You win some you lose some

Discussion in 'Bidding, Estimating and Pricing' started by Steve, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. Steve

    Steve LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from NE FL
    Messages: 1,649

    My last 3 quotes were interesting. I got 1 out of 3, #2 is pending, and #3 is a definite no and I'm ok with that.

    Potential #1. Thursday night I get a text from a lady saying she seen me on Nextdoor and that I do lawn work, wants me to check her yard out meet with her. I tell her that I bill in advance and I only accept check or CC and if she is ok with that I will schedule. Never replies back so I ask Friday morning if she wanted me come for a quote. She says no and proceeds to tell me that she found that offensive, she's a 58 year old woman with excellent credit and says she will follow through with appointments she already made. I said OK, and I meant no offense and explained my reasoning. I found a comment she posted on Wednesday in response to somebody looking for lawn care, "Unfortunately I keep looking for someone just to do basic maintenance on my yard and can't seem to have someone who can keep their same schedule and attend to my yard as if it were their own so I wish you a lot of luck."

    Potential #2. Saturday, lady calls wanting service, tell her prepayment check or cc only. She says not a problem see you Tuesday. I show up, she tells me her guy hasn't come around in a while and he not responding to calls/texts. She has a large yard, about 1/3 of an acre of turf on corner lot, about 800' of edging, some hedges taking about 5 minutes, and non mulched beds in the front and back yard wants to keep leaves out. So I bid for 41 visits a year and eow bed raking and bid $200/month. She cringed when she heard that and I'll be honest I did too as I have never gone that high bidding. She says that was about $70 more than what she is paying now. I said ok, I can rake the beds once per month so now your price is $160. She still questioning this price so I ask her how much she was paying before, I think she said $130/$135. I was like yeah I can't do that. $160 firm. She then ask well can you do $150? Told her no because if I was just mowing only you have a $45/cut yard and that equates to $153/monthly for 41 visits. Then she brings out the big guns and ask "well how much biweekly and maybe once per month in winter?" Sigh, $130/month when there are 2 visits per month and $175 when there are 3 visits.

    I later consult with another lawn guy I am friends with on FB and long story short based on pics he would have been around $170. So being I was at $160 I feel a little more comfortable with my bid compared to what a successful guy with 3 employees would have bid.

    Continuing on with this post, yesterday I tweaked my Nextdoor personal profile to make it look like a business profile. Bam, it works.

    Potential #3. They see my ad on Nextdoor and I get a call. Current lawn guy quit showing up. During the bidding and talk, I accidentally overbid and went $135. They said their current guy is $105. This is a corner lot and I tell them yeah I can't do that. So they tell me they have another guy coming to quote also. I leave and go about my business and I started thinking something didn't sound right. Called the lady and said hey I gave you wrong price, I meant $125. She said she see ya on April 3rd for the 1st cut.

    Later in the evening I get on Nextdoor and simply reply to my ad "Thank you Mrs. X I look forward to doing business with you." Even though she never commented on it, I did and it bumps my post to the top of the feed.

    An hour later I get a PM on Nextdoor. "I live in Bent Creek and we're looking for an outstanding company to maintain our yard please give me a call XXX-XXXX Anytime tomorrow after 8 a.m." It's potential #1! :laugh:
    Thinking what kind of response would do the least amount of damage against me I reply back "Ms. XXXXXX, I will have to decline as you have already declined my services this past weekend. Best wishes to you. Steve."

    Going back to potential #2, I feel like that's a perfect example of the doing something wrong if you get every bid, doing something right if you don't get every bid. However, if she does happen to call me back, not sure if I even want to take her. Maybe take her until I can replace her with a more dependable customer?? What's your thoughts?

  2. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 11,652

    I have been in this business a long time. Everything thing you have will have to be repaired and eventually replaced some day. Knowing what I know now, I sure would NOT feel bad about your bids. I would not cut my prices all that much. I would not be concerned too much about what they were paying. No sense working for free.
  3. Mark Stark

    Mark Stark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 538

    So you have a potential customer that complains about their current guy not showing up and not answering calls/texts. They go on and on about how their current guy doesn't do this & doesn't that.

    You tell them your price and they say "well my last guy was cheaper".

    It's frustrating but I now tell them something like "Your last guy was cheaper because he did a poor job and doesn't show up. I could charge the same amount if you want that same level of service but I know that you want a real company, a professional company and as such, we need to charge accordingly".

    If saying that doesn't solve their "sticker shock"....well, you can't fix stupid!
  4. Jeff@diyokc

    Jeff@diyokc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 111

    Steve, glad to hear this! Like Charles. I’ve been at this a long time, and couldn’t agree more with his post

    Mark is also correct, people never understand why the last guy was cheaper. Most of the time, they have no clue about the reality’s and costs ( both time and money) of running a business! Good luck this year! Jeff
    Charles and hort101 like this.
  5. BigJlittleC

    BigJlittleC LawnSite Fanatic
    from Chicago
    Messages: 5,709

    Some people are just plan old tight wads with their money. Happens all the time to me last guy did it for this. Well then if you were happy with the last guy you wouldn't be calling me. Other times people think we should be pitching woo to get them. They think that we are waiting around just for them to call so we can go to work.

    Got this email today..

    Ok, thanks for the info. We were paying $22/week last year and could continue with our current service at $25/week. We will be passing on your company.
    Jeff@diyokc and hort101 like this.
  6. EricC

    EricC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 460

    I realize it's not mowing season, which I thought would be a good time to contact people, 4 emails and 4 phone calls to 4 companies. 1 responded to let me know they were landscape only. If I had looked at their website closer I would have known. But they were good enough to respond.

    I checked the rest, they're all mowing and lawncare. Not a single returned message. So I just bought a new mower instead. There's good and bad customers and providers everywhere.

    Good for you guys though passing on cheapskates. Eventually their cheap guys will grow up into a real sustainable company and charge more, or they'll continue with subpar work and constant rotations of new guys every season because the cheap stuff doesn't last.
    hort101 and Jeff@diyokc like this.
  7. Mark Stark

    Mark Stark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 538

    Those are almost the most annoying. Its like "uhhh ok, what are you trying to tell me?" What I'm taking away is that your a person with nothing better to do with your time than try to "score" a better deal on stuff to the tune of a few bucks a week.

    No relationship building....Simply wasting time to try and grind people down to the absolute lowest price. Everything else be damned.

    Then, many of those customers will be the FIRST to say "minimum wage needs to be higher". Well here's a funky idea...Why don't YOU put your money where your mouth is and pay people are better wage?? Frustrating to say the least.
    LPSiowa and Jeff@diyokc like this.
  8. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,390

    thanks for the nextdoor idea. i'll give that a try and see if it works.
    Steve and Doc8406 like this.
  9. hal

    hal LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Georgia
    Messages: 1,335

    Nextdoor, here at least, is nothing but facebook locally, more gossip than anything else.
    weeze and Doc8406 like this.
  10. Greencuts518

    Greencuts518 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,432

    Lots of gossip here too, but nextdoor got me the majority of my work last year. Not sure how long it will last

Share This Page