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Isn't It Irritating......

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MOturkey, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    When someone underbids you, then fails to provide the level of service you were?

    Case in point. I mowed a convenience store lot the past couple of years. I had already planned during the winter to raise their price by $5, and didn't expect any problem with doing that. About the first of March, the manager (a different one than from the last two years), mentioned that someone else had inquired about the mowing, and after contacting corporate, they were going to ask for bids.

    I told her OK, and that I would let her know what my bid would be. After going home and reviewing my mowing times, I elected to bid at the current price, rather than lose the account. Not a big deal, but they pay on time, don't care when you mow (morning, noon, night, or on Sunday), and it is close to several of my other accounts.

    I told the new manager that rather than take a chance on losing the account, I would leave my price at the current level. This is kind of a unique situation, because the whole property doesn't require mowing every time. The highway frontage, yes, but there is a rough bank in the back, mostly clay and rocks, that needs to be knocked down every so often. On average, I mow it about every 3rd time, which is why I was able to mow for what I was charging.

    Well, a couple of weeks later, the manager told me (this store is on my wholesale milk route, so I'm in there twice a week) that the other guy had bid $5 more than me, so she was sure I would get the account back.

    Long story short, she told the other guy he had been underbid, and he dropped his to $5 less than me. I really think this was kind of a dirty deal, because the guy wouldn't have known unless the manager told him, but she did, and allowed him to drop his bid (he's like 18 or 19, as I understand, I've never met him). Naturally, they awarded the job to him.

    Now, if am underbid by someone because they can operate more cheaply than I, or are willing to accept a lower bottom line, or just because they are idiots and don't have a clue as to what it costs them to operate, and they provide the same level of service I would, no problem. Heck, it is a free country.

    However, this guy hasn't mowed the street sides of the ditches along one side of the lot all season. He went 3 weeks without mowing the end of last month. I've been skipping some cuts as well, due to the drought, but this account NEEDED mowed after two weeks. We got some rains, and the last time he went two weeks, when the property really should have been mowed each week. This makes no sense, as this is on a "per cut" basis, so he is shooting himself in the foot by not keeping it mowed.

    They have since fired the last manager, and I told the new one I used to do the mowing. She was griping about this fellow being undependable, and him not mowing the ditches, and said she was going to call the corporate office and tell them, but I've heard no more.

    This is not a huge account, and I realize losing business is just part of it, but this deal really chaps my A//!! Just venting!!
  2. captken

    captken LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,704

    I did not read all the above crap.

    This is not a huge account, and I realize losing business is just part of it, but this deal really chaps my A//!! Just venting!![/QUOTE]

    That is the bottom line for you, so don't fret? live and learn.

    Be glad that your friends are here and can talk to you. Feel better? good.
  3. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,439

    if they call you back make sure and give them the price + 5 dollars that you were doing it for last year.

    TURF DOCTOR LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Welcome to the world of lawncare it's tooth and nail getting to the top,case in point the propertis we were cutting in the late 90's were paying us $30 for a cut and trim now they are $20.00 we had to bend on price.
  5. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,465

    Yep I agree with that we are constantly lowering prices on commericial properties since most of them have to rebid about every other year. Most of the times they give us the opportunity to cut for the lowest price.
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    A few years ago I used to get all worked up about this kind of stuff. But nowadays I really only worry it for about 30 seconds. I might curse their name when I hear why a customer cancelled for a stupid reason like that. But then, 30 seconds later, I have forgotten about it. We're a busy company. Growing very rapidly. Demand for OUR service (not just our industry, but our company specifically) is already higher than I can keep up with. Even though we've hire 2 more managers and lots of additional help this year, we still can't keep up with all the demand.

    So bottom line; I could care less if someone wants to be petty and dump us for some looser lowballer. Let them learn the hard way. I have plenty of people calling us every day wanting US to do their landscape because they've seen our work and respect a job well done.

    You get what yoy pay for. Some people get that, others never will. And I don't waste any time worrying about those who don't get it.
  7. Up North

    Up North LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MN
    Messages: 1,063

    I guess if someone underbids me I would hope that they don't deliver the same quality of service I would.

  8. Tharrell

    Tharrell LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,967

    I had the EXACT thing happen to me 3 years ago only it was 9 stores. I got snake bit by a manager too. I got the accounts and do them today because the other fellow got caught by the dept of ag without a pesticide license. I don't put my price on the invoice until it's ready to be mailed to the corp office. I have to get it store stamped and signed by someone in the store.
    By the way, is this store a chain? Must be if they have to deal with a corp office. I have developed relationships with district managers and personel at the corp office. Managers are just a half step above the clerks that work in the stores. I'm friendly with them and I pick their brains for information when I can but, they don't get any information from me.
    Once you get your foot in the door it's easier to get more business from them.

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