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Was my bid to high or was I LOWBALLED!!!!

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  • Was my bid to high or was I LOWBALLED!!!!

    :Hi out there, I'm starting to get more calls in for bids to do jobs because of referrals from other customers who appreciate my work. I also have my website finally up and running. www.vclawnservice.com stop by and check it out. I will definitely appreciate some feedback. However, I did a bid for a potential client and here is a description of services along with the bid amount. Lawn size is 12,917 sq ft. Initial service charge was 150.00 a little leaves but alot of edge work. 35 Shrubs to be trimmed at 5.00 per= 175.00, 8 Crepe Myrtles to be pruned at 30.00= 240.00 one of the Myrtles she wanted trimmed just below her fascia board on the side of the house and not trimmed all the way down like the other 7. She also wanted 2 shrubs removed 25.00=50.00,She wanted pine bark nuggets for a 1022 sq ft mulch bed which would require 86 bags @ 3.00per bag= 86x3=258 + 8% sales tax= 278.64 x 2 (my charge for the install) = 557.28 rounded it to 560.00, My Dump fee was 50.00 for a total of 1,225.00 She said that she had other estimates and that I was much higher. However, I'm here in Fay, NC where this is the home of the 82nd Airborne Division and the area was not effected by the economy as the rest of the US. (Keep in mind the actual price for the mulch would have been 2.00per bag= 86x2=172.00+8% sales tax=185.76 x 2= 371.52 round up to 375.00) Should I have used the 2.00 format for the Mulch or use the current 3.00 formula which I charged an additional 1.00 per bag. I would love to hear some opinions out there on my prices per service. I know we have lowballers out here but I want to make a living and not become someone's yard boy. Please I would love to hear some opinions.
    Last edited by winkie61; 03-09-2011, 09:36 AM.

  • #2
    :Hi out there, I'm starting to get more calls in for bids to do jobs because of referrals from other customers who appreciate my work. I also have my website finally up and running. www.vclawnservice.com stop by and check it out. I will definitely appreciate some feedback. However, I did a bid for a potential client and here is a description of services along with the bid amount. Lawn size is 12,917 sq ft. Initial service charge was 150.00 a little leaves but alot of edge work. 35 Shrubs to be trimmed at 5.00 per= 175.00, 8 Crepe Myrtles to be pruned at 30.00= 240.00 one of the Myrtles she wanted trimmed just below her fascia board on the side of the house and not trimmed all the way down like the other 7. She also wanted 2 shrubs removed 25.00=50.00,She wanted pine bark nuggets for a 1022 sq ft mulch bed which would require 86 bags @ 3.00per bag= 86x3=258 + 8% sales tax= 278.64 x 2 (my charge for the install) = 557.28 rounded it to 560.00, My Dump fee was 50.00 for a total of 1,225.00 She said that she had other estimates and that I was much higher. However, I'm here in Fay, NC where this is the home of the 82nd Airborne Division and the area was not effected by the economy as the rest of the US. (Keep in mind the actual price for the mulch would have been 2.00per bag= 86x2=172.00+8% sales tax=185.76 x 2= 371.52 round up to 375.00) Should I have used the 2.00 format for the Mulch or use the current 3.00 formula which I charged an additional 1.00 per bag. I would love to hear some opinions out there on my prices per service. I know we have lowballers out here but I want to make a living and not become someone's yard boy. Please I would love to hear some opinions.
    I have found that most people will say "your bid is much higher" in an attempt to get the lowest possible price out of you. You mentioned that you doubled the mulch cost to cover your install, I would say then that adding the extra dollar per bag would then be unnecesary. Can you post a picture from an overhead shot of the site? Bing maps is a good tool also.
    Last edited by jymie; 03-09-2011, 09:58 AM.
    http://www.lunchesruslawncare.com

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    • #3
      I might would have offered a small percentage off the whole bid and just said that was the best I could do. I would keep the $1 mark up on the mulch (especially if your price is lower than if she'd have went and paid for it herself) as it would cost you near that to have it delivered. Time picking up and loading materials I believe should be figured into a bid somewhere.

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      • #4
        ::I know we have lowballers out here but I want to make a living and not become someone's yard boy. Please I would love to hear some opinions.
        I think you may have answered your question with your last comment about "just being someone's yard boy". If a lower price would make you feel like being someone's yard boy, then your price is right on. I've had clients say the same thing about being high and have learned that usually they don't end up being happy with the level of service they recieved from the lower bid.

        What you need to keep in mind is that it takes money, good equipment, knowledge, experience and pride in workmanship to do a job right. Knowledge, experience and pride in workmanship are assets you can market and every customer will have different value on them. Feel confident with your bid, you'll end up winning more than you lose in the long run.

        Lloyd
        Blue's YardFX
        Camrose, Alberta

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        • #5
          Should I have used the 2.00 format for the Mulch or use the current 3.00 formula which I charged an additional 1.00 per bag. I would love to hear some opinions out there on my prices per service. I know we have lowballers out here but I want to make a living and not become someone's yard boy. Please I would love to hear some opinions.
          How long did you figure it would take you to install the mulch?

          Also is there a way for you to get this mulch in bulk, at a bulk rate price and not bagged?
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          • #6
            Was my bid to high or was I lowballed

            Steve, I cannot get the pine bark mulch in bulk only in bags for this area.
            Pine bark mulch is not that much in demand for this area. I just wanted to know if my prices per service was in the neighborhood for the landscape market or was I to high for the market?

