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Discussion Starter #1
I have read on here and the other site about lowballers.
An interesting thought came to mind seeing how everyone hate's lowballers. I think everyone has been a lowballed or maybe I have the wrong idea of what one is.
A lowballer to me is someone who underbids your contracts correct?
Haven’t any of you underbid someone else’s contract, in order to get a contract you have to have some sort of edge over the previous person doing the job? You don’t consider yourself a Lowballer if you do a better job then the other guy who was more expensive?
Everyone had to start somewhere contracts just didn’t land in your lap did they?

Please clarify that for me since I have read allot about a lowballer.

Dave.:confused: :canada
 

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Well...
IMO....
You should come up with a price scheme that covers your overhead and produces a desirable profit margin. Then looking at a job, you should have a formula you would use to come up with a ball park price which you could tweak either way. You can sell yourself on better service etc. etc. to justify your price. But your price should be exactly that YOUR price. If your price comes in under the other guys, then you can consider yourself more efficient or maintaining a lower profit margin. But it wouldn't make you a lowballer because you used your formula to come up with the price.
On the other hand, if you come up with the price by finding out what the other guy charged then simply charging less, then... you're a lowballer.

Maybe I'm off base, but that's my feelings on a low-baller
 

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I have a guy now that under cut my price and will be doing it for practically nothing.But we will see if the service is there .I truely hope that he can not get to the parking lot and thing ice up.
 

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Rob- that is a good start, but I would also have to add that a lowballer is someone who is simply looking to make a quick buck, and really does not care about the customer. How many of you have gotten new contracts in the middle of te season because someone lowballed a contract, got the job, but then couldn't follow through due to breakdown, or just plain doesn't want to do it anymore and leaves the customer buried up to their a** in snow. I know that last winter since I started late ( by my own choice, I left my full time job in Feb) I was simply filling in for those guys who either lowballed in the begining of the year and then bolted, or those who just finally gave up trying to fix their trucks so they could plow for beer money. I live in the snow belt where we can get anywhere from 20-40 or more plowable events a season. Gotta love lake effect!!! The down side to this is that every other person has a plow on their truck and tries to make a few bucks every season. I always end up getting a few more contracts by the middle of the season. This also keeps prices low as far as residential rates go. I have to sell my customers on my experience, and commitment, and this is the first year I have picked up a few commercial accounts and what got me the job was my professionalism, as well as tossing in a couple of extras( like shoveling out the door if I have to plow before they open- only takes me 5 mins extra tops, but I have to get out of my truck at each place now, oh well, it worked and got me the job!!)

Each market is different, and I am amazed by how many guys can base their season on an average of 15 plowable events- heck, last year we had 15 events in one three week span!!!! We had an average of 3-6" of snow each and every day dring that little spat of lake effect!!!! GOOD WINTER!!!!


Bill
 

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A lowballer is someone who takes on work for rock bottom prices,and does a terrible job because he cannot afford to do the job properly.

Once a lowballer,always a lowballer.You will have lots of work,as everyone wants it cheap,but don't expect to make much from it.
 

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Low ballers, are a real pain in the ass. Like mentioned before, they are usually looking for beer money and don't give a crap about the work they have done. And certainly don't go the extra mile.

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok i wasnt sure. I was told that you wouldnt be a lowballer or a scab if you could do it cheaper but do a good job. What if i undercut the other guy. I would obvioulsy know what i hope to make in profit and if its too much i would just walk away if i feel i have nothing to gain.

The other guy might be chargeing more but if you know you can do a good job and make profit and do a better job thats ok ?

Dave.
 

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Snowboy said:
Good thing i dont drink much beer.... :D

LOL!!! Yes, if you can do a PROFESSIONAL job, make a profit while covering your overhead, then I would not consider you a lowballer. I will say that it is sites like this however that will help keep the business competetive by allowing people of the industry to network and help each other gauge what other markets are doing. Of course noting beats a few years experience under your belt, especially when you have the chance to learn from a real master. I know I said it in the other thread, but consider Wyldman's offer- he has a tremendous amount of knowledge he is willing to share with you- I am jealous and only wish I had someone in my area willing to do the same. Don't let te chance escape you.

Good luck in all of your endeavors.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No i cant go it alone nor would i. I think that i will try to plow for someone this year be it Chris or others. I dont learn much doing sidewalks.

I will do all possile to get this contract with somone.. Except lowball my way in not that we would think of that anyhow. :cash

Dave..
 

