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Discussion in 'Bidding, Estimating and Pricing' started by Madhouse lawn Care, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. Madhouse lawn Care

    Madhouse lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Just started a small local lawn Care business in Kansas City Kansas. We are still in the stage of push mowers. But we do excellent work and all our customers are satisfied. It's the bidding I'm losing on right. I have under bidded just about every job I've done in fear I wouldn't get the job. I do residential right now and i need advice on how to bid them and what's the minimum bid for a residential lawn.
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,641

    How do you know you underbid jobs?

    What are you using to measure your success or failure?

    “Not having enough money” doesn’t mean you are underbidding jobs, it may mean you’re mishandling money, living beyond your means or you simply don’t have enough work.

    It could mean you have the wrong equipment for the job or your employees are underproductive.

    In residential work , there’s only so much price the market will bear. So if you need to charge $200 per cut to “make ends meet” , something else is the problem.

    If you’re charging $15 per cut one has to ask you where you came up with the way you get your pricing to begin with?

    Have you heard people charge $20? So to get the job you say you’ll do it for $15?

    How do you go about getting a job?
    Let’s say you just sell everything and go to work someone else?
    Do you hear that guys are paying $15/hr so you figure if you offer to work for $14/hr you’ll get the job?
    No one does that, do they?
    They all seem to think they just invented miracle whip and you need it on your roast beef sandwich and only they have it.

    For the record, you don’t do excellent work with push mowers.
    You do mediocre run of the mill work.
    You have nothing special to offer over anyone else because you’re limited by the equipment and techniques you have available.

    Monkeys, children, old people and the mentally handicapped can all achieve what you are offering.

    So to be special and valuable you have to do something less ordinary than what you’re already doing.

    If you charged the same amount of money that you do now, but did all the work twice as fast as you currently do, are you still undercharging? Or are you under equipped?

    Since you already have a clientele , you should be able to determine what kind of customers property is common for your area and what equipment is best to service it.

    Buy that equipment and get rid of your least effective employee

    You’ll find the equipment (if you properly invest) is less expensive than the kid dragging his feet across your lawns every week.

    A $10,000 lawn mower might be $260.00 a month
    A slow unproductive employee is costing you $500 a week.
    The better mower provides a quality of appearance and cut unattainable by a mere push mower and requires a level of skill above what simpletons and the elderly can provide to operate.

    In short
    Unless everything you service is a rolly Polly Ditch only accessible past a 30” gate or up a flight of stairs, push mowers are not the professional tool of a successful company.
    They will drag you down and ensure you are always bottom feeding.

    On the other hand if the properties are only navigable by tiny machines, they are far from a joy to cut and the elderly and infirm don’t want to cut them, which means you’re in a spot looking to hire healthy, athletic people to do low wage work that’s not very productive.... no one makes much profit on such ventures, it’s being done, but it’s not incredibly lucrative.

    Find a different client base or find a different profession.
    agm, KUMA01 and WGB like this.
  3. OP
    Madhouse lawn Care

    Madhouse lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

  4. KUMA01

    KUMA01 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,225

    I could do those with a 36-52 walk behind or stander four times faster be out of there in less than 20 minutes with edging and blowing. Bam $45 that’s what my market allows... I don’t mow anymore either. Tbh that looks sub par work whats up with the black and red mulch mixed???! Looks like you have a ton of thatch to get rid of two. Those properties you are wasting your time on with a push mower you are cutting it way to short bc all the grass laying on top. You put mulch up against the tree trunk. Thats potential disease. I wouldn’t drop my gate for less than 45 I averaged 65 a cut residential weekly.
  5. KUMA01

    KUMA01 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,225

    Are you licensed and insured? Its seems to me you never added up your cost in the planning of your company. You just started doing it for 15 or 20 bucks and realized the nightmare you got yourself into.
  6. OP
    Madhouse lawn Care

    Madhouse lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I'm licensed and insured and never did one for less than$40 while your trying to make yourself seem better than a starter company. Customers don't care if your there 20 minutes or an hour as long as they are happy in the end. ..
  7. KUMA01

    KUMA01 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,225

    Not trying to make myself look better at all I could care less what anyone thinks I take constructive criticism very well. Nothing wrong with a start up company. Not true customers don’t want you on there property any longer than you have to be. Less is better. But if your clientele is on the cheaper side if you spend awhile on there property it makes them feel like they got there money’s worth. But the clients I deal with in and out fast quality is what they want. Nothing wrong with cheaper clients either ive felt with them for years.
  8. paulsgrass

    paulsgrass Banned
    Messages: 380

    EVERYONE does the exact same thing in the begining. Part of the learning curve. You already realized you are under quoting. Learn from it and go on.
  9. paulsgrass

    paulsgrass Banned
    Messages: 380

    Lots of HOT AIR here and nothing more. I did a side my side job with a push mower and and guy with a ride on. Guess what grass looked better hands down every time ?
  10. paulsgrass

    paulsgrass Banned
    Messages: 380

    Those properties look terrible get the home owner to apply some fertilizer and water that lawn. As stated above that grass looks like it is being cut way to short. What height are you cutting at ?

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