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ProCut TM
03-16-2010, 08:16 PM
I am so sick of this s*** I want to shoot someone in the face.

I have a low baller infiltrating one of my neighborhoods that I have the majority of. There is no way they are making any money by under cutting the deal I have worked out with the HOA.

There is plenty of grass for all of us WHY must people low ball. I am going to start reporting ALL uninsured unlicensed WANNABEs. I've had enough!

Steve
03-16-2010, 08:21 PM
What has been going on with this situation? Have they been trying to take your customers?

Do you have a contract with the hoa? Don't they require insurance?

ProCut TM
03-16-2010, 08:24 PM
yes I do the HOA, but each home owner is free to choose whoever they want or cut it themselves

lawn mowering
03-17-2010, 08:51 AM
I dont know how at least for me How to get any let alone alot of customers without "lowballing" where I am at I had a choice to let my business hit the gutter of try to beat their price, of coarse if you know a different way?

ringahding1
03-17-2010, 09:28 AM
NO LOW-BALLING! ! PERIOD! ! and NO SHOOTING ANY 1 in the face! ! LOL

Seriously man....move on! You have a great website...clearly know what your doing, and believe me...."What goes around comes around" in other words, go to their neighborhoods...if you need to take a day off , follow them....DO IT! That's how I got a couple jobs snatched from me....but guess what...without even knowing, til just recently, I've been plowing this winter, 2 of their commercial accounts and will now be taking over the lawn care service....so patience my BROTHA! !

CHEESE2009
03-17-2010, 10:17 AM
Sometimes it's not even lowballers, it's dishonest potential customers.

"The last guy did it for $x" such horse crap.

I don't blame them for trying to negotiate, but it really irritates me.

Freaks.


HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY Y'ALL!!!! LOL:D

racerdude711
03-17-2010, 11:44 AM
Well I have to say that I do not charge quite as much as you "big guys". I wouldn't consider it low balling, but I do charge less in order to beat you guys. I'm 17, so I don't have nearly all the expenses you guys have, (family, house, kids, ect.), so I use it to my advantage. I'm still making money when I charge $5-10 less than you. If I wasn't making money, or very little at that, I definetly wouldn't be doing this.

For the average sized lawn, I charge about $30. Most of the big companies around here would easily be $38-45. Im in Nebraska, so I think our yards are a bit bigger than more populated states.

But if you were in my shoes, you would be doing the same thing. It's business. I don't have nearly the expenses, so I can easily afford to cut my prices and win the customer. And, "low balling" as you guys love to call it, helps me build up my clientele so further up the road, when I do expand my business, and expenses rise, my customers won't have a problem paying more when they know that I'm extremely professional and do a good job.

mharbert
03-17-2010, 05:17 PM
Clients that go for lowballers aren't after professional services... They would settle for any school age child on the street, obviously. Give it time and they will need professional services after the lowballer messes up, hits something, ect.

Calm your emotions too ProCut.. Don't you think that people can google your company name and read this stuff? “That guy sounds unstable" would be the first thing that comes to my mind if I was a potential client. Remember this is a public area.. Call a buddy to vent, don’t post stuff like that here. (write Steve and see if he’ll take it down for you.. then send him a donation for saving your business) .. Think professional, because stuff like that won’t get you hired either.

Follow up with the clients in a month after you notice the job isn't getting done professionally. Make yourself better than him.

I challenge you to do this:
Competition is good. Call him and ask to do lunch. Share with him what Lowballing does for this industry. If he is uninsured, educate him. Heck you could solve all your problems by reaching out to the guy who just doesn't know how to estimate.. We all need money to live, help him develop his skills and he won't be outbidding your clients... He'll be your buddy.

By helping him, you help yourself. Keep your head up and talk to him soon! read up on Steve materials about lowballing and have some posts to stand on when you meet up with him. Be kind to him.. Buy his meal.. present things to him in a positive mannor..
I once was in your shoes
Is there any questions I can help you with to get started? Are you and LLC.. I'm sure you have insure thought, right?
___ didn't work for me b/c...
Lets discuss your hourly rate.. $xx is the standard for our area.. what are you going to charge? Why that low? Don't you do a professional job?

