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Loosing many accounts to lowballers

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by sir spaniourd, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. sir spaniourd

    sir spaniourd Senior Member
    Messages: 286

    Am I the only one with this problem?
    I increased my rates per account $1.50 this year and I am just finding out some people around here are decreasing their prices from last year. How can that be possible? It is basically going to be impossible to make a profit lowering the prices. Are you guys having the same problem?
    It seems to me many customers will never learn. I had a couple of people switching back to me last season after their guys never showed up to plow their driveways. I assume this year it will happen the same...
  2. kingriver

    kingriver Senior Member
    from alaska
    Messages: 217

    Here's what I think !!!! Their are alot of guys out there who's wives tell them how much the plow guy charges to plow. The guy get's this grand idea to by a truck and put a plow on it, or owns the truck and talks her into the plow. Once this has happened (it's then) they do the math and realize they have to make (X) amount of dollars to pay for it, at this point the guy says to the wife,, Hell I'll do it for XXXXX dollars... voila' (another) LOwballer is born..:cool:
  3. TEX

    TEX Senior Member
    Messages: 606

    when its 7AM and your old accounts drive isnt done and they have family coming over or the low baller calls and says my trucks broke down i wont be there. they will call you back and will pay a little for your good servicepayup
  4. Chris-R

    Chris-R Senior Member
    Messages: 321

    I just picked up an account from a lowballer who's truck won't run anymore and he doesn't have the money to fix it! I'm charging twice as much as he was. The property owner was shocked when I gave my price. I then explained that you get what you pay for. My equipment is always in good working order and ready to go. I have backup drivers and a backup plow company just in case my equipment blows up, I get sick, etc. We'll see if common sense overrules greed. Time will tell.
  5. douglasl330

    douglasl330 Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    So much for loyalty! with what fuel cost increased since last year thier lucky you only went up $1.50. I had two of my clients contact me and offer to give me $5 more this year without asking:waving: Yeah thier keepers -- Unless they thought I was going up by $10 a push:rolleyes:
  6. Plowfast9957

    Plowfast9957 Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    I went up $5 per push and nobody complained. I still get a call every week for a driveway. I just keep taking them and charging more and more and they still seem happy. More $$$$ for me
  7. fms

    fms Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 209

    I expect to lose a good portion of my bids. I always hate to loose clients, but if you price well you'll always be around and low ballers will loose their shirts or figure out the business.
  8. SkykingHD

    SkykingHD Senior Member
    Messages: 368

    low prices

    You will loose jobs to people who bid lower than you. There are some customers who just look at price. Some think price is the ONLY factor to use in picking a snow plow contractor. I for one do not want to work for that person. I do not want to compete with johnny 6 pack or rolling scrap iron driver. They do not do the quality of work we do on a regular reoccurring basis. If a customer wants service then they will pay for it.

    We raised prices this year by 15% and had very little feedback. We lost a few customers but we always loose one or two. Cost of doing business is higher than it ever has been so a rate reduction is out of the question.

    If you are going to loose money do it in front of fireplace with wife or girlfriend not out in a snowplow truck. I never understood why someone would work to loose money. My dad told me to work to MAKE money.

    Just my 2 cents. And if I add 98 cents I could get a cup of coffee....

  9. genrock

    genrock Member
    Messages: 60

    Low ballers dont worry me much I have good clients and I have treated them all with respect and kindness. I have given them detailed times of when they can expect to get plowed and they even pay more to get done earlier. Let those with the lowballing continue down that path. Dont worry it wont take but a few harsh days and there equipment will break away from its bailing wire and you can laugh as you go by knowing darn well you have a $50.00 tow strap just sitting in the cab of your truck.
  10. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,868

    This is nothing new, it happens all the time, in every part of the country. :nod:
  11. drplow

    drplow Senior Member
    Messages: 174

    if you did a good job last year,then think of it as a year off with them. next year when they call and want you back because the last plower sucked, then charge them more for what you are worth to them.
  12. NoFearDeere

