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Dealing with lowballers

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by wolfears, Feb 8, 2004.

  1. wolfears

    wolfears Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Rant mode on:
    Ok....i have been doing residential drives only in my area for $25 a pop with a blower and shovel.
    Here the drives are short and small and it takes me some 15 minutes to do it.
    $25 seems to be the average market price around here and i never had an un-satisfied customer.
    The problem is that some people must have noticed my advertising and they figured that they can make a few bucks themselves (nothing wrong with that).
    Suddenly everey bum with a snowblower in my area is willing to do it for $10 and some of them even hang flyers that say:
    WTF??... How do you compete with something like that?
    I'm actually trying to make some money to pay for the wear and tear on my equipment, not to mention make profit.
    It hasn't been snowing lately, so i'm not really sure if they managed to steal my customers yet, but it pi**es me off.
    Most people will go with the cheapest (of course) and personally i don't think that doing it for less than $25 is worth my while.
    As long as there is idiots willing to do it for next to nothing in my area, i just might be out of buisness.
  2. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 413

    Welcome to the business world , theye is always going to be some one cheaper than you. And someone more expensive. Thats just the way it is , was and always will be in a free market society
  3. frogman

    frogman Member
    from MD
    Messages: 53

    Maintain face to face time with your customers. Pick up a bunch of small buckets at home depot and give one to each filled with urea or CaCl "just in case". Make sure that you're on time as much as possible to meet their expectations and call (if possible) when you can't. Let them know that you care about them and their safety. Develope a relationship and you will develope loyalty (with most). Of course, developing the relationship (a good one) means going the distance. The low-ballers probably won't do that. Here's a little thing that I do that has brought a big response. I do all commercial accounts for work and I take care of some elderly folks' driveways between accounts or on the way home. Don't charge for it but they try to "force" money on me, or give my son (a shoveler) a 25.00 or 50.00 tip. I clean off the top of the cars before plowing/shoveling. They're grateful of course for the drives but really seem to be impressed with the windows. It only takes a minute but makes a big difference.

  4. Sidebuz

    Sidebuz Member
    Messages: 41

    I have come to this conclusion: first, if all they care about is price, you don't want them. They just want to stick the money in their pocket and not yours. To me it is funny how every year I pick up a new account because they went the "cheap" or lowballer way. The guy doesn't show up or does a 1/2 a$$ job. Then they finally smell the roses and realize what a value you are. Secondly, don't even try to compete with the local kid with a shovel or the "friendly neighbor with a blower." You will lose everytime. No questions asked.
  5. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,107

    People that only charge 10.00 are usually out for beer money only, stick with your prices. Customers usually come back to who they started with cause the service of the low baller stinks...
  6. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    Good quality service and reliability will keep your customers and get you more new ones. When those low ballers don't show up after a foot of snow, hollowing winds and 5 below temps, the customers will be calling you(the reliable guy) again. The bitterness of poor quality will out way the sweetness of low price.

    SNOBLOMAN Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    I just picked up a lowballer yesterday. Guy showed the first time, did a crap a$$ job so they ditched them and got me for 25 bucks. Best part about it it, it only took about 10 minuted to do the driveway! payup
  8. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    People get what they pay for. If they hire some fly by night outfit, they usually get screwed.:nod:
  9. wolfears

    wolfears Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Well said Bob.
    A already do most of that, and i always make sure they are fully satisfied.
    I even personally handed out christmas cards to all my customers.
    I also give a helping hand to those in need and i already picked me up a new customer because of it.
    I just finished my reg. customers driveway and as i was wheeling my blower towards the van, i see this old lady struggling to break through a snowbank with her shovel....i offered to do it free of charge and it took me about 1 minute to break through.
    She literally tried to force money on me, but i didn't take it....i told her that i'l charge her, if she calls me next time...and she did.
    I know what you mean about developing relationships with people and i know it goes a long way.....i'm not sure if i lost any accounts to the lowballers yet, since it hasn't really snowed for a while.
    But it still pi**es me off that there are people out there willing to do it for next to nothing.
  10. ToyotaPusher

    ToyotaPusher Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    The sad truth is.....most lowballers really don't know what your service is worth.

    I charge $40.00 for residential drives, with a 2 " trigger. I plow what I can and my son shovels what I can't. And we do a clean job. No salt because of shrubs, grass, etc. But we do lightly salt entranceways when icy. I have yet to be burnt for payment.

    Stick to your price. And move on to the next customer.
  11. frogman

    frogman Member
    from MD
    Messages: 53

    Yep, I know what you're talking about, Wolf.
    I did not get an account this year that has been about 50% of my snow work for the previous 3 yrs. They had a change in staff that resulted in them going with a low-baller. My team and I have done a great job at this "high maintenance" account (bank/multiple drive-throughs and medical clinic/offices open 24/7, large building w/4 entrances, multiple parking lots/walkways, regular traffic of handicapped folks). Now I see the standard of service has dropped substantially and wont be surprised to get a call this month or next season. I drive by on the way to and from the 3 new accounts, that were set in my lap, within a week of finding out that this one was a no go. The Lord has a way of working that stuff out. I just try to do the next right thing, just like you. I'm sure you'll do well. Hope you get some more white stuff soon (me too).
  12. ptllandscapeIL

    ptllandscapeIL Senior Member
    Messages: 495

    today,I had this kid I know come hunt me down to show off his used 01 f150 xlc he just got. he goes to me yeah I'm putting a plow on and i already got a lot hes then goes im all set its got a 2in lift and I'm putting a Western pro on it. hes like my lot is paying me like 500 bucks a month snow or not. I'm gonna start getting accounts and beating everyone else prices.Its funny cause what if it snows 12 inches abnnd i knwo the lot i bid on it its a good 600 or 700 hundred buck lot with 2 inches. I just had to laugh cause this kid trys to be like everyone else he like envy's my landscaping business and it jsut pisses me off,how do I deal with this kid I know what hes trying to do because i cant stand him and hes a backstabber hes gonna go after my accounts any advice
  13. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,107

    Hit that spell check button !!

    If I were you don't worry about that guy, in the long run if he gets any customers of yours, they will probably call you back because these type of people usually don't offer the type of service we do or the quality either.

    I had the same type of situation, I lost 3 pretty decent accounts and gained two back after the second snowfall cause the guy never showed up. You will always run into this, something I'm concerned with daily. Of coarse we have not had any snow here in weeks so I may be finished plowing for the year :realmad:
  14. GripTruk

    GripTruk Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    and proofread!
    Because spell check doesn't pick up errors like that one. It is "of course", not "of coarse".

    Not busting your balls, Eyesell, just a perfect example of the shortcomings of spell check. PTL, however, you REALLY need to read what you write before you post it, that is practically unreadable.
    "Its funny cause what if it snows 12 inches abnnd i knwo the lot i bid on it its a good 600...... "

    Punctuation helps, too.

  15. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,107

    You got that right :D
  16. I had to take a whole bottle of Tylenol (gosh I hope I spelled that right) after deciphering that letter.
    I agree with The Boss. There is no substitute for quality. You get what you pay for. Stick to your prices.