Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Nilsson Associates, Mar 9, 2000.

  1. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    Phil, I think I understand what you're getting at, but if you are organizing business with the purpose of creating a fee schedule by which these companies would abide, and these companies represent a good chunk of the market share there, you'll want to talk to an attorney. That's starting to walk and quack like a duck. :)
  2. cjcland

    cjcland LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 278

    why do people keep knocking the little guy, where did you guys get the 40,000 to start off with a new truck the best mowers two of everything(just in case)i started with 3000 that i saved working for another lawn company i have a wife and 2 kids , yes i am struggling and yes i am cheaper than some of the others who have $100,000 worth of work, do i do a good job? YES am i growing? YES do i learn from you guys? YES it just seems that some people forget what its like to have very little money in the begining, just because im smaller and cheaper makes me a lowballer? i need more work, you get more work by having cheaper prices, you keep work with quality so untill i establish a name in my community i will be cheaper, i cant afford to get 1 out of 10 bids, dont get me wrong i do make money better than i ever have, i have 1 walk behind 1 edger 1 weedeater 1 blower 1 &quot;pair&quot; of hedge trimmers and 1 chainsaw, do i worry about what would happen if my motor blows?YES am i intimidated by larger companies? NO i will survive and i will grow but it takes time REMEBER? so please dont knock the little guys, wal-mart started with 1 store, microsoft started with 1 operating system, dont get me wrong most of the people on here are very kind to the small guy for the others just try to remember that the guy who underbid you has a family and bills and maybe just maybe they have a lower overhead so just because there cheaper dosnt mean the quality isnt there i know how to do quality work i have been doing this for over 10 years, i just need some help on the business side of this thing, and i am glad this forum is here, thank you<p>----------<br>CJC Landscape Management<br>Winter Haven, Florida
  3. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    cjcland, your post could have been describing myself. Very well put.<p>If everybody started charging 50 bucks an hour (or whatever) what happens to the senior citizen trying to get by on her 900 a month social security check? Think about it next time you see a yard with foot-high grass that gets cut once a month with a sickle and you flip the guy in his 15-year-old pickup and homemade plywood trailer the bird and call him a lowballer.<p>Theres room on the ladder for everybody, somebody has to be on the bottom rung and somebody has to be at the top rung. Pick your rung, but dont knock the other guy for not picking the same rung you want.<p>Bill
  4. cjcland

    cjcland LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 278

    dont get me wrong i do not choose to stay on the bottom wrung of the ladder i just wanted to remind everyone that not everyone falls into a ton of money to start a business, whats that you say you didnt, thats my point<p>----------<br>CJC Landscape Management<br>Winter Haven, Florida
  5. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,753

    When I first started I made a survey of what the going rate was. I made it a point to do quality work. I think I charged as much or more than anyone else. I didnt have much money to start. Financed a sears mower. I handed out flyers and put an ad in the paper. I sold my self as very dependable and did quality work. I got plenty of customers that way. I think they respected me because i didn't sell myself or my business short. None of my customer would ever say, hey I got this lawn guy doing my yard for pratically nothing&quot; sucker! Borrow money if you have to. BUt when you are just starting out or been in the business a while. Cutting prices is no way to go. Because when you finally get that customer up to paying you well. Someone may come along and cut you. At least try to keep up with inflation. When I started I kept in mind that I was just as good as anyone else especially when It came to cutting grass. I am running a business. I am not a social worker. I do cut seniors some slack. But most of them I work for drive very nice cars and live in nice neighborhoods. They give way more to their church than me. Do nice restuarants give Seniors free food? Does walmart give seniors free merchandise? Most of my customers are senior. Am I making enough money to do free work? I don't think so. I am all for discounting seniors some. Those who need it. But no one in this business should feel guilty for trying to make a profit.
  6. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    Some thoughts from the other side of the business, today we bid on a three park job( construction). This was a fair size job there where 4 companys bidding these parks,<br>the order of bids at opening;<br>low bid and apparent winner 1.4 Mil<br>second low bid 1.65 mil<br>third low bid 1.81 Mil<br>high bid 1.88 mil<br>This is for the dirt work, underground (sewers, lightings etc.) and landscaping. The difference in price covers my landscaping alone. My bid for the landscaping was $275K My bid package was with the two highest contractors. So I see that it's not just our industy, others have the same problems as us. Pricing the job is an art that is learned, doing the work is what makes or breaks us. All of use have lost jobs, but have been called back to fix it after the other guy messed up, I see this every day, government work is harder to mess up someone is always watching to make sure its done right(they have performance bonds), if you mess up the will hire the next low bidder and you pay the price twice.<p>It's just not us guys<br><p>----------<br>paul<br>
  7. MJM Landscaping Inc

    MJM Landscaping Inc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    CJC, My thoughts.....<br>Youve got too understand something that i think has never been explained here. You, from what ive read are NOT a low baller. IMHO a lowballer is someone who charges low, ridiculously (sp) low and has no intention of ever raising prices. He doesnt have insurance and just all around is not &quot;professional&quot;. Lowballers come in all sizes not just the little guy. I have many very large co's in my area (some national) who are probably worse than the types most people think about. They undercut everyone and deal in high volume. Ive seen $50,000 bids that they have bid at $25,000-30,000!! You are right we all started where you are and like you we had the drive to better ourselves. Of course when you first start out you take what you can get. You then buy better equipment, do good work, your reputation is working for you, and you your prices are higher. After all you should get paid more for quality work, the quality a lowballer will lack. Low prices does not = lowballer IMHO, some people just dont know better and thats why we are here. Also, dont ever go by exact prices given here. Use them as a guide but everyones cost of operation is different. Know your cost!!!! If you do good work, know your cost, and bid accordingly you have nothing to be ashamed of. <br>Sorry about the book i just wrote, i was on a role here. :)<br>Mark A Musolf
  8. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    MJM, what you have described is not a lowballer but a competitor. Dont knock another contractor because they have lower overhead and can do a job cheaper. I know of guys who work out of the back of their truck under the table after work and on weekends who undercut everybody price-wise, and still do a job that would put the big companies to shame.<p>A reality of the business my friend.<p>Bill
  9. southside

    southside LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 790

    People like that who dont have insurance are<br>cutting their own throats because as soon as <br>they damage people/property they are down the tube.Problem is that if they hurt <br>someone and they are uninsured then the <br>property owner become responsible. People like that have no place in this industry.

    SNOWMAN Guest
    Messages: 0

    Everybody usually starts out small and grows from there, low balling is always a problem in this business, any one with a truck and a mower or car and trailer can be competition, just part of the business.<br>One thing you will learn in this business is the equipment to use to do the good job in a more efficent matter.<br>We don't bid anything by the hour we just set a fixed price for the job and using the right equip. for that jod will usually insure you a copetetive bid.<br>For example the guy that bids 50.00<br>on the job thats going to take him 2 hours (25.00 per hour on his garden tractor) we can do in less than 1 hour on a larzer (and a better job making it min. 50.00 per hour.<br>

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