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Question for before bidding?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Firefighter Dave, Oct 2, 2002.

  1. Firefighter Dave

    Firefighter Dave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    Hi all...

    Question I have is:

    Can you ask a customer that has asked you to put in a bid for cutting next year what they paid the last company?

    The reason why I asked, I am almost sure they will use me. This will be a huge account. I know that the company gets anywhere from $850.00 to $1,300 a week. I don't want to under bid by a lot, but I know I will and can do it for less.



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  2. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    We have had perspective customers offer the information on how much they were paying without us asking.
    Problem is, unless you see an actual invoice, how can you be sure that the price was not lowered somewhat?
    So even though we were told a price, we didn't base our bid around it.
  3. Firefighter Dave

    Firefighter Dave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    So not to be pushy, would it be wrong to ask to see thier invoices from the last company?

    The other thing I for got to tell you guys is that they pay weekly too....


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  4. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,050

    If you think you can get an honest answer I might do it, but I think you should know what your costs are and how much you have to charge in order to make profit.

    Can you handle this account with the equipment that you currently have? Are you going to need extra help?

    It's nice to have a big account, the problem is if next year someone comes with a lower bid, you'll loose it.

    I would set a price for the whole year and make a contract, that should cover you in case it gets dry.
  5. Firefighter Dave

    Firefighter Dave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    So to try to get an honest answer, is it okay to see old invoices? Or is that tabu? I know I want to make a profit well over expenses, and I am sure I will since I don't rely on this as a primary job.

    I know I will need to buy an Exmark 52" Lazer HP next year, only if I get this account. And I have a co-worker who is going to help me next year.

    I know I don't want a contract. I still can't see making money for not working..... just my opinion. But again, this is not a primary income as I am sure it's important to others.


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  6. greenman

    greenman LawnSite Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    I usually ask if I fell comfortable around him/her. I submitted a bid on a commercial back in July and the guy told me I was a little lower than the previous guy. He showed me the guys contract to prove it and asked me if that amount would suit me better. I got that account:D what a sweet deal that was.
  7. nu83

    nu83 LawnSite Member
    from omaha
    Messages: 238

    If you have to buy a $9k mower for this job you had better get the contract in writing. Without a signed deal what happens when someone else tells them they will do it for less in the middle of next season. Also, there is a reason the company before you didn't do it for less, they most likely ran the numbers and couldn't so you probably can't either especially with your new equiptment costs. Trust me on this, estimate (high) all conceivable costs you will have with this account, not just while you are there but driving there. Think about insurance, paying for the new Z, paying off all of the equiptment you will be using, your truck payment, truck insurance, time spent billing, fixing mistakes, flat tires, maintnance on your equip. and truck, the list goes on and on. And don't forget your time. That is the variable that you determine, what is your time worth. Once you have a good idea of what it costs then you can give a bid based on your company doing the job, not the previous company. The only way knowing what the previous company charged helps you is checking to make sure your bid is within range, which isn;t really true because maybe the previous company was losing money.

    Good Luck
  8. whitleys

    whitleys LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 55

    I had one similar last year. Big job, tripled size of my operation. Based on reputation of our work, they handed me the bid of the current company. I walked & measured the facility and came up with my independant price. Was slightly higher than their present service. I told them I really wanted to provide the service but I needed my amount. They took it, I made good money on the job this year and have been invited back next year with the opportunity to increase the price if needed! Ask for what you need! If you don't get it; you really don't need the job.
  9. soccer coach

    soccer coach LawnSite Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 104

    I want to toss this in the mix. My buddy does a gas station chain in town. I think he said 6 places to mow mostly small but one very large. He has been doing this job for around 10 yrs. Every year the boss calls about the contract and wants it cheaper than the last year. My buddy told me he made over 400.00 more 10 yrs ago with one less property than he does now. Upon looking at this you might think what a idiot. Let me ask you this, what is the difference in him lowering or letting another lco come in with a lower price? Let me ask you this, do you ever give pay raises? Do you ever buy new equipment? Do you want to make more this year than last? If you answered yes to any of the above the industry needs to stop cutting the throat of the last guy and add to the last price not cut it. Think about this. A job pays 3000.00 for the year. Every year the owner finds someone to do it for 500.00 less. 3 yrs. after doing for half price and paying more for your help as well. I know that most have little background in accounting but I think most will understand this is bad. Don't worry if they called you they want you period. If price was the bottom line they would have some old man running around with a garage sale mower that changes his shirt once a week and has 5 teeth in his head. :dizzy:
  10. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    it s a fact that a lot o things suppose to happen a certain way but dont.
    that the free enterprise system finding
    the true value .
    as to asking about another lcos bid.
    nope ,sure wouldnt. thats not the way its suppose to work . theres another
    suppose to.:)

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