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We see them in this market too.
And it's not just those that just want the pocket money either.
Strangely many of those are in the habit of seeing how many plowing accounts they can get under contract each season.
Pricing there services so much lower then other "Professional plowers" would bid.
Then giving poor quality and slow service.
:rolleyes: John.........
 

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i think alowballer is usually a one yr person

because the first yr either they lost their shirt because they
didnt make enough to cover expense or they were overwhelmed
when the big storm hit .hopefully the second yr they either raise their prices to charge what it realley worth or their out of bussiness

people think plowing is an easy job
until the stuff hits the fan


john
 

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Snowboy said:
I have read on here and the other site about lowballers.
An interesting thought came to mind seeing how everyone hate's lowballers. I think everyone has been a lowballed or maybe I have the wrong idea of what one is.
A lowballer to me is someone who underbids your contracts correct?
Haven’t any of you underbid someone else’s contract, in order to get a contract you have to have some sort of edge over the previous person doing the job? You don’t consider yourself a Lowballer if you do a better job then the other guy who was more expensive?
Everyone had to start somewhere contracts just didn’t land in your lap did they?

Please clarify that for me since I have read allot about a lowballer.

Dave.:confused: :canada
I know I posted this "elsewhere", but since it was my post originally, it's not plagarizism:

My definition is: Any person who knowingly and deliberately uses another person's bid as a guide to submit a lower bid.

An honest bid is a bid submitted based on one's own criteria for establishing the amount bid (unless that criteria is another person's bid).


No, I have never underbid anyone. I guess you could say every account I have (I don't use contracts), has just "landed in my lap". I have lost accounts due to someone bidding less, but I've never had anyone deliberately underbid using my numbers. I thought I had once, but I found out this year that that wasn't the case. When I give a bid, I just base it on what I have come up with as a price - if someone else is willing to do it for less then that's thier business. Why should I do it for less, then resent having to plow it? Besides, I figure if they get that one, then there will be another come along that they can't bid on because they're too busy with the one they got.

Which brings up another interesting point - sub prices. In this area, I'd been told that nobody uses subs on a regular basis. Now, this year I've been contacted by someone who wants to know if I'd be available. I told him that I would and gave him a price. I know there are others that would plow for less, but I'm not worried about it. Why? Cause they wouldn't be dependable because of full time jobs, not wanting to get out of bed, unreliable equipment etc. So, would you pay $10 - $15 an hour more for someone who you know you can call and will respond?
 

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I would agree with the general idea here. I don't mind honest competiton. But I would say a lowballer is someone who hangs a plow on their truck without any idea of what they are doing and no desire to learn, has no commitment to the industry or their customers, just tries to pick up customers by pricing really low, then gives up in a year or two, many times mid-season leaving the customers hanging.

So in a way, the term "lowballer" has more to do with attitude that price.
 

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Hmmm Lowballer? could that be someone who tried to jump over a barbed wire fence and didnt quite make it? Okay on to a more serious note I think for the most part a lot of us have started out that way in one form or another. Heres where I eat some humble pie... I was a lowballer. Didnt know what the deal was, I was 18 with my first plow and knew I wanted to do snow. I bid all kinds of places and recieved a good number of bids. I quickly learned that my prices were not in line (I had my ass handed to me that year) I took a beaten but,... I said to myself you will do a class A job period! Why? Because these people trusted you and your name is on that door. So that winter I did everyone as neat as a pin and provided great service making just enough money to service the accounts and bearly live. As this went on I asked questions and lots of them and believe me it was different back then because most of the time when you asked someone something they wouldnt tell you squat thinking you were after their accounts. Second year went much better I brought prices almost to where they should be and most of the people kept me BECAUSE; of the service and if they didnt keep me I quickly learned that I didnt want them anyway. As time went on I learned job costing and what things were costing me for real, I went to yearly contracts on some so when we had a lean year I survived, Then we joined SIMA and went to our first symposium. More education, more networking, Joined SIMAs mentor program with Alan Steiman as my mentor. Now I look back and see where I am today and realize Bill,,, you were a lowballer. The difference I see between a lowballer and me? Education of the industry! After 22 years of plowing snow I am one very respected person in this industry and when another plowing service that I thought was far bigger than me calls up and asks for advice I know I did something right. So all I can say about lowballers and I know this doesnt cover all of them but a good many, is to educate these people, tell them about tjhis site, tell them about SIMA and most of all? Stay humble enough to never forget where you came from cause I'm sure not everyone started out with all the answers and I remember it like yesterday that I was bearly surviving, glad I hung in there.
 
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