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Undercut by cowboys?

Do you ever find yourself undercut on price by what obviously must be a cowboy outfit?I just had a reply to a quote I gave for a job saying somebody had quoted around 75% less for the same job and they were choosing them! (also given the fact that a large part of this job was to fix what the previous cowboys had cocked up there is a hint of irony about it..) Now considering the material costs alone for the job in question far exceed what this other person had quoted to do the entire job and in fact less even than I was charging for labour, I can only assume that they are a cowboy outfit who a) Won't do the job properly and b) have a lot of hooky material laying about.How do you deal with this kind of thing? All I have done is to politely warn the customer of the unrealistically low offer and some potential pitfalls associated with the job not being done properly.I personally find it very frustrating when this is a standard bread & butter type job.

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Replies

  • PRO
    I normally smile hen I drive past and see a half finished bomb site maybe I'm just weird:)
    Forget and move on to worthwhile customers!
  • PRO

    Hi Neal,

    Frustrating right? We offer what is a more premium mowing service than most in the area and the only reason we miss out on jobs is due to price - that bloke that's struggling for work for good reason going in at half price. I often wonder if it will end well. 

    I think it's important that your personal frustration at riff-raff competitors doesn't come through to the potential customer - but a quick explanation of your own cost to show you're not the cowboy is important too.

    Providing that it's 100% going to go badly, and you still want the work at your price then it's important to keep the customer on side, and you make it clear that they can contact you again.

    I messaged all of my old leads from 2016 in February and picked up two jobs. Took 10 minutes - they already had a price, no need to even quote. Many didn't even respond - so next spring they'll get another message, just in case! 

    • PRO
      I differ to you there. I would not do the job now as even if they change their mind and wanted me to I would not enjoy it and worry that they would be horrible customers to work for.
      • PRO

        I think it depends on the nature of the work. If there's a contact that I know doesn't want to or isn't able to cut their lawns then I want that contacts details. 

  • PRO

    My gut feeling would be to run away and not worry. 75% price difference then something doesn’t add up. 

    May be the other contractor has offered a cheaper quicker fix which we all know doesn’t always end well but if the client is penny pinching or has lack of funds this may be their only option.

    The other side of the coin is has you over engineered the work and or misunderstood the requirements / expectations?

    We occasionally get the odd quote rejected on price and 9 times out of 10 just say thanks and think good luck to them! 

    Now if I really liked the potential client and had genuine concerns that they were being ripped off or accepting shoddy work for less money I would offer to discuss my quotation and compare it to the others. This way you can identify where the differences are and point out any potential issues. However this is time consuming and 50 / 50 if you walk away with the job but it does give you the opportunity to see how other companies quote and their prices but end of the day your price is your price as only you know what the supplies, labour and profit margins are.

    Now there are some clients who (mainly the type who use facebook asking for recommendations) who think we are all out to con people and don’t really need to make any profit and will try it on and come up with wild statements about how cheaper so and so was and suggest some crazy price difference – These I just don’t entertain. 

    End of the day, there is a contractor for every type of client - just the question of marketing yourself to your preferred customer type.

     

     

    • PRO

      Facebook is an interesting one - I do nicely out of Facebook. The people asking for recommendations no, but it's clear from the string of Facebook comments that my business is far more qualified and professional - completely different. Many will contact us through our Facebook page, and I've done well with Facebook adverts - landed and retained the work. Only one a time waster.

      • PRO
        I'm another that won't go near Facebook.
        Heard too many stories of people looking for people to work for next to nothing.
        • PRO

          Nothing wrong with Facebook, however the ones I have issues with are people asking for recommendations and stating reliable, good standard of work and reasonably price etc!! Different if they contact you directly via your Facebook page. For me I refuse to quote but thank those who recommend me and state that I am too busy with is true.

          • PRO

            I like Graeme's policy.

            You have to question those that go to a Facebook Spotted page as to why they couldn't use Google or do their own homework in the first place.

            • PRO

              Edit: If they post in Feb / early March for mowing then there's maybe a job there. April Facebook people... Post on a Thursday, want a quaility job for the weekend... 

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