ArboristSite.com Sponsors


Underbidding

TDunk

TDunk

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Jan 12, 2007
Messages
1,274
Location
N.W pennsylvania
For the past year or so, there has been a small crew around here that has been underbidding everyone else in the area. For instance, last year about Sept. the township had 27 trees they wanted removed. All red elms. 5 had to be dropped and cleaned up, the other 22 just had to be dropped, but i'd say about half of them had to be climbed and sectioned down. I'm not going to say what he bid, but it worked out to be under $70 a tree, wether he had to climb and clean-up or just drop. Another instance was i went to look at a big Hemlock tree that a friend of mine wanted taken down (he live's right down the road from the "competition") As soon as i get home my phone rings and it was my friend. He's says "you'll never believe what just happened" so i ask "what". He said "your competition showed up right after you left saying that he will beet any price that i gave him and that i don't know what i'm doing......blah blah blah". Needless to say he didn't get the job, but i found out today that he's downsizing (getting rid of his bucket truck). Come to find out he's not making enough money to fix his equipment. The clutch is junk in his truck and i'm not sure what wrong with his chipper but it's out for the count. I wasn't going to post this because i didn't want to seem like i was bashing/bad mouthing him. I don't do that. I'm confident in the work i do, and that's all that really concerns me. But on one hand i hate to see people fail at something, but on the other hand i'm glad that his underbidding everyone is starting to catch up to him. I know this is something that alot of people deal with and i just wanted to share it.
 
ropensaddle

ropensaddle

Feel Lucky
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
22,260
Location
Hot Springs Arkansas
Happens everywhere especially new startups and it truly turns
the biz to chit. I have thought many times of getting out but am
too committed at this point! I like to work , it seems am one of
the mid to high bidders in my area and try to sell my skill level ,
competence. The customer a lot of times is the problem, they see
price and with that narrow vision, condone bad work and nightmare
stories.
 
Last edited:
CLEARVIEW TREE

CLEARVIEW TREE

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Mar 8, 2008
Messages
397
Location
Dandridge,Tn.
Hard to soar like an eagle when surrounded by buzzards

Tdunk theres a guy here that does advertise he will beat any written proposal! You know what, i believe like a good friend once told me. Be fair, there's plenty of work out there for everyone! If he continues this practice sounds like he's got the titanic syndrome you know.Best of luck to you. Hard to soar like an eagle when surrounded by buzzards!:angry:
 
mckeetree

mckeetree

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
6,159
Age
58
Location
Dallas, Texas
I deal with it everyday,everyday. I don't have any problems bashing or bad mouthing people who need it and as of March 2008 that includes about 30% of the people that are in this business. Guys that work for almost nothing usually aren't around long but there is another one ready to take his place. Another thing that irks me is some know-it-all jerk that shows up to bid a job the same time I do and wants to argue PHC with me in front of the client. I told one right in front of the customer the other day to shut the ##### up before I punched him. I got asked to leave but it was worth it. This particular guy waits until I make an an assessment and then he decides he needs to argue (there is one guy here that reminds me of him). Sometimes I have tricked him just to get him to agree with me by saying the opposite of what I really think. And the guy is really not making any money to amount to anything.
 
Last edited:
tree MDS

tree MDS

Daddy
Joined
May 8, 2007
Messages
9,492
Location
CT
For the past year or so, there has been a small crew around here that has been underbidding everyone else in the area. For instance, last year about Sept. the township had 27 trees they wanted removed. All red elms. 5 had to be dropped and cleaned up, the other 22 just had to be dropped, but i'd say about half of them had to be climbed and sectioned down. I'm not going to say what he bid, but it worked out to be under $70 a tree, wether he had to climb and clean-up or just drop. Another instance was i went to look at a big Hemlock tree that a friend of mine wanted taken down (he live's right down the road from the "competition") As soon as i get home my phone rings and it was my friend. He's says "you'll never believe what just happened" so i ask "what". He said "your competition showed up right after you left saying that he will beet any price that i gave him and that i don't know what i'm doing......blah blah blah". Needless to say he didn't get the job, but i found out today that he's downsizing (getting rid of his bucket truck). Come to find out he's not making enough money to fix his equipment. The clutch is junk in his truck and i'm not sure what wrong with his chipper but it's out for the count. I wasn't going to post this because i didn't want to seem like i was bashing/bad mouthing him. I don't do that. I'm confident in the work i do, and that's all that really concerns me. But on one hand i hate to see people fail at something, but on the other hand i'm glad that his underbidding everyone is starting to catch up to him. I know this is something that alot of people deal with and i just wanted to share it.
Dont feel bad about the hate man, just let it flow, its just starting up again in my area and it looks as though its gonna be another year full of hate for the underbidding hacks that are destroying this biz.:) Let em all die as far as I'm concerned-not literally of course.
 
