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&*%#$%@# lowballers!!!!!

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by White Gardens, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    So, a guy calls me last week, he has three hotels that he needs snow removal for.

    I follow up after giving him my bid and he tells me I'm way higher than the other two bids he has received.

    I proceed to go in to the office to talk to him personally. I don't have any commercial accounts yet, so I thought I'd go in, give him a sales pitch, adjust my prices, etc...

    So I asked him, how much was the other bids?? Turns out it was one other person. For example, I bid 120 for one of the parking lots for a Days Inn, and he bids $60.

    Another hotel, the lot is twice the size as the Days Inn, and this guy bids $75 bucks.

    This all includes shoveling the entrances and ice melt for the entrances. (not the parking lot) I looked at the guy and flat out told him, I can't compete, and I would rather do a few residentials and make more money in the end. I also told him that when this ya-hoo screws him over to call me and we can work out a deal.

    I'm not to upset with losing the accounts as the owner is of foreign descent, and is notorious for not paying bills. The only thing I'm ticked about is I lost the bid to an idiot who isn't making squat off the accounts, and driving down the price for snow removal.

    Sorry, Just venting, I'm sure you guys have all heard this before. :angry:
  2. jkiser96

    jkiser96 Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    I ran into the same thing last year with a Super 8 and the owner showed me the other bids which were way low. I started asking him questions like if they were insured, how long they had been in business in the area, if he ask for references. The owners exact words were that insurance was not needed just to plow snow and he also tells me that this guy comes highly recomended by his assistant manager, the guys wife, since he has nice equipment. I went by there several times last year & the lot looked terrible plus I heard that the guy hit a couple cars, insurance not needed. The owner called me again this year & I gave him another bid which was a little higher than last years and I got the same old story. I think you did the right thing by not chasing the place.:nod:
  3. TPC Services

    TPC Services Senior Member
    Messages: 875

    yep and its common practice, the better deal running around here more in the commercial areais called U.S. Maintence strikes again thread great s&^% (LOL) they hire you on I heard and never pay or pay so far late it ain't even funny and the thing is they are part of this SIMA and they do nothing about it and do' nt want to even look in to it, an its ticking members off that are also part of this SIMA

    So if it ain''t the low ballers then it this very large maintence companys cut a low price to their customers and then sub it out at the lowest possable rate and expect you to take it.
  4. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,822

    Don't worry there is a lot of venting on this site. I placed a bid on a commercial office building and apartment building owned by the same person. The person told me they wanted to make a descision that week, so I had the bid in on monday morning. Called as a follow up on that friday and the person said that they had not even had time to open any of the proposals yet. Now this week, I'm trying to decide if I should call back tomorrow and follow up again. I don't want to pester them, but I really have a feeling they went with a lowball bid and I need to know for scheduling purposes.

    There will be more better accounts, and I agree I cannot stand the lowballers. I got a call for a clean-up today and she left a message at 10 30 am. I came in and checked my messages and called her back at 12:10 the same day (today) and she said she already had someone and I could hear the leafblowers in the background. I go wow, you got someone that fast huh? And she says ya and he was WAY more than half the price of the 3 other estimates I got. ME: so he is on the cheaper side huh? HER: Well ya, he does any clean-up for $75.:dizzy::dizzy::dizzy:

    OH well
  5. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,137

    I bid on a local transmission shop for this year, I have been taking my trucks there for years. Lady has always been real easy to work with, so we work out a price similar to what she paid last year, send her a contract a week later and she told me she got it for more the 50% cheaper. I understand she wants to save money, but I can't imagine this guy is making much at all now.
    She kept telling me she felt loyal to me for bringing all my trucks there for years...she has made a few grand off of me. Well now I defenitley will not be going back there, they were not cheap to start with. I sure she will get what she pays for. Just goes to show you there is no loyalty. People will throw you to the side for a dollar.
  6. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    get this

    i had yesterday , a friend, and long time customer ask for a bid....i have done this place for 5 yrs, ...after the first 3 , i stopped giving them proposals since the price was the same , and they loved the work ... and hand shack does it in this case normaly

    well , he asks because he showed me another bid.....

    i charge 230 to plow it , and 165 per ton (last years rates) with .75 tons average

    this guy gives him 85 to plow, 70 per application , or 110 per ton of salt

    thats nuts...you cant even buy it for that cheap , and i know this guy isnt a new guy , but hes small....he had a folder and nice proposal , but hes no big dog getting his salt for 90.... Im sure i apply more than him
  7. Grampa Plow

    Grampa Plow Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 274

    Don't burn any bridges...let him go with el-cheapo and find out that price and service are 2 different things. I've lost accounts like that before and have gained a number back (some in the same season) after the cheapo didn't perform. Once that happens they usually don't take bids anymore, they just figure on having me do the job, year after year. I don't get real upset about it.
  8. dannyslawn

    dannyslawn Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Don't worry things always seem to work out. Some of my best acct. I picked up due to lowballers servicing them in the past and doing poor work. We've had 3 very light snow seasons in central NJ. The lowballers are all over picking up lots of accts. I can't wait till our next big storm because alot of these guys bit off more then they can chew and will not be able to properly services thier accts.
  9. ford550

    ford550 Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    Same here. I can't tell you how many times thats happened. I would say we get 50% back, its amazing. People actually do care about performance. Sometimes they need to leave you just so that they can see how good they have it.
  10. bigearl

    bigearl Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    This Happens all time. I have to keep reminding myself that I was a new guy once and low balled some stuff to get my foot in the door.
  11. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,030