ProCut TM
03-17-2010, 06:30 PM
I do almost the whole neighbor hood 18+ houses I cut them a deal $5 below my minimum monthly cost plus free hedge trimming added in. At the rate I charged there is no way that somebody driving in to do 1 or 2 lawns and under bidding me is making money.

The only reason to low ball is because someone that doesn't know their costs is doing it. That is a mighty stupid reason.

psparaco
03-17-2010, 06:38 PM
I've been accused last year of lowballing but you know what. every single company whether is a 1 man show or 200 man show all have expenses that vary greatly. multiple employees means more crews trucks, equipments, massive amounts of fuel. i have a 2 man show. 3-4 pieces of equipment and very low fuel expense. my preventive maintence is all tied into my prices. i was told i should be charging 20 dollars more for these properties i did estimates on and honestly. its only me. 20 a cut, trim and blow for under 1,000 sq ft is reasonable. charging someone 40 or 60 is highway robbery. even the home owner agreed with me. the only reason they went with the other guy was lack of options to go with anyone else. they saw my flyer and called me up and fired them and hired me. the other guy had multiple crews. larger equiment. probably a higher expense to operate. my expenses are 75-200 a week which is mainy fuel. the rest of monthly expenses like maintenance and what not. i havent got insurance yet but thats coming and even still. my prices wont change. prime example also last year. a high school kid had 3 yards and charged like 10 and 15 per cut. he didnt trim or cleanup. the yard was 10 times worse looking after he left than before he came there. he cut the yards very low. did a half a** job. The home owners fired him and hired me for more money and why cause i did a great job and took pride in making their yard look as it if was my own. i cut it fairly higher to promote a healthier lawn. i trimmed, edge and cleaned up. i left the yards looking exactly as it was when i got there except it was cut right. A customer will pay for quality service. but remember everyone just cause your charging a higher rate than someone else do not make the other guy a LOWBALLER. each company's rates are based on their expenses. everyone's are all different.

ProCut TM
03-17-2010, 06:43 PM
I dont know how at least for me How to get any let alone alot of customers without "lowballing" where I am at I had a choice to let my business hit the gutter of try to beat their price, of coarse if you know a different way?

My company is not that big I can still handle it alone. Yes everyone starts with lower prices, but this is because they don't know any better not because they have to.

Take this into consideration and know your costs:
vehicle: payment, fuel, insurance, registration, maintenance
business: license, insurance, marketing, payroll, health, w.comp (3.49%)
taxes: unemployment (2.7%), income (25%), sales (7%), self employment (15%), fica (7.65% paid per employee and matched by company), fed (.8%)
Equipment: payment, fuel, oil, maintenance, wear items

I'm sure I'm missing a bunch, but you get the idea. This is not an industry just filled with school kids and the parents push mower like some people want to treat it.

I'm considering hiring a couple of guys to run the day to day and just go out and get myself a job.

Steve
03-17-2010, 07:17 PM
You can also battle this with marketing that educates the consumer.

If they hire an uninsured contractor, they can be held liable for any damage that contractor causes to themselves or others.

For instance, use a part of this article in a flyer to promote the dangers of hiring an uninsured contractor and then at the bottom of your flyer you can promote you are fully insured and the proper choice.


Homeowner’s Association & Property Manager Gets Sued Because of Unlicensed Contractor (http://lawvibe.com/homeowners-association-property-manager-gets-sued-because-of-unlicensed-contractor/)

Here is another example.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3898/is_199806/ai_n8803392/

ProCut TM
03-17-2010, 07:55 PM
good stuff Steve.

XtreemGreen
03-17-2010, 09:44 PM
Hey John, now you know what I deal with in my area..

picframer
03-18-2010, 07:53 AM
John, that is tough and I know it makes our blood boil however what saved us last year and I see it coming again this year is to offer services the others are not and get the equipment to do it. Lawn mowing here is going to be a desperate hard sell again this year, my attitude is if we get it fine, if not such is life, I am not dropping my prices, I simply can't, it's cheaper to leave the mowers at home and do something else.

