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low ballers

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by zappalawn, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. zappalawn

    zappalawn Member
    from pgh
    Messages: 56

    in one day i lost 3 clients do to low balling contractors. On top of that one of the clients didn't even bother to call.Kinda pisses me off when i finish a lot and then you have to deal with the other guy showing up and screaming about how its his lot and i need to leave, thats just something i don't need at 7am after being out all night.Anyone else have this problem?
  2. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    no i come right out and tell people they can probably find someone less expensive than me. hope they still paid you for the lot and if you provided a good service than you have every right to be upset they didnt call you. shows a obvious lack of sense and respect.

    sorry to hear.
  3. creativedesigns

    creativedesigns PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,929

    I wouldn't worry too much about lowballers because they will be bankrupt sooner than later before they can understand the elements of business & it's finances! :D
  4. Mudman78

    Mudman78 Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 103

    Yeah, but it's a revolving door. When one goes out, two more take his place. Things will never get better for the legitimate contractor at that rate.
  5. topdj

    topdj Senior Member
    Messages: 396

    well if he didn't tell you , I think he has to pay you? you were not notified?
  6. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    Ya that is pretty rediclous. Even more so with a parking lot. There would be a little more room for something like that on a residential. But a parking lot? I'd call him on it.
  7. zappalawn

    zappalawn Member
    from pgh
    Messages: 56

    i am not to worried about it when the guy dosent show or cant get there on time they will fire him. on top of it what i found funny is the lot has to be done by 8 and he was just showing up. on the plus side i could stop plowing now if i wanted cause my new plow and spreader are payed of this year
  8. Woodland

    Woodland Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    Sounds to me like you learned and important lesson this year. The same lesson I learned! Call all of your customers before every season to make sure they are still on board. Use this as an oportunity to find out if there is anything new with their lot that you should be aware of and to tell them of any price changes.

    The first 3 years I plowed, I called everyone around mid October to do just that. Most were suprised to hear from me but glad I called. This year I assumed it was a given I was plowing for them. Day before the first storm of this season I received calls from 3 customers that wanted to make sure I was coming and 1 who called at 7:30 that night to tell me that he wasn't sure if I was plowing his apt building so he found someone else to do it? Like that made sense.

  9. jkiser96

    jkiser96 Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    I quoted a dentist $75 to plow his lot a few years ago & he said he was paying $45 the year before, I told him to call them back. About a week later I get a call to do the lot because the guy had to turn his truck back over to GM since he couldn't make payments in winter because he wasn not making enough money. I love when these guys get a reality check
  10. jrush

    jrush Member
    from ct
    Messages: 41

    Forget lowballers!!!!!!! But I swear it's something people say to see if you'll bite, by saying the last guy did it for $xxx. Hmm, It;s a $50 job and he did it for $20 what the hell are you calling around for? I just tell them thats my price, call me if we can do business, but there is a huge part of me that wants to say, "really, they did it for that? can I see an invoice?" I wonder how much of "the last guy did it for" is bull!:gunsfiring:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2008
  11. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

    just say i dont care what he charged i charge this and thats the bottom line:gunsfiring:

    maybe in a little nicer way....
  12. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I had one customer that I didn't contact. Instead of him calling me and asking if I would do it, I got a call saying "I didn't hear from you so I went with someone else." It's funny that if you don't call them and beg to have them back for the up coming year you loose them.

    Was that the first snow of the season or had you been doing it?

    Why are you plowing without a contract? I wouldn't do it without one.

    My contract state "This Agreement shall be in effect for the winter season of 2007 - 2008. The dates are from November 1, 2007 through May 1, 2008. This Agreement shall terminate on May 1, 2008. "

    The contract also says, "The Contractor shall be responsible for the snow removal from the driveway and sidewalk of the property located at the address listed below."

    In mine it states that if for any reason any party wants to disolve the contract, they have to pay the other 50% of the contract amount.

    Yea I know, "good luck trying to collect". But it does stop them from hireing low ballers.
  13. Woodland

    Woodland Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    It was the first storm of the seaons and this guy wants me to think that rather than picking up the phone and calling the check, he took the time to call around to other contractors and show them the site and get prices. And that he was so unsure about wheter I was still doing it that he had the presence of mind to call and tell me not to! Whatever. I'm pretty sure he was approached by someone at some point to do the lot (and probably cheaper) and was waiting for me to call so he could tell me he hired someone else.

    For better or worse, yes. Most of my accounts are residentials & apartment buildings. Around here, written contracts are just not the way things are done, except with commerical work. Its your word and a handshake, and I've never been stiffed on payment. This year my one commercial lot and two of the apt. bldings signed contracts but all of my others are carry overs from years past. Any new accounts will have contracts period.
  14. Stone Mountain

    Stone Mountain Member
    Messages: 45

    I have one customer I've been plowing for 19 years. The ONLY time I ever talk to him is every October when I call to ask if he'd like me back. His lot is a commercial plaza.
    I call every one of my customers every year (except tghe ones whom I don't want back), as I don't take anything for granted.
  15. zappalawn

    zappalawn Member
    from pgh
    Messages: 56

    i lost those 3 and picked up 3 the same size if not bigger closer together for more money and the price i gave them was for plowing and saltin and walks and they told me not to salt or do the walks cause the owner likes to do it. i told them i would have to redo there pricing and they said dont worry its still a fair price to plow so im happy
  16. Scottscape

    Scottscape Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    your time is valuable from scheduling these clients to salt materials to drives if any regardless it's a hassle.. I've felt your pain though, been there done that about 5 years ago. I learned a contract and a $150.00 termination fee seperates the serious clients from the shoppers.

    Good to hear you came out on top though.
  17. jrglandscape

    jrglandscape Member
    Messages: 40

    I send out a new contract to each customer I want to keep in october. I state if there are any changes in pricing to them and why. If they aren't signed and returned before the snow flies then they don't get done. If they call on storm day, they get pushed to the end of the list and done if they are signing up for the season for the contract price.

    I never take things for granted. That's all you hear about on this site I was low balled. Good communication with the clients is a must in bussiness.
  18. ticki2

    ticki2 Senior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 175

    I do the same , never had anyone balk at signing a contract . Most feel safer , they know what they are buying and what it will cost . Best not to leave things to chance. That being said , nothing is fool proof , there are always weasels .
  19. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    i feel everyones pain but i think that the proper term is not "lowballing" it's called getting "underbid" it happens all the time only because some contractors are a "solo" operation and can do work much cheeper than the guy thats running a complex business. we have a large shop,many vehicals, and lots of insurance to pay for whereas the guy with one pickup and works out of his home garge has very min. operating cost and can do it for cheeper than I can. is he a lowballer? or does he just underbid?....... "jacklegs" thats another topic!!!!
  20. Spudgunner

    Spudgunner Member
    Messages: 40

    That's it in a nutshell. I'm pretty new at this business but something was apparent from the get-go and that was this business has extremely low "barriers to entry" (i.e. a beater pickup and plow). And, as another poster noted, for every beater that goes outta biz there are two to take their place.