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Last minute and just lost two of my biggest contracts to a low baller

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by rampking, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. rampking

    rampking Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    Well pissed is not the word right now, I am actually more disappointed then I have been in a long time. I've been plowing snow now a couple of years and last year I went out on my own, I had a pretty good year. This year I had my sights set high and want to really go nuts....bought a new truck with a new blade and everything was looking great. I had two big contracts to me that I was told were mine, I actually see these two owners quite often, I even did landscaping for one and he loved the outcome. I get told yesterday and today that there hands were tied, they had to go with the other guy as he was so much cheaper.
    I couldn't believe it, my city is going for **** with the cheap guys running around. I have no idea how these guys are paying people and covering the cost of their equipment when they are doing the lots for cost.

    I still have quite a few contracts that are paying me well, but I took I big hit these past two days......I'd rather see my equipment as lawn ornaments vs wearing it out for nothing.

    Sorry for the rants guys, but boy am I gutted.
  2. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    Sorry to hear, maybe something else will come through, we've all had these days.

    SNOWLORD Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 610

    That sucks. Its happening here to and quite regularly.
  4. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    Sucks. Saying you got it is not enough. Signed paperwork in your hot little hands is all that matters.
  5. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,338

    ...pray for major snow and it will happen....when the lowballers fall flat...charge premium rate to fix it
  6. snoboss

    snoboss Member
    Messages: 57

    been their done that!! It is happening here in Wisconsin also. 30 years plowing a few of mine an their asking for quotes this year! Hey what is under that rock why its a low baller!!
  7. salopez

    salopez Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    just lost my largest account to someone that was about 85% cheaper...have no idea how they are going to do it....figure i will be back next year.
  8. snoboss

    snoboss Member
    Messages: 57

    I have been undercut 50% already and still retained the job do to confidence in the lowballer was not there but for the most part the low buck is all they see. These are different times and before I would drop my price i will just sit back and watch the fire burn!
  9. iceman1

    iceman1 Senior Member
    Messages: 183

    Remember it is a race to zero. The 1st company to charge zero and still stay in business wins.
  10. Mike S

    Mike S PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    I like that! Thats funny and true!

    BOSS LAWN Senior Member
    Messages: 495

    This happens alot, I lost a big contract this year to a guy who was "a little cheaper". Company always paid on time and never complained.

    I guess it's loose 1 gain 3.
  12. SnowMatt13

    SnowMatt13 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,527

    My guess, especially if it is one or two truck operations that you are loosing to, is that they are doing it just to make a few bucks. Literally a few bucks. And they are doing that hoping that they don't break down because then they'll loose money. Or even worse, I bet they don't have the proper insurance, so when there's an issue, everyone is screwed.
    Has happened to me when I was on the private side, even before the economy was a player in pricing like it is in today's market. I held my ground and reminded my customers I sold them piece of mind. Not just pushing some white stuff off their lot. 80% came back, with a price increase too.
  13. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,032

    You say you've been plowing for a couple years so I'm assuming you took these jobs from someone else so the contractor you took these from might also be calling you a low baller. This might not be the case but years ago when we really started to expand we were considered low ballers but that was far from the case. Still really sucks to loose good work, I know how it feels. Hopefully things work out for the better for you.
  14. NicholasMWhite

    NicholasMWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 175

    I totally agree with you. Walmart is considered a low baller, but the Walton family doesn't seem to be hurting much. This is what free market's are about, the customer finding a balance between quality and price. This industry makes things interesting because you have to contract for the work before you know what quality work you're getting, but it's still just simple supply and demand. Sometimes, like in your case JD, the "low baller" can charge a lower price because they found better/cheaper/easier alternatives to doing things. Example: more efficient equipment (tractor/inverted blower) on better way's to salt (pretreating the lot before snows), the ebling plow. All of this keeps the industry going and keeps new ideas rolling out which builds up the economy. If everyone charged the exact same, no one would be interested in finding "the next mouse trap."

    To the OP, I'm sorry that you had to lose work. Time to get out there and find some more. It's not personal, it's just business.
  15. ImpressPlowing

    ImpressPlowing Member
    from NYC
    Messages: 58

    Just had the same happen to me, this property signed with a low baller, only they forgot that these guys didn't include the equipment I do I.e. bobcat, payloader. Now they want me back
  16. hunt 444e

    hunt 444e Member
    Messages: 62

    Hear it all the time just remember volume,volume,volume.. happened twice to me last year guess who called back this year though and of course sweet as pie....lol. a real kick in the a!@ is actually performing work at site come to find out paperwork signed to two completely different contractors. Needless to say if you can't make your target dollar don't lowball yourself to get a bid. Happy trails .
  17. KTLawnCo

    KTLawnCo Member
    from VA
    Messages: 86

    I hear ya, just lost a chain of 9 stores to some lowballer. No sense in working for peanuts...
  18. EliteJ

    EliteJ Member
    Messages: 30

    I just lost a few of my larger contracts to a new smaller company and they under cut me by 55%. That made me wonder how they could do it so I took my wifes car to there office ( Some guys back shed ) and just asked him how he can keep his prices so low. We live in Guelph Ontario where snowbear plows were made and he is a old employee that bought a bunch of old stock plows before they closed there doors. He has 3 trucks 1. Nissan Hard body 2. ford ranger 3. chev s10 2wd. Then I asked who he is insured with and he laughed and said no need for insurance if you do a good job. I wished him luck and gave him one of my business cards just incase he needs help. I remember when plowing snow was not only fun but you could make some good money too!
  19. ImpressPlowing

    ImpressPlowing Member
    from NYC
    Messages: 58

    Feeling the pain, was out bidded just this morning by a small amount. We have been doing the 2 sister accounts for 7 years. Than the person who signs the account said that they will keep us in mind because they aren't sure if the new guy can handle the work. When I asked if he has a dedicated loader for the site she said no, she forgot that part. Now they saved themselves $1,000 bucks but don't have a loader there. I just laughed
  20. iceman1

    iceman1 Senior Member
    Messages: 183

    just remember it is a race to zero!!