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Whats the defanition of low ballers and scabs?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Robhollar, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. Robhollar

    Robhollar Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    You know theres allot of talk of low ballers and scabs and I'm not really sure what they are. To me a low baller is somebody who knows what you have bid on a job and purposely under bids your bid. And i don't really know what a scab is. Maybe somebody who primarily incomes comes from something other then snow plowing? I don't really know. What exactly makes someone a pro? Don't flame me I'm just trying to fig out where i fit into the food chain here....Rob
  2. qualitylawncare

    qualitylawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    I would define a pro as someone who either does this full time or does it part time but charges market rate and does good work..

    I define a lowballer and a scrub as someone who purposely "underbids" the going market rate just to get work. People who are doing this "just for alittle extra money" and people who call this a hobby and do it for nothing. A scrub is someone who doesn't have insurance or the proper business setup (no DBA, doesn't pay taxes, etc).. You get the idea..

    A professional plower is someone who will:

    1) Bid jobs at or above what the market will bear.
    2) Provide quality service, equal to or higher than the average competition
    3) Provide reliable service. Show up on time.
    4) Run a "REAL" business. i.e. pay taxes, setup a DBA, carry the proper insurance, maintain a superior level of customer satisfaction, etc.

    Again, I'm sure you get the idea :nod: :waving:
  3. Mick

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

    I've never seen a definition of either, so I made one for "Lowballer" - A person who intentionally undercuts his competition's pricing without regard to his own costs.

    Sometimes it seems that some guys want to apply the term to anyone they are in competition with who wins a bid.

    Scab - I have no idea. This seems to usually apply to the lawn care field.
  4. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    There's a few people on here that fit the definition of "lowballer" :nod:
  5. Mick

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

    Surely you jest. Nobody here would do such a thing, would they?

    Ok, I also believe life is fair. :rolleyes:
  6. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    No not at all Mick!! I don't know what I was thinking. :confused: :D
  7. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    Open market

    I believe it is an open market and you get generally get what you pay for. Sure, someone can pick up a rust bucket and push snow for half what I can. But I doubt he's going to be reliable. Most commercial sites understand this and are willing to pay for quality, reliable service. Think about it, you can buy a new car for $10,000 from Kia? or somewhere but I don't see alot of them out there. The Kia is not putting Honda out of business. I see alot of Acuras on the road.

    I'm guilty of doing alot of "value added" service for my customers and maybe that makes me a low baller. I always help the cleaning people take the trash out to the dumpster in a storm. I plow a couple of property managers driveways on the way to their site. I brush off cars in the lots when we work there during business hours. I provide back up service for some of my competitors when their equipment is down.

    There are different levels of service and the market always has room for another quality provider. The highest quality provider will command the highest prices. Also sell your service to your customers. Remind them of what level of service you provide and ask them how you can improve your service. Ask them to refer you to other quality oriented building owners. Build your business on service and quality. If all you offer is a low price with questionable service, there is always someone cheaper out there.

    Good luck out here this season and I hope it is profitable for you.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2004
  8. dpildner

    dpildner Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    "People who are doing this "just for alittle extra money" and people who call this a hobby and do it for nothing. A scrub is someone who doesn't have insurance or the proper business setup (no DBA, doesn't pay taxes, etc)."


    I realize that I will not be making any friends with this statement but here goes.

    I make my primary living as a Licensed Electrical Contractor (Insured and Bonded), not as a plow operator. Yet I would be willing to bet that a good many of the people posting messages about low ballers and scrubs have done their own electrical work and probably have helped others for free or "a little extra money", I can understand your frustration as this takes food out of my family's mouth the same as when someone low balls you.

    I will make you a deal, you promise to never help anyone with electrical, and I promise not to plow a friends driveway.

  9. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    That's going a little too far I think.
  10. qualitylawncare

    qualitylawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    I don't know a damn thing about electrical work. I had to have a friend wire my truck strobe setup because I'm clueless. I'm a lawn care and snow removal contractor, not an electrician.. I don't jump from professions..
  11. glenspot

    glenspot Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    The difference is...

    I understand the point that dpildner is making. But, the difference is, helping out a friend or relative is different than generally charging pennies for what someone else is charging dollars for.

    I am going to plow my grandma and my father in law this winter for free. I don't consider myself being a lowballer. I consider it "doing a favor". If my father in law is a mechanic...and in turn, does me a favor by rebuilding my transmission. I don't think I've done anything wrong. Thats because the guy next door to my father in law will be charged my regular price.

