Better to over bid or under bid?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by haynestotallawn, Jun 8, 2002.

  1. haynestotallawn

    haynestotallawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Hey guys and gals, just a quick question here. In your opinion is it better to over bid a job and not get it? Or under bid a job and get the job?

    Personally I would say over, I would hate to think I bid "X" dollars on a job, then got the job and regretted it later and wished I had bid higher.
  2. HLC

    HLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    My favorite saying is, "Better to overbid and not get it than to underbid and get it." Unfortunately I always seem to underbid and get em.
  3. CSRA Landscaping

    CSRA Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,232

    Here's my thought: why do it if you're not going to make anything? I always try to build in a little bit of wiggle room, so that if I need to later, I can come down on it a little. The asking price is almost always higher, with new customers.
  4. Sammy

    Sammy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,734

    It is always better to overbid it.......And still get the job ! :D
  5. Likestomow

    Likestomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 997

    On smaller yards I can bid pretty close, but the bigger ones, with more trimming, I seem to under bid. I'm trying to force myself to bid higher than I think at the time. If the bid is too high, you will know right away by the customers hesitation.

    After doing a new yard, if I find that I've really over bid it, I will drop the price because I don't want someone to come behind me and do it for less if I can help it. I usually go with the $1/min rule in the end.
  6. JR LeGer

    JR LeGer LawnSite Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 26

    Believe it or not, you would be suprised how much information people will give you if you simply ask.

    This does not work on commercial accounts or property management companies--they are too smart.

    It does work with residential accounts quite often though.

    You might go out to do a bid and simply askif they have had any other estimates before you came out.

    (You are thinking this one needs to be about $250 a month to make it worth your while, but you get into this conversation).

    "So, have you folks had any other bids here before we came out?"

    Client--"Yes, can you believe that XYZ company said they can do it for $90 a month? That's ridiculoous"

    "$90 a month? You're kidding--we could not even touch this for under say $225 a month." (tell them why and what kind of service you think they will get for $90 a month)

    Or they might come in with--

    Client-- "Yes, we are thinking about XYZ company, but we just weren't wanting to spend $380 a month for this. Nice people, but we thought they were kind of high priced"

    "Wow, that does seem high." Mrs. Smith, I can assure you that you should not be paying over $275 a month for quality service, and we are even willing to do it for $260."

    Client--"Well, that sounds great, where do I sign?"

    I am telling you, I cannot tell you how many major installations and lawn maintenance accounts we have picked up simply by asking what they can afford or what prices they had been getting. Of course, if they are savvy like me, then they are going to lie to you but the fact of the matter is that most people just are not savvy. You want the job, but you have to make money.
  7. proline32

    proline32 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 98383
    Messages: 278

    I love to over bid........ but sometimes even when I think I bid hi a customer might say that seems reasonable( which tells me I underbid). I looked at a job the other day, over the phone the customer seemed hesitant at my telling her the minimum is $38.00, but asked me to come out anyway....... WHAT A MESS, this place was a dump and grass waist high, I had no choice but to tell her that I would be way to expensive for her and that realisticly as bad as the place was No LCO will do this job for under $200.00 and it would cost about $60 a week for regular service. Boy was she shocked!! I politely ask why she didn't contact a service months ago, she just thought that it wouldn't cost much to have some one out to mow the place( typical mentality).
  8. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    Why not just take a few extra minutes to measure the property accurately, walk it and check for unforseen obstacles, then you can bid it dead on and not worry about working for free for the season, nor pricing yourself out of a job...

    Of course this all assumes that you accurately know what your overhead and fixed expenses are.
  9. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773

    As my landscaping course book said, "You can bid low and not make enough to stay in business, you can bit just right and make enough to get by, or you can bid high and make a lot of money."

    What would you prefer? :D
  10. Hawkeye5

    Hawkeye5 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    Mr. Cummings hits the nail square on the head! I once talked to a road contractor that built the cost of a new sail boat into his bid. He was tickled when he got the contract. JR is also correct. Many potential customers will let you know the range. You decide if you can make money within that range. The Lawn Guy shows how to look professional, and therefore worth what you charge. Some good advise within these posts. Sell quality and value, not just price. There is ALWAYS someone that can beat your price, but if you sell quality and value you have an edge. JD

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