Don't fall for the carrot on a stick trick when bidding

Discussion in 'Bidding, Estimating and Pricing' started by Grassholes, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. Grassholes

    Grassholes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 595

    I was recently reminded of this one and thought I would share. Every once in a while I get a customer who falsely inflates the services that they claim to want with the intention of getting you to give them a discount and then they try to cancel the other half of the work.

    Example: I want treatments, aeration, overseeding, mulch, etc. Then, after you perform some of the work, they try to cancel the rest or just cancel half of the line items on the estimate and hope you don't realize what they are doing. If you give them a line by line discount you have lost money when they do this.

    I have never been 'taken' by a customer trying to do this but I had one recently who was trying to do this. Remind them that discount only applies when they pay up front for everything.
    dishboy and Charles like this.
  2. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,754

    They will say almost anything to get the cheapest deal possible. Oh yes you can have this account year around--depending on what kind of deal you give me this time. DO the work. Ok see you in 2 weeks.. Just wait on that. I will call you:realmad:Learned not to trust a new customer about anything--a long time ago
  3. Todd73

    Todd73 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Florida
    Messages: 1,096

    Had one last year call me up for hedge trimming, mulch, and install of new palm tree. Half acre lot and it was a big job. She's next door to a side-by-side-by-side I have in a nice neighborhood, so I wanted the four in a row. Gave her the estimate, but also said if she signed up for lawn lawn maintenance, I'd give her a discount. She said she'd like to switch, but she's paid up for another month or two. Like a fool, I tell her I'll take her on her word and give her the discount. Work is done, she pays on the spot. End of the month I contact her and ask if she wants to be put on next month's schedule. She says she can't get ahold of her guy, he won't return her calls so she can find out when she's paid through. Next month, same excuse. Keep in mind, she works from home, so it's not like she couldn't just go out and see him while he mowed. I just gave up after that and realized I'd been played. Funny thing is, I see her all the time when I'm mowing next door and she waves and is all smiles like she did nothing wrong. Lesson learned: never believe a word strangers say when it comes to saving a buck.
  4. fireball756

    fireball756 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 474

    Somehow all this sounds seems so familiar. I'm the richest man in the world, I want to open my secondary headquarters here. There will be 50,000 jobs, 10,000 more than I have at my primary headquarters, and each job will pay 100,000 dollars per year, present headquarters only pays 57,000 per year. What will you give me. Carrot on the stick works every time
    Bcoogan23, Grassholes and Mark Stark like this.
  5. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,129

    About 11 years ago we took a bid request from one of the largest cable TV providers in the nation. They needed landscape maintenance for about 10 small sites to start. They were all over the place geographically and they were a mixture of all kinds of sites. Mostly sites with satellite dishes on them or non descriptive buildings with major network hubs inside. Some with actual landscape others were just weed abatement. The travel time was a killer. Sometimes a 30 minute drive to go do 30 minutes of work each week. Naturally, the sales person who I had working for me thought that he had hit a winner. The client told us that he had planned to bring us on for approximately 30 to 40 more sites within the year. Against my better judgement we bid the work and won the contract. A little over a year in we still had not seen any of these additional sites. Shortly thereafter they filed bankruptcy. We ended up walking away from the contract and the whole deal ended up being a complete wash for the year and a half that we had it. If I had known beforehand how it would have all ended up I would have saved the trouble and never bid the work. I was young and stupid but I learned a valuable lesson. The promise of future work means nothing until you have an actual contract for said work.
    pelicanlawncare, SRT8 and Grassholes like this.
  6. Graverunner68

    Graverunner68 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49

    That's all you see on the news around here. And every db poletition is lined up throwing people tax money away and rubber stamping whatever the company or companies want
  7. greenfire

    greenfire LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 329

    Very good post and a lot more of this goes on then we all realize. I do some work as a sub-contractor and its the same story, actually fell for it this year. "I have lots of big accounts for you, lets get started on these and schedule those next month" Still waiting to get paid.
    SoCalLandscapeMgmt likes this.
  8. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,377

    i never discount anyone yet it always seems like i do more work than they are paying for. :laugh:
    Grassholes and Graverunner68 like this.
  9. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,129

    Yep.... just to clarify.... I didn't give the client in my post above any kind of discount. Where I went wrong was I took on work that was very low margin that required a lot of driving on busy Southern California freeways because of the promise of more work that was supposed to be more in line with my service area.
    Grassholes likes this.
  10. Grassholes

    Grassholes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 595

    under promise and over deliver and you always be ahead of the curve

    good post
    SoCalLandscapeMgmt likes this.

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