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Lowballing for a contract?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by silverspade, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. silverspade

    silverspade LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    So nearly 3 weeks ago me and a friend have this idea to start a simple lawn cutting business. We thought it would never take off and it was just an idea. So we did a feasibility study of our own. Designed and printed 1000 flyers, handed 500 out or so 1 call back. Then I get this idea to send out this email.. 24 hours later we are sitting here trying to figure out quotes for some 60+ lots. Now I must tell you we aren't dealing with 60+ land owners, because quite a few of our contracts would be with people with 10+ lots each.

    Problem is this I feel that my partner wants to lowball just about everything just to get the job. I mean these are simple student houses that need a basic lawn cut nothing more. So the lawns typically aren't big because they are located in teh core of my city, most student houses have a small to medium lawn. But how do we charge for stuff like a spring clean up? My friend says to do that stuff for free... I tell him even if it was 5-10 minutes of work we did for free out of courtesy that 5-10 minutes*60+ lots would be hours of free time.

    And then if i convince my friend we need to charge them something he thinks adding 5 dollars at most 10 to the job is sufficient. I sent out emails to local lawn care places in my area they charge about 70-80 a spring clean up.

    We do tell people we are student lawn care business so I don't expect to charge as much as a "professional" but I don't want to be low balling just to get a contract. Or should I be? Any help would be appreciated.
  2. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    It sounds like you need a new business partner! He doesn't sound smart at all. Is he in this to make money or lose it? Sounds to me like he doesn't really care. All I know, is that if I were in your situation, I'd tell him to hit the road, because he's dumb. They probably wouldn't even hire you to do the work for free. They'd think you guys are crazy. Start your own business solo, and don't worry about your partner lowballing if he starts his own business. He won't be around long. But if you do decide to go on with this, decide upon a minimum charge for each lawn, (ex. 35-40 for a small lawn) and then a certain amount more for bigger lawns. And about cleanups, make sure you have a set hourly rate you aim for and a minimum for those too. Lowballing and working for free isn't a way to get jobs or grow a business, it's a way to work hard for nothing. Good luck to you.
  3. sky_lawncare

    sky_lawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    It sounds like starting out you're already overwhelmed. I think you should charge what you feel is fair. If thats a little more than some are willing to pay then thats ok, you will still get a percentage of those accounts anyway. You will cut less hours, make the same amount as if you had lowballed all of them, and have more time off or more time for more accounts.

    All depends on how desperate you are, how much time you want to put into it, how good your equipment is, etc.

    Kind of sounds like you wanted to do it part-time, as long as you're not overpriced I think you can charge whatever you feel full price would be and be fine. If people are looking to save money they should mow it themselves.

    Oh yeah, first rule in business, don't ever go in with a partner!
  4. silverspade

    silverspade LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Well I wouldn't say my friend is stupid but when it comes to lawn mowing I don't think he has a clue in the world. For example, how much gas it costs to run the equipment, the time it takes to cut it, the time it takes to clear a yard so you can cut it etc. But 5-10 bucks for a clean-up? give me a break I rather be working min wage again at my age.
  5. Tagg

    Tagg LawnSite Member
    Messages: 158

    Silverspade, what type of people did you email, (realtors, college, property owners) ???
  6. silverspade

    silverspade LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    you guys charge 35-40 for a small lawn? how small is a small lawn? the size of a average student rental in and around the downtown core? how many sq feet, because im going to go out and measure the yards today, is there a formula to figure out costs based on sq foot?
  7. Smith Lawn & Landscaping

    Smith Lawn & Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 367

    yea i would really like to know who you emailed to get all these accounts?? and for my area i don't drop my tailgate for anything less than 35.00. just walk around the property and determine how long it takes for you to trim, cut, edge, and blow. determine how much you need to make an hour for your business to be successful. good luck
    and p.s. i would drop your partner like a fly he doesn't sound like he has your best interest been there done that ain't goin back..
  8. twanked~ls

    twanked~ls LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    yeah who did you email to get those lots

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