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Tired of the lowballers

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by twinbrothers, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. Dose anybody remember when you could actually make money doing snow. Just had most of my bids cut by half. How do you do a lot that takes minimum 3 tons salt 0 tolerance for 15 g a year? Lets all vent about the lowballers!
  2. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    there is plenty of low baller plowers & low baller customers, trick is to let them find eachother, you can help by sending those customers to those plowers, they can be in cheap bliss together, you got to keep taking bids & you will eventually find the better customers that care.
  3. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    I've got a local semi-handicapped guy that has been trying to take some of my contracts, seems he plays up his disabilites to make property managers feel sorry for him... most aren't stupid enough to realize he is incapable of doing the big jobs despite what he tells them, owns a beater 2wd truck with a meyer straight blade that is older than I am, no salter, and no crew. Not to be an a$shole but what is he gonna do, put a plow on a wheelchair to do the sidewalks???? Maybe its not a bad idea.

    Anyways, when he doesn't get the jobs he whines and cries about discrimination...

    Ugh.. I always try not to take it too personally, but he's deliberately targetting my lots because a mutual friend (who I wish would just shut up!) has been telling him what great properties I have (they aren't for beginners though).

    So far I haven't lost any of them, but there is one hasn't returned my message...hmmm....
  4. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    Just make sure your customers know you got new & reliable equipment, back up equip ect. If his name is brought up by a customer maybe queston his ability(physically & equip) to get the job completed.
  5. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    No one likes low pricing in this business, But at the same time you need to look at your expenses too.If they are above the norm that means you need to bid higher then everyone else, so what you think is a low price the other guy maybe bidding at an efficient price for himself.
  6. Sounds like I need to head north and get out of Obamas backyard. My brother and I have been doing snow for 15 years and how cheap you can do it is all that matters now, and where not talking about plowing gas stations and crap, we do large scale lots
  7. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    I feel lucky to live where the lowballers are few.
  8. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    "If you look around the room and can't pick out the sucker, its you" -mark Cuban

    "If you look around and can't see a lowballer, its you" -me
  9. DaveCN5

    DaveCN5 Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    The best thing you can do is provide a superior service. We've lost plenty of accounts in the past to guys plowing for beer money. However, we have gotten a lot of them back. Sometimes it's a season later, some times it's a few weeks later. But every time it's because we provide a superior service. We are honest with our customers and tell them up front that we will not be the cheapest, but we will be the most reliable. Slowly you will find the customers who care about the quality of service delivered and when you impress them, they will tell others about you. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. We have quite a few clients who have been with us since our company started 18 years ago and they have never looked for another snow removal company. We have an amazing relationship with these customers and these are the customers you truly want.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
  10. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    Excellent collection of thoughts, displaying the idealistic values, as well as the precise guidelines, by which anyone who is in this business should be following, and conveying to others. Thank YOU !

    The lowballers will individually disappear, new ones will take their place, but in the mean time, you've got the opportunity to collect the customers you really want to have, and discard the rest for the bottom feeders to fight over and die out with. It's up to you to decide if you want to pursue the good clients, or lower your standards, as well as your pricing to compete, as if you give the farm away, eventually the bank will repo the farm. In both my plowing and contracting business I've let the ones go that aren't worth my time, effort, or even deserve my standards of quality...

    Eventually, we find the clients we need, and through attrition, we wind up with a better customer base in the process.
  11. Tiflawn

