the 2011 low baller slamming ranting thread

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by David Gretzmier, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    You guys always say I am so calm, collected , reasonable, well this thread is not about that. The decision is not made yet, but...

    After doing a local commercial property up in bentonville for 4 years, the current lawn care company servicing the property has graciously offered to do the lights that I have been doing. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly lawn care companies race to the bottom of the profit margin on Christmas lights. I truly believe that they would do brain surgery for 22 bucks an hour if they could get the work. I can see it now- 200 buck training videos on off season tumor removal.

    what frustrates me more is the suggestions they make. how can you sell, install, takedown, and store, a 4 foot wreath for 100 bucks? remember, this includes the cord. what is the out of pocket costs for the cheapest lit 4 footer out there shipped? and further, this is on a very large building where we currently install a true 6 foot wreath with 36" bow and you must do it with a 40 foot ladder. It has looked beautiful for the last 4 years. now it appears it will look like a transparent cheerio up there.

    I currently tightwrap a tree there with about 1500 mini lights. they have also offered to do that for 100 bucks . The first year. purchase. install and takedown. and hey, it'll be less next year. seriously? Do people even do time studies on their own houses and trees and do the math before they go out and bid jobs? I am pretty sure they don't even know how many lights are on this tree and how much they cost! and hey, don't forget the 100 foot cord !

    So it seems I have to deal with yet another company to get loaded up with 60 or so customers at prices that if lucky they pay their guys labor and that's it. since they won't be able to buy any more trucks or warehouse space, eventually they will fill up and stop bidding.

    ok. I think I am done ranting. today.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  2. addictedtolandscaping

    addictedtolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 569

    Got one that has popped up around here doing the exact same thing Dave. When I scheduled the reason commercial last season, the rep told me she had talked with that group and that they were cheap as can be.

    I gave her specific examples of product, then showed her a video I found of them on you tube - they feature walmart lights etc. She then informed me that she felt they would secure alot of clients prior to me. I honestly told her, "more likely than not, the people that are going to use them, are not the ones I want to establish a RELATIONSHIP with any how. Then she asked me about RELATIONSHIP, very simple, I am not going to take the money and run, I am going to take their money year after year, I am going to address whatever issues arise with their display, etc. I am going to be here next year, not here this year, gone the next.

    We have it going on extensively here in the landscape industry. I have gotten to the point, I won't even advertise. The run out, buy a mower, trimmer and now the y are a landscaper. Frustrating did not even touch how aggravated I used t get.

    I would without question stay in contact with the client, They are used to your display, and have undoubtedly received compliment upon compliment, now, they are going to get a "transparent cheerio" - that's awesome I love it. I would be confident you will be hearing from that client.

    Best of luck my friend.
  3. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,753

    Good luck Dave, that crap happens here all the time.

    I cant tell you how many times an existing customer or potential customer has insinuated that I am basically a thief.

    I have written proposals for 1800 and had the local "just keeping my men busy" guy gives a quote for 300. Now I tried to explain that if it was the same service and I was making that much more than the other guy, we would not be talking right now because I would be at my house in the islands....

    If they go with Mr. Lowball, take a picture of that 1500 light branch wrap for $100, should look awesome....

    You will be surprised at how the customer is ok with the crap look just because its cheap, the same customer that broke your stones about 1 c-9 bulb out of 400 being out will now be ok with 40 being out all season.....
  4. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    SE Michigan is pretty rough..... but I got my first head scratcher of the year yesterday.....

    Bid $2000 on a job. Guy comes back and says the other two bids are $1500.. So I give the ol' "better quality items.. better service talk"........ He says "yes, I believe that is true, but can you do it for the $1500?"
  5. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,753

    Not a lowballer story, just a ignorant potential client....

    Gave a commercial estimate about 6 weeks ago, called to follow up and see if they had any questions...manager was rude to the point of damn near hanging up on me...

    Wasnt sure why I got the reaction I did, spent 2 hours on the estimate and had given them my high end presentation folder, etc...

    But then it came to light, they apparently thought I was trying to rip them off and only looked at the bottom line.

    I got a call from a landscaper we work with, they called him to put lights up, he has NEVER done it before, WTF? just start calling anybody to put up lights and pick the cheapest guy? I guess my presentation and experience doesnt mean crap..... I told my buddy that it was all parapet clips on the roof and he says what are they????

    At least my buddy is going to throw a higher number at them and tell them he really doesnt do lights and they should call a professional decorator...

    Is it that hard for a customer to understand that installing lights isn't just something anybody can do?? Obviously not:hammerhead:
  6. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,753

    Typical, I get that all the time on the lawn care side, the old " we want your superior service and results, but we want to pay your lowball competitors price"
  7. OP
    David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    the most difficult thing to swallow for me is once someone pays a lowballer price, they are poisoned forever. I rarely get folks moving up to me. They just pay a crazy low price for a year or so, get crappy service or product, then never pay anyone else. but folks do move down. and then out of the market.
  8. BPS##

    BPS## LawnSite Senior Member
    from WY
    Messages: 828

    I hate when that happens, but I am certain that at times the professed ignorance is a routine they use trying to flush information out of the wood work.

    It is super frustrating.

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