I have contacted all our mowing clients, we picked up a lot late in the season, all but three will be back, one gentleman was placed in a nursing home and two have moved elsewhere although we will still do their spraying, that leaves us with just over 90 which is fine with me.

I guess we just have to wait them out and let the fold, however there are more new guys coming on this year than I have ever seen, my one advantage is the gear we run and the presentation and condition, we tend to target the upper end and if an old truck or trailer rolls in with gear fit for a junk yard, I know from feedback of clients, the company or person is dumped, some don't care but in my case most do.

CHEESE2009
03-18-2010, 08:10 AM
Craigslist.com is a joke.

I'm the only one currently advertising these services, it's very interesting!

Some guy made a post way too early.. didn't even leave a phone number.

Another guy's headline, "VERY CHEAP"... tsk tsk.... At least write, "Inexpensive"... lol

I'm tracing this other guys phone number, trying to figure out where he's coming from.

Stalkerrrr time lmao. ;)

ProCut TM
03-18-2010, 08:42 AM
I'm tracing this other guys phone number, trying to figure out where he's coming from.

Stalkerrrr time lmao. ;)

get'em Breeze :D

Gotalgae
03-18-2010, 10:39 AM
Craigslist.com is a joke.

I'm the only one currently advertising these services, it's very interesting!

Some guy made a post way too early.. didn't even leave a phone number.

Another guy's headline, "VERY CHEAP"... tsk tsk.... At least write, "Inexpensive"... lol

I'm tracing this other guys phone number, trying to figure out where he's coming from.

Stalkerrrr time lmao. ;)

Read a CL post other day... guy will use his own chainsaw and brush cutter to clean up your yard and chop up trees for $12 an hour. He also offered pressure washing services. I emailed him for a copy of his insurance and license and he sent me a premium payment coupon from 2008.

lukus223
03-18-2010, 11:33 AM
In my area our big problem is saturation. We have SOOOOO many guys out doing this kind of work. I have a day job and probably see 8 - 10 different LCOs out every day on my way to and from work (40 min round trip).

I have found that if someone is looking for the cheapest price, they will find it. My best contacts have come from people I know or know of me. If they want to swap out for a LB, fine with me. I plan on focusing more on commercial this year anyway.

CHEESE2009
03-18-2010, 12:30 PM
I'm as annoyed as the next guy.

My area is a place where there isn't enough grass for everyone.

It's really cut throat.

I have 11 undecided customers from last year who are driving me up the wall. I really do NOT have patience, I know it's still early, but damn.

1. Lady wants to hire the guy who does her snow removal.

2. Lady was supposed to sell her house, that didn't work out, yet she still hasn't updated me on the situation & will not contact me. (cheap lady)

3. One customer is too annoying to do, though I called her a few seconds ago just to get what I can, no answer. That's good enough for me. (she pushes her business on me, tries to get me to join a scam)

4. One guy bought a new house not far from me, but his current one didn't sell yet. He has no idea which house he wants me to maintain this season, very frustrating. (I like him, but common frig)

5. One lady has not responded to my phone calls/business card. I left her a message on her machine too.

6. One guy is pretending he hasn't received my flyer or business card, though he said I should call him later tonight.. Probably after he blocks my number. That's the vibe I'm getting.

7. One guy has the title for least expensive lawn, yet he will get back to me in a couple of days. (if he hires me it'll probably be half way through the season, a55head)

8. One guy I'm waiting to get a hold of, & he's never home, not the type of person to give me a call. Ever. I really have to CATCH him to talk.

9. One family friend customer agreed on my services, yet he hung up without giving me the address & now I can't get a hold of him.

10. One customer dropped of the face of the earth.

11. One of them is requesting me to lower my price a good $40.00/month.

I never thought 11 customers would aggravate me so much.

I also hate when they lie, or give false hope.

"I'm for sure with you next season" my arse! Stop making my life complex!

I'd rather them just call & say, "I wont be taking you this season" done! At least then I can get my routes done.