    NoFearDeere PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,709

    I dont worry about it too much. It all balances out in the end. What you lost this year you will get next year + 2 more. Thats just the way I look at it. I cut back this year because I was tired of driving around like a headless chicken all the time. Just tell yourself this: "I would rather have 5 very happy customers than 10 very unhappy customers"
  13. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    The term " lowballing" is thrown around alot . First for someone to lowball you they have to know your price . Second they have to beat that price by 25 to 30 percent .Losing a job by a couple dollars is every day business . Home depot hasn a 10 per cent price guarentee. Third , if someone comes in cheaper than you , its plain and simple , they can survive on less money , they may be more efficent , have less expenses , and may be using a different business model . Making the assumption that the rusty truck , older truck , or the guy that doesnt have a 2005 f 350 with a v plow strobe lights , and a custom paint job , is a low baller or Johnny 6 pack is just wrong. I have been plowing now for almost 25 years , never bought a new truck , new plow or salt spreader . no customer has ever asked how old my trucks were , or cared if they are scratched or dented. They just want the job done .
    If I wanted I could lowball every job , and still make lots of money , I have 4 trucks , 2 spreaders , and a backhoe , all used ,all run fine , all are paid for .
    And the total invested is less than 1 brand new F 250 diesel 4x4 with a plow and spreader .
  14. Gusco

    Gusco Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    I aggree totally. They say hey. I can afford a plow. Ill undercut them and get the contracts. I'll make a fortune!! Until they realize they have to pay for insurance, The plow itself, fuel, maintnence, hard mileage, etc. In my opinion lowballers can have the customers they deserve. (cheapskates who get what they pay for) My customers appreciate the job i do even if paying more. They know i will be there when they need me and i will get it done right the first time without runing there hedges, curbs, or taking out a quarter panel!!
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2005
  15. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    I feel for the guys who do this full time on thier own. I sub from a landscape company, I get paid well and I don't have to worry about securing contracts. I have 3 residential driveways and 2 commercial accounts and I don't take any more. But I lucked out these customers are more worried about dependability than price so I can charge the going rate.
  16. wddodge

    wddodge Member
    Messages: 64

    Wiser words were never spoken!!:nod: There is not a thing wrong with running older but well cared for equipment. If new stuff didn't break, there would be no use for having a warrenty.
  17. MisterIceMan

    MisterIceMan Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    Free Enterprise Capitalism

    I don't know about most of you, but this is the United States of America. The residents of this nation have practiced some thing called FREE ENTERPRISE CAPITALISM for quite a number of years. Maybe it doesn't occur to some of you that some people like to experiment with new business ventures. Perhaps all of you started out with a fleet of 10 trucks and 50 commecial contracts. Well here's more news for ya, many begin with one vehicle. And then the following year, they may purchase more or go out of business.

    That's what commerce is all about. Don't get salty, get competative. Innovate. Market.

    The fact of the matter is, plowing is seasonal. I am not certain, but I think that all of you only plow when it snows. And it only snows during this time of the year. That means that this is not a full time business for any of you.
  18. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    not a full time business for any of you...

    Your kidding me right, not a full time job?! So being on-call 24/7 from November to April without any holidays, waking up every hour on nights that its supposed to snow, and being in the truck for 34 hours straight plowing the "big ones" ...is not a full time job.

    Apart from being a soldier, what other job has that kind of requirement? I absolutely love plowing, and keeping my commercials black-top black is my obsession, just because its for only 6 months doesn't make it a part-time job. Hell my insurance company sure doesn't think so:p
  19. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    Bigger is not always better

    I stopped by one of my commercials I lost this year to a much larger maintenance company who bid lower and will only salt if told to... well lets just say at 5:30am the lot had not been touched yet and when I stopped by at noon they hadn't put any salt down after plowing, (like I used too) needless to say I was spinning my tires in the "plowed" lot since the temp had fallen below 32. When I asked one of the employees what they thought of their new "cheaper" service, she replied that she wished she had a say in the purchasing decision, because bigger and cheaper is definitely not better.:rolleyes:
  20. wddodge

    wddodge Member
    Messages: 64

    You're kidding right?? It hasn't snowed in a month and not calling for any for the next ten days and you're worried about being "on call". It's still seasonal work where a guy works his ass off when it's needed and then takes it easyier till it gets busy again. I come from a farm background, I know all about seasonal work.

    Who else is on-call 24/7??? Let's try most doctors, tow truck drivers, trucking company dispatchers, electric company linemen, firemen, most law enforcement officers, any parent that has kids. The list goes on. A college degree is not required to move snow.