that the other day. I just go into the whole quality speech, and how i have rising gas prices, insurance, and in general costs to pay for. I am a professional pay me like one. YOu can hire the little kid down the street but he wont know what he is doing. I have been doing this for years. That seems to work well enough for me. same with customers who call back with lower prices.
     
  4. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,660

    I could tell she was going to be a hard nosed old lady from the get go. She said that she never pays up front. Paying up front is for suckers she said. I told her that I dont' do any work until a contract is signed, and that sometimes I ask for half of the money up front to cover the cost of product etc. She said oh no, not me, I know better than that. I went on to explain that it was normal business practice, and a contract is set up to protect both parties.

    When I told her the price, she answered, "Just to rake a few leaves" Right then I knew that she was looking for little Johnny down the street to do it for $30. I started to explain overhead such as insurance, gas etc. She interrupted me with a rude "ehhh", like I was making excuses for having that price. The ignorance of some people. Like Trevors Lawn Care said, we are professionals, and deserve to get paid accordingly. She saw me and my profession in a cold light, as if we were insuperior. I simply handed her my card and said "sorry we couldn't work something out, call me if anything comes up". I only said this to be polite.
     
  5. Lombardi

    Lombardi LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 538

    Yard clean ups quoted by professionals always seem to shock the customer. I quoted one last week for $500.00. It would take 2 people 7-8 hours to do it properly. Haven't heard from them yet.
    I think most are shocked because they see the neighborhood kids doing it for $10/hr.
    It is very tough work so I charge accordingly.
     
  6. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Posts: 4,205

    Kinda like the qoute I just did last week.
    The guy is looking for lawncare, I take a look,tell him it'll be $37.00/cut. He looks at the paper and I say "how does that sound?" He says "It's a little high on the mowing price,the other guy was doing it for $30.00 but he's out of business now." I say "ya,that's why he's out of business." As you can imagine I won't be hearing from him again.
     
  7. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    Nothing wrong with that price.I quoted a guy 385 for a cleanup and dump on site.He said he wanted it hauled off,so I told him it would be 500.This home hasn't been lived in or cared for in 2 years.Pine trees everywhere and leaves in the back were 2 feet tall in places.He said,well I've got your card.Just so happens he lives down from my folks and yesterday I see him,his wife,3 kids and his brand spanking new Murray out there.They worked all day and still were not finished.Pine needles still left everywhere.He just mowed over those.
    I'm sure if it were me and a pine needle were left I'd be catching all sorts of hades.He paid over 400k for the home,btw.I'm better off napping on the couch than wasting my time over there.
     
  8. Metro Lawn

    Metro Lawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,112

    Same thing all the time. Just did an estimate for an elderly fellow. While I was there, another lco (2 kids in a mini van) gave him a quote as well. They quoted 20.00 per man hour on the clean up, but no estimate of time. They were $4.00 cheaper on the cutting price, but he was not impressed with the look and youth of the 2 guys. I told him a flat price of $250.00, figuring about 3-4 hours with 2 guys. He says that he likes the way I conduct myself and he would be letting me know. He calls me back a few days later and says if I cut my price in half, I can have the job.

    I said, "Have a nice day, sir."
     
  9. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,454

    Expert Lawns, that is exactly what I would have estimated too. IMO, you were right on. There wil always be people trying to rip us off. Dont' give in!
     
  10. cklands

    cklands LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA
    Posts: 360

    I don't see anything wrong with the price. I have learned not second guess my prices. You win some and you lose some. There are some people who just have no idea what it costs to run a business.
     

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