Lowballers and others....

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by meets1, May 3, 2013.

  1. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,348

    I alaways wonder how low some people can go, it messes the rest of us up because after they realize their loosing money they take the first 8$ per hour job they can find. Then the customers think were gonna do the smae thing for their price..
  2. Landscraper1

    Landscraper1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Southeastern Ma.
    Messages: 753

    I totally disagree with this statement. It's not worth working at a loss, just to keep a customer. That's just not good business.

    Make sure you are reasonable with you rates, do the best you can, and be professional at all times. This will keep you profitable and steady.

    Example: Lost a rental community last year to a lower price. The new guy just mowed and blowed. No edging ever done to beds or walks, weeds overgrown in beds, and the lawn was full of clover and dandelions.
    I have the job back this year with an apology and extra $ to get the place back to what it was.
    I doubt this manager will ever think about getting another landscaper again.

    One thing I tell my customers. When hiring a landscaper, it's not like buying a TV or car. The lowest price is not usually the best deal.
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  3. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,850

    It was a nice eay account to mow, make look good and we took out time. Usually that was last on list for the day I cuz I would be the one mowing. The trim time well edging, pick up sticks (ash trees) being a manufacturing plant always rags, trash, etc outside blowing around, alwasy picked clean of debris. Raised our price once at the five year point and thats where I was at. The thing that got me was the people said it alwasy looked great and never a complaint and we (client) know it probably wont look as good but our concern is with the bottom line. So thanks for now, enjoy your summer and we'll probably rebid a in a few years again and see what there work looks like. The other thing - its within 400 ft of our shop and business.

    So ok now fast forward they want to re-bid. Now do I lower my price that much to get that account back or stick to our current price when in actuallity is should of been raised by now (say 3 years later).

    I am not in business to pay other people for my work. Nor am I here to break even. I am here to own a business not business own me. ITs about profit. Sure there are times when that margiin in slim but its still a profit squeezed out.

    THis other crew is running JD equipment. Cheap trimmers out of the farm store here in town. They are actually brothers - one is banker during the day and the other an electrician. Both off around 4ish and then they run around with there heads cut off to get that mowing done. No ryme or reason to there mowing, go balls out and pack up and on to the next. Yes the grass is cut, trimmed half azzed and there gone.

    I mow some high school baseball and football fields - they pop! I could go and just mow it down, be a little cheaper but its the type of work, quality of work, impression of that work and bottom line my name or company is on that work.

    Thanks guys - enjoy the weekend! Rainy here so I off to a tree farm to get a load of evergreens!
  4. MR-G

    MR-G LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479

    We try for 40-50% net.....if my costs are lower my price will be lower. you also have to realize that not everyone wants or even needs top quality service. you need to know what your customers needs are and bid accordingly..
  5. clydebusa

    clydebusa Inactive
    Messages: 1,660

    Yes, this is so true! When you can figure out what each wants and what they want to pay for you will make some decent money. I call it figure out if the customer is a Wal-Mart, JCPenny, Sears, Dollar store customer.
  6. ringahding

    ringahding LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    I completely agree with you! No matter how established your company is, continue to do what has made you "Established".

    This is an article I wrote and is on my website ... Lawn Care Estimate

    Most consumers when hiring any service or provider are looking for the bottom line, but not all. If you know how to sell your business (YOU) this will set you apart from your competitors.
  7. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    This is why I don't pursue any commercial accounts. I have mowed several smaller ones through the years, but I can give you a list of those that have screwed me over. Got one last year that I used to mow several years ago. Current LCO moved from the area. I agreed to do it at their price. Mowed, doing an extra good job. Owner shows up and says they hired someone else, a "new" guy who bought a mower and had to pay for it. Oh, okay, my mowers are free, they give me a new one every couple of years. :) Owner had enough nerve to call me back this year, and ask for a bid!!!!

    Mowed a Head Start for two years. Pain in the arse, due to way it was set up, plus a deep ditch that had to be cut with a trimmer along the front. Last year they put it up for bid. I bid my current price, and they quit me for a $5 lower bid. This year they fired that person, due to poor performance. A friend of mine called and asked if I was going to bid, and I told him "hell no, go for it".

    Mowed a small strip mall for a couple of years, inheriting the job from an LCO I bought out. Charged $30, should have been at least $40 due to all the trash, etc, to deal with. Last year, they quit me and went with a guy who does it for $25. Parts of the ditch, which I trimmed every cutting, went all last summer without being trimmed once. But, hey, they saved a whopping $5 every week!

    Residential customers can put the screws to you also, but overall, I have found them to be much more loyal, and less apt to drop you if you raise your prices a reasonable amount.
  8. ringahding

    ringahding LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    I know we are in different markets. Our commercial sites get us through our crazy winter months, not the residential.

    No way am I saying give up on residential (EVER), but I have to disagree with you not pursuing commercials.

    What could/would you do different to keep these commercial accounts?
  9. Landscraper1

    Landscraper1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Southeastern Ma.
    Messages: 753

    Commercial and Residential are very similar. Some are price driven and others care more about quality. At least in the commercial market, we can compete on a more level playing field. In other words, if you don't have worker's comp or high liability Ins, you can't even bid on my jobs. Residential, anyone can bid on.
  10. clydebusa

    clydebusa Inactive
    Messages: 1,660

    All these examples are true and true with homeowners.

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