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Looks like I lost my first job to a lowballer.

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by flykelley, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,127

    Well Guys
    I have been waiting to get a contract back from a doctors office that I plowed last year. I got the job because the last contractor didn't do a very good job, not showing up on time etc. I bid it again this year and their old plow contractor was asked to bid it because they didn't like my price in salting.
    Its about a 45 car lot and about 80 ft of sidewalk to also salt. They said he bid it at 62.00 for salting the lot and 22.00 to salt the sidewalk for a total of $84.00. I have never used more than 1/2 ton of salt on this lot and 1 bag of salt on the sidewalk. I bid the salting at $115.00 for both the lot and sidewalk. I thought I might be a little low on the salting but it looks like I am high. I will not drop my price to get this job, I gave them great service last year and thats what they paid for. Oh well I knew it was going to happen to me sooner or latter. Got bit by a lowballer. Now I will go find a few more new customer's.

    Regards Mike
  2. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Join the crowd :waving: . I lost two the same way and another that's really got me confused. I got it last year although he'd been getting plowing for free (minister's house plowed by a church member). He said he'd rather pay me then get it free since freebee was inconsistent. Called him this year and he'd gone back to the freebee although he assured me he was real happy with the service he'd gotten from me. Like I told him last year - I can't compete against free. He wants to keep me "on call" though. Since he's just up the street, that's fine with me.
  3. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,127

    This is a crazy way to make money, but I will not do this and not make any money.

    Regards Mike
  4. Vaughn Schultz

    Vaughn Schultz PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,565

    Do I hold the record for today?

    Just lost 5 that's right FIVE accounts :angry: in about a twenty minute argument. Manager of a gas station (fairly large station) said that my price for salt was two high and the most that he would pay is 49.00 per application. What? are you out of your mind :eek: I spent the next 10 minutes explain to him the extreme overhead involved with salting, storage, loaders, payroll, insurance, gas, trucks, salters, yada yada yada and explained to him how I would lose money salting at 49.00. He said maybe I will just contract you to plow snow. Then again I have to explain that this is a full service snow removal company, and I can not and will not plow your lot and leave a sheet of ice on it for someone to slip and fall. In his own words he told me "That's what this country is all about, Insurance. Someone may walk up on my lot to day slip fall and BRAKE THERE NECK and it is NOT MY PROBLEM that's why I have insurance" I said you would let that happen to some one to save money? "not really my problem now is it, I think I need to find my self a more reasonably priced contractor" Sir please do, I am not going to put my heart and sole in to my company plowing your lot and brake even, Good day :waving:

    So along with losing his account I am almost guaranteed to lose the other four that he set me up with last year and always sign together.

    I need to go bang my head against my truck for a wile now, see you all later :eek:
  5. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    Hang in there, its still very early for our part of the country. Most places are not even thinking about winter service providers yet. About late Oct. when we see 32 at night all the last minute guys will be calling. Then its your price or notta. payup
  6. Winter Land Man

    Winter Land Man Senior Member
    Messages: 723

    No worries. Some idiot is going around charing $10.00 per hour ($10 mininum). That means, he's charing $10 bucks per parking lot. I'm serious. He has a big truck too.

    And another guy is going around charging $20 and $25 for doing lots. It's rediculous. I'm thinking of plowing private roads and state roads, better money. I'm not going to spend $10 dollars on gas in one parking lot just to make a $20... that'll only equal $10.
  7. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    I just love the a$$ clowns who under bid people and don't make any money. Those people usually dissapear pretty quick next season. There's a local cat here who was mowing the Sams Club for $50.00 and it's 7 acres. He no longer has it because he wasn't doing a very good job at all for that price. Alot of the lowballers want the accounts just to have them bu they end up loosing them in the long run.
  8. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,870

    Been there before, man Ill tell you it getting hard to make money in this business with stuff like this happening.

    TRUE TURF LAWN Senior Member
    Messages: 290

    that sucks!!!!!!! it wont be the last time it will happen either. to bad. :waving:
  10. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,127

    Yea True Turf
    I knew it would happen sooner or later. I work real hard so my customers don't call and ask when am I getting plowed. Give them all the little extra things they want, and still lose the job to a lowballer. That's Life. If he wants to do the job and not make any money let him go for it.

    Regards Mike
  11. digit

    digit Member
    Messages: 94

    I had the same thing happen to me the other day. I followed up on a contractand they said there looking around they think it's to much.
    it's a docter office parking lot and a small drive in apartment house around the corner and about 150' sidewalks last year I took it over from someone that stopped plowing i did parking lot plow & salt and sidewalks for $100. it took at least 20 min to plow with light snow I thought i wasnt getting enough so i made it $115. this year It was broke down like this Clean parking lot $40. Clean sidewalks $25. Salt parking area $50.
  12. Metro Lawn

    Metro Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,306

    Are you using bagged salt for the lot? If so, you will have a hard time competing against someone using bulk. I see pricing on bulk applied between $90 and $125 per ton. You can't make any money on a bigger lot using a bagged product unless you don't have any competition.
  13. Gicon

    Gicon Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 989

    I wish we could all get salt for free.....we deserve it....dont we???
  14. hickslawns

    hickslawns Senior Member
    Messages: 627

    To all those losing contracts to lowballers and fussy customers- Sorry to hear about that. Sounds like everyone is on the right track. Brush it off, customers you don't want anyhow. If all they want is price, then it is for the lowballers. Seems like the ones that want quality always stick with you for the long haul. Those in search of quotes based on price are going to drop you anyway as soon as someone comes along $5 cheaper. Maybe this year, maybe next year, but sooner or later they will drop you. I feel if that is all they are worried about then they are not customers I want to put my hard work and dedication into. Good luck to all, and stick to your guns. After all, if they are going to call for extras the quality oriented customers will be willing to pay for extra service and understand why you need to charge a little more. The price based customers will expect it to be included, and will usually be the first to complain.
  15. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,127

    Metro I am using bulk salt. I am paying $60.00 a ton here in waterford. I am billing salt at $115.00 a ton.

    Regards Mike
  16. Highland Ranger

    Highland Ranger Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Doctors are notoriously cheap - difficult to service in any business.
  17. Kramer

    Kramer Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    $50 for 7 acres??? Man, gas cost is more than that! I hate to ask what he was using for equipment!
  18. sixspeed

    sixspeed Senior Member
    Messages: 306

    Mike you'll feel much better later in the season when you tell them NO when the lowballer let's them down! :)
  19. Big Dog D

    Big Dog D PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,134

    Get used to it. If it's your first the only thing you can count on is that..........................there will be more. :salute:
  20. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,127

    Ok Guys
    Here is the latest. I called and spoke to the office manager, and I explained to her that no way could I meet the price that she was quoted by the other guy. I also told her to remember the service the other guy gave her two years ago.
    They were not happy with his service, big company but didn't get the job done. Well she said she would talk to the Doctor and let me know. Now keep in mind my salting bid was $38.00 higher per application than the other guy, so I didn't have a lot of hope for a favorable outcome. When she called me back a little while ago she said the Doctor signed my contract as I priced it.
    I don't know why he didn't go with the other guy but I'm happy today.

    Regards Mike