Ethical, or not????

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by big acres, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. big acres

    big acres LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    Okay, I've ran into this situation only a couple of times.

    A prospective or current customer, let's say an on-site manager of an apartment complex, knows your service and wants to use you.

    Due to the structure of their larger management company, they are required to use the old "three-bid" procedure, which will result of course in the low bidder (or likely the low-baller) getting the work.

    The on-site manager knows that they will only get too deal with more of the same poor quality (like not showing up for nine inches of snow) if they are forced to replace one crappy vendor with another in the same price range.

    So, the manager asks if you know of anyone who they could get two more bids from (wink, wink, nod, nod). Of course you have networked enough to have a couple of guys who will bid to make you look good.

    The question is "If the customer wants your service and is willing to work the system to get it, are you shady for following through with it".

    Personally, I don't think so if this is the buyer's request. I know of a few instances of local companies using dba's in order to be all three bids without the buyer's knowledge... now that is much more questionable. Your opinions please!
  2. Rcgm

    Rcgm LawnSite Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 326

    LOL sometimes you do what you have to do to get the job. I have done it on a apartment complex before and sure others have done it to me. Alot of apartment complexes get four bids here highest and the lowest go in the trash then they look hard at the other 2. Lowballers have killed the business here for example I bid a apartment complex last fall for this year at 450 a cut another company bid it at 200 how is that possible. But they said they are tired of crappy service well you get what you pay for. So call your buddies and have them submit there bids and get the property.

  3. cwags73

    cwags73 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    I love when those places call back begging you to help in mid season. I love to tell them " I know I told you $XXXX but I filled your spot in the schedule. I can squeeze you in for $xxx+$100." I make them sign two or three year contracts when they pull those games. These places are slowly realizing that you do indeed get what you pay for.
  4. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    I would think it's not an ethical issue ... because you have been asked for the other LCO's and the manager is the one that asked you !!
  5. easter's lawn

    easter's lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I can tell you that in the Sales industry, which is my background, that the majority of state federal and larger organizations require a three bid procedure. It is normal for the decision influencer who knows the needs for the service to have already picked out the provider and is working his system to benefit his needs. It might or mightnot be unethical to you but to someone else it is common place. What you have to worry about is when your competition is golf buddies with the company owner. Now is that unethical?
  6. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    If you have to ask if something is ethical, then it probably isn't. What you're talking about is bid rigging. People go to prison for that.

    Austreim Landscaping
  7. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 26,801

    The manager is asking you to go home and do your bid along with fake paperwork for 2 non existing companies that are higher. Do you want the job, because he wants to give it to you.
  8. Mrs. H

    Mrs. H LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 708

    I agree. It's a pain to have them call later, when it's too late in the season to add Pre-em and the weeds have already taken over. Just more work that you didn't think you were going to have. Adding the extra $$ is a good idea.
  9. JimmyStew

    JimmyStew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 367

    Price is not the only component of a bid!

    If the manager wants to hire you because of the quality of your work and he gets two other bids that are lower, from companies he knows will not perform to the level he is looking for, then he should hire you regardless of your price. If he doesn't, and goes with an inferior company - he's not doing his job!

    As far as the ethics go, he asked for the names of two LCO's to get bids from - give him the name of two you know will bid higher than you. Don't tell the other LCO's what you bid and expect them to bid high because, as Doug said, that's illegal and definitely unethical.
  10. JustCut

    JustCut LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    Something else to consider... He has already made his mind up that he wants you to have the job based on quality of your work.....HOWEVER... now he wants to see if you will do the right thing even when no one will giving you an opportunity to do the wrong thing......What will you do.....just a suggestion....give him a copy of the yellow pages and let his fingers do the walking.

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