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Opinion-Give it to me

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by dsaldivar, Mar 26, 2003.

  1. dsaldivar

    dsaldivar LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    Hi Guys,

    Need your opinion on a portion of a commercial bid I gave a customer yesterday. My proposal was based on a number of different services. He called me today and wanted to eliminate some of the services on my proposal and presented a counter offer on some of the services he would like to keep. The counter offer is pretty much reasonable with the exception of some I have concerns with.

    Let me know your oppinions on my thinking and concerns regarding the following:

    First, I gave the customer a bid price of $294.00 to trim 98 small bushes.( The bushes are arranged pretty close together and spread through a number of beds in front of the building). This works out to $3.00 per bush to trim and clean-up. I think this is a fair price considering all the other costs associated with trimming bushes (i.e. gas usage/wear and tear of gas hedger, waste dump). His comment was "It should only take you about 20 minutes to do the job" My thinking is that even if it took me a 1 minute per bush (including clean-up) we're looking at 98 minutes. Even if you cut that in half we're talking 49 minutes.
    How's my thinking - what are your thoughts?

    Second- I bidded to weekly maintain the beds from weeds, debris and dead heading for $8.00/wk ( the total bed square footage is 2130 sqft). Now before you jump out of your skins and want me to come do your weeds let me explain. I gave him this on the basis of him selecting my Snapshot pre-emergent applications and assuming he would pay for my season coloring service. Well you guessed it: these are services opting out of. In addition, he wants the bed maintenance every other week for $8.00. Well you can just imagine what the weeds might be like without the pre-emergent and an every other week maintenance schedule?
    What's your thoughts?

    Finally, I would really like the mowing, application and irrigation maintenace service contract but contimplating what to do about the above mentioned services. I plan on asking the customer if he would allow me to do the mow/application/and irrigation services and forego the bush trimming/bed maintenance services but I think he might just say never mind on the whole proposal.

    What would you do? Please let me know your opinions on how you would handle this situation.

    Thanks in advance for replies and comments.

    (BTW - Yes I'm certified with the State to apply pesticides and herbicides)

    Danny Saldivar
  2. HarryD

    HarryD LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,068

    I would not budge on the bushes you are pretty much right on. I would not touch them for anything less. Plus how does this guy know it will only take 20min. there is no way you could trim all those bushes and clean up the debris in that time
  3. Ground Master

    Ground Master LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    My opinion----

    Its spring, I'm sure your getting alot of calls for work.....kindly explain that you can not lower your price.
  4. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,491

    Don't you hate it when people do that? I think I'd pass on the whole thing if he's gonna nit-pick things apart like that. Even if you get the mowing, irrigation maint etc. sooner or later this type of person will decide you're working much too effeciently and should be receiving much less for your work. Then they'll find some scrub to undercut your bid and then present it to you as an ultimatum. Drop your price or else. I say if you do do any work at all for this cheapskate MAKE SURE you have a contract and have all your i's dotted and t's crossed. Good luck.
  5. LWNMWR1

    LWNMWR1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 188

    sounds like a condo? you can never win. the condos that aren't cheap are like needles in the proverbial haystack.
  6. hoffmanlandscaping

    hoffmanlandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    Don't budge I'd like to see him trim and clean-up 94 bushes in 20 min. Their are more fish in the sea. Sounds like thi would just be a thorn in your side. A far as the bed maintenance I wouldn't do it unless he agees to the pre emerg.
  7. Clay

    Clay LawnSite Member
    Messages: 236


    This entire scenario sounds like a simple case of you losing your "posture"....

    You are the professional and should be informing him on the services he needs to do a "professional" job... Yes, there is a fine line between "confident" and "cocky".... but the distinction must be made that in order for you to make the property the best it has ever been (then keep it there), you need to be the only chef in the kitchen... :)

    This bid is already history as your longterm relationship will only dwindle because you have given him too much control already...

    In the future, try setting your price to do a top quality job and simply stick to it... You can explain that the reason the pre-emergent is in the bid is because it is the most "cost effective" method of maintaining a quality appearance (the chemical is simply cheaper than labor)... If they want less than quality, that is what the scrubs are around for...

    I know this may sound a little strong, but you don't want every property.... just the quality ones.... Be thankful for the scrubs so you don't have to take all the PITA's.... :)

    Sincerely hope this helps... "Experience is the greatest teacher, especially when it is someone elses!"

    Good Luck, Clay
  8. dsaldivar

    dsaldivar LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    Thanks for all those that have replied. You guys are great.

    Before coming back on and reading the responses the customer and I had a conversation. ( you see he left the information I originally posted on my voicemail). In my conversation I explained my ways of thinking on both of the issues in my original post. He actually understood where I was coming from so we came to a compromise. You see because this is my first commercial prospect I was willing to bend a little and learn alot.
    He decided to take the pre-emergent application and I told him that I would charge him $35.00 to trim the shrubs. I told him that this was my normal hourly rate per man hour and I would track the amount of time it takes to trim these bushes. If the amount of time is significantly higher than 1 man hour we would work out an arrangement. (I know bending like someone needing a job:D ) But again, I'm willing to give a little to get that first commercial account under my belt and allows me to do some better timing tests of tasks for similiar bids in the future. Overall I think this as been a real good experience for me in terms of negotiating in the bidding process.

    Whew, long winded. Sorry about that. Anyway I really appreciate you guys that have taken the time to reply with your thoughts. This site has been invaluable in my efforts to learn and grow in this business. I'm sorta green in this business (pun intended) so probably can't share alot of knowledge but look forward to contributing when I can.

    Thanks again for your help and comments. Makes me feel good when what I think is right is verified by some experts.

    Talk to you again,
  9. TotalCareSolutions

    TotalCareSolutions LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 518

    Great Job Danny,

    Your a born business man and should have 4 or 5 trucks running in no time.
  10. mike9497

    mike9497 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    350 for bushes and for weeding the beds is 50 an hour for me.
    don't ever let some customer tell you how long it takes to do something.i had a set of condos and the management company said it should take 2 hours to do a fall clean-up.yeah right it took more like 5. 900 for the clean-up and they thought that was high.funny how no one else came close to that price.i heard 1100 was the second lowest.this was a very large site and alot of landscapers wouldn't touch it because its so big.takes 4 guys around 8 1/2 hours to mow trim edge and clean.

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