When you under quote....

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by AL's, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. AL's

    AL's LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,047

    Or when something happens mid job that blows your numbers up and your working for free.

    Happened to me today. It sucks so bad man, backs sore as all. Didnt make a single cent.



    My first full day of 2018 and I'm already ready for the wknd!
  2. ltdlawn

    ltdlawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,318

    Ahhh you gained more experience!
    Bcoogan23, gardensnake, Steve and 2 others like this.
  3. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,167

    Figure in a cushion
    Fight the urge to “win bids”

    Vanderkoois mors bidding system
    Google it
    It’s worth it to learn it
    StratsRock and knox gsl like this.
  4. Matthews Lawn Care

    Matthews Lawn Care LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,195

    Well, your that much more experienced now.

    Years ago, when I 1st started, I landed this leaf removal job in town. 1/4 acre lot, nice house in a nice neighborhood. What I didn’t realize was there were 3 years of leaves matted down. There was a bunch of trees so I assumed it was just 1 seasons worth. Ha, that 4 hour job turned into 2, 8 hour days. Oh I felt stupid man, especially when the owner told me it was 3 years worth when he wrote me that check. That was the last time I assumed anything.

    When the dust settled I think I made $50 for 16 hours of work. That’s just a tad over $3/hr but I learned a valuble lesson that day. Always allow for the unexpected/unforseen. Like today, haha, went to pickup 3 yds of red mulch for a job on Saturday. Pulled in and guess what? They are completely out of bulk red mulch and they don’t know when they are getting more. So, I’ll be getting 45 bags tomorrow morning. I base all my mulch prices off bagged cost anyway, so I’m not really losing anything. It’s like a $30 diff in cost on 3 yds, no big deal.
    Bcoogan23, oqueoque and hort101 like this.
  5. La Chandler

    La Chandler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 181

    One more argument for charging by minute
  6. Mitty87

    Mitty87 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,346

    I had a few of those where I missed little things and ended up working 40 hours when I quoted 20 but still made sure to not try to rush the job.

    Now on a job with $5000 in labour I'll throw on an extra $500-1000 depending on how hard the job is to quote. I get less jobs but that feeling when you are working for $25/hr isn't worth it.
  7. Matthews Lawn Care

    Matthews Lawn Care LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,195

    Charging by the minute only works when you bid it correctly to begin with. In my case I bid that job @ $250, based on 4 hours. Unfortunatley, I hadn’t a clue that I was looking at 3 years worth of matted together leaves. To get it done I had to hire a guy and make like 10 trips to my dump area at the house, about 4 miles from the job. It doesn’t matter if you bid per minute, hour, etc., what matters is experience bidding the job. Generally you gain that experience by getting yourself in a mess.

    I did a backyard cleanup the other day. The people have 3 dogs that use the backyard. Had I not ran into something like this before I prob would have bid it at a competitive rate and then been pissed about the amount of dog fecies I would be walking in. Fortunatley, I had encountered this 1st hand and knew it would be disgusting, so I bid it accordingly. 2 hours worth of work, $215 bid. Needless to say, I was smiling while picking up sticks, blowing/raking leaves and cutting up a large limb that fell. I also didn’t offer a removal due to the amount of fecies back there. Everything got piled up in the middle of the yard and they will burn it when it’s convenient for them.

    Bidding is experience based. You can bid by whichever method you like but if you don’t have the experience to know what your looking at, your going to fond yourself in a mess eventually. It’s what you do with that lesson, that really matters. If you keep getting yourself into a mess, then your not learning from your past mistakes. Knowing when to say “ no thanks” or bidding it really high is a valuable tool. Most of the time underbidding is due to wanting/needing the work and overlooking key aspects of the job. Working for free a few times or for very little $ will teach you pretty quick.
  8. ltdlawn

    ltdlawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,318

    I think I just have one question. Did you give the estimate while owner was there?
  9. AL's

    AL's LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,047

    Everything would have been just peachy if the dump truck driver could have just backed up to the hole like he was supposed to.... but nooooooo. So had to rent a dingo to finish job and bye bye profit
  10. La Chandler

    La Chandler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 181

    Yes, but the point is, the client is at risk. My team is $2.50 a minute. How many minutes do you want? Then we're gone. Especially valuable for weekly work, as (1) you must know your profitable rate and (2) neither party is taken advantage of.

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