estimate mistakes

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by laborador, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. laborador

    laborador LawnSite Member
    Messages: 148

    I am still learning the skill of estimating. While learning, mistakes will be made. I was curious about the opinions you guys have about this question. Is is better to bid high and not get accounts and then start bidding lower to get them or is it better to bid low and get the accounts and start bidding higher until you start losing them.
  2. jtrice11

    jtrice11 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    IMO, there is a fine line between the two philophies you've outlined. If you bid high, and have no work, your business is worthless. If you bid too low, you hurt yourself and the industry. I would try and find out roughly what the competition is charging and be competitive with that. I also believe in bidding a little low for large commercial work, its nice to land big accounts...less running around. Then if you are able to keep those big jobs, you can increase your price later on.
  3. o-so-n-so

    o-so-n-so LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,218

    I think you must bid everything to make a decent profit. If that price is to high for your customer...move on or you will work for free. If you get the work then you have managed your P's and Q's very well.
  4. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,381

    I think it makes a difference if you are part time or full time. When you are start out as a full time you need work and then I think you bid low. As time goes on and if you are solo you replace the low profit margin customers by biding higher. Part time guys want a large profit margin so they "cherry pick" their customers. Hard to do that that when you are starting out as a full time guy.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Very good point, ed2hess...the full-timer has a lot more on the line than the part-timer.

    When I drive off from an estimate now, I prefer to ask myself the question "Did I bid it too high?" rather than "Did I bid it too low?" :D
  6. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Also when you are new and it's gonna take you longer cuz of inexperience and your feeling your way around
    you should bid lower until you feel comfortable enough with your performance to charge the market rate.
    To go in high without any work exp under your belt is asking for disappointment in loosing work because your not performing the work up to par with price/outcome expectations of your customers.
  7. lawnandplow42

    lawnandplow42 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 508

    i bid everything as high as possible
  8. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,265

    that's funny...i always ask mysef the first question....i guess i always bid high.

    but again, i dont care if i get every single job. i cherry pick them anyway.

    just recently a lady asked me to quote her lawn (she has current service). i looked at the yard and said......

    "i can do it for $28, but you are probably paying $24 right now. I just want to tell you that we offer great customer service"....

    she did not hire us because she is low on cash (we did other work for her), but she said she is currently paying $24 with bi-weekly edging. No regrets at all.she understood....

    my policy is return the call in 30 min.
  9. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,420

    Ditto here. This being my first year in business I had some real concerns about bidding/estimating. I did a lot of local research into pricing, figured not only my operational costs of business (license, ins, equip, maint, etc.) but also our families living expenses, down to the penny, per hour. We have been tracking our spending and income for years so this was not real difficult to calculate.

    To date I also ask myself the same question after providing most estimates was I to high? I've said it before and will again I charge what I charge take it or leave it. It has been comforting to know that I am confident I'm where I need to be, I don't get every job, neither do I lose every job, but I do get what I bid.

  10. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,265

    geoff, you "get what you bid"....this means you ARE getting every job. right? :rolleyes:

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