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How to deal with low ballers.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by kajunlawncare, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. georgialawn88

    georgialawn88 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    someone lying on lawnsite to make themselves look good? couldn't be!
  2. ffmedjoe

    ffmedjoe LawnSite Member
    from SW WI
    Messages: 69

    I'm on the board for one of our local cemetery's and they asked me to bid. The cemetery is about 3-4 acres with about 250 sites in use. They asked me to bid so I bid it at $200 because of all the trimming. I lost the bid to a guy that said he'd do it for $75 a week. That's about $15-18 an hour...... He can have it!
  3. aclawn

    aclawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    What happen to the 85 to 100/acre days.:wall GOOD OLD DAYS
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  4. shane-pa

    shane-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 338

    the 3 lowballers in my area have not gone anywhere. they have doing this for 30+years. $15 lawns with no insurance, don't pay taxes, trucks falling apart, walmart pushmowers, lowes riders, and cheap trimmers. they have 25-30 accounts each. they don't do any hard trimming, shrubs, mulch, etc. just mow and little trim work. not even blowing walks. I have gotten a lot of the maintenance type work from their customers but cannot get the lawns so I quit asking. I focus on what I need to do and hopefully I will get these lawns when they retire. I realized there is nothing I can do about the lowballer.
  5. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,016

    Actually according to wiki, low ball definition:

    The low-ball is a persuasion and selling technique in which an item or service is offered at a lower price than is actually intended to be charged, after which the price is raised to increase profits.

    A successful low-ball relies on the balance of making the initial request attractive enough to gain agreement, whilst not making the second request so outrageous that the customer refuses.
    First propose an attractive price on an idea/item which you are confident that the other person/buyer will accept.
    Maximize their buy-in, in particular by getting both verbal and public commitment to this, e.g., a down payment or a handshake.
    Make it clear that the decision to purchase is of their own free will.
    Change the agreement to what you really want. The person/buyer may complain, but they should agree to the change if the low-ball is managed correctly.

    This is essentially what "Any lawn $30" is trying to do. Stir interest, get a flood of clients, begin service, then tag on extras.

    It is done ALL the time in the retail/electronics industry and even in car sales.

    "o they are losing money'
    Technically, what does it cost to advertise and get a client?

    What did it cost them to land the client.

    If they raise their prices quick enough, or find enough extras to charge through for the initial contact to cut the grass…. they may very well make MORE profit than you.

    The Thing is a lot of guys on here that run on about low ballers, aren't comparing apples to apples.

    They will say "Your Lawn Service will cost $85"
    Then they say, My work is better than my competitor.
    Then they say, he can't do that for $35!

    There are no definitions there.

    What are we talking about?

    Cutting the grass might be $40, and picking up trash $10, and edging $15, and bagging it another $15 and possibly the travel is $5.

    Do you tell your customer that?

    Just Im the best $85.00

    But there is a way to do it cheaper…they guy JUST cuts the lawn.
    He doesn't edge it while doing ninja back flips eating a toaster strudel.
    He just cuts the lawn.

    does it make him much money?
    He's hunting for other work.
    Bait and switch. Cut the grass $35.
    Trim the verge $200.

    Something Ive been saying for a bit now, and is very unpopular is , most of the guys calling other guys lowballers who don't know the cost are actually the pot calling the kettle black!

    The pot charges as much as he can get away with and land the job… he gets a few jobs spread out here and there. He doesn't know WHY he charges what he does, but his ego says he needs to charge a lot because he's 'the shizz'…he spends extra time to make sure everything is just right, he doesn't go too fast, he even pick ups the paper off the driveway and puts it on their front porch for them.
    The Kettle charges a little as possible hoping to land the most jobs possible, he does't know WHY he's charging what he charges, he just guesses (JUST like the Pot) this is the least I can get away with and still afford to keep going tomorrow and the next day. He keeps going as fast as he can to get to the next job, he doesn't do anything extra, he's not picking up the paper, the customer didn't ask for that. 20-30% of his clients will want something more than just cutting the grass an he wants those upsells. Once he gets those he can float the price up without too much argument…. because the customer is already lulled into the idea that he charges a low price, so they don't question future prices as much.

    Pot, kettle.

    Kettle doesn't pay a dime for advertising.

    Pot doesn't actually TELL anyone what they get for $85, and thinks kettle's $35 lawn mowing is stealing HIS $85 clients.

    What I'm saying is they have DIFFERENT clients. IF kettle died tomorrow… his customers AREN'T going to call Pot. Because they aren't in the market for backflipping toaster strudel eating ninjas, they want their lawn cut cheap, and they might want a few extra things done…if the guy proves trustworthy.
  6. BrandonG

    BrandonG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 61

    People who don't value their work, don't value themselves. They think they have to charge less because they think they aren't worth much.

    $15 a lawn when it should be $40, that's just sad and their customers laugh at them. $450 a week when it could be $1200. Sad. Might as well flip burgers, its less work for same pay.
  7. BossPlowMaster

    BossPlowMaster LawnSite Member
    Messages: 122

    Do you even know how many residential lawns I take care of? Or how much landscaping I do? Or the amount of snow removal I do? I've made it just fine on residential work. I asked a question which is what this site is for. You may think that the equipment I have listed is all of mine. Not even close.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. shane-pa

    shane-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 338

    their customers love them and it doesn't matter what the lawn looks like. their cheap and that's all that matters.
  9. BrandonG

    BrandonG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 61

    They are = they're.

    Also, a cheap guy doesn't necessarily do bad work. An expensive guy might not be very good.

    Clients may see cheap = low quality at the same rate as expensive = good quality.

    When it comes to mowing grass, it's not exactly rocket science. don't butcher the lawn, trim all spots, edge when needed, and blow off the clippings from the driveway. Most people have more things to worry about in life other than if their lawn guy makes a mistake now and then.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that people who do the same work for cheaper, think of themselves as cheap people. They do cheap work, have cheap vehicles, cheap houses, or cheap personalities. And/or they're just so desperate for work that they're willing to work themselves to death all week for $400 a week and bid low just to get the work.

    I know McDonald's has been hiring.

    I would have to say that McDonald's is the Poster Child for "cheap".
  10. HPSInc

    HPSInc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 763

    So he's counting his years in the industry from 7 years old to now? I got a chuckle outta that

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