ProCut TM
03-18-2010, 05:25 PM
Read a CL post other day... guy will use his own chainsaw and brush cutter to clean up your yard and chop up trees for $12 an hour. He also offered pressure washing services. I emailed him for a copy of his insurance and license and he sent me a premium payment coupon from 2008.
it's easy to work that cheap when your equipment is stolen and you're just looking for your next crack rock
LOL

Gotalgae
03-18-2010, 05:52 PM
it's easy to work that cheap when your equipment is stolen and you're just looking for your next crack rock
LOL

lol yup my thoughts exactly

jdagley
03-18-2010, 06:30 PM
I am not a lawn care guy. Have no interest in it, I refer my customers to a legit guy that refers work to me. Why am I on this forum, I dont know. But what irritates me is when a "DO IT ALL" lawn care guy (95% of all lawn companies around my area) claim to know it all and specialize in landscaping and irrigation yet 99% could not tell you what a boxwood or a RPZ Backflow Devise is. THATS MY TWO CENTS.

ONE MORE THING IS... Lawn care guys who apply pesticides (bug killer for those who dont know) and herbicides (weed killer for those who dont know what a herbicide is) with no license or insurance tick me off!!! I am licensed in everything I do and play 100% legal and legit. Been doing it for 15 years with this being my first year DEBT FREE. TIME TO GROW!!!!

LATER

psparaco
03-19-2010, 12:44 AM
SPEAKING OF LOWBALLERS!!! i was taking a walk tonight with my fiance while our daughter rode her bike and i noticed the 14 year old down the street who was charging people 10 and 15 bucks to cut people's lawns last year MOVED!!! the punk moved. i started walking with a skip in my step. i know for a fact he had 8-10 clients last year. i stole 3 of his clients last year due to he was scalping the lawns, leaving clipping everywhere and do a half a** job. So i am relieved to know that i should be getting the rest of the lawns he used to do and since no one else around charges less than me. I should have no problem signing them. my rates are about equal to 1 other company who advertises with flyers in my area but last year i didn't notice those flyers in my mailbox until mid may. I am starting my spring advertising campaign next week. wish me luck.

CHEESE2009
03-20-2010, 02:26 PM
the 14 year old down the street who was charging people 10 and 15 bucks to cut people's lawns last year MOVED!!!


I have that problem here, the kid mows a few lawns in my section, though I had a chat with him about how he's actually not making any money.

$10.00 cuts... man... that doesn't even cover gas.. His mom & dad pay for it (the gas), which isn't even breaking even.

I see him walking down my street with his lawn mower, electric trimmer...

No blower... and this kid NEEDS it.

The mess he leaves behind, holy hell. You have 5 feet of cut grass on the street all across the perimeter of the lawns.

He destroyed one of my customers lawns, he was "their guy"... When I went to this customers place, they had NO grass.

Honestly, mulching is good, but this kid would mulch grass that's over a foot high. So basically, instead of actually mulching the lawn, it suffocated itself & now it's a lawn made up of weeds & dirt.

The blades on his mower, wow. I wish I could show you how disgusting they are. Nothing but rust, I'm surprised they hadn't fallen off or killed someone yet.

Besides him, I think I'm going to have a problem with my bigger competition. I have this feeling that I will be confronted by this one company who will try to have a little war with me.

Our prices are the same, though my quality is better. Most of their customers have called me up, & it's great but iffy.

This company is local, so I'm sure something is going to happen.

They have the dumbest company name too, I wish I could tell you. Lol.

cindosa
03-29-2010, 11:52 PM
We have been in business for four years and have spent time building customer relations. This and good old fashioned hard quality work has retained our Contracts from one season to the next, however the new guy in town is low balling everyone and getting Contracts because of it. The funny thing is the property manager that is pushing him on the boards she looks after gets complaint after complaint fron the ones he is currently contracted to. One has to wonder what is in it for her... Funny how now someone is spreading that we don't want to do Condo's anymore. Total BS
One of our current Contracts put it bluntly and said watch your back for some reason the property manager and the "new guy" have it out for you. I am fairly certain that someone is showing him our bids.
The real kick in the pants is that last season he called us up with two questions.
1. "What is this piece of pipe missing in the ground?"
Answer "The Irrigation water meter that you have to request the city to put in." Told him where to call.
2. "How do I get into the Irrigation timer box? It's locked."
Answer "With a key!"
We had to give the "guy" one of our spares.

