Lowballed again!

To run a profitable lawn care business you need to know how much you need to make every hour you are in operation. Then you need to bill your customers at least that rate. There are many start up lawn care businesses that simply don’t know what their costs are and they lowball jobs. As we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, there are times you should take a job and times you should walk from one.

One lawn care business owner wrote “recently, a lawn care prospect replied to my ad on craigslist and wanted an estimate for my mowing services. They were a military family that was moving to another duty station, but before they did, they wanted their property spruced up to rent or possibly sell. There yard was a mess and I told them $150.00 for the initial service and $50.00 every two weeks to maintain. I also told her to pressure wash her home, which was 1,952 sq ft it would be $196.00 and to pressure wash the 14′ x 14′ deck $60.00

I called her a couple days later to followup and she stated that she found someone else to do it for a lot less. She said they gave her a package deal and will maintain the lawn for $25.00 every two weeks. This was a big yard and for $25.00 bi-weekly I didn’t see a profit. I thought my prices were reasonable and I stuck to my guns. Does anyone have an opinion or advice on how best to handle such situations?”

A second lawn care business owner said “what do you expect from Craigslist! I have found there are nothing but lowballers dealing with other lowballers on there.
I doubt if that guy is a legit business to maintain that property for $12.50 per week. Forget about both of them and move on. Keep sticking to your guns on pricing and never get caught up in the bidding war with low ballers.”

A third added “I don’t think there is one of us that likes to miss an opportunity but I got it through my thick skull a long time ago, opportunity and profit go hand in hand. Sometimes we just have to walk away, head high and carry on. There will always be more fish to catch. I steer clear of it, as the company has bills to pay and must make a profit. If someone wants to work for next to nothing or lose money, more power to them.

I have to think you get what you pay for, drive by in a couple of weeks and see what kind of quality that other company did. You might still receive a call but your prices seem reasonable.

I just walked away from a 2 hour excavation job as the prospect did not want to pay the $75.00 transportation fee. All my excavators are wrapped and somewhat buried in snow at the moment. I explained to the potential customer it would take me an hour to get an excavator out and loaded, and 45 min travel time each way. He said ‘no that is too much we will call around.’ An hour later he called to say he couldn’t find anyone. I explained after thinking about it the job was just too small for the effort. Although we work in this area a lot and I could do it in the spring when the equipment is on the road, it won’t work for him as it’s his well that is leaking. I am actually glad I was able to get out of it.”

A fourth said “there is always going to be someone who is willing to work for free (this is what I call lowballing). However, there is plenty of grass out there for all of us.

Set the price you are comfortable with a stick to it. You can come down if you get two or more jobs next to each other. Everything in life is negotiable, but there is no reason to work too cheap.”

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Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success