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Low baller (Scrub)

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Jimbo, Jan 19, 2004.

  1. Jimbo

    Jimbo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,093

    I lost a good account today (LOTS of extras). Heres the details.

    Approximately 12K sq ft Commercial property. Half the grass is fenced (40" gate), and half is not. Side walks and curbs all around the prop (Lots of edging). I did this one in the fall and it took me 3 hours (Heavily overgrown- terrible rock hard edges).

    I figure I can get it done in 2 hours once its under control.
    I bid the normal Pick-up trash (lots of it), mow, edge, and blow (all other odd jobs will be bid separate). My bid $100.00 per cut.

    I got a call today that I lost the bid to some company who bid $45.00 per cut. Heres a list of what they included.

    1. Mow
    2. Edge
    3. Blow
    4. Pickup trash
    5. Pull weeds from all mulch beds
    6. Prune trees once per year
    7. Trim hedges twice per year (Approx. 20 hedges)
    8. Install fresh mulch in beds twice per year.

    What do you think for $1260.00 per year? I would have came in around $3500.00 min. for that much work.

    When I was told the competitive price, and that I had lost the account for 04' I just started laughing and I said "Let them have it". Then I said that if I was in their shoes "I would do the same thing, however be careful because you get what you pay for and I don't think the other company will be in business long". Then they said well if they quit or do a bad job we will just call you.

    THATS WHEN I SAID:angry:

    If you call me after the season starts and I already filled your spot I wont be able to do it, and if I can fit you in the price is going to be alot more than $100.00 per cut!!

    Now I know alot of people on hear talk about offering low prices by having lower overhead but what gives? This guy is working for free in my opinion.

  2. battags

    battags LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    I think you responded to them well and I would have done the same thing. It's tough to loose a good account, but they will see that quality has a price.

    You were right in taking the "I can't blame you approach" when you got the news they were going elsewhere. Although the markets are improving and the economy is picking up, businesses, especially smaller ones, are still operating on very tight budgets.

    The biggest mistake you could make is to not follow up with them. If they don't go with you this year, make sure you contact them EARLY next year.

  3. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    $100.00 for 1/4 acre?
    Sorry,but I can understand why you lost the account.
    45 may be a bit low,but as well 100 is a bit high in my opinion.
  4. zero_turn_mowers

    zero_turn_mowers LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    The way I look at it is the other company knows what there work is worth your 100% right you get what you pay for, they prob. call their lawncare service "Krap-man & Sons", you did right I would have laughed and walked away to.

  5. battags

    battags LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    I tend to agree, but didn't mention it because I don't know what kind of market LCO's have out that way. Definately high for here, but the company hired him once, didn't they?

  6. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    I lost a comm'l account like that a few years ago. She wanted me to meet the other guys price. I just laughed at her. I couldn't do anything else, it was just too funny. He wanted $45 to mulch the beds, and he included in that price for it to be done twice a year. You couldn't even buy the mulch once for that price. Let them go, they will find out how stupid they are later.
  7. Jimbo

    Jimbo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,093

    My commercials require 1M liabilty insurance so I quote them at higher rates than Residentials. If I am doing a residential I shoot for min $35.00 hour. For commercial I shoot for $45 min hour. I know this account has tons of trash, and lots of toys to move so I went a bit higher ($50 hr).
    Considering all this and its a commercial account I think $50 hr is fair. I know its hard to gauge prices without seeing the account, but with sidewalks all around it can take as long to weedeat, and edge as it does to mow.

    The other guy is already at $22.50 an hour before he buys the mulch, and spends the time to spread it, and prune and trim hedges once or twice per year. Maybe he can do the mowing in less than 2 hours but I move pretty quick and I dont think its possible.

    If I could fit my Z in the back it would be a different story.

  8. jlewis

    jlewis LawnSite Member
    Messages: 140

    Not sure what area it was in, but north of Balto Jimbo sounds right. I charged my sister $50 to mow/blow/edge her old yard (1 acre in Glyndon) and that was using her mower and gas!!

    I might see cutting it for under 100, but not weeding,pruning and mulch.

  9. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Messages: 1,557

    As far as the mulch situation, alot of companies use the free stuff offered by their local recycling programs, total crap and just use that istead of quality because its free and they figure they can get more work because they can charge less.
  10. stainedrug

    stainedrug LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    You charged your sister...now thats a biz man!

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