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Pricing yourself out of the riff raff

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by CrystalCreek, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. CrystalCreek

    CrystalCreek LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,962

    I have been on this forum since 2000 and one of the biggest things I have noticed with post after post is how we are all completing against the low baller and working for broke.
    I keep wondering (especially lately as we have had a stellar year) why we as an industry keep doing this. Why are we afraid to demand our worth?
    About 6 years ago through the mentoring of one of our higher regarded members from the west, I completely changed my business and how I went after work. To be honest, I was scared shi&less as I was charging way more then all my completion. Our work was very high on quality and we really refined our process, which we keep doing each and everyday. We got better and better. While I was still not use to "losing" bids, the ones I was winning were paying huge. I went from winning 75-80% of my bids to only winning 25-30%. That sounds terrible until you realize that the profits off those 30% were almost 100% higher then years prior. Less work more money. It didn't happen over night and we definitely do a lot of stuff that separates us from the others.
    So why this post? Last night I went snooping on one of our members websites. He is probably one of the kings in the hardscape world. His knowledge is insane in this field. His company is something most of cant even dream of. Well, his website is nothing but extraordinary. I was captured in the level of his work, the amazing videos and pictures (he actually hires a professional photographer and I need to start doing this), the sheer professionalism that his website portrays. Then I clicked on a tab "pricing". I was shocked that someone doing this level of high caliber work would even put prices on a website. Well once in this pricing area, I realized that this company was so far and above the reach of price shoppers and tire kickers. One click and you realize that this guy isn't working for peanuts. This company is making real money without question and now after seeing this I realize there is room to keep pushing my company higher and higher.

    I end my thoughts with keep looking at your peers in this industry. Find the "kings" in your field and learn from them. If I ever get the chance to meet this member in person I am buying him a steak and beer. Keep up the good fight everyone.
  2. Todd73

    Todd73 LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Florida
    Messages: 2,586

    I refuse to bend to the lowballer. I know what I need to be profitable and that’s as low as I go. I’ll hang up my equipment before I mow or wash for the prices some of these guys are charging here in my area.

    I was washing a concrete driveway yesterday and a neighbor came over and asked what I charged. I told him, he said thanks and left. I assume I was more than he wanted to pay. Oh well, you pay peanuts you get a monkey pulling his home owner machine out of his SUV, uses only water and no detergent, and uses a wand and leaves zebra stripes up and down the flat work. That’s simply not the way I work.

    I’ve always had my prices on my website. I feel it does a few things for me. One, it keeps the tire kickers from calling, scheduling an estimate, and then me wasting time and gas, only to be told that’s more than they want to spend. With pricing up front, they know what they’re looking at for a starting price. On the flip side, there may be people out there that think they can’t afford you, don’t call, but then check your site and realize they can afford you after all. Either way, I’ve found pricing on the website is more beneficial than not having it out there.
    jonthepain, sjessen, oqueoque and 3 others like this.

    JLSLLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 20,230

    Good read.
    sjessen likes this.
  4. caseysmowing

    caseysmowing LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,438

  5. MowDaddy

    MowDaddy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,739

    I've re-read Crystal creek & Todds post a couple times now.
    I see nothing wrong with putting out prices. But.
    With service's how do you put out a price with any meaning ?
    Ex: Bobs plain patio cost $xxx.
    But Jane wants marble pavers and all copper finales.
    Or pressure washing? Everyone's concrete, siding, deck is different?
    How do you really put out a price?
    Or do you both put out the old.
    Starting at $$
  6. caseysmowing

    caseysmowing LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,438

    I think there is a difference in posting minimum/starting at prices on a website to eliminate people who can't afford your services vs putting some BS dollar amount out there that you won't work for just to get your phone to ring.
  7. Joe Shooner

    Joe Shooner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 264

    I'm so glad to read this. In the 17 years that I have been allied to the green industry, I have constantly heard about the difficulties of competing with low priced companies. And the simple solution is that you raise your prices to a level where you are not competing with the lowest priced option. But as simple as that sounds, it's not easy, and to be honest, this whole line of thinking is way more applicable in some parts of the industry than others. Meaning, a skilled and artistic landscape designer can command a premium by wowing a prospect, much more so than a commercial landscape maintenance company could.
    sjessen, Mdirrigation and hort101 like this.
  8. MowDaddy

    MowDaddy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,739

    Agree. Just want to know how they are doing it?
  9. Joe Shooner

    Joe Shooner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 264

    I think the point of publishing prices (in the instance you are discussing) is to show a prospect a truly impressive example of your work, and to give them a clear but broad range of costs that, coupled with the photos of the project, SHOULD make most people say "ok. this is serious business." and understand the type of investment that would be required to get that type of landscape, but understand that you aren't getting an actual price on the website.
  10. MNLawns

    MNLawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from MN
    Messages: 1,451

    good read

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