    When I was a kid living at home with no payments except for my truck, I could do things cheap but I didn't realize it was cheap, I thought I was making the big $'s. Low Baller is thrown around way too much on this site. I bet 75% of the people on this site are low ballers and don't even know it. I was the same as you Earl.
  12. ducatirider944

    ducatirider944 Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 469

    What if they are happy with what they are making? Are they still a low baller? Maybe there are some people on here that think they are god and deserve the highest dollar for there work, even if their worksmanship sucks? Maybe those people should be called High ballers or bong plowers? I don't go around thowing what I make per hour, because I'm happy with what I bring home after expences and really that is all that matters to me. I like the guys that throw around the "I make $250 per hour with my pickup", yeah I'm sure you do. I just had 3 $80k dump trucks running all day yesterday for $70 per hour each. It is the going rate in our area and seems fair. So you make 3.5 times the money for an investment that is 1/2 the cost and you probably have 1/2 the fuel bill as well. Yeah right. Maybe your customers are just fricking morons?
  13. jdo150

    jdo150 Member
    Messages: 55

    " Well ya, he does any clean-up for $75.:dizzy::dizzy::dizzy:" 75 bucks for any clean up is insane, yeah I did a clean up for 75 bucks last week but that was less then an hour of blowing....... Now I have low balled too when it comes to my lawns But thats because my overhead is so low that I still make a profit doing it.... and its not like I don't have insurence either because I do but when you have no employees and not alot of equipment you can do that..... This is for my lawn care on the side not my earthwork...... that on the other hand we get low balled all the time and that is ok our work speaks for itself and thats why we do ok. You have to understand that it is hard to start a buisness and yeah there are people who low ball and do bad work, but there are also a few who are just trying to get there foot in the door and get a name for them selfs.... you need to look at it from all angles
  14. 042500hd

    042500hd Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    Yeah like it was said above don't burn any bridges, you may be getting a call to come in later in the season. I'm with the OP when doing commercial I always look at it like this. I can do this PITA for $1000 or I can get 3 more residentials and not have the hassle. I know alot of guys on here like working on a per push basis. What I can't figure out is why your customers pay it. I have customers who want it priced both ways so I quote $300 for the season and $20-$25 per push. (going rates in Buffalo area) Our average plowable event is about 20 but we will never get $400 for a drive. Then they ask if I come more than 10 times can the use the money they already paid toward the seasonal contract and pay the difference rather than continuing to pay $25. Of course the answer is no. If this were just one customer I wouldn't think it to be a problem. Fact is everyone that I quote that way says the same thing. Commercial too. I'm sure some some guys is my area do it and it works. Or maybe it's just a regional thing and it's not popular in Buffalo.
  15. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,030

    That's why I said "they don't even know it" Some people like to work for nothing in any industry and I don't call them Lowballers. All I was trying to say is what we want to make out of snow is different for everyone. $200/hour for a pickup around here iisn't out of the norm, we're only lucky to get on avg 75 hrs/season, where as a tri-axle dump they get an easy 2000 hrs in, so you can see why the rate for the dump is lower. Also if you can find me a new triaxle for 80k, I'll take 2.
  16. Grampa Plow

    Grampa Plow Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 274

    Ditto on this end! Even now, by adding a new truck this year, I am quoting a few lots a little lower than I normally would to get the extra business...so I too could be considered a low baller.:confused:
  17. Dodge Plow Pwr

    Dodge Plow Pwr Senior Member
    Messages: 568

    I have a meeting tonight with the local fire district. They have 3 stations and I have been plowing them for 8 years. Small rate increases each year say like $5.00 each year. I retired last year fromo the fire dept. This year they say they have to accept bids as they cannot have the same guy do it all the time???? WTF is that? SO tonight, since it is a "public meeting" I will be attending, I will hear who gets it and for how much and what is included for their price. I will also ask to see the new guys insurance proof. I can do that as I live within the district and if they get sued it affects me as a tax payer....So I would like to know since it again is all public knowledge information.
  18. John Mac

    John Mac Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    You can find a tri-axle for 80k just not a new one. Should have about 300,000 miles on it, my dump truck has more than that on it. The fact that dump trucks run all year and are not just winter work means that the competition is stiffer, more people drive trucks. I use mine for my excavating in the summer and run mine in the fall and winter as a sub trucker thru a larger trucking company for $75 an hour just for the extra money, it should be $100 an hour but its not because guys with new trucks run for $75 so thats what the price is. The good thing is you can work 40 hours a week, I bet not many guys plow snow 40 hours a week. Plowing is seasonal and can be done part time so the cost of plowing driveways is small compared to doing large parking lots that require a much larger investment so less guys doing it but still very competitive with the guys that own larger equipment all ready. If any one can give me an industry that I can do that doesn't't have low ballers, I'm in, good luck. Competition is good, there is no honor in being the cheapest just being good at what you do. Build you reputation as someone that does good work at a more than fair price and you will have work. Sometimes you have to work on lower margins but you are working not sitting home with bills to pay, just know what your cost is and when to say no thanks.
  19. yardsmith

    yardsmith Senior Member
    Messages: 248

    yeah call me a racist but let me let the cat out of the bag............
    as long as arabic-Indian hotel owners call you- they only want LOW PRICE. Been there & done that too many times. I will adjust my price somewhat, but not how they want. Be nice & say 'call me when the lowballer gives up because hes losing his butt'.

    BEST THING YOU CAN DO-ask them "so if I give you a great price, you going to give me a discount on a hotel room?????????????"
  20. John Mac

    John Mac Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Yardsmith, you are racist ;) Indian doctors, have alot here and when I first started I plowed for a few, every year wanted a better price untill I would just say no thanks.