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Cut Throats?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by GroundScapesIncorporated, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. GroundScapesIncorporated

    GroundScapesIncorporated LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 386

    Ill start by saying that Im usually not one to discuss prices, but Ive been a little stressed out lately with the local hardscape guys prices.

    I have priced 3 paver driveways this summer and have lost two of them due to the competion bidding these jobs dirt cheap (in my opinion)

    There are 3 well known co. in my area (besides myself of course) that hardscape and are very well known and good at it. One of them prices work for about the same as I do. the other two who are hardscape only co. are dirt cheap.

    I met with a client this morning with my bottom bottom dollar price on a Belgard dublin collection paver driveway proposal (approx 3000 sf). We are also doing a complete softscape install for this client as well. Anyway my price for the Drive was $10.50 foot. I knew that the guy was getting prices from these other 3 installers so I priced the job at my lowest price. To make a long story short, I lost the job to $7.00 a foot. The client showed me the other proposals, they where $7, $8 and $11.
    Can someone please tell me that its not just me and that this is a stupidly low price.
    Ive been streesed out all day over losing this job, as I really wanted the whole install.
    This is actually the second drive and the third large job I have lost this season to one of these two guys.

    What do you all think?
  2. ACutAbovesiny

    ACutAbovesiny LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 590

    I say let them kill themselves for the little pay. I would never go that low. Plus they cant be offering as good of quality for that price. Another thing is time and labor. This will catch up to them when they have 3-4 jobs going on at the same time and wont have the man power or enough money to pay that many crews. Be professional.
  3. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    This is what you call elements of business. I dont do pavers so i cant comment high or low. I think your price was in line i heard a guy here does that for that kind of money. Is the lower guy doing a good job and using the correct materials? I do a boat load of srw and have been known in my area to be lwer price. I do quality work and make a nice profit. I do notice one reason im cheaper is that i produce more than some of my competion. I get in and out quicker and that is how i make my money. I do the job right but some of these other guys have a bunch of idiots working for them and cant produce. They have to charge these prices to make money to overcome there overhead. Im a 2 man company earlier we built a wall, excavated and layed 5 skids of block in 1 day. sat the caps but did not install to next morning. My competiters crew was 2 houses down doing a smaller wall and they actually spent all day digging a footer 45' long, and it waent rock either. The boss wasent there and they pissed around all day. Now he would have to charge more than me to overcome things like this to make money. Im not saying this about your company but there are a lot of variables out there. I have told many people we all have different price structures we work with. I really dont feel they were giving quality for that kind of price though.
  4. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,498

    maybe in a couple years you can make that 4 other companies :)

    just have to know your costs and what its worth, if you get it you get it..........a lot of people back home are really tight no matter how much money the have
  5. PerfiCut L&L

    PerfiCut L&L LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 458


    I'm constantly tuning my prices, you have to. About every 6 months I print out all my statements, job costings, review them to see where I can improve profits.

    I will offer this suggestion, it may work for you, it may not. Check with your suppliers, see if you can get additional discount $$$. We get a nice 15% off the retail price at the local aggregate for our pavers and stones, but on occasion, when we do a large job, my rep may give me 20% and sometiems 25% off the retain. He's a great guy, and im hoping after another year increased business my regular 15% off will change to a constant 20%. Doesnt hurt to ask.

    Granted this may not be enough to bring your $10.50 /sf down to $7/sf but its a may be a good start, especially on these big projects that your really would like to get, and need to be competative.

    Just a thought. Wish I could suggest something else.

    PS: Might be a bigger job around corner for you, thats why you didnt get this one.
  6. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,619

    Why is it people always assume that a low price means not good quality work. I hear the same comments in lawn care area. You can have quality work and low prices meaning that person is a bad business person when it comes to charging for their work.

    On the flip side high price work does not equal quality work.

    But everyone knows everyone on this site does quality work with good prices. No low-ballers or slackers on this high class site. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
  7. spieritz

    spieritz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I feel your pain..........I recently started my own business, do a little of everything. I also have another full time job. I figure the time spent busting my butt in the sun and away from my family is very valuable. i charge accordingly, not to high but definetly not too low. I have run into a couple of "low-ballin" landcapers in the area. Maybe they aren't licensed, maye they don't carry insurance, maybe they have illegals working for them, or maybe they can get by with less money. What ever the reason, I don't lose any sleep on it, and neither should you. Just be on time, proffesional, and do good quality work.........and the rest will take care of it self. Maybe you should also rethink your advertisement........focus on a certain group, instead of general. I like to focus on upper middle class baby-boomer population. They are established, know what they want, and some have extra money because their parents might have "passed on" some money to them. Also, try to specialize in something that your competitors might not do. I started doing vegetable and cut flower gardens. If you can get it down to a science, you can make some money. Who has time these days to plant a vegetable garden. And of course they will need you once a week to weed and check on the garden........:weightlifter:
  8. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    the materials alone will be almost $7.00/sqft!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    we install alot of belgard products and unless material prices are way cheaper there there is no way they are making a decent profit with those prices...

    i would meet with the other guys and "fix " the prices.... just let them know how much money they are leaving on the table..........

    we will not touch a job for less than $10.00/sqft.... normally our prices are closer to $12.00/sqft...
    our cost in doing paver work averages about $8.00/sqft...
  9. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,602

    This is not a get rich business.

    This message board is a prime example of logistics of the hardscape installation industry.

    10 yrs ago, my company and one other company were the only 2 companies in our county to offer full fledged paver installation services. Shortly there after, 2 other small companies came along. Not a big deal, we all had work and all was cool.

    Well, within the last 2 years so many lawn mowing guys have decided to start laying pavers, that I can not even tell you how many people in our area offer these services.

    They are working for next to nothing.

    Making it VERY difficult for a legitiment, veteran hardscaper contractor to charge the amount THEY KNOW is necessary to complete the job in a profitable manner.

    You think people are cut throat now....just wait 2 more years, it'll be WORSE.
  10. GroundScapesIncorporated

    GroundScapesIncorporated LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 386

    Im afraid that you are on to something.

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