Why so Darn!! concerned with Lowballers...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by J Hisch, May 27, 2006.

  1. J Hisch

    J Hisch LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 952

    Why do so many concern themselves with lowballers. I personally have never witnessed a lowballer or so their called put any legitmate business out of business. I am not talking about supersized companies. I am talking operators who have 30-50 accounts are so concerned about this crapola. Losing a lawn here or there... Wait until you been in business about 5 years then you will not even know what to do you will have so much business. I just cant stand to see so many grip about this stupid issue... Big whoop if a company xyz can do it for xyz price. But most operators seem to assume that if they lose business it is because of lowballers. I am here to tell ya half the time when your customer says they got a lower price I bet 70% of the time thats just a nice way of saying your Fired!!!!

    Also if you are building a business continually not just in the spring, then lose one gain one will always be at your door step.
  2. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,206

    The folks trying to make fast bucks get annoyed by us poor guys slugging our way along at $10/hr profit.
  3. All_Clear

    All_Clear LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 443

    Because people in general just need something to b!tch about... if not lowballers... it would be something else :rolleyes:

    Just like the people you mow for... They slave at their job all day are miserable and need something to b!tch about... The lawn guy is an easy target! Do this, do that! You forgot this, I wont pay that...etc. And this is the birth of a PITA customer!

    I believe it's human nature. The day everyone has nothing to complain about means no one in this world is unhappy.

    All Clear
  4. coyotekid

    coyotekid LawnSite Member
    Posts: 111

    I agree completely, as I just posted in another thread. Some would call me a lowballer, some would say I'm rediculously over-priced. I feel my prices are very reasonable for my area and allow me to put myself through college while providing quality service for my clients.

    Many don't understand that sometimes you have to sacrifice a few bucks to make a few bucks--meaning that if you give a potential very good client a good deal, you'll have a long-term account and a good relationship.

    My clients and I don't treat lawn care as a trip to Walmart!

    While I'm being long-winded, I think it's also important to remember that different areas require different approaches to business. I've never mowed a subdivision! I sometimes travel 100+ miles in my daily route to service lawns. Our growing season is only from mid April to mid October, and that's stretching it! What works on the east coast just doesn't work for me. So why would the same prices?
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I hear you, it used to frustrate me but I happen to be in my 5th year and I agree with the thread starter and yourself for the most part.

    I charge a premium rate because here's the kind of stuff I turn out:

    Now, if you want to spend your time checkmating lawns for less, please, be my guest. Fact is, it took years to where I had enough customers that I can waste my time doing this, and my deposits still outperform every past year, while I got folks wanting this type of service and willing to pay the extra. Thing is, most folks out there don't care about all this and it takes time to develop a niche, and in that time one must do what must be done to survive.

    Meanwhile, I don't want the customer that's not willing to pay my rates. It costs a LOT to hire me, $35 minimum and it's 60 / hour take it or leave it, but then my phone doesn't ring much because most people know I am expensive. Hence, most of those people call folks such as yourself who are willing to do it for less, and that is where you fit in at least for now: The demand for a lower-priced Lco is sky high, and if it were not for Lco's willing to fulfill this demand, they would be driving me insane with the calls.

    So, it all works out. I did it, too... Worked for many years for less, first year I worked for $15-$20 / hour, and it slowly grew to 20-25, then 25-30 and over the years I finally hit 35, then 40... Just last year was 45-50 / hour. I had to do it not just because I needed the work (that too) but because experience comes with time, and not until I had over 2 thousand yards cut under my belt was I able to drive that Wb to perfection, and still I just flew over the handlebars earlier this year, so much for that experience. And it takes experience to get it done right, first time, everytime, and make it look so hot, too. This experience comes with years of doing the same thing over and over, you get better over time so your prices go up a little.

    So, who is the lowballer? We all are, until we can either get out of that mess or as is the case with some folks, they are happy with the status quo because last year I had a LOT of work from doing things cheap (I worked really hard and fast to get the 45-50, I'd get two hours work done in one, so to speak), and so there is really nothing wrong with pricing things as cheaply as you can get them done, because even today I don't price but so high, no higher than what I think is fair.
  6. SproulsLawnCare

    SproulsLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    from IN
    Posts: 365

    As far as I am concerned, the "low ballers" are keeping the cheap customers satisfied and they aren't bothering me about doing it for peanuts. I didn't even mess with advertising this year in the spring. I had enough to keep me busy that I didn't see any since in wasting the money while the short lived start-ups were soaking up the cheap lawns. Now that some of them are fading in the heat and some are too broke to continue, I will start to advertise. I have some of my best customers that were acquired when the weak part timers couldn't handle the heat. Satisfied customers call back the next year!!
  7. Triple R

    Triple R LawnSite Member
    Posts: 244

    If you could get the same quality service for 1/2 price wouldn't you go the cheap route too? In my area there are lco's with nice trucks enclosed trailers newer comercial equipment charging about 50% less than me and this isn't just 1 or 2 of them. In the Yellow Pages there is an ad which costs about $230/month for 12 months, I called this ad and got a price of $15 per cut to do a front lawn. In the last 12 months the situation here has been getting worse. So for all that say don't mind the low ballers, get your head out of the sand. You would not be paying $3/gal of gas if 50% of the gas stations were selling it for $1.50/gal, or would you?
  8. cessnasovereign

    cessnasovereign LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 292

    I don't get too concerned but I do think they are stupid for working like that when they could just all charge market rates and make more money.
    For me, whenever I go out and give a quote to someone who is calling around, I tell them this "There's no doubt you can find someone to do it for cheaper, but you really get what you pay for and most of the time these guys will just stop showing up when it either gets too hot or they made a few dollars to pay their bills." And almost everytime, they sign up on the spot. Sure you have a couple people (like one guy who wasted half my day) who just don't care, they just want the grass to be shorter and if you don't show up, they'll just call the neighborhood kid with the 21 inch..
  9. Shawns Lawns

    Shawns Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 638

    People will not always go with the cheaper of the two. I have seen this and i have recently done this myself as well. I paid probably a couple hundred dollars more for signs made by someone i wanted them done by than by someone that could probably done them for a cheaper price and look about the same.

    A possible reason for people being upset with lowballers is usually someone has just spent some $$$ on a piece of equipment and have a payment and now they are losing customers to a lowballer. Would you not be upset if you had a full time job outside the lawn care business and you were let go because they found someone that would work for half of what they are paying you??
  10. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    I've been in these discussions over the years an can say one thing. "ANYONE" can cut grass. Not everyone can run a business.

    If you have a good idea of what it takes to run your business you will succees. This business is not one which someone gets into to make millions. You can start as soon as you can push a mower. It is similar to selling Kool-Aid, which I believe is the precursor to this business at a young age.

    Mom makes you a pitcher of Kool-Aid and you go out and sell it for a quarter a cup. At the end of the day you have 2.50 for your time. Now Mom doesn't say, "I need my cut for supplies and my effort" so you have your pure profit and life is good.
    I believe that many so called "lowballers" have never learned that there is a cost to that Kool-aid and cups and pitcher and the table and chair you sat at and the ice you put in, on and on. They are assuming mom has picked the tab for this stuff.

    Anyone can sell Kool-aid and anyone can mow lawns. Not everyone can make money and run a business.

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