And this is the "guy" who is going to take care of it all??????

I just hope he doesn't do to much damage! It will upset me to see our hard work go down the tube and him even if it isn't much get paid for crap.
Just needed to vent to others who would get what we are faced with in todas market. It just sucks when you give it your all to build your company with fair rates and some "guy" who has no clue just bids whatever low number it takes to get the job. :confused:

kdexpd
03-30-2010, 03:18 AM
This may start something that's not intended, however I think it needs to be said. I don't know a lot of you, and I'm not looking for a fight, but here's what I'm reading from a lot of you. People want to complain about low-ballers, however this is the type of business where price competition is the name of the game. With the economy in a slump, people are becoming more tight with their precious green, and we all have to be creative in our strategies with customer retention. The way I see it, at least with business in my area, if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, meaning doing what you promised your customer in your contracts, then you shouldn't be in a situation where your job security is in jeopardy. I make it a point to always make the place look better than it did before I got there and I always MAKE TIME to make my customers feel appreciated. In this business, it's not all about the lawn care, it's also about the customer...in fact with my business, it's more about the customer. You can make the grass look good all you want, but if your customer doesn't feel trusting with you or is turned off by your unwillingness to attempt a relationship with them, you're screwed. Now granted, I understand that everybody's situation is different with each individual area, but I think this is a majority of everyone's issues.

My other thought: With every single commercial account I've ever bid, I have yet to find out how much the other guy is charging. It is good business practice not to reveal this to a potential new service provider because they want to have the cheapest bid possible. If they reveal the other bid price, you may come in only a few dollars less, where as if they don't, you may come in much less. This is where I have an issue with people accusing others of "low-balling". Number one, it's the nature of this business, and two, how the heck am I to know what you bid it at when, if the business owner is doing what is ethical in the first place, it won't be revealed to me even if I ask.

Now I could ask to insure I'm not low-balling someone, however that wouldn't be ethical either, because then it could be perceived that I was intending to screw the other guy. And if that were the case, how would you even find out? Basically you are assuming the other guy is low-balling. Now, I read the post about the B.S. going on with the caretaker and the drama queen wanting to screw you all together and that's wrong. I hope in that case, they get screwed just like they're attempting to screw you. It was also mentioned that someone was upset because a "low-baller" was under bidding because of not knowing any better. That's not a real good reason to get all bent out of shape. I have seen it posted in many different threads on this forum, let him shoot himself in the foot. He'll go broke pretty quickly on his own if he's not charging enough to cover his overhead, and you'll be back in the saddle again. These kind of people come and go, and they almost always go quicker than they come.

Remember, keep an excellent repore with your customers and do what they want you to do and you won't have anything to worry about. If your customer is happy, they'll keep you and someone else won't have a chance of stepping in. However, if you're dealing with someone who is always looking for a cheaper alternative, it still comes back to you for even dealing with someone like that. We should all know better! Know when to hold em' and know when to fold em'!!

Kendrick

Steve
03-30-2010, 10:15 PM
Great posts!

It just sucks when you give it your all to build your company with fair rates and some "guy" who has no clue just bids whatever low number it takes to get the job.

Do you find this happens more with commercial accounts or residential accounts or both? What do you feel is the best way to combat that?

Remember, keep an excellent repore with your customers and do what they want you to do and you won't have anything to worry about. If your customer is happy, they'll keep you and someone else won't have a chance of stepping in. However, if you're dealing with someone who is always looking for a cheaper alternative, it still comes back to you for even dealing with someone like that.

You bring up many excellent points.

The first thing I want to ask is this. Should customers be sought out if you know they are only looking for the cheapest price? When you sense that, should you walk away? Should you instead spend your time cultivating customer relationships that will last longer?

Can you tell when a customer is looking for a bond with you vs the cheapest price?