masterarbor

masterarbor

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Mar 7, 2008
Messages
363
Location
columbus ohio
Website
www.masterarbor.com
what's going on columbus ohio is that as the economy continues to struggle, all of the companies form the surrounding small towns 50-100 mi. radius are comming here. they park their trucks in gas stations and have area codes i've never even heard of. i know they arn't paying local taxes but they use our roads, etc. alot of times they come with a crew and just knock on doors. the weird thing is they alot of times have like four guys with them and are willing to do anything for like $100.00! how do they do it?!??!! and i don't mean to be too elitest, but 9 times out of 10 they are complete hacks, real hillbilly outfits whos idea of a trim is to spike the central leader and cut EVERYTHING within the chainsaw's reach! or just raise it and get a sucker or two. it is killing the business here. there are a lot of young guys who are enthused about the industry and are certified etc., and i have no problem with them. i don't know why, 'cause they are competition too. well hang in there boys, things are tough all over.

kevin
 
Blakesmaster

Blakesmaster

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Feb 24, 2008
Messages
4,589
Age
39
Location
NY
At the risk of having everyone on here hate me...

I'm an underbidder. Because I need to be. Because poorly paid work is better than no work at all. My partners and I are just getting our business up and running and have no client base whatsoever. We have the skills. Over 20 years collective experience and 1 partner with a bachelors in environmental studies. We trim without spikes ( which no one, even the "big guys" do around here ) removing as much of the tree as we can while still maintaining it's health and appearance. We can tackle almost any takedown, but are still trying to build our business. Are we making money? Not yet. But it's an investment. All our equipment was purchased with funds from our day jobs and we continue to bank whatever we can for more and more equipment/advertising/insurance and every other expense. I feel sorry for the guys we underbid because I know they need work too and the only reason we can do things so cheap is because we have no overhead and still maintain or day jobs. We work 70 to 80 hours per week between our day jobs and our business when the season hits. I understand your guys pain, but I don't want to wear some other guys name on the back of my shirt the rest of my life. I need to start somewhere.
 
mckeetree

mckeetree

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
6,159
Age
58
Location
Dallas, Texas
what's going on columbus ohio is that as the economy continues to struggle, all of the companies form the surrounding small towns 50-100 mi. radius are comming here. they park their trucks in gas stations and have area codes i've never even heard of. i know they arn't paying local taxes but they use our roads, etc. alot of times they come with a crew and just knock on doors. the weird thing is they alot of times have like four guys with them and are willing to do anything for like $100.00! how do they do it?!??!! and i don't mean to be too elitest, but 9 times out of 10 they are complete hacks, real hillbilly outfits whos idea of a trim is to spike the central leader and cut EVERYTHING within the chainsaw's reach! or just raise it and get a sucker or two. it is killing the business here. there are a lot of young guys who are enthused about the industry and are certified etc., and i have no problem with them. i don't know why, 'cause they are competition too. well hang in there boys, things are tough all over.

kevin
Got that going on here too. Tree services that I have never heard of have been hanging around here for about three months now. Last week we arrived to do a job that was scheduled for that day and there was this guy there trying to get the home owner to let him do it. The guy had about 300 band aids on him I don't know what was up with that and smelled like an old goat pen. Area code from the number on his truck indicated he was from Arkansas. He had a couple Mexicans in the truck with him but they didn't get out. Then I find out he was the one who ruined the peoples trees a door or two down. The customer starts to explain that we do their work and have for the past 17 years when about that time he starts to scream that he knows something about us cutting the wrong tree down somewhere in Ark.(I have never worked in Ark.) Home owner finally got the guy out of there.
 
mckeetree

mckeetree

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
6,159
Age
58
Location
Dallas, Texas
At the risk of having everyone on here hate me...

