Dealing with low ball lawn care bidders.

How many times has this happened to you? You get a phone call from a potential lawn care customer who wants you to bid on their property. You show up to bid and then never hear anything back from them. Or if you do hear back from them, you find out your price was too high. Is there something you can do differently in your sales technique to potentially get a different result with the same price? Yes! As we will see from this discussion in the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, there are ways you can present your bid that can improve your chances of success.

One lawn care business owner wrote ” I just started up a few months ago, and I was wondering how everyone deals with the competition that lowball bids mowing jobs.

Here is the situation. I went to do give a landscaping estimate to a potential customer to install sod, and when I got there, she also wanted a few trees trimmed, some bushes removed, and tilling of the ground. I made her an estimate, I think it came out to about $2,400 with three pallets of zoysia sod and 15 yards of mulch ( it was a rather large portion of the property she wanted mulch on, and I couldn’t talk her into pinestraw to make it any cheaper ). Well, she called me back about a month later to come mow the grass ( currently the fescue is in real bad shape ) and then she complained that it was mowed too high and said something about figuring out what to do with the yard.

When I asked if she had gotten my estimate, she said ‘yeah, it was way over priced,’ like I was stupid for even giving it to her. I asked how much others had told her, and she said she had been quoted $950. It seems every time I go to do an estimate, something like this happens, and only a couple of people will actually go with the higher price because they think they are getting a deal from the other guy.

I feel like I need to keep on going with my rates. I guess I am just having a hard time accepting I am too high because the calls come in slowly and it seems like the same thing on about half of them. The other half say they are worried about picking someone that quotes that low and pick me. I am thinking I must be in the high middle range of whatever else they have been told. It is so hard to know who is serious and who is just wasting my fuel and time going to their home to do an estimate, but I learned after my first job this year not to bid too low because it always takes more than you think and you’ll never be happy in the end. It’s good to find a place where everyone else seems to be on the same page”

A second lawn care business owner said “I think that mowing customer of yours is lying about the $950. If she got such a low price a month ago, then why is it not done? I have a feeling no one wanted to do it for what she thought the job was worth.

On the other hand if someone did bid it that low. They miscalculated the mulch and are going to show up with 5 yards.

I don’t lower my price for anyone. When you do, it’s profit that is cut. You can’t exactly cut out the materials. So you end up not making money and tear up your body/equipment.”

A third added “I was given some great advice when I started out. My father in law had been in lawn care business for himself for 30 years, and he told me how to bid jobs. I will pass that along to you.

  1. NEVER give a landscape estimate over the phone.
  2. ALWAYS go look at the property.
  3. Walk around with the potential customer, ask about everything, gardens, trees that need trimming, shrubs, point out areas that you will need to trim with a string trimmer, point out the concrete edges and tell then you will edge those with a steel blade edger etc. Show him you know your business, and ask him questions. Make sure you know what he expects, he will tell you one thing but the way he dresses, the kind of car, the general look of his yard etc will tell what he really wants.
  4. Estimate your costs, your taxes, you insurance, how much money you want to put in your pocket, and your company’s profit. Give him the price and SHUT THE HECK UP. The rule is after you give the price the next person who speaks LOSES. LET IT BE HIM. If he says that it’s too high give him your card and say thank you. And WALK AWAY. If he really has a lower estimate that meets his needs great, if he is just trying to get you to come down (More than likely) he will call you back.”

A fourth said “when a potential customer tells me I am sooo high and another guy gave them ‘this $ price’ I tell them with a serious face ‘Call him quick! His family is starving or he needs to pay his rent cause at that rate there is no money left for taxes, insurance, or anything.’ They usually look offended at being called bs on but some cave in and just go at my price. At times if I meet them half way between the real price and their bs price it usually end up as a crappy deal on my part.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.ā€¯

If you need help estimating lawn care or snow plowing jobs, get these lawn care and snow plowing estimation calculators.

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success