Call for an estimate

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mtdman, Sep 28, 2003.

  1. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    I got a call for an aeration estimate on Sat, and stopped by on the way home to check it out. The house had a landscaping truck in the driveway, and at first I thought I had been beaten to it. But then I noticed the truck had the same phone number as the estimate request did. So I figure that this guy is calling to get an estimate from me to see what my rates are. So, should I give an accurate estimate, one that's super inflated, or a super low estimate?

  2. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    i know a guy just startin out that did just that. he went through the paper, called every company, and asked for estimates on different things. i would definitely throw him a curve, tell him 4 times the real rate. i dont know about u, but we got enough competition here
  3. bmahaffey0

    bmahaffey0 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    I wouldn't give a bid that is to low since then he will turn around and offer the same service that you do for a cheaper price. This will just end up biting you in the a**.

    As much as everyone on here talks about scrubs and people under bidding due to lack of knowledge and such, if you gave him a cheap bid you would only be a contributing factor to that issue.

    To be honest what I would do personally is confront the "customer". This individual is probably just starting out and is looking for an average price so that he can price accordingly instead of under bidding everyone. You may find that in confronting him the two of you can both benefit in the long run.

    If he starts getting two many jobs he might be able to throw some your way and vice-versa. Esp if he is just starting out some of the bigger jobs that he doesn't have any exp in could possible be subbed out to you or you could offer a finders fee.

    Just something to think about. It seems that if most of the people that were in the same area worked together it might be easier to get more business.
  4. grshppr

    grshppr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    Just give him an absurdly high price. I can't stand it when these guys phone up every spring to try figure out my prices. Its a waste of my time. I don't mind helping a new guy out with prices, because it'll keep him from lowballing me later on, but its dirty business to pose as a "customer".
  5. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    I can't decide if it's a legit call for an estimate. I guess if I give a high estimate and it is, and the guy takes it, I win anyway. If not, and he uses it to base his rates, I win as well.

    How dumb can you be, though? Parking the truck in the driveway and calling a rival for an esitmate!

  6. TRex

    TRex LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW ,TX
    Messages: 487

    He may be looking to sub some work out because he is already to busy or he is a part timer. Be carefull what ever you decide to do.
  7. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 976

    I'd talk with him for a little while and find out what he's up to. If he's just trying to get an idea of what to charge and how to price services be up front and honest. Give him an accurate bid, but also explain that he's costing you valuable time. I don't believe in intentionally screwing up another lco for the simple reason that they may be able to help you out some day down the road. The more local connections you establish can only help you out in the long run. I make it a point to stop and talk with other lco's in this area at least once a week. I've made some great contacts this year doing that.
  8. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    Workit gave you some good advice. I've found its far better to meet your competition. THey are often just as eager to meet you and it can benefit both of you. Just this past spring a guy I met referred 2 small landscape jobs to me because he only wants to do mowing.. jobs totalled $1500. Yes there are those yahoos out there who won't say hello let alone have a conversation. Dont let them bother you.....most of those types are insecure in their own situation and some wont be around next season. Alot of guys just love to talk about their biz to someone else in the biz. It sure can't hurt to have some acquaintenances in case you need a helping hand down the road. I'm hooked up with 2 diff companies....we cover for each other during vacations, emergencies etc. And nobody has "stolen" each others business.
  9. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Messages: 1,878

    Maybe he doesn't aerate.
  10. STAN1366

    STAN1366 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    Talk to him and see where he's coming from. Ask why he want a quote from you if he's in the same business. Maybe he didn't know how to go about "asking" for this info he needed. Like the others said, be up front and you might be able to work with him on referals.

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