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Do you quote a minimum price level for installs to eliminate cheapskate time wasters?


LawnSite Senior Member
Tontitown, AR
I've been in the lawn maintenance end of the business about 7 years, but do a little landscaping in the mowing off-season. When I get requests to figure up an estimate on a landscaping install, about half the time, the response is something like "Oh, I didn't think it would be anywhere near that much. Let me think about it." And then never hear from them again. And after reading on LawnSite about landscaping and lawn work in all parts of the country, I know I'm not quoting near as high as what jobs go for some other places. And a lot of times, these are not very big jobs to begin with--like $300, $500, $700 jobs.

So my question is, should I tell potential customers up front, "If I'm going to figure a job, it has to be a minimum total price of $1000, or I'm not interested." And if they aren't looking to spend at least that much, I avoid wasting my time. It looks to me like the time I invest in figuring a $400 job is often as much as the time needed to figure a $1000 job.

What do you think?

hole in one lco

LawnSite Bronze Member
rocky river ohio
You should no what the product is going to cost you and the time it will take. I tell them on the spot its going to cost between x and z that will tell you if there serious.

broken leg

LawnSite Senior Member
NC Hillsborough
You need to ask the customer what there budget is for there project. I also get $35.00 to figure what they need and take it off the job if I do it. I have had to many people call me out tell them what to do then say know thank you and do it them self. If they know what they want I give them a price. But if they ask me what I think they need they pay me $35.00 I do not go to class and different schools for free.

Randy Scott

LawnSite Bronze Member
Originally posted by mbricker
So my question is, should I tell potential customers up front, "If I'm going to figure a job, it has to be a minimum total price of $1000, or I'm not interested." What do you think?
That will be a good way to alienate customers. You need to have a ballpark figure in your mind and work that into conversation while you're there. See how they respond and ask them if that's something in their price range. Telling them you only do jobs $1000 or more is crazy.

AL Inc

LawnSite Bronze Member
Long Island, NY
I agree with Randy. I will give them a ballpark price on the work right then and there. They will usually give you an answer right away.


LawnSite Member
I never ask what their budget is, but i figure it out pretty quickly. I give them a ballpark price for pavers and for flagstone. It they crap and the price of flagstone, I move to pavers, and if someone wants a BBQ, I tell them the price of a pre-made from the home show, and explain that I can build one cheaper, or for the same price out of block. It is all a game of listening to what they are saying and not saying. Good salesman listen, and if a customer says that they have $3000 to spend, I suggest accordingly. Then I show them some pictures of $3000 jobs. But I also show them some more expensive jobs and they usually upgrade a little. For instance a guy wants a 500sqft paver patio "added' to his existing cement patio. He wants to leave the cement, and I say fine. but I show him pictures of a 500sqft patio addition with the existing cement patio covered with pavers. He sees how great it looks, calls his wife, and I doubled the job. I don't push, I listen and recommend. I am small, but in a lot of ways it is better. I sell myself as the small guy, cheaper than the big guys, but we do a better job. People take their yards very personally, and they want you to take it personally. It is hard for a big company to have the personal touch, and I take advantage of that. I drive a POS '76 Ford truck and people like it. I am at the point where I need and can afford a pretty new truck but it may hurt me. People don't have a clue as to how much other equipment costs, but when they see a new truck, they think they are paying for it. I am not sure I addressed the question. I never lower my prices, but I do change what I would do. Sure, I do $300 jobs but they don't get very much. If someone says that my irrigation prices are to high, I tell them that I use the best material, and I stand behind my work. If they want a cheaper price I could use sch20 pipe and cheap valves from home depot, and guarentee nothing. They get my point and usually take my price. the people that say you are to high are just playing you. They think because you mow lawns, you don't know landscaping and will do it for nothing. Believe me, they probably have gotten other bids, and they say " hey maybe the guy that mows the lawn will do cheaper". Don't give in. I think the minimun price idea is a bad one, and I don't charge for ideas, or plans, but they don't keep the plans, and I don't give all my ideas. I know I have been used a few times, but that is maybe 1 in 10. So 9 times I get the job and make lots a money, so whats the big deal.