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advice on how to handle a lowballer.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Houstonguy, May 10, 2008.

  1. Houstonguy

    Houstonguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Well one of the nieghborhoods I wanted to target has a lowballer creating problems. Its "The" nieghborhood I want, I wanted to own that area. I have been driving around this area for about 2 weeks and have only noticed 1 legit company offering lawn service and 2 other guys with crappy beat up rusty 21 inch mowers that always leave standing grass. So I started to ask some people how much they pay to get thier lawn cut and they were all saying 40-50 bi-monthly depending on size, this was like 2 weeks ago. Well there is this guy that seems to be offereing a 30 dollar flat rate. Everyone is switching to this guy he already took over a street, has 8 accounts on 2 blocks. I am going to start my businesss in about a week or two and am a little worried now. Dont know if I should forget about that nieghborhood or still try to ask for 40-45? These are pretty big lawns and have huge backyards and some have double lots. I cant see myself doing it for $30 a yard when it will take me like 45min. to do some of these. The double lot yards are maybe 1 hr. Oh and by the way the guy charging $30 a yard is doing good work.
  2. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,316

    Well, you could either:

    1. Charge $40-$45 and do great work - count on your quality to surpass the other guy.

    2. Not worry about him - there's plenty of grass out there for $45.
    3. Lower your prices to compete with him, and end up losing jobs to him anyway (probably).

    Personally, I would go with #1 or #2. Don't lower your prices because of pressure from another lco. There's plenty of lawns out there - charge what you need to, and find people that are willing to pay that - do awesome work on top of that, and you'll be fine.

    my .02

  3. JFF

    JFF LawnSite Member
    Messages: 248

    I say just keep doing what you are doing. Do not lower your rates to compete with people who are making so little they will be out of the business this fall.

    At those rates, the quality will have to suffer. If it is "THE" neighborhood you want to be in, my guess is the homes and landscapes are nice. People will only put up with neglect so long, even if it is for a better price. If you have yards in that neighborhood, make sure they are good advertising for your company. Your truck and trailer parked in front of a well maintained property is the best advertising you can get. And, you are getting paid for it.

    Just worry about what you can control. Most of the bargain basement types wash out fast. Do quality work, be reliable and a source of good info for your customers and eventually you will have all the work you need. Regardless of your labor rate.

    And this is just my opinion. People get hot about this issue. All I am saying is I would not do the work at a rate that was not acceptable to me.

    Good luck to you.
  4. JFF

    JFF LawnSite Member
    Messages: 248

    Strongly agree.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    If he's doing a good job at $30, then you're in trouble :laugh:

    Houston's a big city last time I checked...I'm sure plenty of lawns to go around.
  6. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    HAy Houston Guy:

    Bellville here:

    decide where you want to be...

    Meaning how do you want to structure your Co. have a plan and stick to it.

    Out here in Bellville I'm Very expensive, in fact about twice as much as everyone else... " and I have been told this many times "

    However: after about a year or so, everyone will know this, and know what type of work you do....

    everyone around me now knows that I'm very expensive and do the best work in town... and my phone never stops ringing.... simply because of this.

    If you want to get lawns where you just cut and go... then around 30 is fine.

    " if indeed" this is your structure, Go for it...
    However if you want to be a FULL SERVE CO... then MAke it happen.
    Dont take anyone who just wants a mow...
    Do the hedges. spray, provide pest control, plant flowers... clean out gutters.
    trim trees... and such.....

    Good luck
  7. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    If your ever out this way stop by and I'de love to show ya my operation
  8. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,903

    sounds like you need to target a different neighborhood.
  9. Turfrific

    Turfrific LawnSite Member
    Messages: 180

    start charging $30 in that area, as well
  10. Houstonguy

    Houstonguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Thanks for all the advice everyone and this is the gameplan. I am mailing out postcards next week in this area regardless of what the other guy is charging. I am not going to let this guy keep me from my goal. I am going to charge what I charge, which at this point I'm aiming for $40 a cut. I have a friend that lives in this neighborhood that is getting his lawn cut by the $30 guy. I spoke with him yesterday and he agreed to let me take care of his lawn for $30. I am only charging him $30 cause he is a friend and he is going to let me put a sign on his yard advertising "another great job done by HEC" I am also going to mulch around his trees and make him a flower bed for free. He is paying for all the materials, just the labor will be free. Im going for the lawn makeover look and try to wow the neighbors. In return I can keep my sign there as long as I want and he will speak very highly of me and he will tell everyone I am charging him $40 a cut. The way I see it is I get my foot in the door and get some advertisment out of it and I will also be seen mulching and hopefully get some interest shown. I am also thinking of striping his yard and telling him to tell his nieghbors I charge $5 extra for this. anybody see something wrong with this gameplan that I dont see?

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