    Tiflawn Member
    Messages: 45

    If you leave a trail in the snow when you plow, your a lowballer. On a serious note, I have to say after 26 years in the business, price of service has not followed with cost to do the service. Insurance, fuel, labor, equipment cost and repairs have skyrocketed. The economy, or lack of one, has forced many people and companies to lower pricing and expectations. Grandview stated earlier that some companies need to manage their expenses better, but the majority of us already do that. We as plowing contractors have a very important job to perform. Many people count on us to have the lots plowed, sidewalks cleared and ice melted. Customers need to realize we will not lower our prices and standards so they can cut expenses and boost profits. Management companies also need to stop " bullying " contractors with vendor agreements and contracts. Some of us have learned when to say enough is enough. I better stop ranting for now.
  12. xgiovannix12

    xgiovannix12 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,433

    I have to agree with you 110 %. Most guys put blades on there pickups here and do driveways for 10 bucks its sad.
  13. xgiovannix12

    xgiovannix12 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,433

    [​IMG] :laughing:
  14. Tiflawn

    Tiflawn Member
    Messages: 45

    LMAO. I just polluted my briefs.
  15. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    I am sooooo printing that out and tucking it under his windshield wiper one night.... :D
  16. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 622

    I do not like to lose customers so I can understand how you feel. As you said he is not equipped to handle your customers.

    Even if he gets one. As a business owner we always have to keep looking for new customers. People move, pass away, lose ability to afford to pay.

    The guy is handicapped. From what you have said he is just getting by financially. He can't beat you on equipment and experience.

    Leave him alone.

    You know every time you put an ad in a newspaper or flyers on a mail box. You are trying to steal some other man's customers.
  17. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,272

    I don't know what's worse - the guys out there lowballing, or the guys here crying about them.

    fact is, there is no shortage of either.
  18. Chineau

    Chineau Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    When I started at this 5 years ago a fellow who has been at it for about twenty years told me every year he sees someone start up figuring they will make a million and be the next snow king. Don't play there game,play your own.
    Yes it is frustrating and you may lose a customer to a low baller they deserve each other. Now for a laugh, yesterday I stopped in at a shop to talk with a fellow and was told one of the low balling types who bid and got a huge property had to hire loaders at a cost of around 4 thousand dollars to clear it after the last storm, this guy is cutting bids by half or more to get them. In one way I want to laugh at him, but I try to be a stand up guy and not take pleasure out of seeing some one fall. Manage your business well the market will take care of the ones that don't.
  19. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Great way to look at it. The hard part is making it a winter or whatever with less income than you need or wanted..I picked up 2 more driveways this weekend. Both within 2 miles of me. That makes 17 new accounts for me this season so far..
  20. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    I normally wouldn't care about lowballers trying, they always do, but this guy has made a point of specifically going after MY big accounts, no one elses, because my (idiot) friend told him which ones I service and what great jobs they are (they aren't all that great, just big, the amount of hand work on them is what sucks)... so when you specifically go down the list of another contractor's sites, yeah it becomes a little more personal than normal.

    Now, I joke about sticking that pic under his wiper but I could never do it as I would never really want to make fun of someone for being handicapped. If I wanted to be an ******* I could specifically target his jobs in the area, and very likely take them because they are neighbours to my grocery store and they see the service they receive in comparison... but I opt to be the nice guy and not do that. I DON'T advertise. People know I'm not the cheapest around, but there are still a few people who demand A+++ service and are willing to pay for it--those people seek ME out.

    Is he just 'getting by'? He gets his monthly government hand out, if he was surviving just on that I'd say yes. I actually think it's great he is trying to do more with his life than just sit around, kudos to him in that regard! But in this case since he specifically went after my sites and mine alone (and bid the grocery store at 1/3 since he has no idea what he's in for), I'm not really gonna call him a friend! And since my (idiot) friend realized he screwed up by giving him that info and tried to backpedal and talk to him about it and the guy laughed in his face and told him he was gonna put me outta business... well yeah, take it how you will.

    So far, we have retained ALL of the contracts, with the exception of one new property manager on a plaza we have serviced since 2000 who has caused me nothing but grief since he took over... he doesn't like me because I don't accept his same excuse of "We didn't get your invoice" every single billing cycle whether it be faxed, emailed, or in one case hand delivered! I may have to contact the property owner directly again...

    As usual, it is what it is...