Very confused right now.......

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Barefoot Landscaping, Jan 5, 2002.

  1. Barefoot Landscaping

    Barefoot Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I need help....I just joined this forum a couple days ago to meet new business contacts and to get some help, but all I see are people complaining about lowballers and such. Being a new busineww owner, how do I build a customer base without lowballing and making other companies mad. I have been to college at Clemson University and York Technical College for horticulture, landscape design, etc, etc....and I carry all the insurance and licenses that I am required too....I am very confused right now and could use some feedback. I want to succeed in my business, but I am starting to become afraid of some of the things that are being said on this forum. Thank you in advance.
  2. Lawn Dog2001

    Lawn Dog2001 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,033

    Set your prices however you want to and dont worry about what anyone says about it. Everyone has an opinion, that dosn't mean every opinion is correct.

    If I priced my lawns as high as some of the people here I would lose half of my accounts. Some people have astronomical prices. Then every time they lose an account they cry lowballer! Its no good to be a HIGHBALLER either.

    Everyones area is different. Some can get a higher rate for there services. Some cannot. The best thing for you to do is figure out what your areas going rate is. A $25 minimum is a good place to start.

    Good luck to you in you business.
  3. I agree with lawndog 2001 dont worry what other guys think
    Here where im at rates very from village to village
    One village might have millionaires the other might have upper middle class and one might have working class and some have a combination .We target the upper neigborhoods but still have a fair percentage of people who are willing to pay good but dont what the extras like aeration overseeding and fertilizeing.
  4. Guardian

    Guardian LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 269

    No direct competitor is going to be "happy" with your success -BUT is very possible to start/grow a business without ticking everyone off. If you research your market and determine what rates people pay for the services you plan to offer, then you can compete without lowballing. If a neighborhood goes for $35/cut, you can offer the same general price, but maybe with an initial discount ( % off first visit, to demo yourself) Most of us just don't want to see you offer $20/cut and therefore lower the value of what we can all make in that area. Your goal, after all is to offer "as good 0r Better" service, so YOU should at least earn the "going rate".

    Commercially, you need to begin a relationship with a property management company. Find out how to get on their "Contractor list" so you can be invited to bid on upcoming properties. Again, find out what those kind of properties go for and bid within that range. Dont fool yourself into believing you can do a $2000/mo Condo for $1200. You can't - and the property Mgr knows you can't. They will view you as a company with LITTLE experience in bidding & servicing big jobs.

    Flyers, "cold calling" small business (Suit up and be your own Sales Rep), and "small" yellow page ads all work.

    Good Luck
  5. lawncare

    lawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    Different people have different terms when it comes to whose a lowballer as such my meaning is someone who underbids me on a job. And when i ride by to see the quality its not as good as mines ive been doing this for about 15 years and i will lowball someone if i think i can do a better job then what i see and raise the price on something else i may do for them if they like the quality of my work. As for price setting me myself i start my price at 40 bucks but if someone calls or ask for a quote i negotiate because if i can i wont turn down any money because that 1 cust may lead you to something bigger i know that from xperience no matter what you see in hear no 1 pays your bills but you and if that mean being call a lowballer so let it be. xperience is the best teacher. do a search on the topics you not sure on and u will learn a lot.
  6. Twotoros

    Twotoros LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 494

    If you are paying all personal and business taxes plus your business expenses you get to take home 30% if you are lucky. Do you want 30% of 25.00 or of 30. or of 35.$? Do you want to work 40 hours for 400.00 take home or would you prefer 50 hours for 425. or perhaps 60 hours for 500.?
    Do you want to replace worn out equiptment in two - three years or fold because you can't afford it?

    That's the way I see it but I could be wrong.
  7. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    One of the reasons you see complaining here is because this is a safe place to do it. Guys from all over the country can cry in their beer together without too much fear of local reprocussions that would affect their business. This is a better place to do it than say with your equipment dealer who might be selling to the exact people that are lowballing you. So, take the complaining here with a grain of salt. Yes there are valid points being made but if you met most of the members 'on the street' I doubt that it would be a negative conversation. Keep reading and you'll find that most members love what they do and by March they are eager to get back outdoors again.
    Welcome to Lawnsite.
  8. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517

    I agree with the previous posts.

    You can only charge what the market will bare. You need to find out what the going rate is in that area. You may be able to charge a bit more by offering special attributes. In the begining, it is always the temptation to undercut to get business. If you feel that you must go lower to attract customers, you have to do what you have to. There are ramifications in doing this though. You can end up with a type of adverse selection, where you get those who do not care about quality, and will go with the cheapest regardless. These are usually the customers that you do not what as they will probably dump you for a cheaper guy, and they are probably the type who will not want the extra services like aerations, landscape work and such. They usually are the ones most likely to complain in my experience.

    I think many are do not care for the lowballer because of their threat to bring down the going rate prices. That is probably what you see from most speaking against low ballers. I know guys who charge 25 to 30 percent less per lawn then I do on the same type yards, and I myself may be a bit lower then going rate. These guys pick up a lot of lawns in a hurry, but I can predict that most if not all will go out of business in the next couple years. What is the result? Those folks will be looking for lawn companies, and expecting to pay $15 for a $25 lawn. It can be a vicious cycle.

    Try to get customers who are willing to pay for quality. Sell them on quality, and produce it. Have good comunication with them, make them think of you as a friend, not the lawn guy. They will not likely leave you for the guy who is $5 less, because they know you and care about you. You will probably care for them, and the returns will be refferals of gold.

    Do what you have to do, but treat your customers like gold and you will have good customers.

  9. KDJ

    KDJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 325

    I have been reading this board for a short time and find there is a lot of good information here, also a lot of BS.
    It's always a lowballer's fault when they make a bad call and if you cross them they will tell you what a big state wide business they have........... so on and so on.
    Remember your on the net and may be talking to a 12yr old for business advice LOL!!!! Most people of high business achievement will not hangout on this board for hours at a time.

    If you are starting out I would say to lowball the first 20-30 people you get. These people you will not have a year from now.
    Once you have done that start looking for better yards that pay more. (ok) Then when you have too many yards to keep up with drop the low priced ones while replacing them with better paying ones. If you do that over and over you will have the best yards in town.$$$$$$ Always do the best work you can do and never leave grass in the street.

    PS. use your commonsense, thats the best advice I can give.
  10. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    you mean, u r NOT SUPPOSED TO leave clumps of grass in the street? ughhh, no wonder my customers hate me.

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