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Low Baller Crisis

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Freshcut Lawn Care, Oct 14, 2004.

  1. Freshcut Lawn Care

    Freshcut Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    I am getting a little concerned...I am buying more equipment all the time and there are guys out there Low Balling all over town and I am not sure who is going to be left standing after all said and done! :angry:

    My buddy is scaling way back due to this and taking on a new job to make some decent money, along with benefits! This pisses me off because this guy is Awesome! I have only known him for about a year and a half but already consider him a Great Friend to me and my 2 boys!

    We have shared lots of info (beers and laughs) and I encouraged him to get the prices up and not lower them. From what I gather, he did this, but still felt he couldn't stick with it full time!

    Some guys are running around working...just for the sake of working I guess. He told me some of the winning bids (by the Low Ballers) on some commercial jobs and it would just make you sick!

    Any ideas on how to deal with these guys. I guess everyone has a right to work for their own price, but this is getting ridiculous.

    I am certainly not a violent man, so I need some good advice.

    P.S. I will maintain my prices as long as feasible, as I believe there is enough work for everyone, but there seems to be more and more guys running around undercutting! :dizzy:
  2. blafleur

    blafleur LawnSite Member
    Messages: 229

    What kind of work are these people doing? If its good work, you're screwed, thats capitalism. Lowballers usually dont do quality work, or they are guys just starting out and havent learned how to price yet. At least here, there are always a group of people looking for the lowest price, and there should be plenty of others who know better, or who have been bit by low price, junk work. These are the people who want quality work and will pay for it. You need to concetrate on that niche. Advertise the fact that you do quality work, not that you have good prices. On the other hand your prices have to be in the ballpark of others of your genre of landscapers.

    Good luck,
  3. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    I agree with what Byran said. We don't currently mow, but there are TONS of people in this county that do. It doesn't hurt anything when Dixie Chopper is headquartered here and it seems like everybody and thier brother is related to someone who works there.... There is one "new" company in particular this year that is/was lowballing mowing accounts this spring. Bid $10 and $15 on two lawns that were across the street from each other, they had been getting mowed at ~$40 and $50 respectively last year... Unfortunately, the dumba$$ is still around, though we hope it won't be for much longer. We aren't worried about the competition so much as the downgrading of the work we do/are capable of.

    Stick with it, promote the quality end of it and hope for the best.

  4. activelandscaping

    activelandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    I don't really get many low baller's competing in my price range anymore, most of my new customer's wan't references for similar work and want to see job's older than 5 yrs, no one's going to put out " real money " on price alone.

    The way I figure, these are the four main way's the competition can beat you:

    (1) labor, their guys are and faster at what they do, therefore they can charge less. Nothing you can do about that.
    If, however, their not paying their workman's comp. then you can inform the customer of this. I don't have a link to the website, but there is one that allows you to type in the name of the CO. and check to see if their covered. I pay 7% of payroll to workman's comp. insurance, someone not paying WC could undercut me by thousands of $, for the same profit.

    2) Equipment: newer, better, faster and more experience using it. Basically the same problem as 1, productivity/ hr (vs) overhead. Again, insurance, are they covered for public liability, damages due to hitting electrical, gas or water lines?

    3) Design: Unless you are strictly maintenance this area can give you an edge. I Copyright any design, for work over 5K. If someone else uses it, uses another contractor to execute my design :mad: , it will cost them a lot more than it would have to hire me.
    My designs tend to incorporate certain features and materials, I can often tell someone else's work by materials and design. My design, poorly implemented, could be taken for my work, thereby damaging my reputation. While I havn't had it go this far, I would make the customer tear out the work and monetarily reimburse me. Copyright laws are pretty tough when it comes to infringement.

    4) Costing: I pay 14 bucks/ton for 21AA road base ( includes delivery ), price is for 50 ton load delivered to my yard or job site. In the winter I always try and negotiate ( or locate ) a better materials price from reputable suppliers.

  5. gusbuster

    gusbuster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,926

    To survive low balling, you need to stand out in the competition. I've never low ball a price just to get that job in 20 years in this business. Yes, they do where you down,but many of them are not in the trade anymore but I'm still in it.

    Lot of the commercial people expect to get their properties done as cheap as their homes. It has dropped the prices somewhat, but like I said earlier, many of these companies are not around anymore.
  6. Freshcut Lawn Care

    Freshcut Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    Thanks for the insight guys! :waving:

    I actually posted this in the wrong place and re-posted in the Commercial Lawn Care section.

    We do try and set a very high standard...My sons used say I was too picky!

    Now the eldest is a lot fussier and the younger guy is getting the picture, as well!

    By having higher standards I hope to be in the higher end of the pricing spectrum (without pricing ourselves out of business of course)!

    Just a note: We have newer equipment and it looks very clean most of the time. We try to create a higher profile image with our work and the way we perform. We wear golf shirts or t-shirts with the company logo's and now my eldest wants to go a step further and wear matching shorts! (I kind of like it)!

    Even my buddy who is in this gig says I am too fussy about my work and stuff, but I know my dealer appreciates it and will have no problem taking anything I have in trade.

    But back to the guys with extremely low bids! :blush:

    I will try and not compete with them! We do our very best to make each and every property looks their absolute best!

    Our customers seem to appreciate this, as I am sure yours do as well.

    We will stick to the higher end customers and let our performance speak for itself!

    Thanks for contributing guys!


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