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Fing Lowballers

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by mike33087, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. mike33087

    mike33087 Senior Member
    Messages: 555

    ok so there is this guy who owns a small service station in town, he is also a fire fighter. out front of his station he has a sign that say snow plowing residentials $20.00 and Commercial $50. per push... he is completly lowballing everyone in town with those rates and its like right in the center of town so everyone can see it. wtf people like this piss me off im so tempted to say something to him:angry:
  2. LLM Ann Arbor

    LLM Ann Arbor Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    Go light the sign on fire. He'll get the point.
  3. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Sorry officer.....I didn't see any sign...:gunsfiring:
  4. ECS

    ECS Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    Great advise and comment!:dizzy:
  5. starc

    starc Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    Not much you can do, we all have them in our different areas. Factory workers etc that also plow snow or cut grass at a lower rate. They don't need the money to feed there family, there just doing it for some extra cash. I don't think or maybe they just don't care, that what there doing is making it tougher for the guy trying to make a living by taking our work and keeping the prices too low by under bidding.One thing you may want to ask him is if he's carrying the proper insurance for plowing, that alone will make him raise his prices...
  6. LLM Ann Arbor

    LLM Ann Arbor Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    Dont you ever laugh EC? Know the difference between sarcasm, jokes, and reality?


    Was just trying to change the guys mood and focus. Its called neuro associative conditioning.

    Thats a housecall. No Charge!

  7. deere-cat

    deere-cat Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    Everybody wants to get as much as they can for their services/products, but competition is a fact of life. And it sucks. Trust me, I know. In addition to my contracting business I also own a retail gun shop and shooting range. Imagine owning a million dollar corporation, selling $700.00 handguns at a GROSS PROFIT of only $50.00 each! Then I have to compete against the factory rat that has a Federal Firearms License, out of his home, selling 3 guns a year to his buddies, at cost. Of course, he has no insurance.

    I have a 2M insurance policy for my grass cutting, snow plowing, and my construction business. The premiums are kind of high, but they are a part of doing business. Try to buy liability insurance for a gun shop!

    My point is this - you guys have to look at the bright side. You can't control a lowballer, but you can control YOUR business. One lowballer, you can probably ignore. You get several in your area, and they make it through a season, and survive (some may even thrive), then you have to look in the mirror, and adjust your operation, and lower your prices, and/or use the lowballer as a selling point for your business. To justify your higher prices, concentrate on selling your experience, quality employees, good attitude, reliability, etc. I know, it's tough, but you have to do it, or you may start losing accounts because of price. As the market changes, you have to change with it.
  8. nevrnf

    nevrnf Senior Member
    Messages: 456

    Dont try and compete against them. We had a couple of contracts fall through this year due to low ballers. Guess what? We got hammered on 12/1 and on that evening we got calls from these same people who turned us down due to price who were sitting with 12"+ of frozen stuff covering their lots that had not been touched yet.
    My advice is to bid at what you need. Dont give away the farm to get a contract. Let the low ballers do this. You will find people willing to pay for your service.
  9. Sciticofarms

    Sciticofarms Junior Member
    Messages: 17

    I'd have a conversation with him...face to face. But be sure your approach is none threatening. He may not realize what he has done. I would not assume anything, go to him open-minded, be a nice guy, ask him questions, tell him what you do. Worse case, he may be a jerk, that's ok. Talk to him to find out. My 2 cents.:waving:
  10. deere-cat

    deere-cat Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    Nevrnf, isn't it great when you lose a customer because of price, and they come back to you because you do a better job? Been there, done that. Really cool. Those customers are usually yours for good at that point. I'm glad you got em back.

    Another factor you need to consider is location. Here in southern Michigan, times are tough. Businesses of all kinds are hurting, bad. A lot of guys are trying different things to make a buck, like snow plowing. Also, because of the hard times, a lot of commercial businesses are really watching their pennies, and shopping around. That's why (in this area at least) sharpening your pencils may be necessary, and marketing yourself properly.

    None of us are going to make a dime without snow, though.

    LET IT SNOW!!!
  11. mrplowdude

    mrplowdude Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    This is the one part of business that sucks. The only thing you can do is wait it out. After a year of really bad service or the operator going out of business they will eventually come around. I lost an account this year to a guy who has bid against me for a couple years. this year he cut his price in HALF. This suck but next year i will guarantee they will call back for a bid. I have another customer that showed me the other bids he got. I was the highest, he still went with me because of the service he gets from me. Sell yourself on your price and how much more you will offer.
  12. imdawrlus

    imdawrlus Member
    Messages: 71

    maby he just made that sign to get calls......

    "sorry ms. smith but your driveway is too big for the 20 dollar minimum...i have to charge you 35"

    who knows
  13. Rickco

    Rickco Member
    Messages: 89

    $50 per push for a Comm.? "Hello this is Wall-Mart calling,you're hired"
  14. Jpocket

    Jpocket Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    Im finding out each year here that guys are working dirt cheap for plowing and salting. ANd it's not the parttime guys or fire fighters, it some of the so called reputable landscape companies here. I guess we are all just trying to stock piles work and keep tight routes.

    But it really does amaze me. Just yesterday I put in a bid for a condo assn. The guy told me I was about Double in price than the last guy they had. I wanted $200 per push every 2-3 inches. This guy was charging $250.00 for a 6in storm (2 pushes). Im like Dag on how are we supposed to make money like that.

    Needless to say I got the job just at a higher trigger.

    Had another regular customer I quoted at $70.00 per push for his small parking lot. He said the last company charged $35.00 and $20.00 for salting. GEEZ!
    Heck I wanted $40.00 for the salt, And i thought I was cutting him a deal.
  15. starc

    starc Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    All you tell guys like that is, why am I here then...obviously the last guy isn't around anymore because he couldn't stay in business at those prices...
  16. PremierLand

    PremierLand PlowSite.com Addict
    from detroit
    Messages: 1,572

    I would just go tell him what he is doing to everyone else.

    If he still doesnt put 45 and 125 (or whatever the normal rate is there) then I'd start getting pist.
  17. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Bingo. It's those companies that rely on snow the most that will undercut the most in order to just get the jobs. No jobs = no income. Management companies are the worst, which is why I worry about them coming into my area more than I do the new guy. I had a new guy last year who undercut me and got a good account I'd had for three years. That ticked me off, but a management company will come in and go for all the accounts. That's when I'll have to decide whether to lower prices to compete or go out of business ( the latter is more likely).
  18. LINY Rob

    LINY Rob Senior Member
    Messages: 478

    EVERY business has to deal with this kind of thing. You are not alone with plowing.
    thats the price of doing business.
    Just do a good job, charge what you need to charge and let the people who did not want to pay go, you dont need them anyhow.
  19. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    part of the business. happens all of the time in the roofing business. at least he lives in the town where he works. in the roofing business contractors will bring in crews from all over the us and mexico, and fly by night. they'll be here for four months after a hail storm and then skip town. and move on to the next storm. at least your guy is a local. let your guy charge what he wants to charge, its called a free market. a good reputiable compmany will NEVER be affected by anyone like this.

    CARDOCTOR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,304

    park your truck infront of his shop with a sign oil change $20.00 free brake check see how he likes it