Estimates Suck

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jpmako, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. jpmako

    jpmako LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 593

    I have been on numerous estimates already this year for lawn maintenance.
    And the competitions prices make me wanna cry
    These are for new customers mostly in high end neighborhoods in NJ.
    Last Wed I went to this guys house in Saddle River NJ. Very ritzy area some homes over 15 million dollars. This particular house very old, property not in the best shape. Guy wants estimate for Spring Clean-up, Aeration/ Overseeding, Monthly Maintenance and Fall Clean-up.

    Heres my Prices:
    Spring Clean-up $375.00
    Aeration/ Overseeding $225.00
    Monthly Maintenance (Cutting Only) $180.00
    Fall Clean-up $450.00

    The property is a little over an acre but the grassy areas maybe cover 1/2 of that.

    Here is what he says after giving him the estimate:

    I wanted you to know that I got two other estimates from local companies and he precedes to tell me the names.
    One is very big and I "thought" expensive. :realmad:
    The other I have never heard of.

    Then he shows me the actual estimates. One was hand written on notebook paper, and the other was a piece of paper with lines on it for filling in prices.
    As I glanced over them he was telling me that the guy from the smaller company was 4 hours late to the estimate, knocked on the door and handed him his estimate, then took off. The other guy from the big company went through the estimate and said call if your interested.

    My estimate definitely looked more professional and he commented on how clear everything was spelled out for him and he appreciated the fact that I was on time and professional.

    Now for the prices-

    Big Company:
    Spring Clean-up $225.00
    Monthly Maintenance (Cutting Only) $120.00
    Fall Clean-up $350.00

    Small Company
    Spring Clean-up $175.00
    Monthly Maintenance (Cutting Only) $100.00
    Fall Clean-up $285.00

    BTW- neither needed a service agreement signed to do the work????

    Needless to say I almost fell over as I was reading. :cry:
    This kind of pricing especially in this area was a real shocker.
    I maintain approx 6 houses in that general area, and they are all good money.
    all of them are over $160.00 a month.
    But to make a long story short the guy said he would call me today and let me know. I briefly went into why my prices are higher than the other two and he seemed to understand that "you get what you pay for".

    Just needed to tell my story.

  2. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    Tuff to tell w/o seeing the property if all your prices were fair. I don't know if $180/mo means $45 per cut on a 8 month season or it is a 12 month price?

    My low price would have been $40 per cut for 1/2 acre.

    I am having a difficult time this year with people/quotes in general too.

    Keep on plugging away!

    BTW... I would have given you the aeration & seeding at your quote. I would have bid that at $650.
  3. wally world III

    wally world III LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    wasn't there yet ?????

    your prices seem right on..............
    if, owner says no................ so what ...................

    move on.....
  4. jpmako

    jpmako LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 593

    Lawn Scapes,

    My price was per month for 7 mos. My contract states they are paying for 28 cuts "Minimum".
    I charge a monthly rate, that seems to keep all of the every other week cheapskates away from me.


    No I don't think Bobby works in this area.
    although He and I could make a killing if we started educating these people on what they should expect from the higher priced professional landscape company as opposed to scrubby lawn-boys...
    Although I don't know how well these people would deal with all of the surcharges. :p

  5. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    I got a phone call this am and learned that I didnt get a bid on a apartment complex mowing bid. He said another bid was slightly under mine and I thought I was very close. Anyway there are 9 buildings in 4 different locations, 4,2,2,1 within 1 mile from beginning to end and I bid $270. Unless the other guy is a part timer and doesnt have a bizz liscense I dont see how he will come out. Oh well like some one else here has in there signature line '' I can go broke sittings at home doing nothing''
  6. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,410

    Im gettin underbidded every where this year too. Seems like only jobs we are doing is customers who know our reputation. Most all other estemates we have out gets underbidded. We had entered into a bid for this huge "fortune 500" facility calls for weekly mowing 89 acre, spraying roundup to all gravel areas (A lot!), all workers must wear hard hats, steel toed boots, long pants, no mowers on a 15 degree grade, ect, ect, ect. Final bid came in at $80,000 a year. Our bid was three times that.
  7. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    And everyone keep saying the low ballers and scrubs won't matter. lol

    They will, its just a matter time!
    The market value of your work goes down with each new LOW bid and theres only so much you can make up with being more efficient. :dizzy:
  8. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Drop your spring clean-up to $325.00,Fall clean-up to $400.00 leave your mowing prices the same and bring your aireate and overseed up to $300.00 and re submit the bid.Sometimes you gotta compromise to get work in a high end neighborhood for exposure to future high end work.I would charge him a seperate cleanupto get the place in shape to maintain/your spring clean-up plus another $150 or $175 to get it into shape.Am I making any sence here?mabey I'm goin looney
  9. jpmako

    jpmako LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 593


    Only one problem with all of this- I don't lower my prices for anyone.
    My price is my price take it or leave it! Most of these people are price shoppers and or cheap sh*** and I don't want either. That is a major problem in this industry (people dropping prices) allowing would be customers to decide what they think they should pay. I for one know what the job that I perform is worth. Too many people that are new to this industry use this mentality to gain business. I already have business and I know that some of these potential clients will use me and some will not. But whatever the outcome I am getting my price. payup

  10. AEW

    AEW LawnSite Member
    Messages: 161

    And you shouldnt lower your prices...this only ends with more lower prices down the road. Charge what you need to charge and the guy seems to understand...what else can you do? The more you lower your price..the lower your standard of living becomes.

Share This Page