What a low baller means, dont hate me for describing this....

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by soloscaperman, May 8, 2008.

  1. soloscaperman

    soloscaperman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,054

    Low baller is everyone even by 1 cent. We all have our opinions, pricing, time, and quality. Its how we see it. To some people $40 bucks means more or (alot) then some people see the lawn bein worth $50-60. Matters if you can afford to charge that price. If you have alot of over head then fix that problem. I don't call it low ballin if you have 8 people in the same block next to each other I call that a discount because there is less driving time, less wasting time, and less gas. To some people 10 bucks means alot or not. If you have alot of over head its your faught because now you have to charge more to lower it. It matters how much you wanna make. In this business you can't be greedy. Its like sales and you gotta sell yourself and provide all services so the customer doesn't have to shop around and search. If you charge alittle less then sell accessories like trimming bushes, mulching, weeding, edging, planting and so on.

    If you have alot of bills like the house, putting your kids in college, wife stays home and doesn't work, have to pay for food, repairs, loans, equipment loans, you have to either be efficient while keeping quality or charge more or Joe smuck that is 15 years old that is spoiled by his parents has a truck and a mower for free and has no bills can charge less and still make more money then you!!! Time, age, quality, equipment, debt, gas, it takes a big affect. But im only 24 and ive been in this business for 3 years but I payed for everything I have and no one help me but me.
  2. Lawn-Sharks

    Lawn-Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 912

    No matter how much you try to teach people business, They will never see you point. the definition of lowballers now days seems to be someone that simply charges less than you or doesn't have as nice as equipment as you! to each is own i guess. Good post thou.
  3. JFF

    JFF LawnSite Member
    Messages: 248

    There seems to be a lot of talk about lowballing around here.

    I would say the people who are looking for a low price are just not your target customers. In the long run, you are better off without them. I tell my customers up front I am expensive, then explain the advantages of using my services. If price is their main concern, I am better off moving along and letting them find someone to do cheap basic service. I tell them I have 0 % doubt they can beat my price. And I don't.

    We will never get to a "standard rate" in this line of work, and if we tried, it would be illegal price fixing. Figure out how much it is worth to you to do this kind of work and charge accordingly.

    I am not trying to mow the entire city. Let the "lowballers" have the dry, overgrown, zeroscaped "crapgrass" lawns covered in toys and dog poop and gravel. I will take the irrigated, well designed showplaces where people understand the investment they have made in their landscape and want the best possible outfit maintaining their investment.

    Outfits that just mow, blow, and go are not my competition.
  4. escient

    escient LawnSite Member
    Messages: 105

    You sir, are incorrect.

    Anyone with a mower, even a 21" Craftsman - is your competition.

    a HUGE chunk of my business is mow, blow and go. And in FL, my average customer's home is $450K. I mow, blow and go 11 weeks, then mow, blow, go and bushes one week. I leave the fertilizer to someone else, because I'd rather not waste my gas troubleshooting every customer's lawn for what they think is a fungus, crabgrass, etc. In the long run, I assure you I make more money off the mow, blow and go because when it's all said and done, it's a lot easier to charge $35 per and do 4 in an hour then try and get $140 out of every res. property for an hour's work.

    And the second you think that the VAST majority of your customers aren't concerned about price - you've started to go out of business. Either you'll drop out of it like a seasonal lowballer or you'll have to re-adjust your thinking and become one.

    I have no doubt that if you actually tell a potential customer that "I am expensive" and that you "have no doubt they can beat your prices" - you're not even getting half of your potentials.

    People care about price, period. Some more than others. But you can be certain if 2 gas stations next to each other are priced .30 cents a gallon apart, all things being equal - the higher station is empty at the pump.

    Granted, your "wealthier" clients don't care 'as much' about the price as they do about the service, however, don't ever kid yourself into thinking that they are naive. There's a reason they got "wealthy" to begin with. And it's not by hiring a bunch of people do work for them who admit up front that they are expensive.
  5. Bennett scape

    Bennett scape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 201

    You also must set aside money for ever quote you give to people. I figured it would cost me around $49 for 1 hour of work this is how I figured it out with estimates given.
    1 hour acre job
    $4 gas for mower
    $3 gas/mix blower&weedeater
    $3 mower maintenace
    $15 vehicle gas
    $1 vehicle maintenance
    $20 labor/wage
    $3 two stroke machine maintenance

    So I figured small yard for $35-$45 3/4 acre $55-$65 1 acre $75 on up. Of course all quotes are negotiable as well as all my other services basically every garden and estate maintenance practice. But the above prices are for mow trim and blow only.:walking:
  6. soloscaperman

    soloscaperman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,054

    [I]Outfits that just mow, blow, and go are not my competition.
    Reply With Quote


    You have a point and then you don't. Anyone that cuts the first blade of grass is competiton. You know why? Because I bet you started off like that and look where you are. Same with me now I do seeding, mulching, planting and flower bed designs. we all mowed dog poop at least once in our life. But then you kinda have a point but it only works if the customer is anal about the lawn and if the lawn is like two acres and the home is worth a million bucks. Every town is different. Were are like insurance companies customers get new prices without even telling you and the insurance guys low ball I went through 6 insurance companies and they all low balled and geico won just by 22 bucks. At a certain stage a customer wants to "see" how much cheaper they can go and they might save a couple bucks but there will be that stick that has been sittin in that lawn for months, they dont care about that stick because its money more noticeable in there wallet then quality of the lawn that has a stick sittin in the back yard that most customers wouldnt notice if you get what im sayin.
  7. davidcentralflorida

    davidcentralflorida LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80


    first i think everyone likes a deal. that said i think that most folks want what they want at the cheapest price. fine, someone may cut your grass for less than i want to do the work, but are they going to be there next month, in two months, next year?
    basically, i do not take customers that have lawn service. period. i have told potential customers to talk to their existing service, if they have issues. if they cant resolve them, fire them. then we will talk about my service. no price at this stage. the same integrity that keeps me coming back week after week, keeps me from soliciting someone elses customers. i have it, some dont. they may take a few of my customers, il deal with it somehow. but il sleep at night knowing i didnt stoop to stealing customers from someone else.
    so if a definition of lowballing is the question, character is the bottom issue, not a few bucks either way on price. those cheap guys will come and go, and the sun shines on the just and unjust. show some class, good customers will recognize it. david
  8. Lawn-Sharks

    Lawn-Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 912

    Well said...
  9. JFF

    JFF LawnSite Member
    Messages: 248

    Well, as I said, I don't expect to sell every estimate I give. And by the time most people call me, they are tired of having to hire a new lawn service every season because they went out of business, or didn't keep up with the detail, or they could not identify shrubs, weeds, insects or diseases.

    If price is the only thing people care about, why don't we all drive a Yugo? Why doesn't everyone change their own oil? Why doesn't everyone live in a mobile home? Sure, there are people who are concerned about price first, but not everyone feels that way.

    There are a lot of people out there doing lawns you would not want cooking you a hamburger, let alone helping care for your most expensive investment, and where they spend a majority of their time.

    And yes, after the fact I have had people try someone who quoted them a cheaper price. They figure I have everything straightened out, so someone else should be able to maintain it. But 9 times out of 10, they come back because paying less usually translates into a lower level of service.

    Do you really think there is only way to go about making money in horticulture?

    Again, I don't feel threatened by anyone. There is enough work to go around. Tons of new properties being built every day around here. I don't need them all. Am I saying you should see things the way I do? Not at all. Just saying this is what works for me.
  10. escient

    escient LawnSite Member
    Messages: 105

    Very well said...

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