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Walking the ethics line


LawnSite Member
Was out tyring to drum up some business today. Stopped at a business and inquired about submitting a bid. The manager was interested. I asked about bid specifications. The manager than asked if I would like a copy of a competitors proposal. Naturally I accepted the copy.

Sitting here at home, looking at the competitions bid. I almost feel guilty. I could slightly underbid and probably land the account. But also wondering if the client handed me over the bid just so they would get a lower price. And if that is the case, I don't know if I want them.

What I find most useful, is seeing the way the competition is bidding jobs. Even though I feel a bit uneasy about it, I'll probably underbid it a bit. I'm hungry for work, and still trying to become established.


LawnSite Senior Member
That's exactly what the manager wants. You give a lower bid, then he lets the other guy know he has a lower bid then back and forth until one of you stops lowering the price.

It's Business! It's the way the world runs. Free enterprise, It's GREAT!


LawnSite Gold Member
It's a dog eat dog world ain't it????????
You didn't ask for it it was offered, maybe for a reason, maybe because the oferrer didn't know any better :)confused:), for whatever reason you are now armed with information you need to submit a bid on the property, do what you need to do. You may not be the only one thats going to happen to so don't be sad if things don't go your way! I had a property manager from a real estate company give me all the prices from the previous year once, I over bid every one of them and didn't get anything. I was hoping the others might raise their prices----------they didn't!


LawnSite Senior Member
NE Ohio
The manager gave it to so that he could have some leverage with the other company. Just think that if he did it to them he will do it to you next year. I would give my own bid and if it you get it good, if not you at least have some knowledge of what your competitors are charging. Plus you have their name/number to call them and tell them to raise their prices because of what the guy is doing.


LawnSite Bronze Member
Spring Hill, FL
This is one of the reasons I won't bid commercial properties. Had a friend of mine who also owned a lawn service, loose 1/4 of his monthly business because he was underbid by less than $100 on a large property. I don't want to have to live with that threat always hanging over my head. Commercial property managers are making whores out of a lot of lawn services. Just my .02, had to vent.


LawnSite Silver Member
Its a rareity when I am able to see a competitors bid, so I usually ask what they were paying the previous year for grounds care and 9 out of 10 times they throw a figure at me.

I never try to under bid the competiton. If the competitors price is comparable to what I would have charged I throw an added service in for the same price.

For instance, if they were having the pavement and walks trimmed every week, I offer to use a blade edger on the walks once per month for free. So instead of using a line trimmer the first week of the month I use the stick edger. (but he has a 3.5hp edging machine in his head)

Just a thought.


LawnSite Senior Member
Bid the job according to your pricing policy, whether it's less or more than the competition. As long as you understand your own job-costing that shouldn't be a problem, and there's no ethics question involved.

Don't just underbid the guy because you have his proposal. Your proposal will undoubtedly be handed to the other guy shortly after turning it in. Be a professional.

Having his proposal should help you to understand some of the pricing in your area, and can become a guideline in understanding your own pricing policies better. If you bid the job lower than your regular rate just to beat him out and get this one job then yes, you should feel guilty...



Moderator, Friend, Angel
South East
Thats incredible Homer! I have a real estate manager ride me around and show me the companies properties and then give me the price list of what the other LCO was doing it for. I bid the same thing the other LCO was doing it for lol. I didnt want to make LESS money than he was making just to get the account. He was making the correct amount anyway. Of course they never called me and the manager was probably pissed at me. Now as I look back on it though it would have been a great account to have. Some 20 properties. Kinda confusing. But i am not going to start lowballing and I surely think I am worth the same or more than the other company. The bottom line is dont let people play you into working for less than you are worth