How Often Do You Lose a Bid Because Your Price is "too high"?

climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
I bid a tree removal today, not a big tree kind of small-medium. The people were very nice and seemed very eager to work with me. They were thrilled I called them back and promptly came out because I guess they called a couple others and nobody responded.

After they saw the quote in the email they responded back saying thanks but they were going to look for someone else. I asked them if there was any reason in particular other than the price itself and they just responded with the word "no."

I bid $875 but I wonder if it might of shocked them a bit.
 
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climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
I’ve been taught that a good rule of thumb is that you should be winning about 30-40 percent of all your bids. If you’re winning 50% or more you’re too cheap. If you’re winning less than 30% then you’re too expensive.

Yeah, I've read that the percentage should be even lower than 30-40 percent but I guess it could vary depending on industry.

And if you are winning that or more and making money then you must be doing something right even if it doesn't add up by what math predictions say.
 

Crimsonking

Well-Known Member
The same goes in contract climbing. If everyone’s hiring you, you’re too cheap. I kind of like it when guys show a little sticker shock at my rates- it tells me some about them and a lot about the climbers they usually hire. Yeses don’t confirm your brand as well as no’s. They help you stay clear on what’s important to you and what you bring (or lack, sometimes).
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
Location
Ohio
I honestly can't imagine spinning my tires for 30-40%. The vast majority of people who call are calling because somebody they know recommended us. All I have to do is not be "crazy price" high. In fact, many times, price is almost an after thought once we've discussed the project....they want what we are offering, they just need a reasonable number.

Another way to look at it...I'd rather charge $800 and not have to make 2-3 more visits before I get a "yes". I just wasted WAY more than $75 in time making those visits than if I had done the first for $800 rather than $875. Now if there price is $500 vs. $875, that is a different conversation.

Note: we don't do removals for a few reasons...one of those reasons being that too often clients see it is just chasing the bottom dollar.
 

climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
Note: we don't do removals for a few reasons...one of those reasons being that too often clients see it is just chasing the bottom dollar.

My focus is primarily pruning as well and I turn away a lot of removals, particularly large removals. Just doesn't make sense for me because I am better equiped for and enjoy doing the pruning work. But I will bid on some smaller-medium sized removals (what I consider small-medium) if the opportunity arises. Makes for a nice change of pace too.
 

climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
When I do mess up a bid, the quality of the work does not change. I strive for excellence all the time.

Totally agree with you there. Take the loss like a professional but make a happy customer, who knows...it could lead to more work. I personally belive in honoring your price regardless if you underbid yourself. That's on you not the customer. Unless additional work not outlined in the quote is added by the client where it is certainly acceptable to increase quote.

I once did a pruning job where I completely fucked up the bidding by a lot. Once I got started realized the job entailed way more rigging than I anticipated. Really frustrating for me, but ended up getting two other jobs out of that one job from neighbor's walking by while I was working.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
There are so many variables to this.. I likely have the reputation as a 'picky' arborist in my area, because I only quote on jobs/clients I want, instead of bidding on things I don't want to do. The population of my island is about 90K its about 5 miles wide at the widest point but 65 miles long. Locally its divided into South, central, north. My main service area is south, a little in central, and rarely the south side of the north. 50% of our population or more is in the north end.
On the south end we have about 3-4 certified arborist owned companies, half a dozen legally legit non certified owned (hacks or logger types), and a solid handful of unlicensed/fly by night. This serves about 20-40% of our 90K, and we are all months out in work. Niche is king, fair prices, maybe higher rates for some so you can offer lower rates to others.
 

Stumpsprouts

Well-Known Member
Location
Asheville
We all have different strategies. I’ve known the general conversion rate and used that when working for other companies.

Since starting my own small operation my conversion rate is more like 80%. It’s a self selecting group of word of mouth customers, and I try to make costs reflect what a client seems like they could afford. Not doing advertising, I’ve been able to avoid a lot of dumb jobs and dumb people. Right now I’m waiting in the driveway of a $10M home in my 1984 Tercel... I think I’ll bid this one high.
 

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swingdude

De' Island Buzzer
Location
Barbados
Now I am different. Just because folk own a nice big home does not men I charge more. I charge what I am worth always no matter what the client's economic status. What I have found is the working class tend to want to pay me my worth and the money folk want to nickle and dime me. So I have ended up with a clientelle made up of mostly working class folk who have decent money but do not flaunt it. They appreciate my skill set and professionalism. I am gifted with good arb skills as well as versed in PHC and tree biology. So well rounded. It pays off. On this island of 300K I live in the south. It is 14 miles wide by 21 miles. I mostly work the south and central. A tad in the east. Very little in the RICH west. Plenty of trees here for the tree bizs we hardly overlap. I own the best climbing and rigging gear money can buy plus all PPE. But own no hydraulics or chipper. Use cranes when need be and make sense, mostly when harvesting mahogany wood. I do own a nice late model diesel pickup always. Getting a 2021 in Sept. I like things this way. Labour is plentiful so I can utilize a couple more guys on a large removal. I run a 3 man crew.
 

Dan Cobb

Well-Known Member
Location
Hoover
What I have found is the working class tend to want to pay me my worth and the money folk want to nickle and dime me.
I run into that too.

Was trimming shrubs for a friend at his large McMansion and asked him, again, about taking down a couple of medium trees that block his view of the city. Although he's about 80, he had cut a decent sized cedar recently that I noticed was laying opposite of the intended lay. He asks me about trying to fix his old no-name chainsaw; a shop told him parts are not available. Then tells me about shopping for a new saw. He keeps pestering a Stihl or Husky dealer about selling a saw at a discount until the dealer gets mad and tells him "This isn't a pawn shop." (Had to suppress my laughter.) Then he goes to Walmart and buys another no-name saw. Can't understand him thinking he needs a new saw at 80 years old when his last tree adventure went so badly. Or buying another saw that no one will repair. And yes, he's the type that wants a little out-of-scope work done for no extra cost.
 

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