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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

    The craziest thing about the two guys that priced this job so low, is that both have been in the industry for years.
    I talked to the third company today and it was a relief when the guy told me that he couldnt even match my price on this job. Lets me know that their is atleast one local company that doesnt mind getting paid for their work. This guy talked like I was to cheap, and I agreed, because I really did feel as thought I was pushing the limits of being to cheap.

    Im over it now. If they want to work for nothing though, so be it. Ill keep making enough to make the shovel payment.
  2. Pavers Plus

    Pavers Plus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 83

    DVS is right on about the lawn maintenance companies that are popping up all over the place like weeds trying to install pavers and retaining walls. I see it everyday. Always new companies stopping in saying they want to install. This doesn't even include the companies that still buy pavers/wall from Home Depot/Lowes. Now that's some really good quality stuff!!!!!

    Anyway, lawn mowing as turned into a commodity based business and within the next few years, the same lawn mowers that turned mowing into a commodity will soon completely turn pavers into a commodity. The legitimate landscape contractor will find it harder to compete against the unlicensed, uninsured, under the table, illegal employed worker, oh yeah....and uneducated companies.

    I'm not saying that pricing needs to be at a certain level, because every company has a different cost of doing business and a different structure. There are varying pricing for many companies because of overhead costs, equipment costs, own vs. rent vs lease, educated & trained employees, accounting for future warranty costs/repairs, fuel costs, EFFICIENCY ON THE JOBSITE, Efficient sales process, costs for designer on staff, cost for design plan, cost to measure the property to get accurate measurements, how desperate they are to get the job (working job to job vs. several jobs ahead), profit needed to grow the business, money needed by the owner to live at the level they want to live (expensive house, cars, lifestyle, etc.).......

    So many factors go into the cost that it's tough to say they aren't making what they need to at $7/sf to live happy while at $10/sf the other guy is struggling.

    Basically, you need to price for what you need to succeed and operate the business. If you don't get the job, get the next one. Learn to be a better salesman. explain why your price is why it is and why they should choose you. Better warranty, better products, better employees you can trust, clean worksite every day, not leaving the project until finished, etc.... You're not gonna sign every project, so work hard to meet with as many people as possible and if you bat .300 (like in baseball), that is supposed to be a good rate of success. (The better the sales rate, obviously the better you will do).
  3. Branching Out

    Branching Out LawnSite Member
    Messages: 109

    That's the best answer. I couldn't have said it better myself.
    Get your price. And, NEVER, let the competition determine your price. They'll probably be gone next year and you're looking to be in it for the long haul. It's better to do 1000 sqft at $12 rather than 1500 sqft at $8 to make the same money.
  4. rb_in_va

    rb_in_va LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Messages: 246

    I can understand people getting into hardscaping. After seeing some of the work on this site it seems like it would real satisfying work to create something that will last for years and years. But realistically I myself will confine any hardscaping I do to my own property!
  5. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,601

    Here's some more insight -

    approximately 8 years ago the average price to install a paver patio was around $8.00 / square foot.

    Today, a 400 - 600 SF patio averages $17.00 / SF (not including seat walls, retaining walls, burying of down spouts, etc).

    Thats an increase of over 100%.

    Gasoline costs have gone up (incase you didnt know that :dancing:)

    Grocery costs have gone up.

    The cost of life has gone up.

    Yet - most folks incomes have not increased as drastically as living expenses have.

    Selling patios in these times is gettin harder.

    So if you think "I'll start a hardscape bidness and make bank.......you're wrong, it ain't gonna happen.
  6. GroundScapesIncorporated

    GroundScapesIncorporated LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 386

    You guys are right about every Tom, Dick and Harry that retires, drops out of school or gets laid off from their factory job coming into the industry, its everything from softscapes to hardscapes to Mowing, its not just one specific feild of the industry, and obviosly its not just my area, it looks like its everywhere (from what you guys are saying).
    Ive got a question for you guys though, Why is this? Why does Landscaping look so easy to get rich off of? Is it, because its easy to mow grass, in a round about way?

    For the record though the two guys that I mentioned at the start of this thread are not beginners, and have been in the industry for years. (Just so everyone knows that Im not calling these guys beginners)
    There prices are just ridiculusly Cheap. To be honest after a few conversations Ive had the last few days with freinds of mine that I met around the time I come into the industry (when I was 15) , I almost think that these two guys kinda are competing against each other, almost like a grudge.
    There are a few reasons why I would think this among the conversations Ive had that I cant really discuss.
  7. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    I dont do pavers but do a lot of srw's. 8 years ago a few of us almost had a monoply. Now every body is doing them. Also what has been worse for me is i was the first person in my area 11 years ago to start a bobcat business. In fact my company name is Bobcat Landscaping Service i am actually registered with bobcat because i use the bobcat logo in my advertisement. There was other contractors out there who had bobcats but they had larger eqpt. and the bobcat was a fill in. However i was the only guy in town that only offered a bobcat service only. Well i was a good salesman for bobcat because thats all we have now in landscaping companies with bobcats. Hell i was even refered to as the bobcat man.

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