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How low can the lowballers go?

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by kcress31, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. kcress31

    kcress31 Senior Member
    Messages: 451

    Believe it or not I know of a business running a 1500 lbs ROC skid with a 54 - 60 inch sweeper and his hourly rate is in between $30 - $37 / hr. Can you honestly make money doing this ??????. I am estimating my hourly cost just for the poly broom to be about $3 - $4 per hour + Fuel + Operator + all the extras. ????????????
  2. scottL

    scottL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,600

    There are many companies who are just trying to break even given the great economy and rosey outlook. :jester:
  3. MahonLawnCare

    MahonLawnCare Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 848

    I am about an inch away on a nice sized church it's about 2 acres of plowing and the dumb son of a gun was charging 100 per plow with walks included and 156.00 per TON of salt!!!!!!! he was overcharging for salt and ice melt because he was such a lowballer on the prices....they caught on and are furious and want a better deal from us and i'm like uhhhh i can be honest but i can't do it for that lady.....we'll see how this goes
  4. It's been brutal down here as well.
    On municipal tenders roadside grass cutting that requires a 60hp+ tractor and a 60"+ offset flail mower has gone for $70 to $85 for the last 10 years. This year $38 a hour.

    Street sweeping that required a 72"+ pickup sweeper with water dust suppression has been $90 to $105 in the past went for $40 a hour this year.

    Winning grass cutting tenders are down about 40% this year.
    Traditionally there have been about 6 or 7 tenders submitted, This year, 27 !
  5. keitha

    keitha Senior Member
    Messages: 133

    Lets see fuel costs ($3/gal) $6-9/ hr labor $13, O&M on the mower $4/hr, tractor $5-6
    O&M are high I know, but you need to plan for the future.

    $50,000 tractor 5000hrs before worn out = $10/hr cost to own

    9+13+4+6+10= $4/ hr LOSS

    Some people have no idea of the true cost of doing business.

  6. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    Let's get the limbo stick out and see how low you can go!
    6/---------\6 any lower than that, |_______| woa no that's low! I am up here TT
  7. You're pretty much spot on Keith.

    Except in Canada Fuel is more like $4 a gallon and getting anyone decent for that type of work is going to cost you at least $16 a hour. (Hiring a pinhead or student that rolls a tractor into a ditch is a false economy)
    Now add 4/ a hour as workers compensation insurance and other employee costs.
    The fact someone would has to go out once a day to refuel the tractor. And equipment costs about 30% more in Canada.

    Makes a lot of sense , Doesn't it. :dizzy:
    The next lowest price on the tender was $68/Hour out of 6 bidders. That speaks volumes.
  8. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    Whats funny is the lowballers are being lowballed this year by companies crawling out of the woodwork.
    Unit prices are in some cases 50% lower than in previous years.
    Its getting really messed up out there IMO.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2010
  9. Pristine PM ltd

    Pristine PM ltd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,794

    Paving companies and window companies are all of a sudden grasscutting! Let's get into window cleaning everyone!
  10. shooterm

    shooterm Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 260

    Well to be fair five years ago you didnt see a crap ton of 1/2 tons with plows on them either. We lost a bid this year to a guy with a skid and a 1/2 ton on larger commercial lot. Was $55 for truck and $45 dollars for skid per/hr(I'm cornfused on this). We'd go in there with large michigans with snow pushers and be out within 45mins.

    I was bored this winter and made sure to check up on his lot. First day(not night) a neighboring contractor was out there with his tractors and somebody elses skids. Next storm I see another skidloader, still a mess. Week after that he adds a new rental loader with a pusher. Tandem with muni-plow and salter is added after a week. I amazed he even found ways to bank enuff to get thru the winter. I dont understand this new way of snowplowing where everyone rents and nobody with any experience is any where near the snow. I'm going to laugh when the cooks start complaining about all the new low-ballers taking there jobs. :)

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,286

    My brother called me today saying WTF. He called one of his mowing accounts that hadn't gotten back to him to ask if everything was a GO again for this year. He was charging $105/week and quoted the same this year. The lady tells him they got someone to do it for $120/MONTH.
  12. cornbinder

    cornbinder Senior Member
    Messages: 347

    lot of this going around. i was doing a apartment complex 156 units. 20-22 hrs labor i was getting just under $700/ week as everyone else that bid it was between $730 and $1,000 a week. last year it was bid out and there were 2 companies that bid it around $500 a week. i had to drop around $200 a week to keep the job. it's getting ugly out there for the companies that take care of their employees with good wages and benifits. it's these companies that have different help every year at minimum wage and 1099 there helpers that are cutthroating. some of these places are advertising residential lawns for as low as $15-$17 per cut. i guess it's a sign of the times, as businesses are also looking to cut overhead costs as the economy is not getting any better. just my 2 cents.
  13. chasity2682

    chasity2682 Member
    from canada
    Messages: 76

    It 's not just blow joe's doing the lowballing either. one of the bigger company's around here was doing one of the lots about 450 x 100 in and around storage units for 75$ That wouldnt even pay for my gas. But i have noticed just about every idiot around here has a plow on there truck. the best was the little sidekick with a 5 or 6 FT blade on it. looked a little front heavy.
  14. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    This is part of the overall problem. You were the lowest bidder before, ($35 an hour sounds kinda weak to me) If you want 700 to do it, why do it for 500? Now you're making $25 an hour. Find jobs that you can make your rate and let the guys do it for 500 this year, point out everything they did wrong, or let the managers see what they did wrong, then go back and get it for 700 again next year. Everyone is so willing to sell themselves short. Now, 500 is the new benchmark for that property. Look for properties where quality matters, otherwise you will find yourself constantly in this "bidding" game.

    R.J.S. SNOWPLOW Senior Member
    Messages: 892


    There would be no need to low ball anyone if the contractor would pay the subs they hire and stop ripping us off

    i waited enough time yous should of payed me now i am lowballing every account i plowed for yous i my not get the jobs but a least i will hurt you pocket like yous did to me

    :anyone wants me to work for them als i ask of you is to keep your word and pay me my fee
  16. DeVries

    DeVries PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,605

    Yikes:confused: Time to go back to school.
  17. shooterm

    shooterm Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 260

    The amount of subbing for work is a pretty scary when yah think about it. Its asking to be undercut when you cant handle the basics for a standard job like this example Snowplowing. I simply find it amazing that a contractor has to bring in subbed out labor or "specialized" gear like salt trucks. That tells a sub there is no money in this part of a venture and baits them into the "prized" part of snow removal. I think this is the natural way for any industry to correct itself.
  18. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    I was thinking the same thing!... but not to worry, this type of person will have a major malfunction that he can't afford to pay for because of the prices he charges. Thus losing his accounts...... I love it when accounts call me in the dead of winter because their "lowballer" plower can't finish the job or gets over this head when the "big one" hits! All I can say is bye bye lowballer and I'll make twice as much as you while picking up these accounts mid season!
  19. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    im thinking they will go as low as they need and we arent going to be able to do anything about it but just let them slit there own throat. the problem is they have so many accounts that they just think they are breaking even but they are really hurting them selfs!
  20. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,885

    Whats wrong with that? When salt can easily run $100+ per ton, picking it up, paying sales tax, then delivering it to your client and applying it and being liable for the site and the $56 you say is overkill?

    We charge $100 for spreading a few bags in a bag tailgate spreader and many hundreds for only half a hopper in the bulk spreader