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Does this sound fair?

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  • Does this sound fair?

    I am doing a bid for an acquaintance's sister. I have seen her house, and while the lawn size is small (half of the backyard is landscaped, about 5,700sf of lawn), it is mostly hilly.

    This is mostly being bid informally through Facebook chat, as that is how she is most comfortable (info from friend.)

    After driving by her home, double checking measurements against the county GIS maps, I bid a few different jobs for her. The bids were on the lower end of fair, based upon my expenses and profit needs. I am all for giving her a little break considering she is a relative of a friend, and that she is in a nice neighborhood that I otherwise never knew existed. I figure a few bucks is a small price to pay for 30 minutes of advertising (my truck/trailer) in front of her house per week.

    Here is what I sent her:
    "I did a quick drive-by today (nobody got hurt!)

    My measurements show that 5,660 square feet of mowable yard. With that figure in mind, I created a price sheet for you. Where I had room, I adjusted down for you because you were referred by a friend. This is all a la carte, and if you have other things not listed that you would like a quote on (mulch a bed, for example) please let me know.

    Lawn Mowing cost per visit - $35. Includes mowing, trimming edges, and cleanup of clippings off of hard surfaces. Based on weekly mowings.

    Bush Trimming - $32. Based on hedge thing by front door assuming a normal growth at trimming. Other bushes will be bid as requested.

    Grass Edging - $43.50. One-time charge (if wanted) - free weekly maintenance on edge with weekly mowing service.

    Dethatch - $113. Includes dethatching and cleanup of excess thatch. Best results if overseeding at the same time. Once every 2-3 years.

    Overseeding - $63.92. This is straight seed and labor. If "starter" fertilizing is requested (highly recommended) then cost would be $92 for both together.

    Fertilizer - $42.45. Per application. Typical lawn company does 4 applications per year, University of Minnesota horticulturists recommend 2 applications for established lawns per year, which is what I go by (unless you really want more.)

    This is a hard format to send this information in (at least in the little box I am typing in) so if you have any questions please let me know.

    Just so you know, this is my business and I pride myself on the quality of work done because it is "my" name on the job. I am not the cheapest guy, nor the most expensive guy in town but you are to expect reliable, quality work.

    Thank you for the opportunity to bid for you! Just send me a message or give me a call if you have any other questions."


    She replies, "Thanks for the quote! The backyard is actually kinda small we have a landscaped steep hill that takes up a big chunk. $35 may be a bit high?




    Here is what I would like to reply with, let me know if it sounds good or not.

    "I totally understand your concern. $35 is a competitive quote that I would normally bid on a lot your size, but without all of the landscaping, and that was near perfectly flat.

    What kept your bid at that price is that almost the entire yard is hills. I want to be efficient with my time, yet still do a great job. This means that it is going to take more time and effort than a comparable open, flat yard.

    Trimming around your landscaping and rocks takes a bit more time and skill to do a quality job versus trimming along an open, straight edge (like a house, or a fence.)

    If you have never worked with a lawn service before, here is what you are paying for:

    -I am fully insured, meaning that if I cut my foot off on your property, I am covered and don't have to sue you.

    -I am also licensed, meaning that if you don't have to worry about me improperly using fertilizer and burning your lawn.

    -The main reason that contractors in this industry quit (usually mid-season) is that they don't know their expenses and inadvertently price themselves at a loss. I bid every job with consideration given to my expenses, so I can assure you that I will still be in business through the season.

    -I stick to a fairly tight schedule, and would be there roughly the same time every week.

    -I can afford to spend a few extra minutes to do a final quality walk to ensure that everything is complete, and that any helper that I had with me did their job properly. I also try to go a little above and beyond what is expected of me: like picking up trash instead of mowing it over; or picking up and rolling up your garden hose instead of mowing around it, as a few examples.

    -I have newer, commercial-grade equipment that is regularly maintained to ensure that you are getting a job worth paying for, and that it will be in working condition when I arrive at your house to work.

    I am not the cheapest guy in town, yet based upon feedback from my previous customers I am an excellent value.

    I can concede to $33/visit, but that is as low as I would feel comfortable working at. It is the equivalent of giving you a free cut at the end of the season.

    If this works for you, let me know. I would love to work with you this summer!"

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I usually do this face-to-face, but this is the manner in which she preferred, so I obliged.

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Holy crap, this is longer than I thought.... Sorry so wordy...

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    • #3
      Relative of a friend. She thought you would now her years dirt cheap. Stick to your guns. Otherwise your friends whole family will have you mowing cheaper than you want.

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      • #4
        Leave out all the "-" crap at the end, it looks like your begging.

        If she doesn't go for it, forget her.

        Stick to your quote and don't drop it. She will either take you, or get another quote that will be in the same price range. But hopefully she'll go with you!

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        • #5
          Sounds good, thanks peoples!

          This is why I wanted to ask before sending.

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          • #6
            You know, life is not fair. You are a business. Dose she get discounts and special treatment at the gorcery store or clothing store because her brother/sister knows someone that works there? Probably not.
            Pat

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            • #7
              The only discount I give to anybody is my daughter. I mower her yard at 30 bucks a month. that covers the gas. ( I make her do the trimming and edging) Everybody else pays full price.

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              • #8
                I thought your correspondence was excellent. You were extremely professional (even if dealing over facebook) and, better yet, you were convincing.
                You gave her a list of very strong reasons to hire you for your asking rate. There is nothing wrong with negotiating a little bit as long as you feel you are still getting a fair price.

                What's that saying? Better bend than break.

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                • #9
                  I think early on in your business career, you get this feeling that you need to really explain why your price is what it is. So then there is a tendency to over explain and then get into a debate with a potential customer. I'd say avoid doing that.

                  You know what you need to make when you spend that amount of time mowing a lawn. You could say 'here is my normal price ** and for you as a friend or relative, I will give you 10% off.'

                  Make sure the final price is ok for you. The potential customer will see you are trying to work with them and they can feel good about it. They then may or may not go with you.

                  Don't sweat it. This person will be able to go back to her sister and say yes he offered a discount and I decided to go with it or not.
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                  • #10
                    I had a client who was unhappy with my price in the contract I had sent.

                    The person wanted to pay less.

                    I explained all of the benefits of paying the amount I had set.
                    (discounts on other services)

                    The person than replied if I could still lower my price.


                    What did I do after?

                    Nothing. I'm going to continue to ignore the person until they give in. I said what was required of me, take it or leave it.

                    No stress 2013!

                    -

                    Standardize everything. Don't feel remorse. Make money. Be happy.
                    Last edited by CHEESE2009; 04-08-2013, 04:29 PM.

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