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Discussion Starter #1
I just lost a plowing contract .they guy that is doing it is under cutting my plowing price by $50 and undercutting my sanding price by $65 .And the priceing he is under cutting is what I have been charging for the past 6 years so you know it had to be ok So here is my question what would you charge do plow and sand a 200x200 parking lot mind you there is a reasurant with a bar in the building so late night clean up and many cars to go around .
 

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Cat don't sweat the low ballers.

If theres a bar on site MINIMUM 300.00 per shot (without seeing it). Bars create a lot of liabilty issues as well as they are PITA to deal with on off hours.

The last bar we plowed was 8 years ago. I backed into a woman who was getting into her car. No serious injuries, but heres the kicker, the guy who owned the lot never told us a bar would be using the lot after regular business hours. We told him we wouldn't be comming back.

Did they give out your price?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No nobuddy but the managment co knows .The thing that go me is he will be sanding it for $25 not for nothing but that seams to be just a little low considering a landscaper in town wanted $100 to do the same lot . JD will you be by tommorrow an your way back with the plow .
 

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Face it, there are alot of lowballers out there. Chances are he will do a poor job, or be unreliable or screw something up.

Then you may be called back to do the account again. At that point, you are in the drivers seat... you can choose to take it on again... AT a New FEE or at the old fee you were charging or, you can choose to tell the guy to get lost.

No sense in :headwall about it... Thats Business.
 

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Cat,
I'm in the same boat as you. We lost some gas stations to low ballers this year, but they were eventually replaced with nice sized corporate accounts, and now that I think about it I'm pretty happy I did lose them the liability issues were a PITA...JMO
 

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LO Ball

Hay Cat Call the management co and tell them you cannot provide the professonal service at that price and if they have any problems they cann call you.......Don't lower your price for nobody.......he will mess up and they will call .....that happend to me 19 years ago with a parking lott the guy lasted one storm the owner called me back i've been there ever since.......the owner told me he gives his people a gold watch after 20 years of service but i am getting a timex because i am so expensive......but every sept 1 my contracts go out and his is always the first to come back around the 5th....You provide a proffesional service if you are good you dont need to bargan ....in time you will get a reputation than you will have loal customers..... if your customer is just looking for the chepest price than that is not for you.....Becides a bar parking lott is high liability every car that gets hit you will be blamed and every drunk that falls is all you that deffenatally requires a high price to plow and you should have higher limmits on your liability insurance especally slip and fall.......:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well not to bring up a real old thread but that guy is still doing the lot, doing a crappy job I hear nothing but complaints but yet he's still there and they get less service but i guess $$ talks .They would rather trade service for price .
 

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My take on it is to not worry about it. I've lost several now over the seven winters I've been plowing. I've found a trend, though. If there's a committee involved, I won't get it in the first place because they'll go with the lowest bid. I've lost bids where an individual hired me in the first place, only to get replaced the next year when the process involved bidding and a committee. Last winter, I lost a private road that I'd for several years. Then when there was a third house built and all of a sudden a "road committee", I got replaced even though they "had been really happy with my services, it's just that they got offered a deal". The funny thing was that that road got replaced this year by another on my side of the lake with a single resident. Wound up being closer, much less road and the same money.
 

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Warning, RANT!

I don't think ignoring the "low baller" is a good approach. What needs to found out is how they are doing it. Are they more efficient? Have they worked out deals with vendors to lower costs? Do they have less overhead? The assumption with many is that a "low baller" is doing something sneeky or worse illeagal. I'm not saying it is or not but it should be a part of the conversation and that conversation needs to be had at several levels, including political. If the "low baller" is doing something better, take it and use it.

Also, client expectations (not demands) have been lowered for services and products overall. It is prevalent throught U.S./American society. There are a great many texts on it. There are companies that have been able to succesfully capitalize on it too. I don't think anyone is going out there to do a poor job but our society has willingly established these standards and lives by them daily.
 

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That is true. Big box stores are a perfect example. Buy poor prducts get poor service. Who cares it was cheeper. I am all for less epensive But refuse to save money at expense of quility. Trouble is most are.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well I know how this guy is doing it he is a full time cop in the next town, getting payed probably pretty well and has insurance thru the town.
Me and probably every other guy pays for his won insurance and does not have a 9-5 job to fall back on.

I'm just saying that is what that guy is and how he is doing it to suplement his income from the police , has old equipment .
 

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I won't drop my price at all. I give a fair price and provide excellent service. So when I lose an account and they tell me I can keep it if I can match there numbers I tell them no and wait to get a phone call during a blizzard crying to come plow them out
 

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It does come back around though. Lowballers have been around this area for many years, and basically drove us out of the snow business. It wasn't worth it because competition was so cheap. Plus we have always been pretty busy year round with excavating.

But in the last few years, we've gotten back into it only because our regular customers insist upon service by us. They know the qualitiy of work we do and know that they get reliable service. We charge a fair price, but do not undercut the same profit margins that we see in our other services. Bottom line is that customers will only put up with the lack of service until something happens that stifles their business. Once that happens, they will realize that the addition cost of quality service is pennies compared to a loss due to poor service.
 

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Rocket said:
Warning, RANT!

I don't think ignoring the "low baller" is a good approach. What needs to found out is how they are doing it. Are they more efficient? Have they worked out deals with vendors to lower costs? Do they have less overhead? The assumption with many is that a "low baller" is doing something sneeky or worse illeagal. I'm not saying it is or not but it should be a part of the conversation and that conversation needs to be had at several levels, including political. If the "low baller" is doing something better, take it and use it.

Also, client expectations (not demands) have been lowered for services and products overall. It is prevalent throught U.S./American society. There are a great many texts on it. There are companies that have been able to succesfully capitalize on it too. I don't think anyone is going out there to do a poor job but our society has willingly established these standards and lives by them daily.
Excellent post, Rocket. I agree because otherwise you might just find yourself out of business because you missed out on a better way.

It is still frustrating though. We lost a large account due to one location getting crappy service from a sub. The other 8 locations that we serviced received no complaints. I had numerous conversations with the sub and we ended up providing most of the service at the end of last season. Contract went to someone else. Looking at those lots now, they are in horrible condition. With the late snowfall the other day, 2 of them almost had the main drives plowed, what was plowed was not bare pavement, couldn't really tell if any salt was applied, but they didn't even attempt to plow where there were no cars. I would have gotten my ass chewed if we had ever left them looking like that. The previous snowfall in December wasn't any better.

Here's some pics of one of the lots at the end of last week. Anybody think they're really paying less for salt than when we serviced them?

The best part is all the runoff from this lot is being collected in a 12,000 gallon tank for watering the landscape--which is brand new. Anybody want to guess how many plants are going to die? Guess who is the only contractor in GR with non-chloride anti-icing\de-icing capabilities?
 

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