Customer Lowballing me


LawnSite Silver Member
I got a call from a customer I did a small planter wall for this fall. I picked up the job doing two larger waterfront walls down the street.

At that time, this customer asked me to bid a large waterfront wall for her as well. Wall is fairly complex in nature -- 8 or more courses, geogrid requirements, waterfront application, arcs and curves, bringing in lots of fill, a lot of compaction required -- you get the picture.

I submitted a more-than-fair price. I won't even tell you how much because you'll probably say I'm doing it too cheap:eek: I followed up after the holidays and they waffled about the price, so I offered a 4% discount if the booked b4 feb 15.

Lady calls this morning and asks if I can drop the price another $500?!?! I explain the difficulty building the wall, tough to get at with equipment, small window of oppurtunity in the fall, this IS my best price, blah, blah, blah.

I got off the phone, then really started stewing. This is about a 10k wall. If they are asking for another $500 off, doesn't it just seem as though they want to "feel" like they got a deal? If $500 is make or break, I don't think I want to do the f****** job!

She is supposed to call back today or tomorrow after talking to her husband. I'm tempted to tell her that I don't even want to do the wall for her anymore. Seems like this could be an indication of things to come.

Tell me I'm right in sticking to my guns. Would you guys willingly lose this job over $500?


LawnSite Fanatic
yes if they r already loballing u and u havent started wait till u start and they will pry mess with u some more
tell them deadline came and went and the price went up because u have other work she will have to wait and u will re-bid her job


LawnSite Bronze Member
Raleigh, NC
I honesly don't think I would do it. I agree with Dustycedar, tell her the deadline came and went. If you aren't going to be making much money for the trouble why bother?

DFW Area Landscaper

LawnSite Silver Member
Don't drop the price. You may have un-intentionally opened the door to haggling by telling her you'd discount it by 4% if she met a certain deadline. If it were coming from a large corporation, she'd know the deadline was real. Coming from a small business owner, she now feels comfortable in haggling price.

You've done good work and she knows you do good work. Otherwise, she wouldn't be offering you anything. If it's a $10K job, she wants to make sure she doesn't hire a poor quality contractor for that kind of money. She wants the $10K job to be done right and she knows you'll be able to do it right.

Politely explain that the 4% was the most you could have come down, but that's it. As for whether or not you still want to come down by 4%, that's your call.

At this point, she probably just wants to feel that she got a good price. She may be willing to risk hiring a poor quality contractor if you're not willing to negotiate on the 4%. You're the one who opened the door on discounts, not her.

I'd recommend speaking with her, preferably face to face, and politely explain that you have certain costs, insurance, blah, blah, blah, and that you'd love to come down another $500, but you just can't do it. Give her examples of how hiring an incompetent contractor can cause problems. Use FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) to sell yourself over another contractor. But don't badmouth a specific contractor. Give her the 4% that you've already offered and try to make her like you. She'll probably go with you if you handle the negotiations right.

Thats my advice. Good luck.

DFW Area Landscaper


LawnSite Member
I would definitely stick to your guns on that one. Sounds like a crappy customer anyway who just wants to feel like he/she won in the bargaining process. If anything, those customers should be charged MORE, not less, because of the increased aggravation. Just my .02.... :angry: Remember, you only do this for the payup

D Felix

LawnSite Bronze Member
If you decide to do the wall, all I can say is get EVERYTHING in writing. You may already do that, but it can't be said enough.

Personally, if they were quibbling with me over the price, trying to reduce it by 5% on a job this size, I would probably tell them that the price is firm and if they wanted me to do it, that's the price. If they decide to have you do it, be sure to lay out the wall alignment BEFORE you start, before you collect a single cent from them. That way you are on the same page as they are. If they want to change anything, make sure they understand it will cost extra $$$.

If you are firm with them now, they won't be as tempted to try to pull something in the future. If you aren't, then they will think they can walk all over you....

Who knows, they could turn out to be your best repeat customers in the future....?


John Allin

LawnSite Bronze Member
Erie, PA
I quoted $10,000 to do the job. Can I do it for $500 less ?

Yes I can..... however..... I'm going to make the same profit at either cost......

At $10K my experience works for you. At $9500 my experience works for me.

Who do you want me to work for ??


LawnSite Member
One of the hardest things to learn in this business, is when to walk away from a job. There is nothing wrong with not getting the job due to lack of profit.
Let the customer know this.

little green guy

LawnSite Senior Member
I also have a simuliar situation with a customer. I quoted 12k for a landscape job and the guys playing games with me now, the way I look at it, once i get into the job It can only get worse. I'm pretty much ready to tell him to get lost, I have plenty of other work for people that aren't idiots and willing to pay and not play games. If you don't realy need the job I would not take it if you can't get things square now, but thats just me.

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