How well do the "other guys" figure sq. ft. in your area?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Mower For Less, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    I have run into several situations where the "other guys" are way off on their sq. ft. totals, which you wouldnt think would be a major concern, but when they are off by so much that their price is out of line, how do you deal with that? I'll give you two examples, one is 2 small residential houses right next door to each other. Previous fert co. told the owners they had 2,000 and 3,000 sq. ft. of turf respectively. I get 1,000 and 4,000 respectively. Not a big deal on this one, becuase they both fall into a minimum price level anyway, and the other guy would have broke even on material even if he didnt know why. Now, for one that illustrates my concern, I have large property that I do, while estimating it and wheeling it out, the owner offered me the old fert co's #'s of 23,000 sq ft. I noted it, but finished my measuring anyway. I came up with 45,000 sq. ft. Is anybody here surprised my price was the highest by a good margin? The homeowner seemed a little shocked, but after I took the time to explain to him the measurements, and how the sq. ft. was totaled, I think he viewed me as more professional that the other co. that obviously just eyeballed it. I did get the job in this instance, but I know not all customers will take the time to have you explain it to them. Do any of you have experience with bidding against companys that obviously screw up their sq. ft. totals in a major way? How do you deal with this?

    (As a side note, 1 of the companys mentioned is a nationwide chain, and the other 1 is a large local company that should know better)

  2. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,643

    As far as the 45k property goes, there could be a lot of reason why it was basically halved. Bad measurement, eyeballing could be a few, or it could be the salesman. The salesman could have done whatever he could to get the sale and his commission, so lowballing occurs on a large scale, even if the company loses money on the job as your putting down double the fert for half price.
    I think you handled it great, as I would rather have the customer that let me explain it to them, rather than the one who looks at the price and moves on. You can also include a little map on your estimate detailing the measurements you took and where they were located.
  3. DiscoveryLawn

    DiscoveryLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    I used to see it more often than I do now a days. 15 years ago when telemarketing was still booming. I would see 20,000 s.f. lawns quoted as 8,000 s.f. Every now and then I will come across a lawn that was grossly under measured. Most are within a couple 1000 s.f. I can tolerate that.

    I do not even put the property size on my customers proposals anymore for that reason. I do not like getting into a pizzing contest over a few 1000 s.f. I quote a price for what I charge to do the work and honor that price. I don't know why we feel we need to show the customers our measurements. I used to think it was a good selling tool. I actually think I close more deals now that I have stopped putting the s.f. on the proposals.
  4. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 870

    If you're getting caught up in being off by 1,000 sq ft, you're not going last in this business. Be far more concerned with ease of application (how wide open) and proximity (how close to other accounts/shop) than a 1,000 sq ft here and there.

    As for the 2nd one - WHY do you think the owner offered you the sq ft???!!
    Perhaps they added lawn area since the measurement or perhaps they KNEW it was a low measurement.

    Either way - trust YOUR numbers.
  5. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 456

    Obvious question: are you subtracting out buildings and hard surfaces, or just figuring lengthX width?
  6. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    This particular property was VERY large, with almost half of it in concrete, house, and pole barn. So yes, all of the lawn area's were measured seperately (pretty easy to square them off and add them up in this layout). I did all of my figuring on a scratch sheet of paper, and normally would not have shared the info with my customer, but in this case it became necessary as a selling tool to do so. Normally I will not give the customer sq. ft. totals unless they ask me what I came up with.

  7. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    I'm not getting caught up in the 1,000 sq ft difference, as I said they were both at minimum pricing levels anyway. I guess that was not as good of an example of my point as the second one. I didnt say they were 2 good examples, I just said 2 examples. :)

    The difference between my #'s and somebody else's #'s is less of a concern to me than my price compared to their price. Had this guy not personally seen me measuring his property, he most likely would have thought I was outrageously priced and trying to rip him off. As it happened, I was allowed to explain myself and things turned out ok. Its just not a level playing field when they are bidding at half the jobs real worth. In example #1 price did not become an issue. And I always trust my #'s/


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