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What the customer wants to pay?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Premier, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. Premier

    Premier Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    Ok, the other day i was stoped and asked to do a snow bid, and with all the lowballing going on i decided to ask the customer a question, what do you want to pay me to plow your lot what is it worth to you..... there was a uncomfortable silence for min, They some how came up with a number in there head, not sure how they came up with the number but it was 35 more than i was thinking in my head...

    what im wondering is if anybody else on here has tried this? did i just get lucky or is asking the customer before you give them a price worth something to get a dialog going to secure more work?

    Just wondering.
  2. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    When ever I look at a new job, the first thing I ask is what they paid last year. I go from there.
  3. T&M SnowMan

    T&M SnowMan Senior Member
    Messages: 249

    Thats great...sometimes when you present them with the question, they have to think of a number that seems fair and doesnt insult the service provider...looks like ya got lucky..probably an honest customer
  4. Premier

    Premier Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    I have to go bid a hotel tomorrow, I may try it again to see what happens... who know i may be on to something. :laughing:
  5. Scott's

    Scott's Senior Member
    Messages: 416

    I have asked that question many times and todate have never had anyone give me them #'s
  6. vmj

    vmj Senior Member
    from conn
    Messages: 762

    same here.....
  7. Premier

    Premier Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    Scott's, VMJ were you asking for last years prices or did you ask what they were thinking it should cost? The reason that im thinking about approching customers in this new way is to get them thinking about what we do for them and how its done, Im thinking it may open up some lines for customer education, This year i put together a queston sheet that i give out with my bids, I have gotten good feed back from this, customers telling me that they didnt realize the extent of prep work and forthought and planning that we as plow professionals put into our opperations to ensure that they are taken care of in a timly mannor in a way that they expect.
  8. grassgator

    grassgator Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    I use that approach with my lawn company. Have gotten alot of business by asking that question. I now advertise " Prices To Fit Your Budget" . The other side is the people that lowball you when you ask them that question. Usually I will give them the line " Unfortunatly I was thinking $xx.xx" and explain to them how I came to that price. 9 times out of 10 they understand and I get the job.
  9. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    I dont believe i have ever heard somebody give me a sure answer on what they paid last year or what they want to pay. I make and set the price and that carrys me till the next year when I go back over the numbers. If they cant afford the price we adjust the service we cant just change price for the heck of it.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2009
  10. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    First thing I ask is "Were you happy with last year's service?"... then I have a leg to stand on when my price comes in higher. I can then ask "Well, what did you pay last year"... then I've got a "range" from bad service last year to premium service (us, of course).

    Now I can play the let's meet in the middle dance and show the that we are reasonable to work with. Seems to work some of the time... nothing works all of the time.
  11. doo-man

    doo-man Senior Member
    Messages: 387

    I just landed a customer by asking them what they were paying last year! I was $10 higher but I was quoting salt also and they said no salt required and they agreed to sign no hold harm contract as they will salt it themselves !!!!
  12. KL&M Snow Div.

    KL&M Snow Div. PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,616

    I may have to give this a shot
  13. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,756

    Nobody wants me to know what they have paid in the past. Well at least most of the time.
  14. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,548

    around here ..it would be unethical for the property manager to quote a price..it would take away fair , impartial bidding
  15. linckeil

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

    the "what did you pay last year approach" is BS - at least in most cases it is. over the summer i sent out notices to my PIA customers/time consuming accounts that i would no longer to be able to take care of them this winter due to time constraints, but i recommended they contact a friend of mine.

    well my friend calls me up after just about all jobs he prices and the people say "oh, well he used to do it for us for $xx.xx" - which was anywhere between 30%-60% less then what i actually charged. so when you ask people what they used to pay, most will reduce the actual number by quite a bit.

    and if i were a customer and someone asked me that question, i'd tell them its irrelevant - i'd want to know what YOU would charge. if you know your business, you should be able to give me a quote without knowing what i paid last year.

    but the "what do you think its worth?" approach is a new one. never throught of doing that. but i think its a fair question to ask, but again, i think most people would go lower than they actually feel its worth so they have some negotiating power - at least i would.
  16. doo-man

    doo-man Senior Member
    Messages: 387

    Tell em I will try and beat last years but I need to see an invoice! It has worked for me in both mowing n plowing!!
  17. BMWSTUD25

    BMWSTUD25 Senior Member
    Messages: 631

    I have asked when meeting with people what they are use to paying or think it should be worth. Not so much looking for an exact figure but If Im talking about their lot with them and they tell me they want/or have had it plowed for say $50 and I know in my mind its a lot I would 100+ for then I know its not worth wasting either of our times. I've done the same thing with people before on tree jobs or landscape installs. Even lawns. Some people are use to the neighbor mowing it for 15 bucks and I konw they would never go for a $50 price so why waste my time. But I agree to as others have said people tend to "forget" what they were actually paying before whey they quote you old prices and give you very low numbers IMO
  18. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    A great qaulifying question... I like it. You can invest the time saved on another sale with a higher probability of closing.

    It's always hard to pass up an opportunity to bid. This year, I politely blew off several with qaulifying questions and I am better for it.

    Some didn't want to actually meet or even call me to discuss it.
    Some just wanted us to send prices and hourly rates.
    Some sent a blanket email "Good afternoon, we are accepting bids..." Obviously blind copied a dozen guys.
    Even had one who, for all to see, copied 23, that's "twenty friggin' three" other vendors.

    Don't waste your time is all I can say.
  19. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    I've used the "what is it worth to you?" question in the past too. I find the responses very interesting due to the fact it gives me insight as to the type of customer I'm dealing with. Like big acres said "A great qualifying question."

    If they come back with way more than I'm thinking, I do it for a little more than what I was thinking, less than they were thinking and they feel they are getting a deal and so do I. They tell everyone how great I am to deal with. These people are excellent customers.

    If they come back with about the same as I'm thinking, then we are agreed on the value and price of the work. They tell everyone how reasonable I am to deal with. These people are good customers.

    If they come back considerably cheaper than I'm thinking, then....
    -they need to be educated on what goes into completing the job or
    -they are trying to "Walmart me" or
    -they're broke.
    These people make for bad customers. They haggle over price, can't be satisfied and never reference you to anybody.

    I have all 3 types of customers and I drop the 3rd type as soon as I possibly can.