Low Balling Jobs. Why now is exactly the time to NOT do it.

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by apsnova, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. apsnova

    apsnova LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    I give estimates and people tell me "no thanks, we got a cheaper quote then that from someone else". What I want to know is how do these companies survive or make any money at all? I dont think that I am supper expensive but I"m not the cheapest and Im proud of it. Everything in the world getting more expensive. My bowing lane in town just went from 7 bucks to 10. yea a 30% increase. I just paid $3.70 for diesel, and thats going nowhere but up. Its getting more expensive to live and run a company. So I just hope the green industry is ready to keep up with rising prices. So if people want work done they better be ready to pay for it. Im not greedy, just would rather live comfortably then be scrapping by. Landscaping is hard work! Charge for it! We EARN that money.

    RECESSION PROOF MOWING LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 376

    We've been talking about just this topic for weeks now. Lowballing is a way of life in every part of the country. You ask how they make it on beans and rice? They don't. They are living barely in bankruptcy court and barely out of the repo man's reach. The green industry can't do anything about it. Many guys on this site tend not to worry about it while their profession sinks further towards Sonic waittress wages.

    I would love to charge what landscaping is worth, but reality dictates that everybody's book 'o business has lawns that are underbid to keep 'em. All have them on the books. I live comfortably but it isn't because the mowing business alone put me there. Some people want better quality and will pay just like some people will pay for a steak rather than a Wendy's doublecheeseburger. But those folks, the recession coupled with lowballing mentality, are driving wages down at an alarming rate. I've riden the horse through town square, I know exactly what you mean...

    You will be called "greedy" (I have, read the archives). You will be called stupid and not a good businessman because you should concentrate on your waking thoughts in the dead of winter on your own world and don't worry about the rest. I have made money, plenty of it, at levels of bid I'd rather not have experienced. I made money off $19/ac municipal mowing contracts and lived to tell the tale. That bid should've been $25/ac all day every day...but I would've lost it then. Tough way to go. Even I had my breaking point where I refused to bid any lower this year and got clobbered...and lost all muncipal work! Got plenty other jobs but you get the picture.

    Lowballing, in it's strictest pure sense, the art of hearing one man's number and automatically going lower, has been getting really bad for the last 8 or so years, reaching a breakneck pace in the last couple. I see it firsthand. I've lived it. People are in this business that have no damn business runnig a mower or crew. They're hobbyists, part timers, guys who need exercise, whatever...they aren't businessmen. There's no solution other than..."that's just the way it is...ooohhhho oh don't cha know....that's just the way it is..."
  3. Field King

    Field King LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    I am small potatoes in lawn service but have some experience in small business and large business. What I am seeing in the lawn care world and read alot of complaining about on this site (lowballing etc) is alot of focus on the problems but not the solutions! I mean complaining about lowballers etc. is one thing, and I know most of us are looking for support or just common converstaion about our daily experience in lawn care but I see very little in the way of solutions! Most every industry has major competition, what are u going to do to combat and fight for your market share.
  4. kilgoja

    kilgoja LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 944

    not much you can do but lose accounts...if people are gonna cut 1/2 acre yards for $25 then what can any of us do?...you can't make a living cutting yards at that price...not with today's cost of living and the cost to do business like buying mowers, trailers, gas, insurance, trucks, etc. going up up up...i agree with the original post...we gotta encourage every lawncare person out there we can NOT to lower their prices at all...if we all give in then it will be expected to charge less and therefore we will all make less and our standard of living will go way down so we'll be forced to work another job as well as do lawncare instead of being able to be full time lawncare
  5. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,651

    Really well said!:clapping::clapping:
  6. Field King

    Field King LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    My main objective would be to cut cost, just look at some other industrys to see how they compete!
  7. kilgoja

    kilgoja LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 944

    yeah cut cost of course but you should be doing that already...not just because gas prices are going up or the cost of living...you should've been doing your best to cut cost from the 1st day you started a business...i think my costs are lower than most lawn businesses out there but i'm still not gonna cut 1/2 acre yards for $25...look at what i'm using...i probably use less than 90% of lawncare people out there...i have the bare minimum pretty much....a 4 cylinder truck that gets over 20mpg...a small 5x10 trailer...a 48" mower i bought for $1695....used...using a trimmer, blower, and pushmower i already had for my own yard.....it's not like i'm using top of the line equipment...what do you expect the guys out there driving diesel trucks hauling huge 16'-18' trailers and using 2-3 60" ztr mowers to do?...obviously their expenses are way more than mine...if i can't make it cutting yards at $25 then i know they can't for sure...and i'm sure they have employees to pay and worker's comp and so forth...i'm a one man operation so i don't have any of those expenses...i'm running as lean as you can without having crappy equipment that's gonna be breaking down all the time and in turn will cost you more in the long run due to repairs and lost jobs...charging $25 a 1/2 acre is cutting your income in half...that's rediculous to expect any business to do that...you can't cut you prices in half when the price of business is going up and expect to stay in business...if you keep your prices the same you are still gonna be hard pressed to stay in business

    you seem to have the idea to just lower all of our rates to match the lowballers...that will kill the lawncare business and the only people left doing it will be teenagers that are out of school for the summer and need a little spending money
  8. Field King

    Field King LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    your last paragraph hits the proverbial bullseye, lawn care is a service anyone can provide, although to verying degrees of quality! The battle seems to be "why should I hire you and pay you more than Mr. X ?" Now I have stated and you have testified the importance of being lean, can we offer more to the customer for a competitive yet higher price than the so called "lowballer"? Or is there more we can do? I have never said match the lowballers as they are called, that may be appropriate in some cases but not all, working and networking together may help some! Offer solutions and ideas if u will?
  9. santafe

    santafe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    :clapping:MAN. after reading that I feel like I have been to some sort of inspirational seminar. I feel fired up, i don't know for what, but I'm fired up!!:clapping::clapping:
  10. Hope Landscaping

    Hope Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    I have worked for a one man owner landcaping company, a larger landscaping company, a corporate company sales position and for myself. In my experience every type of buisness has its challenges. Perfect example of low balling at its best would be in the retail world where every retail store has the challenge of competing with old Wally world, just with product instead of service.
    Its a constant battle we have to face in our buisness. It seems to always take a pro active plan. I think consistant marketing is a good way to stay a step ahead of the low ballers.

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