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first estimate... shot down in flames

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mindset063, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. mindset063

    mindset063 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    I just got back from an estimate for a spring clean-up on two properties. One was a huge job (3hrs at least), and the other not so bad. The properties are owned by the same guy. I estimated $200 for the first property and $80 for the second property. The guy said i was way too expensive. I asked what he normally paid for spring clean-up and he said $120. I told him that I would match that price (200 for both properties). He said he needed to talk to his wife, which means he's calling others' for estimates. :clapping: Oh well, more people will call:dancing:
  2. EPIC

    EPIC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 108

    SOUNDS TO ME LIKE YOU GAVE A VERY GOOD ESTIMATE. HE IS JUST ONE OF THOSE GUYS HOW WHATS SOMEthING FOR NUTHING. damnnn caps on again.neways 200 is low if it take more than 4 hours on both jobs you got drive time trip to the dump i am sure gas helper maybe. i say dont worrie about it let him get a nieborhood kid or some hack job

  3. OutdoorExtras

    OutdoorExtras LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    If you think you gave a fair bid you should not have taken $80 off of your bid. Chances are good that he was just trying to get you to lower the price, and it worked pretty damn well.:laugh: On the other hand if you continue to get the same "way too much" response on other bids you may have to reconsider your prices.
  4. kingofbling

    kingofbling LawnSite Member
    from dallas
    Messages: 64

    I just started out a few days ago, and i notice 99% of the time the transaction goes faster if you ask the customer what they usually pay for the service they are wanting. So far it has worked out for me except one time. I ask them what they pay and if the price sounds about right i tell them its a deal.

    IMO its a waste of time having them bring your original price down.

    Your going out to there home or prop to give them a estimate, not bargain prices with them like a used car salesman.
  5. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Exactly right..customers are not afraid to lie to try and get you to lower your price.Never ask them what they paid to have it done before..The answer will ALWAYS be lower than your price.That is the oldest cust trick in the book,he "got"you to ask what he pd before by saying you were too expensive..then gave you a cheap price that immediatly got you to respond by lowering your price...no way don't fall for that!Stick with your price!
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I had that problem the other day, quoted the guy like 75-90 on a 100-120 job and 'oh gee well if you can do it for 75, then it's yours...' That and some mulch job I gave him a decent price on as well, and still he's hesitant and wavering and back-and-forth the old song and dance went, talks about how his regular guys do it for x-amount (I'm like thinking what am I doing here if you got someone already?).

    In both your case and mine, what we should have done is said right back to them: oh I am sorry I made a mistake, the price should've been (regular price +50% = 150 in my case, 300 in yours).

    My guy said he had to talk to his wife, too...
    But I don't even give them the chance to shoot me down anymore unless they react real fast. I called the guy this morning to tell him I wasn't coming out, neither for the grass cut nor the mulch.

    What he should've done is jumped on my price, but what's going to happen now is some other Lco gets to partake in a grand piece of natural selection. I'm sure he'll find someone to do it cheaper, but it ain't gonna be me.

    Let them call around, it's all the window-shoppers and tire-kickers calling right now anyway because it's still early and these early birds know all the tricks (most of them do, anyhow).
  7. mindset063

    mindset063 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    This advice is priceless.... So much to learn about estimating and how make my price sound right.
  8. Tom c.

    Tom c. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 218

    Hi Like she shovel said dont ask how much the other guy charged. Figure a hourly rate. I am in the northeast and the rates vary alot you should add in overhead, gas etc or if your using any power equipment and make a chart. like straight labor then a rate using equipment. Like 25.00per man hr or 50.00 if using equipment: like trimmer or blower etc. Then when you go to make a bid youll have a better idea and itll look better than asking how much the other guy charged . Watch for people who add stuff in after you give them a price. I get that alot they add extra things in and then argue when you give them the bill. GOOD LUCK!!!!:usflag:
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    The only good news is, these type of folks can never leave well enough alone.

    Here you and I both gave someone a nice discount and still it wasn't good enough, and it has been my experience that is how it ALWAYS goes with these folks (which is how you can tell). How come they can't take a 20 or 30% discount and leave it at that, I do not know, but most of them want at least 50 percent off and really 60-75% would be nice. Even then, just for kicks I gave one such low-baller an upfront price of like 70% off the regular, and still he says to me: ohhh that price kinda high....

    I honestly think most of them just play their silly game without a clue and even if you quote rock-bottom prices, still the bs comes out their mouth before they even think about what they just said. The only thing I have found stops the bs from coming out their mouth is a high starting price (it does, it shuts them up cold and on the spot).

    This is one of the reasons why when I see this one coming, I like quoting regular price + 50% (at least +20%) because it tends to shut them up on the spot (meaning no more haggle, no more bs, it is over and I can leave now)... I mean, we already know the answer so why go through the hassle and haggle when it can be over before it even starts? Because the worst part is right after I just gave them my lowest price, still they want more and I'm all out of options so now I find myself bending over backwards while I'm thinking 'this could've been over with 5 minutes ago.'

    Unfortunately, I wasn't ready for it the other day.
  10. dg0123

    dg0123 LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Messages: 20

    Hang in there mindset. Give a fair price and stick to your guns. I have walked away from several estimates because they have tried to talk me down in price.

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