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            • #7
              Steve, I cannot get the pine bark mulch in bulk only in bags for this area.
              Pine bark mulch is not that much in demand for this area. I just wanted to know if my prices per service was in the neighborhood for the landscape market or was I to high for the market?
              also it would have taken us between 1 1/2hrs - 2hrs to install the mulch

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              • #8
                I personally buy it all in bulk. I have an ez-dumper so it saves delivery. If you buy in bulk or alot they normally deliver for free. I would have tried to sell her on another style mulch. I am not sure about your area for pricing. I normally break down the products and labor for big jobs. I have an hourly wage worked out for myself and whoever I will hire and guesstimate time. I normally round up. In the end if it was less time I say listen I was able to cut you a break here and they love me for being honest and up front. Try it out I esp do that with exsisting customers. If it isn't and existing customer I will cut them a break but not as big knowing it's a one time deal. Then hand them a few cards and flyers and say if you were happy pass them around to friends and family. It has given me a few more customers and it was only 20-50 dollars I cut them and it made out in the end. I know people in the business so I ask them what they charge. It makes it easier because then there isn't a lot of undercutting going on. Good luck.
                Liberty Landscaping LLC
                www.libertylndscpng.com
                Woodbridge, NJ

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                • #9
                  I fogot if you are insured. Tell them I am fully insured and insurance is expensive but it protects you as well as me. I am honest with everyone. Call her up and say is there any questions you have on the bill or do you need anything explained about how we will perform the work. I might be a little more expensive in some areas but I am up front honest and personable with clients. I shake hands, smile, dress nice, and give out my card. I have gotten accounts over others for that reason and they say you were a little more but that's what sold us was your attitude and explinations. Just what works for me...
                  Liberty Landscaping LLC
                  www.libertylndscpng.com
                  Woodbridge, NJ

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                  • #10
                    She wanted pine bark nuggets for a 1022 sq ft mulch bed which would require 86 bags @ 3.00per bag= 86x3=258 + 8% sales tax= 278.64 x 2 (my charge for the install) = 557.28 rounded it to 560.00,
                    (Keep in mind the actual price for the mulch would have been 2.00per bag= 86x2=172.00+8% sales tax=185.76 x 2= 371.52 round up to 375.00) Should I have used the 2.00 format for the Mulch or use the current 3.00 formula which I charged an additional 1.00 per bag.
                    also it would have taken us between 1 1/2hrs - 2hrs to install the mulch
                    Ok lets break this down.

                    Say 2 man hours to install this total?

                    Your cost for the mulch is $375.

                    You are charging the customer $560 for mulch and install.

                    ($560 - $375) / (2 man hours) = $92.50 per man hour for this mulch job install.

                    Is $92.50 the hourly fee you are shooting for on all your services? Does this seem high, just right, or low to you?

                    How does this price compare to the amount you are charging per hour for lawn care or other services?
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                    • #11
                      I'm not really sure how long you think you will spend on each item, and I have often just flat rated trimming some bushes, while at other times just doing a lot of work and billing the customer. That really only works for existing customers though.

                      As for the mulch cost, you could have tried to sell her on a different mulch, and explain that it would be a lot less expensive because you can get that in bulk.

                      I'm a little confused about how you price it out too. You raise the cost per bag, and then also double it to cover your labor?

                      Why not just have a set delivery fee. Charge her per bag, as normal, tack on some extra because you have to pick it up, and then add on your labor cost.

                      You did say 1.5-2 hours...so I'm assuming 3-4 man hours. Which is just over $50 per man hour?

                      I recently had a customer go with someone else for lawn service because they were cheaper. She called me a month later and said that the other guy didn't work out, and wanted to hire me. Moving too much on your price isn't always a good idea.

                      If you do quality work, are fair and honest, then people have to expect to pay for that. I talk to so many people who think that I should be working for $10 an hour...Sorry people, just because I'm the owner doesn't mean I get to pocket all that money.

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                      • #12
                        I recently had a customer go with someone else for lawn service because they were cheaper. She called me a month later and said that the other guy didn't work out, and wanted to hire me. Moving too much on your price isn't always a good idea.
                        When you say moving too much on your price, can you tell us more of what you mean? Are you saying you should stick with your price? Or something else?
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                        • #13
                          Steve, sorry for just now getting back to you, but I've been very busy with some other landscaping jobs for some real estate investors who are flipping houses. I charge them using the same methods and they have no problem with my prices as they have stated they are very pleased with the jobs that I have done for them. I've done about six lawn and landscaping jobs for them averaging between 600.00 - 900.00 The answer to your question is that I do lawn service for no less than 50.00 an hour and I pay my worker 10.00 per yard. On the average I can be in and out of a yard between 20 - 45 mins. I think that if I'm doing a lanscaping job that I should try to make 50.00 per man hour. I have read this in other forums and on this one also from other LCO'S

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                          • #14
                            When you say moving too much on your price, can you tell us more of what you mean? Are you saying you should stick with your price? Or something else?
                            What I mean, is that sometimes people ask for a lower price just to see if they can get it, not because they actually feel you are over-priced.

                            I had someone say that they can get the job done for cheaper, and so I tell them to give me a call if it doesn't work out.

                            I've also way over-bid jobs before, but it's no biggie, I'm still learning stuff too.

                            But I think that if you, the business, feel that the price is right and fair, you should stick too it. Customer all too often want high quality work for a low rate.

                            I have allowed for some negotiating with my customers, but not much. Like I had one customer ask that if they sign up for full-service, if I will just make sure to patch-up the mole hills that come around. That's didn't seem to big of a requests, so I agreed. I have a check in the mail from this customer on the 1st of every month.

                            @winkie61: That's awesome! Seems like you prices are good then, and obviously your work ethic and quality is great! Good job on getting that account.

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                            • #15
                              I had someone say that they can get the job done for cheaper, and so I tell them to give me a call if it doesn't work out.
                              It seems like a friendly way to leave the door open. Do you ever have any of them call back? Or maybe change their mind on the spot and decide to go with you?
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