    If Mr. Plow is plowing nearly everyone's driveway for "a couple extra bucks" ....HE would be lowballing. And it would be taking REAL work away from reputable snow removal companies.

    If Fred Electrician doesn't WORK for an established electrical company. Doesn't start one of his own, but still does electrical work .. (No insurance, no license, etc) then HE is lowballing. And he's also taking work away from a reputable electrician.

    Actually, I think the point dpildner was making....was: If I, as a plower, go help my buddy with electrical. Then I am technically a low-balling electrician. Thats actually a good point.

  12. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    You should stop worrying about low ballers and focus on getting quality customers that are willing to pay a fair price for your services. Low ballers exists in almost EVERY business, it is just a part of the business environment we are in. There is nothing we as a group can do to stop this practice, so you must learn to operate around it. When it snows here my 11 year old son takes one of my old snowblowers and is out hustling driveways for $15-20. I would normally get $30-45 for the same job. Is he a low baller? Is taking $$$ off some "legitimate" snow removal contractors plate? I think he's just a smart hard working kid trying to make a 100 or 2 every time it snows. A sub contractor pushes snow for me for $55-65 per hour, my hourly rate to my customers is $110-125. He finds a couple of jobs himself that he gets because he can do them for $75.00 per hour. Is he a low baller? It is a matter of perspective. Low ballers or what ever you want to call them will always exist, get over it and move on to the next job.
  13. IA snoman

    IA snoman Senior Member
    from Ia
    Messages: 153

    Yeah, I understand the lowballer concern, but some of us have to remember that different places have different rates. $75/hr might be lowballing somewhere and it might be above market prices in another.
  14. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    I totally agree with you. $75.00 per hour is about average around here.
  15. Mick

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

    I think my definition above addresses all of these examples. As long as the electrician, your son and the one plowing Grandpa's drive aren't purposely undercutting a contractor's bid, I don't see a problem. Even if someone does the job for less (ie: the kid with a shovel clears a drive for 1/3 what you'd charge), I still don't see that he's a lowballer. He figured $10 for that job was what he needed. He doesn't care what you would charge.
  16. Bad Luck

    Bad Luck Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    Joe Smith big time plower who has a fleet of new equiptment and 10 guys to pay will obviously have less room to move on a bid than a kid in college who is using a 85 K20 and a buddy to shovel. Is it wrong that the college kid charges 35 beans less an hour? No. He's trying to make it like everyone else. Is it wrong that he has no insurance or doesn't pay taxes? Yes. But at some point I'm sure we've all been there.

    Fact is that there is competition all over the place, in every field of business, whether it's a legit company or not. If your customers are educated to make their own decision and you are providing a great service at a reasonable rate you should forget about stressing yourself about that which is out of control. And concentrate on gaining more accoounts, on providing a better service, and doing it the way that you feel is correct.

    BTW: Anyone have a lead on a good Comm. Ins. Provider in NJ? :)
  17. SnoSpike

    SnoSpike Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    A scab is generally a term used when a union is on strike and a non-union person fills in for the striking people to keep the buisness running during a strike.

    Interesting thread...

  18. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    Somebody on the same page with me. Focus on what your doing and not the competition. There is plenty of work out there. If there isn't, prices will be driven downward to correct the situation(basic supply and demand economics). If this were easy everybody would be doing it.
  19. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    Snow spike,

    I was just going to say that about unions. But figured I'd read through the whole thing first.

    The Union doesn't have to be on strike however to have scabs working.

    As for low ballers/scrubs, there are tons of them out there, and many in here as well.

    I know guys that are happy to plow for $60/hr at a Mall and brag about it, as I quietly snicker under my breath and pocket $150-$200/hr regularly. It's when THOSE guys go out and contracturally plow for those rates that it irritates me. They think it's great, as they only make $15/hr at their daytime factory jobs or whatever, so $60 is like hitting the lottery for them. Little do they know they're missing out on at least DOUBLE that figure.
  20. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    Does that make them low ballers? To you maybe, but they feel like they are making good $$$$, even though they are leaving money on the table. Hey guys, welcome to a free market economy. Maybe we ask toe government to step in and regulate snow removal pricing.

    I don't want anyone to misunderstand me. I am NOT a low baller. I have old equipment and I bill @ 110-150 per hour. I am told high, for our area. Lots of guys in the 75-100 per hour range. But I am booked and have no problem getting quality accounts that are willing to pay my prices.