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Want the job here (be the last to bid)

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tacoma200, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,426

    It's becoming apparent that when I waste half a day with a customer and give them a bid on several properties that the last guy to give a bid usually gets it (I'm sure he didn't disclose my bid). I think from now on unless they are sealed bids or done in a more professional manner I will have them to seek other bids first before I give them mine (I'm talking about informal, causal bids given orally) I know my work is better, here are some cutting picks of the job(s) after I lost the bid. The cuts are Grasshopper and all mowers will leave blades marks here so I don't knock them for that but there is a lot of missed grass, uneven cut area's and clippings on top. No I don't get mad or bitter loosing a bid, I'm just trying to learn how I loose some to improve my bidding in the future. I don't try to price them too low, I would rather loose them than get stuck with underpaid jobs. I need to spend more time learning the business end of lawn care and how to work the good ole boy system. I'm plenty busy so it's no big deal but this is a weak area of mine if I want to grow one day. All Grasshoppers leave the micro clumps here so this is normal for a deck that cuts clippings very fine. I am friends with the guys that got the job so this isn't a meant to be negative toward them, I'm just saying I need to work on my presentation and bidding. These guys are better than me at bidding and they should be because they are larger and are a lot more experienced on the business end of things.

    Unless it's a field or open lot I won't leave clumps though.

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    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  2. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    YEah, they don't look too good. Even my little Cub would clean that place up without all the extra clippings.
  3. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,426

    I'm not mad, I just wasted half a day riding around with the guy that owns several properties just to figure that he would use my price to bargain with and give it to some one else. I'm learning is all I'm saying. Most of my customers are from out of state (they pay better) so I usually get out of bidding. But I don't want to be used or waste my time with customers needlessly. The guys that got the job are great guys and ambitious. It doesn't bother me that they got the job, I just want to learn to work smarter on the business end and I admit they are much better than me at this.

    Doing a good job and customer support has gotten me some great customers, as well as the trust I have built up with them (I have keys to many of the vacation homes). But on strictly business jobs where price is the factor, I'm not as competitive.
  4. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    Oh I understand what you meant by it. I feel the same way. I had one lady that I wasted at least 3-4hrs plus fuel to drive 30 miles to her house each time just to hear her say after talking, "OK, well let me think about it some more and I'll call you". After the fourth time, I told her I already gave you a price to do the job, do you want it done or not? I finally told her that I'm getting very busy and it will be awhile before I could do anything. Haven't heard from her again.
  5. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,067

    Ive learned to try not to be the first to bid. Ive also learned to give verbal estimates only.
    A nice formal bid on your logoed form only gives that potential customer a bargaining chip to drive down the other guys bid. And he will show it to them. Business isnt kind, especially this one.
  6. ericmcj31

    ericmcj31 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    that is a problem when dealing with a lot of homeowner-type jobs. The cut looks really bad-uneven, clumps left everywhere....unless the property was REALLY tall, I would give that guy the boot!-lol; but seriously-that sucks, but it happens, you just gotta get more aggressive in there.

    When I first started out I had people call me out to give them a proposal on their landscape only to find out that they just wanted some ideas, and had no intentions of spending $$$...I'm like am I just out here just to be a public servant??? I don't think so!!! Homeowners can be brutal and often times aren't ethical nor play by the (unspoken) rules. It sounds like you've found a niche so I wouldn't worry about it much.
  7. Two Seasons

    Two Seasons LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 791

    I think if you can get them to let your business service their own property first, then take them in your vehicle around to see your customers properties and talk with some of the owners, this usually seals the deal. Set a price you are comfortable with for that size property (their property) and stick to it.

    Obviously, you'll burn fuel and time shuttling them around to other sites you service. Be patient, body language speaks volumes! Let the prospect take their time with your existing customers, they enjoy that. Then do a follow-up the very next day with a $25 gift card pasted on your letterhead for the local BBQ or burger place TO BOTH THE EXISTING AND THE PROSPECT. Send it Fed Ex or UPS. Or another great gift of food are those fruit trees on a stick I'm seeing a lot of this year.

    Most people really don't enjoy the bidding process, be it boards or owners, so make it easy for them to chose your firm.

    Make sure you ask probing questions, then listen and write carefully. Also make sure that every time you meet with them you give them another business card too.
  8. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,186

    Looks like someone doesn't sharpen blades very often...
    Seriously I'm sick of estimates myself they waste my time, gas, etc then end up hiring someone with a lawn tractor ..lol
  9. Sammy

    Sammy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,734

    Looks like they mowed with dull low lift blades.

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