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Anyone else dealing with low ballers?

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Eggie329, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. Eggie329

    Eggie329 Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    Around here the latest thing this year is crackheads rigging a plow onto a 30 year old two wheel drive truck and bidding commercial and residential properties for $50 for the season and advertising $5 per push. I am not kidding at all they will do anything for a few dollars for their crack and people are actually contracting with them. They are everywhere around here pulling this crap and everyone is losing customers left and right. I saw out staking a coney island lot that I have and I am 100% serious two homeboys pull in driving a late 70's Chevy with a seran wrap rear window, plywood passenger door, and what might have been a lawn tractor plow somehow rigged onto the front. They go inside for just a few minutes. The owner comes out laughing and saying they just offered to do the lot for $50 for the season. I thought he was kidding until later I went inside and everyone was laughing about it. I'm lucky so save that customer, but I have lost at least five good residential contracts to these same type of guys. One group went down a line of houses I have contracts with and bid $100 for all five for the season. And all of those customers actually think they are coming back after they get the $100 and told me I have to beat their bid. I clearly said the heck with them, but at least they'll be calling after the first snow begging me to come dig them out. We'll be sure to get another deposit out of them! Sorry, just had to vent a little anger about the knuckleheads plowing for $5. As I talk to people in the area I'm learning this is really common. Does anyone else have crackheads taking their work from them? It's just been driving me crazy!!!:mad:
  2. Matson Snow

    Matson Snow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,985

    Tough Economic Times bring them all out......In Southeast Michigan is about as rough as it gets as far as Economics....A few bad storms will shake out a few of these people.....You read storys every year about people getting burned by these sort of Contractors.....Keep plugging along...Give your customers Great Service and Value...:drinkup:
  3. Eggie329

    Eggie329 Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    I plan on it! The knuckleheads out there may win a few battles, but if you get known as reliable company and provide top of the line service you'll always win the war. Thats how I'm looking at it!
  4. snowman6

    snowman6 Senior Member
    Messages: 364

    I had kind of a similar thing happen to me. I was in talks with a local grocery store ( small lot) and I know the son of the owner and was getting ready to sign the contract for a little cheaper than normal ( because were friends) and boom out comes two guys in 84-87 model chevy with the tailgate and hood both strapped with bungee cords, one completely missing taillight and housing, a cracked wind shield and a cracked looking snow way plow with no lights.:dizzy: And needless to say the owner went with them for 200.00 for the season including clearing of walks and salt there is no way in hell that there even going to show up. But I told my buddy and he said please leave a spot open in my route for them. and I said o.k but I will be charging a little more for the hassle just because your dad wanted to save a little more money.:angry: I HATE LOWBALLERS
  5. BORIS

    BORIS Senior Member
    Messages: 172

    Sometimes people have to learn a lesson the hard way. Stick with it you will get it back. It sucks because it is so frustrating.:salute:
  6. acornish

    acornish Senior Member
    Messages: 184

    its amazing how some one would even hire theses guys --- geeze my truck aint perfect but its all there and no major rot
  7. paponte

    paponte Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    Gotta go after accounts that they can't handle. We bid several new accounts this year and were awarded only one, so I know they are out there. On the flip side, we haven't lost an account in over four years, and that was out of our control.
  8. plowking15

    plowking15 Member
    Messages: 91

    I'd be nervous letting someone like that plow my yard. Maybe they are casing the houses they go in,plowing the drives gives them reasons to be there. The customer may come home some day to a clean driveway and a empty house. I imagine asking the crack heads for proof of insurance would be out of the question. plowking
  9. RCsLawncare

    RCsLawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 459

    Hopefully you reminded your customers to get an insurance document from them!! That really changes peoples minds when they hear that the guy that could hit there house is not covered by their home owners insurance... Garage doors are expensive last time I checked!! Good luck and keep doing a good job!!
  10. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    Some home owners don't relize when someone works at their house uninsured.
    One guy I talked to basically didn't care because he got a cheap price
  11. lawnproslawncar

    lawnproslawncar Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    We have a landscape company that thinks things smell pretty good in their world. They have been plowing for two years now after buying a lawn care company. I know they charged $60/hr for pick ups last year. Well I don't know what they are thinking but this year they came along charging $35/hr for the same service. Well...I know also they charge by the ton for salting and low and behold my buddy said they salting the living daylights out of the lot across from him...
    I can't wait to run into the owner and ask him what he's thinking...lowering the hourly rate is bringing ridiculous....and for what reason? Do they think they are gonna sweep away everyone else and then in a few years have the market? How will you ever get back to $60+/hr again????

    I cannot believe this! I don't even get it...
  12. exmark1

    exmark1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,321

    There are a few around here...there is one decent sized company who works for nothing! Which explains why he has filed bankruptcy twice
  13. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    Maybe hes subbing for AGMG..... As Rich has stated, $35 ph for a truck is the going rate........:rolleyes: :dizzy: Thumbs Up
  14. shooterm

    shooterm Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 272

    I've noticed a few companies will try anything before they fold.
  15. 90w250mm

    90w250mm Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 42

    Heck I get $40/hr for my rhino,,,,,,its a sidewalk machine
  16. lawnproslawncar

    lawnproslawncar Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    Yeah....there are rumors of a divorce going...I still don't get it. Just drop some accounts if u want less money.
  17. Unfortunately these guys are everywhere. Havent ran into many established guys doing this,around here it is mostly guys that with the bad economy and having the belief that there is a "pot of gold" in plow work, go out and buy some crappy used setup for cheap (not knowing if it works properly or not and having no idea the amount of money that it can take to maintain a plow rig). They then,since they have no understanding of the overhead costs involved nor how to properly bid for snow removal, or what they are getting themselves into as far time and liability, go out and bid what sounds to them like a good price, seeing only the dollar figure as all profit. After a few real snows their customers will be scrambling for someone else and I have made alot of money off these last minute contracts.
  18. lmenterprises

    lmenterprises Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    Yeah, I just got a call from one of my accounts that Ive done the past few winters. They gave the account to a LOW BALLER. I mean, my price was low to begin with. I do the lot right next door its a bit smaller, but they pay more. So when I bid on the lot that I lost, I priced it where the other lot paid pretty much for it and this lot was pure profit. (Make any sense?) Now, someone else got it. I am in SHOCK right now. Freaking lowballers. I asked my contact if it was my quality of service or if it was my pricing. He said in the 15 years he been in charge of contractors he has never dealt with a better company then mine. Not one complaint in the last 3years I have plowed them. But someone came in with a lower bid. not by much but it was lower. it wasnt his decision, it was his directors choice. Oh well, I told him I was dissapointed, and enjoyed working for them, but to keep me in mind if things dont work out.:realmad:
  19. Keep in mind that not everyone who outbids ya is a lowballer. Some just may be able to factor in different cost factors, etc then you or have a different profit margin they need to stay in the black. To me the term lowballer is someone who just comes in and throws out a rediculus low number because they have no idea or comprehension of how to give a proper bid and they are thinking as though the number they quote is gonna be pure profit.
  20. lawnproslawncar

    lawnproslawncar Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    And for some. They have nothing to lose in a settlement because they have nothing to begin with