Do we all have to re-evaluate who we seek out for customers? Is that one of the biggest problems that could be overcome if we weren't so focused on quantity and instead, focused on quality?

cindosa
03-31-2010, 01:52 AM
When it comes to Condominiums the lowest price seams to be what most like to go with. I was told by one client the other day X Contractor will provide the same services we offer at 5600.00 less on an annual contract. This is why his condo board voted to award the contract to them over us. He said our service has always been top notch, but he couldn't justify paying more if he didn't have to. I told him that I understood, but could not give him top notch service at that rate. I also told him to give me a call if he need anything and or if it didn't work out. Like kendrick said he will go broke and be gone and we will be ready to jump back on board.
The only way I have found to combat the problem is to build a relationship with my clients and around tender time mention the lowest bid isn't always the best. It is kinda funny my clients that go with us season after season tell me that now.

I would never seak out a client who I know is looking for the lowest rate. I have no idea how low the next Contractor is willing to go.

:confused:I have been bidding more new Contracts away from the "property manager" as I know something is fishy.
I am wondering at what point I tell her to stop waisting my time asking for quotes when time after time her new side kick gets them with poor quality results. At this point we still have one under a board she manages only due to the relationship we have built with one of the board
members. I can see that I am only waisting my time with the quotes as she has a scam going. Why would she push a Contractor that does crap work if nothing was in it for her. Several other companies in town feel the same way. Any thought on how to deal with that. I want work but I am sick of the game!:confused:

kdexpd
03-31-2010, 11:02 AM
Hey Cindosa

I know where your coming from about hating to see all your hard work going down the tubes. I struggle with this too, however I am constantly reminding myself I can't compare a customer's lawn to my own. I see so many things I'd like to do to make their lawns look so nice and neat, however most of them don't have the money to do it or just don't care to that extent. It is difficult to play this game because on one hand, we have to maintain a relationship with the customer, but on the other we can't become too emotionally involved. Sometimes I have to tell myself to just walk away and let what's going to be, be. This situation with you almost sounds like either 1: the lady has gotten herself into a situation where she "has" to hire this guy to avoid a bad situation, or he's related to someone on the board (ie. son, grandson, brother). Either way, eventually they're gonna find out he ain't working out, and then you'll get to charge extra to go fix his screw-ups. This could be more of a blessing than a curse my friend.

Kendrick

TWIN-CITIES GREEN TEAM
03-31-2010, 04:06 PM
We do know what you mean, I could tell you a hundred of jobs I had to pass because they had quotes so low I couldn't ,WOULDN'T touch them, I tell customers this (a good job ain't cheap and a cheap job ain't good !) that's true in SO many way's, wait till the uninsured tree dude fall off their roof ,a branch thru the neighbors car window (heaven forbid)etc.. Who they going to call??? US!!we have "cleaned up"so many bad jobs, they'll learn.It really does make me mad when I lose a job (my prices are reasonable enough!) to a #%#^&. Maybe as someone said THEY don't know how to bid? I didn't at first and ate many jobs paying my own money to finish, feeling stupid!! That's why I ,we joined up here to learn from you "PROS" really Sue TWIN-CITIES GREEN TEAM

Steve
04-01-2010, 04:01 AM
I have been bidding more new Contracts away from the "property manager" as I know something is fishy.
I am wondering at what point I tell her to stop waisting my time asking for quotes when time after time her new side kick gets them with poor quality results. At this point we still have one under a board she manages only due to the relationship we have built with one of the board
members. I can see that I am only waisting my time with the quotes as she has a scam going. Why would she push a Contractor that does crap work if nothing was in it for her. Several other companies in town feel the same way. Any thought on how to deal with that. I want work but I am sick of the game!

This points out the never ending cycle. Sure one business will go out of business but there is always another ready to step up and take their place and lose money as fast as possible as well.

The thing then you gotta wonder is, where can you take it all so there is a higher barrier of entry where it will take time, infrastructure, and money to operate?

If certain parts of the business require the lowest price, it seems you either need to find a way to be more competitive or find a better niche that allows for higher profit.

What's your take on this?