I'm an underbidder. Because I need to be. Because poorly paid work is better than no work at all. My partners and I are just getting our business up and running and have no client base whatsoever. We have the skills. Over 20 years collective experience and 1 partner with a bachelors in environmental studies. We trim without spikes ( which no one, even the "big guys" do around here ) removing as much of the tree as we can while still maintaining it's health and appearance. We can tackle almost any takedown, but are still trying to build our business. Are we making money? Not yet. But it's an investment. All our equipment was purchased with funds from our day jobs and we continue to bank whatever we can for more and more equipment/advertising/insurance and every other expense. I feel sorry for the guys we underbid because I know they need work too and the only reason we can do things so cheap is because we have no overhead and still maintain or day jobs. We work 70 to 80 hours per week between our day jobs and our business when the season hits. I understand your guys pain, but I don't want to wear some other guys name on the back of my shirt the rest of my life. I need to start somewhere.
That whole deal right there is kinda pitiful.
 
masterarbor

masterarbor

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Mar 7, 2008
Messages
363
Location
columbus ohio
Website
www.masterarbor.com
Got that going on here too. Tree services that I have never heard of have been hanging around here for about three months now. Last week we arrived to do a job that was scheduled for that day and there was this guy there trying to get the home owner to let him do it. The guy had about 300 band aids on him I don't know what was up with that and smelled like an old goat pen. Area code from the number on his truck indicated he was from Arkansas. He had a couple Mexicans in the truck with him but they didn't get out. Then I find out he was the one who ruined the peoples trees a door or two down. The customer starts to explain that we do their work and have for the past 17 years when about that time he starts to scream that he knows something about us cutting the wrong tree down somewhere in Ark.(I have never worked in Ark.) Home owner finally got the guy out of there.
holy cow! what a trip!
 
Blakesmaster

Blakesmaster

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Feb 24, 2008
Messages
4,589
Age
39
Location
NY
I'm not sure how that's pitiful. I've never been shy of working hard and we've only been investing toward the business for about a year and a half now. I don't care if I gotta bust a// for the next 5/10 years in order to build a decent business. Once we get more customers we'll quit our day jobs and go full time and most likely our prices will go up as our overhead does. But right now, we don't lack time as much as we do clients. Case in point...me. here. now.
 
ropensaddle

ropensaddle

Feel Lucky
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
22,260
Location
Hot Springs Arkansas
I'm not sure how that's pitiful. I've never been shy of working hard and we've only been investing toward the business for about a year and a half now. I don't care if I gotta bust a// for the next 5/10 years in order to build a decent business. Once we get more customers we'll quit our day jobs and go full time and most likely our prices will go up as our overhead does. But right now, we don't lack time as much as we do clients. Case in point...me. here. now.
Blake we all start somewhere, but let me explain something I have learned. If you offer a premium service, charge a fair to premium price. All you do by your approach is make sure you can't progress. It is harder to shake the stigma of the cheapest in town syndrome, than it is to come down if your getting known as the highest! You will lose clients sure, you will lose the ones that I found through experience, your better off without! Most of my clients buy me,my expertise and reputation for quality no problem work. If you focus more on that and keep price fair to both; the customer and yourself you will grow much faster and be an asset to the industry!
 
Last edited:
ropensaddle

ropensaddle

Feel Lucky
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
22,260
Location
Hot Springs Arkansas
Got that going on here too. Tree services that I have never heard of have been hanging around here for about three months now. Last week we arrived to do a job that was scheduled for that day and there was this guy there trying to get the home owner to let him do it. The guy had about 300 band aids on him I don't know what was up with that and smelled like an old goat pen. Area code from the number on his truck indicated he was from Arkansas. He had a couple Mexicans in the truck with him but they didn't get out. Then I find out he was the one who ruined the peoples trees a door or two down. The customer starts to explain that we do their work and have for the past 17 years when about that time he starts to scream that he knows something about us cutting the wrong tree down somewhere in Ark.(I have never worked in Ark.) Home owner finally got the guy out of there.
Easy on the Arkansan we ain't all bad Tex :laugh: May be the bunch
we had here that fell the tree on a house and split.
 
