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Lost an account - What a story!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by meets1, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,855

    It is a major account for me - 33 acres. Honestly - I was at the break even point with about 5% extra. So - the local competitor thinks he can mow all this. Mind you I have 2 WAMS (one is now for sale!) He mowed there with a 72 Deere Z, and 2 52 toro Z's. The call came in today that he beat my bid by $365 - so he is doing this property around the $400 range give or take within saying the exact amount. I guys on the WAM - day in half. Ditch work, rolling areas for water - even been stuck a few times. It'll take the rest of a 4 man crew to mow the front areas that are under irrigation. Mostly Z work, all bagged, trimmed, edged, blown. There are numerous island areas that a 44 WB does cuz it fits in b/t cars and the islands act as borders from one parking lot to the other.

    The PR / grounds guys we deal with said we did an awesome job but at that price along with his upper management boss - they had to go with him. With out giving you guys all the hours my crew puts in there for what we got paid now to figure what this jacka@# is charging is beyond my thinking! Based on the last three years of mowing - averaged 24.5 time mowing - I figure he'll be in the $10,500 - $11,500 area for mowing. That wouldn't even cover the cost of a new Z. I have to just shake my head!

    The PR guy said don't sell all your equipment now cuz we'll see how he does but if things are not done timely, ect - he'll be calling. Whatever I guess.

    I along with another landscape company sprayed this area as well. Were both close but with the jacka#$ - his price was almost half of what we charged in the past. Broadleaf control only - once / year.

    Now as things progress, you get older, times change - shouldn't the price also increase. It seems to me that everytime we bid something - things get cheaper and cheaper to where the price now is what we were charging 10 years ago. I also remember gas in the 70 cent range!

    So - just had to vent a little!
  2. Jordan River

    Jordan River LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    Do you really expect the new guy to give the quality service you have been giving? NO! When they come back crawling you can say, "I think I can fit you back in my schedule even with the accounts I replaced you with, however, the cost will now be 15% MORE!!!
  3. mojob

    mojob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 515

    Nothing personal, but why would the guy jump ship for $365. He was either looking to replace you or he is the type to go with the lowest bidder. Either way, you'll lose this account sooner or later. Cut your losses and get a better account lined up for next year. Good luck.
  4. TNT LawnCare Inc.

    TNT LawnCare Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,157

    Some guys will mow for beans and crackers:laugh: So if he's mowing this 33 acre account for around $400.00 thats about 12.10 an acre.:nono: no way. Just get some new accounts and when he calls you back then put it to him:waving:
  5. MDLawnman

    MDLawnman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 229

    Stick to your guns. The other guy will be broke in about 2 months. He obviously doesn't know what he's doing. In the mean time I'm certain you will get a better client!
  6. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,855

    When you ask why jump ship. Well my thinking - his job is watching numbers for outside services. If his department or him can save money - $365 / time over let say 25 mowing = $9,125.00 for the year. I don't care the size of biz your in - that is alot of money. Maybe a perk in his pocket. This biz tries this every year with snow but no one but the local Ready mix Cement company can do it. They have the payloaders, graders, skids, etc.

    I have to wonder where he gets his price from? Does he no the cost of being in biz? I just don't understand.
  7. prizeprop

    prizeprop LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822

    I don't know if I understood you, you made 5% profit margin on this account?
  8. garth1967

    garth1967 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 640

    i agree this has happened to me before but for job like that i would bump it up even more than 15%:waving:
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    This is exactly why I advise to have at least 4 years under one's belt before attempting to bid commercially:
    Likely the guy's about to lose his shorts, but thinks he's in like flynn...

    I've had this headache, if it's really as big a contract as I'm thinking, this could be the fast track down natural selection road.

    It's one reason I won't do it again, to some guys commercial contracts are the ticket, but it's rough going to me.
  10. ccl

    ccl LawnSite Member
    from ky
    Messages: 49

    That's one of the things I've always hated about doing commercial accounts, every year your always looking over your shoulder for that new guy who doesn't know or hasn't learned you can't run a business for free. NOt all, but the majority of commercial jobs are only worried about one thing, the BOTTOM LINE, but this business is no different than anything else, You Get What You Pay For!! I also lost a big account a couple of years ago like that, done an awesome job for them, went above and beyond to keep them happy and the next year got canned over $50.00 difference, but two months later they were calling me back and asking me to submit another bid because the guy they give the bid to just wasn't working out. I laughed and told them I was booked up and had no more openings. They even called me back this year asking me to submit a bid. The commercial accounts are good because you usually can make a good profit margin, but it's a headache resubmitting new bids every year not knowing which new guy is going to come in and lowball you. In my experience residential customers seem to be alot more loyal and willing to pay a little more to keep a good lawn service. The commercials, IMO are not all they are cracked up to be, the ones I have now are exceptions and they understand the value of good service, but that's came after weeding through some real headaches. I wouldn't worry about it, if you provide good service, you won't have any trouble landing new accounts.

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