Overbidding Jobs

Discussion in 'Bidding, Estimating and Pricing' started by mowin_n_tokin, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. mowin_n_tokin

    mowin_n_tokin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    Now usually overbidding a job is a good thing. If there's a job I don't really want to do I bid high therefore if I get it I'm making more money.

    I had this older lady and husband call me to a rural location who had an area of about 3,000 sq feet. of ~5' tall, mature wheat grass, part of it on a sloped hill. I figured it'd take me a good hour or more so I told the lady it'd be $75. She said she has a push trimmer I could use since the previous kid's weedeater couldn't even cut the grass but I told her I don't use other people's equipment.

    So I showed up to the job today, in the back of my mind I was worrying I undercut the bid and would be stuck there 2-3 hours. Now granted with my SRM225 it probably would've taken well over an hour maybe even two, but I recently bought a strimmer attachment for my Stihl KM130R (has been a lifesaver on tall grass clean ups) and I whacked that wheat field down to a mulch in like 30 minutes. When I had finished she was really surprised at how quick it was and I could tell when she was writing out the check she wasn't thrilled about paying me basically $150/hr.

    Now what I'm wondering, if you guys were in the same situation would you have taken the profit or would you have lowered the final price since it took a bit less time than you thought? Is profiting by bidding per job just the name of the game or do you feel like you're gouging prices? I feel like the higher price may have shyed them away from hiring me for future work, but to be honest making that kind of money doesn't even make it feel like work and it's really nice.
     
  2. BigJlittleC

    BigJlittleC LawnSite Fanatic
    from Chicago
    Messages: 6,053

    They agreed to the price before the work was done then the time it took is irrelevant. You had the correct professional equipment and skill to complete in a timely manner that's why they called you. If little Timmy could do it they would pay his price. Are you a pro or little Timmy?
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  3. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,096

    I agree and I know the upkeep on that stihl gearbox when you do jobs like this. I have 2 that currently need to be replaced because it wears them out fast.
     
  4. Mowing monkey.

    Mowing monkey. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 625

    No I’d never take less than already agreeded up on price. Were they going to pay you double if it took twice as long? I think not.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    mowin_n_tokin

    mowin_n_tokin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41


    That's along the lines of what I lightheartedly said when she mentioned how fast it was.. "Well when you have a ~$500 weedeater it definitely helps make things go by quicker"

    Something I was thinking about as well cause even with the power of the 130R it was still bogging slightly in some of the heavier stuff. What a night and day difference from the Echo SRM225 though.. can't believe I've been using that thing the last 1.5 years on overgrown stuff

    That's a really good point. And a good reason I prefer quoting lump sums rather than doing hourly rates. The only time I bid at an hourly rate is when I have no idea how long it's going to take me and use it as a learning experience.
     
  6. Hayduke

    Hayduke LawnSite Member
    from Oregon
    Messages: 94

    There is no such thing as "overbidding" if you get the job. They know what they are paying and you know what you are getting. And the first time you seriously underbid a job, if you haven't already, and been stuck busting your a-- for $3.65 an hour, you will never flinch about making what seems like ridiculously large profit margins. When you have been at it long enough, you will realize that a year's worth of mostly average profit margin jobs quickly minimize the "wholly crap I just made $187 an hour jobs"...
    There is no such thing as price gouging in landscaping, remember these people have a choice whether to hire you or not.
     
  7. Mowing monkey.

    Mowing monkey. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 625

    If you figure it on per minute bases I did $300 an hour job last week and better yet the customer was thrilled. Do I feel bad? No I think they got a heck of a deal actually.
     
    Jeff@diyokc likes this.
  8. OP
    OP
    mowin_n_tokin

    mowin_n_tokin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41


    Oh underbidding, that reminds me of my very first mowing job ever, the glory days.

    1.6 acre lot with a 21" push mower (not even self propelled). Had zero idea what I was doing, thought it'd take maybe an hour or so.. I probably should've known by the look on the guys face when I told him I'd do it for $65.

    Ya, 4-5 hours later.. lesson well learned lol
     
  9. Mowing monkey.

    Mowing monkey. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 625

    One of the first jobs I ever did, I guess I was 15 at the time I bid my neighbors leave removal job at $35 and it took 3-4 hours. Another bad deal I was probably 16 then was mowing a job that took 4 hours for $75. I dropped that one pretty quick.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    mowin_n_tokin

    mowin_n_tokin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    My first regular scheduled customer last year was an older lady on a corner lot who "was on a limited income" and I was always scared to ever bid above $40 because I thought "who would ever pay someone more then $40 to mow a yard??"

    So I told her I'd mow it for $40 and she would tell me when to come. So basically once a month, and everytime I got stuck for an hour and a half mowing 1' tall super thick weeds. And she was always asking for free favors. The worst part is that she was the one who eventually dropped me.

    I was, and still kind of am naive, but at least I'm learning :D
     

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