sharkfin12us

sharkfin12us

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Dec 7, 2007
Messages
273
Age
57
Location
nj
For the past year or so, there has been a small crew around here that has been underbidding everyone else in the area. For instance, last year about Sept. the township had 27 trees they wanted removed. All red elms. 5 had to be dropped and cleaned up, the other 22 just had to be dropped, but i'd say about half of them had to be climbed and sectioned down. I'm not going to say what he bid, but it worked out to be under $70 a tree, wether he had to climb and clean-up or just drop. Another instance was i went to look at a big Hemlock tree that a friend of mine wanted taken down (he live's right down the road from the "competition") As soon as i get home my phone rings and it was my friend. He's says "you'll never believe what just happened" so i ask "what". He said "your competition showed up right after you left saying that he will beet any price that i gave him and that i don't know what i'm doing......blah blah blah". Needless to say he didn't get the job, but i found out today that he's downsizing (getting rid of his bucket truck). Come to find out he's not making enough money to fix his equipment. The clutch is junk in his truck and i'm not sure what wrong with his chipper but it's out for the count. I wasn't going to post this because i didn't want to seem like i was bashing/bad mouthing him. I don't do that. I'm confident in the work i do, and that's all that really concerns me. But on one hand i hate to see people fail at something, but on the other hand i'm glad that his underbidding everyone is starting to catch up to him. I know this is something that alot of people deal with and i just wanted to share it.
What goes around comes around.
 
Slvrmple72

Slvrmple72

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Apr 14, 2007
Messages
1,332
Location
Akron, Ohio
That whole deal right there is kinda pitiful.
+1 Bid the work for what it is worth. You are using up the equipment underbidding so even with no overhead when it catches up to you by way of maintenance costs it will kill your business almost as fast as your rep for being cheap. Relearn basic business skills before you get in a real pickle.:bang:
 
TimberMcPherson

TimberMcPherson

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Mar 13, 2003
Messages
4,573
Location
New Zealand
Website
Visit site
I worked for an underbidder and became one myself before discovering that it wasnt the way, it was why after over 10 years my old boss still works using a trailer and pickup, while I have a fully set up 4wd tipping cab over and chipper (and stumpgrinder, and rigging gear, and all pro saws, and winches etc etc etc)
 

lxt

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Feb 27, 2005
Messages
2,993
Age
50
Location
pa.
At the risk of having everyone on here hate me...

I'm an underbidder. Because I need to be. Because poorly paid work is better than no work at all. My partners and I are just getting our business up and running and have no client base whatsoever. We have the skills. Over 20 years collective experience and 1 partner with a bachelors in environmental studies. We trim without spikes ( which no one, even the "big guys" do around here ) removing as much of the tree as we can while still maintaining it's health and appearance. We can tackle almost any takedown, but are still trying to build our business. Are we making money? Not yet. But it's an investment. All our equipment was purchased with funds from our day jobs and we continue to bank whatever we can for more and more equipment/advertising/insurance and every other expense. I feel sorry for the guys we underbid because I know they need work too and the only reason we can do things so cheap is because we have no overhead and still maintain or day jobs. We work 70 to 80 hours per week between our day jobs and our business when the season hits. I understand your guys pain, but I don't want to wear some other guys name on the back of my shirt the rest of my life. I need to start somewhere.


Not to sound mean, but it is guys like you that have turned this biz into the low paying, non respected job that it has become.

I have underbid people....we all have, but its done properly its not the show up, jump outta the car & tell the homeowner "I`ll beat any bid" syndrome!! door knockin as was described is pitiful & cheapens the trade!!

Good for you not spiking trims, good for you having 20yrs collectively(which some of us have by our selves), good for the partner with his little BA in enviromental studies............Now when do you guys plan on learning to run a biz? Instead of being cutthroats......BE PROFESSIONAL!!!! you`ll grow quicker & be respected more so this way than how you`re doing it!!


LXT.................nothing like moonlighting tree trimmers!! "yes maam I work at the papermill by day, then at quiting time I become super trimmer"
 
Top