Low Ballers please read

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by E.L.I.T.E.LawnCare, Dec 30, 2006.

  1. E.L.I.T.E.LawnCare

    E.L.I.T.E.LawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 85

    I started my business 5yrs. ago, my first bid was on a Apartment complex 20 units on about 14 acres we had no knowledge at that time about commercial bidding anyways the prop. manager wanted all the weeds pulled from every flowerbed around every building, so we put the bid in at $1300.00 per week. Unfortunately we lost the bid to the company that had been doing it the past 4yrs. the manager was nice enough to let us know that the guy they had was charging $1100.00 per week so they stuck with him. This same complex is looking for a new lawn service for 2007, I was told by some buddies in the business that some of your fellow low ballers has this same complex bidded down to $375.00 per cut. I dont see how you guys survive charging these low rates. I drove through there the other day and they have weeds all through the flowerbeds, grass growing high around the back of buildings and fire hydrants, the sidewalks wasn't edged. This is something to think about, my sis stays in a apartment that is charging her $730.00 per month for rent, they have hundred of units out there(do the math), so knowing that when I went to bid her complex my bid was for at least $750.00 per cut (winning bidder $400.00 maybe a little less, and he's running 4 full crews how he's making money on that?) You don't have to sell yourself short, I took a bid from a large company here he was doing 12 acres for $325.00 per cut, I got the bid for the past two years for $550.00 per cut no joke.
  2. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,951

    These are both assumptions that may be wrong.

    BTW, how does the monthly rental of your sister's apartment figure into the rate the owner is paying for lawn mowing? Have you had an opportunity to see the P/L on the operation of the apartment complex? This information would help to understand the relationship between their income and their willingness to pay $XXXX for lawn mowing.
  3. Tharrell

    Tharrell LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,967

    Something I've only recently learned, lowballers aren't always the newbies. A lot of guys with multiple crews lowball because they have to keep their guys busy. I can prove it too.
    The solo operator like myself is caught in the middle of this mess.
  4. freddyc

    freddyc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 578

    dont forget a few things:

    1/ someone had to purchase that apartment complex--they didnt get it for Christmas

    2/ think of the insurance you'd have to carry on a multi unit place, sewer charges, plumbing, cleaning..... all services cost money and its the managers job to get the best deal they can.

    3/ you show some nice equipment in your post--lots of it including a recent truck. Not all lco's have major payments with interest.

    Making money always comes down to revenue vs expenses.

    Do you consider the first guy who was charging $1100 vs your 1300 a lowballer?? Wheres the cutoff-- 50% of where you are, 25% ? I see posts on here all the time about questions on pricing. Its not always clear cut what the market rate is. For the guy who knows that its $X and he goes in at 30% less, then yeah, thats a problem....but when you're hungry for work and you scrape for jobs to feed your family, you're not always thinking about whether you can afford the new exmark Z in 2 years.

    I'd like to see a poll on here to see the ratio of people with great equipment vs the guy with 10 year old stuff--which ones are doing the most complaining about low ballers.
  5. HenryB

    HenryB LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,854

    Agreed. Most lowballers are american guys born and raised w/ multiple crews. Often the biggest LCO's are the cheapest. Ego and greed equate to enormous gross and very little net.
  6. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    Sometimes the larger companies are also able to get their costs at a lower rate due to larger quantity purchases. Also, if their overhead is already covered by current customers then the rest is all profit.
  7. Lawntime Mowers

    Lawntime Mowers LawnSite Member
    from KC MO
    Messages: 219

    Someday I hope to grow up and be a Lowballer. But for now I think I'll just make more money and work less. Or is it work smarter not harder....I guess I'll have to keep my chin up and dream that someday I can grow up and become a mega-lowballer too.:dizzy:
  8. lawnjockey56

    lawnjockey56 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 227

    i wish instead of directing at the lowballers there was a way to direct these to the people who actually hire them lol-they have to know they are getting what they pay for for when they see such gap in price
  9. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 1,624

    Let me know when you get there. Then I can become a mega-supreme-lowballer.:laugh: All lawns any size $5.99 to cut, trim, and blow:laugh:
  10. Prestige-Lawncare

    Prestige-Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 753

    Because this guy has a nice truck, and some nice equipment, (that he obviously takes very good care of) ... you don't think he has a right to complain about what others are charging for their services? It is obvious that in a couple of the situations he mentions, that the rate is to low, and therefore the quality of the service the property owner is getting is equal to that price.

    I understand that most times it is true that the customer gets what they pay for ... but in the case of this post ... it reinforces to us that the LCO's who operate this way are the ones that not only make it hard for us to do business, but it also hurts the whole "green industry" in that area.

    Nice looking set-up you have there ELITE. Image is what we sell ... and you are portraying a neat and professional image for your company.

    Good Luck ...


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