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Was I lowballed or am I too high?!

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by ss502gmc, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. ss502gmc

    ss502gmc Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    I quoted a 900 ft drive at 16ft wide that went to 2 houses with a 300ft drive connecting them both had enough parking for 10 cars each. I quoted $150 up to 6" per event and a additional $75 for every 6" after. They wanted salt also and quoted $80 for that. Trying to see what I'm missing as I'm not use to quoting such a setup. There was only one spot that needed back dragging and fig it would have taken me 35 min to plow at most. Any input is appreciated. I seem to be losing a lot of bids recently and think I'm being lowballed.
  2. NThill93

    NThill93 Member
    Messages: 96

    seems cheap to me but not by much. it all depends on location though I'm not from your area so i couldn't really say. is that sand salt? or straight salt?
  3. ss502gmc

    ss502gmc Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    Straight salt
  4. NThill93

    NThill93 Member
    Messages: 96

    yeah definitely underpriced as far as Long Island goes.
  5. Citytow

    Citytow Senior Member
    from phila
    Messages: 548

    there are guys here that would do it for a fish cake .......and no condomints
  6. ss502gmc

    ss502gmc Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    And that's the problem, this year I decided to let a couple small commercial properties go that were way too far out of the way in order to boost efficiency and tighten up my route but now I'm regretting it as I've been trying to network some on FB and gain some more resi's to make up for it as it was a last min decision a few weeks ago to let them go and I've gotten zero responses from CL and the ones I've gotten were from FB and now I see that there's a cpl guys in the area advertising $30-$40 "PER STORM REGARDLESS OF HOW MUCH SNOW" how the hell am I supposed to compete with this? And these people just don't get it! I'm not talking about 2-3 quotes I've done but more like 18-20 and they all say I'm too high! I quoted another drive that was a big horseshoe and a 100ft drive with a 2 car garage with all back dragging for $75 per push and that was too high bc the last guy did it for $40! I've never had this big of a problem before getting work and it's always been " you win some you lose some" but damn! Sorry for the rant but no one at home can stand me complaining anymore. Lol maybe it's time to give up!
  7. ctdmax

    ctdmax Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    If they think your too high on price then tell them to stay with the cheap guy... And why are they looking for other bids if their current guy is so cheap?
  8. gwhalen3

    gwhalen3 Member
    Messages: 99

    Its always the case . The last guy did it for $25 so that sounds good right? I get this line for every single quote I go to. Unbelievable!! People are clueless of the costs these days. I tell them I'm not a kid with a shovel trying to buy pizza. If you want that price you won't get any service and it will be BAD service.
  9. Snow tracker

    Snow tracker Senior Member
    Messages: 137

    Most of this can be weeded out on the first phone call from the client.
  10. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    I honestly have no good or bad number for ya and nobody will unless they're in your market, use the same equip. etc. But a word of advice thats gotten me a lot of customers, and Im not saying you don't already but when I do a quick estimate, maybe spend a minute or so with them on the phone or in person I rarely get the job. When I take the time and sit down with them in person, create a relationship so to speak, explain even the simplest things to them (cuz lets face it common sense is no longer common) I get at least 80% of my bids. Everyone wants to feel important and be heard so listen to them! People are tired of being bs'ed and ripped off so be truthful with them, if you were at say 200 bucks and your confident in your bid, explain away why the other guys are the price they are. Know your market and have the experience to explain your bid. Im not saying your bid is too high or your getting low balled because your 30 dollar driveway could be 15 bucks here but if your loosing over half your bids its time to do a price check.
  11. hatchmastr

    hatchmastr Senior Member
    from 516
    Messages: 243

    well said . couldn't of said it better my self. lol.
  12. Jfdvrod

    Jfdvrod Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    I can plow an area usually cheaper than I can salt it, here in my area (Lou, KY). Locally, Salt is going for about $120 a ton this year (my bulk price @ 200 ton). I would put a price, if in my area, of plow $90, Salt $110.
  13. Glenn Lawn Care

    Glenn Lawn Care Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    That would be cheap here, especially for salt that went up 70% this year from last.
  14. coloradopushr

    coloradopushr Member
    Messages: 82

    Market dictates price

    I have a simalar drive way that is pretty out of the way. When I quoted it I tried to calculate cost of $85/ hr. This accounts for drive time to and from the property. In my example I figured 30 mins of plowing and 15 min drive to and from. Thus I quoted the two home owners $85. The 85 dollar figure is acually low for my market here in colorado I have seen other companys bid from $95-115. when other companies bid I assume they dont account for more than 20 min commutes to propertys.
  15. PLandscaping

    PLandscaping Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    I don't think you're way off at all, there are definitely some cheapos that would scoff at that price, but realistically it's reasonable. Guys who are out there plowing for $25 are insane. There is no way they have insurance, so just wait until they get sued and go under. Tell clients that insurance doesn't protect just you, it protects them from slip and falls and property damage.

    We don't use plows, we use blowers and shovels, and I pay pennies for a 1m per 2m agg policy, and I couldn't afford to do drives as cheap as these guys.

    $40 for a 100 ft drive is nuts. $75 is beyond reasonable.
  16. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    You ever think guys out there doing drives for 40 runs a higher production rate. Doesn't make them a lowball You may think they are
    The time for you to do 1 drive say for $75 the other guy might do 5 for total of $200 in same amount of time
  17. SnowGuy

    SnowGuy Senior Member
    from NW Ohio
    Messages: 201

    In my market area I would have quoted for the driveway(s) you described $100 to plow and $75 to salt up to 6".
  18. PLandscaping

    PLandscaping Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    Listen, I'm all for market cornering, and making money in volume rather than price.

    However, my opinions on snow prices are based on what it takes to operate a snow removal business.

    Equipment cost, wear and tear on trucks, ect. Running a snow business is a higher risk vs reward operation as opposed to mowing lawns. And I don't think operators and contractors should sell themselves short.

    Especially in my area, the amount of snow removal companies is far less than the demand. I run snowblower only service. It's a niche market, and in high demand. I charge accordingly for that, because to keep employees happy with a good hourly rate, pay insurance, pay for equipment and maintenance, costs a lot.

    Making up the difference with volume for snow to me doesn't make sense. You have to work like crazy, and as fast as possible to keep the complaint phone calls at bay. I'd rather provide a quality service that's better than most of the plow guys, and charge more for it, and take less customers. But that's just me, my opinion on lawn mowing is the exact opposite.

    And this is how I feel with even MY operation, which other than labor for help, costs significantly less to run than a plow business. My insurance is nothing compared to what it would be with a blade on my truck, the beating my truck takes in nothing compared to plowing, and plows are two to four times more expensive than blowers.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  19. JimMarshall

    JimMarshall Senior Member
    from NW PA
    Messages: 786

    You think that's bad, I have someone local that advertises any driveway $10
  20. BBC co

    BBC co PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,883

    I charge by the inch, simple to explain simple to understand. Any potential customer that doesn't agree is doing me a favor by not being a future headache.