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Low prices for tree service?

CT arborist

CT arborist

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Joined
Feb 18, 2019
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42
Age
30
Location
Ct
Hey everyone,
Just wondering if you guys go trough the same situation as we do. It's frustrating when a customer tells me that someone else gave them an even lower price for such tree, where I made my math to give my lowest price in order to get some profit. I mean, how is it even possible for someone to give an even lower price and even make a profit? For some jobs when the customer tells me the price to match, (if they are not lying) if I make my math for that price I would end up losing money not making a profit. Lol. I know that when there are many crews out for a big company makes more sense or obviously a non insured nor licensed person who pays their employees very low. But it's crazy when you make the math for that price and end up at zero or loosing.

Locally for my 4 person crew I try to at the very least have a $2,000 day with the bucket truck. A $1,600 climbed day. I wish climbed was worth more. If I go higher there is no way to get jobs here. Except when I am the only one bidding. Anyone know of a way to fix this or to warn the customers about those who price too low?
 

ATH

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1) Not everybody understand what it takes to make a profit. A few hundred dollars a day may seem like a lot of money, but when it comes time to replace equipment or make some repairs, the cookie jar is empty.
2) Perhaps they pay their labor less?
3) They may be more efficient than you - maybe they can do with 3 crew members what you do with 4?
4) Maybe you do much better work than the competition (which takes more time), but the clients aren't understanding that?

Are you busy? If so, who cares? If not, than either your price is too high or your quality (or the perception of your quality) is not high enough. That is to say, if people are going to pay a premium, they want to know what they are getting for it. Give them more and let them know what you are offering. Or find a way lower your prices... I advise upping the quality though!
 
AGoodSteward

AGoodSteward

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MT
Dave says: "Set your prices so that at least %10 of your bids get refused".
You don't want to work for the skinflints anyway. You'll never be low enough, even if you're giving them money.
Just do a great job, and your service will put the lowballin yahoos out of business. Unfortunately another will spring up in their place, so you'll never have the privilege of working for the customers who don't value their trees the way we know they should.:envy:
 
tree MDS

tree MDS

Daddy
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CT
They’re probably more efficient. I’m sure you know this, but tree work is a very highly competitive business. So many variables involved in these prices too. All of these companies have different equipment, crews, levels of experience, etc. It’s no wonder the prices are all over the board when you stop and think about it.

I don’t even know what a days tree work is anymore. A days tree work with what? Most everyone has a bucket up here, so I’m not sure charging more for bucket jobs would work out so well for me. Lol. Just some thoughts.
 
benjo75

benjo75

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Malvern Arkansas
There will always be the "will beat anyones price" crew around town. They won't be there long though then another will take their place. They will wear o5ht their bodies and equipment and work for nearly free for a couple years then move on. I've watched them for over 25 years come and go around here. Some of my customers remain loyal and some go the cheap way then come crawling back when they're gone. About half the time when the " fly by night" crew gets the job they call me to help them with the big tree or reach the tall ones. I used to do that but I had to quit it. I tell the homeowner if they want a reputable company they're free to call one. I also get calls to cleanup what they left or finish the tree that they couldn't finish. Had to quit that too. Don't want my equipment seen at a job where a tree has been cut and laying across a house. Everyone will drive by and think I did it. I feel sorry for the homeowners but they got what they paid for. I tell them that and drive away.
 
Oldmaple

Oldmaple

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I know my costs and set my prices accordingly. Some jobs I'm low bid, get the job, sometimes not the low bid, get the job, sometimes don't get the job. I have a friend who keeps telling me to raise my prices to equal his. He has a half a million dollars worth of equipment and $200,000 worth of debt, runs one crew. I run one crew with less than $75,000 worth of equipment, all paid for. Everyone's expenses are different and must price accordingly. I'm not going to get rich doing tree work but I do make a living. Also customers lie (as you know) to get you to lower your price. I do very few jobs worth running a 4 man crew and this might be a difference between your company and others as far as efficiency goes.
 
Robertnz

Robertnz

love me that new( 40 years old) equipment!
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ont
one mention you have commercial liability insurance and emphasis that point. minimum 200 bucks an hour gross and i dont like that. if you hit 300 happy days. you price at 150 or lower you wont make equipment repairs, new chains advertising, good whiskey etc...
 
mckeetree

mckeetree

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one mention you have commercial liability insurance and emphasis that point. minimum 200 bucks an hour gross and i dont like that. if you hit 300 happy days. you price at 150 or lower you wont make equipment repairs, new chains advertising, good whiskey etc...
Well, different locations different situations but around here, if you are sending out a four man tree crew for less than $250 an hour you are classified as being in the elite "race to the bottom" club. With a bucket truck, chipper, one climber, one ground man, two laborers we average around $350 hour.
 
Jed1124

Jed1124

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Your numbers sound about right for ct. some guys are higher, some are lower.
Sell service, not the lowest price. Get back to people fast, get them their proposals in a timely manner if not on site, be there when you say your going to, leave the place looking better than when you got there.

Let the other guys fight over who is the lowest....
 
Marshy

Marshy

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Mexico NY
This is an interesting conversation. Timely too because I'm beginning to look at commercial liability insurance. If plans go right this will be a part time thing for me and I will be a one man crew. Fortunately I have the luxury of picking and choosing the work I want to take. As long as I can pay my overhead and put a little cash aside then I will be happy. That being said, $250-350/hr seems crazy to me but like someone already said, everyone has a different operating expense and part of being a large scale operation is higher overhead.
 

ATH

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$250-300 for a one man crew and minimal equipment is crazy. One man with a grapple crane...that is probably about right if not too low. But then that one operator can get more done in an hour than a crew.

I avoid talking per hour rates with clients and bid the job thinking about the per hour rates in my mind as I do.
 
Phillipe Couzal

Phillipe Couzal

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Mar 15, 2019
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1 Rider Boulevard
Hello,

Thank you for sharing this post! I think all of us have experienced this and there's nothing wrong in explaining to a customer the range of price for a tree work. We offered the best and even the patience to fit everything. Business have ups and downs just stay positive. Anyways, happy to share to your our happy company.


Affordable Tree Services for All Kind of Tree Work
 
lone wolf

lone wolf

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Prowling The Pine Barrens
This is an interesting conversation. Timely too because I'm beginning to look at commercial liability insurance. If plans go right this will be a part time thing for me and I will be a one man crew. Fortunately I have the luxury of picking and choosing the work I want to take. As long as I can pay my overhead and put a little cash aside then I will be happy. That being said, $250-350/hr seems crazy to me but like someone already said, everyone has a different operating expense and part of being a large scale operation is higher overhead.
Aint the wrong price per hour if its all the equipment mentioned and 3-4 men that are working fast.
 
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