lowballers

FCPWLLC

New Member
Today I attended a bid opening by our local government for the cleaning of several Parking Garages. (I submitted a "No Bid") As an example, one of the garages high bid was $39,000 and the low bid was $2450. That was for 8 levels 518 parking spaces about 310,000 sqft. Water reclaim was a requirement.

This was like this on all of the Garages.

What, as a community of professional, can we do about these lowballers? Any ideas?

This is why I don't belong to any of those Associations. PWNA, Home Builder etc...

I don't see them using the "strength in numbers" to benefit the industry by lobbying to create regulations against contractors working without proper licensing or insurance or hiring illegals that pay no taxes.

Don't mind me guys.... Just venting.... Gets me all riled up to see guys like that get contracts and show up in a truck with 4 different tires and a home depot pressure washer. Then, while working, cat-calling at customers wives or daughters, peeing in the bushes and taking thier shirts (not uniform) off.

Nevermind me.
 

grasshawg

New Member
Do you reckon the government has enough sense to realize the low bid is not always the best choice? Wait a minute. What was I thinking?

Never mind me too!
 

Doug T

New Member
First Choice,

If my calculator is right that comes to .8cents/sq ft. To cheap for me. Is that who was awared the job?
BTW thanks for your help, I also decided not to bid.

Doug
 

squirtgun

New Member
Doug check your calculator.
At $.08 a sq ft it would come to $24,800.That would be a fairly competitive bid in most parts of the country.
If someone got the job for a little over $2k let them have it.They will quit before they get the job done.
 

PressurePros

New Member
FCPWLLC said:
This was like this on all of the Garages.

What, as a community of professional, can we do about these lowballers? Any ideas?

This is why I don't belong to any of those Associations. PWNA, Home Builder etc...

I don't see them using the "strength in numbers" to benefit the industry by lobbying to create regulations against contractors working without proper licensing or insurance or hiring illegals that pay no taxes.
I can relate to what you are saying though I think we would regret lobbying for governmental regulation. Being the concientous business owners we are we would follow the more stringent standards and have to charge even more for our services. Meanwhile the guy that undercuts because of his unwillingness to comply and general ignorance gets an even further advantage. He can now raise his bids and make $20 per hour and still undercut you fivefold.

My feeling is that you may be thinking in a shortsighted mode when it comes to organizations. Organizations like the PWNA should not be strong arm lobbyists but a voice for an industry that can use its combined efforts to make the public aware that we are professionals performing a valuable service.
 

Pabowhtr

New Member
Usally some of the poeple out there just do not get it. Small organizations do not help create professional workers. And they really only hurt themselves by thinking they are better for it. If you get paid to work, you are consider a pro. low baller or not. The real diffrance is in the qualilty of work you do, at a fair price, be honest, be where and when you say you will. Treat customers with respect no matter what the case. Do not down other companies, instead explain why you are a better contractor, if you are. These things usally make up someones character. It defines you. So we all have to learn to deal with the low baller. And some may have been the lowballer on this site till they became more familiar with the cost of jobs, and had larger over heads, this site helps create such things. Vented!!!
 

FCPWLLC

New Member
Credit to all of you

To give credit to the pros out here, the bids given by out-of-state contractors were right on. The low bids were from the locals here. I guess I am more upset with my local industry here than as a whole nationally. Our local government is just slacking so bad. Every profession (roofers, lawn etc..) here is dealing with hacks doing work illegally. The City really has no enforcement policies to keep things in check. Big problem here.

Anyhow, Pabowhtr, You are correct; this forum is great for the industry. Especially if the new guys come here at the beginning and get straight forward advice on here so that they won't lowball even in the start-up phase of thier business. Before I started my Power Washing business in Louisville 8 years ago, I managed a Tree service for 6 years. Before that I got an associates degree in Business. From day one, I knew what I needed to charge to make a profit. Here in Lexington, however, anyone that can pawn thier stereo and buy a cheap pressure washer is jumping right in and knocking on doors. They make a couple of dollars and head straight to the bar. It is crazy. Each of us Professionals pay for those guys. We pay higher insurance premiums, higher unemployment insurance, higher workers' comp, higher auto ins. and above all more taxes.

I really do believe that we are the only ones that can change it. I don't want more restrictions; just enforcement of the ones already in place. If a guy is caught working without a contractor license (proof of insurance required to obtain license here) he should be held accountable. Fined, banned from working or something. As it is now, NOTHING is done.

I'm done. No more from me. :)

Go ahead, attack me if you are one of the ones I see here in town with a pressure washer in the back of your station wagon with a ladder tied to the roof.

Just venting.
Thanks guys.

BTW the link to that web page is just for fun. Working on a real site in between working and venting. LOL
 

CaroliProWash

New Member
PressurePros said:
Organizations like the PWNA should not be strong arm lobbyists but a voice for an industry that can use its combined efforts to make the public aware that we are professionals performing a valuable service.

501(c)(3) organizations have strict rules through the government when it comes to lobbying as well.

What a group can do, whether it is an organization like the PWNA, the UAMCC, WRAPI, or right down to your local PTA, is educate their audience, bring an awareness to customers.

Lowballers are something that everybody has to deal with. The best you can do is be better - it will be recognized and it will work out. We've just take the approach that we prefer not to deal with customers that are hiring based on price anymore. We perform quality work and we are well paid for it.

Celeste
 

grasshawg

New Member
FCPWLLC, venting here is ok. We're all with you, partner. But your voice would be better heard maybe at City Hall. Find out when the next public meeting will be held.
Get with other local contractors who share your feelings. Get together, choose a spokesperson, go to the meeting and vent. If you want to make a difference, present your case as an organized voice of one with all your contractor friends backing you. Might take awhile, you're dealing with the government. Be sure your spokesperson is well versed. (You seem to have done a pretty good job here.)
If all else fails, make a difference at the next election. Make it an issue with the voters, and "fire" the officials who don't support your cause.
My .02 cents. Take care.
Randy
 

vandiesel99

New Member
So when will they award this project? I am curious to see how they handle that huge deviation in price. It should be obvious by the average of the other bids that the $2400 is a joke or a mistake. If he does get it, I would do everything I could to give him a hard time. Especially if he isn't reclaiming on a project that specified reclaiming. His business practices are affecting legitimate owners, and should be corrected.
 

Scott Stone

New Member
Unless it was a request for proposal, low bid will get the job. I would be willing to bet that it was a window cleaning company that put in the low bid. They are going to com ein and rinse down the structure, and then take off. If it is handled liek they do it here, which there are guidelines and professional organizations for purchasing agents, they might ask them if they are sure they can do it for that price. IF the guy says yeah, he will get the job. Then if he doesn't perform, they will pull the contract and debar him as abidder. After that his company will no longer be allowed to bid on government contracts, so the idiot will fold that company, and form another company to bid on the next series of contracts. They could deny awarding the contract to that company, but, the purchasing agent better have a really good reason to not do it, other wise the local fiduciary watch dog citizenss will attack them for not taking the lowest bid. Sometimes I feel bad for purchasing agents, except that they do a lot of it to themselves.
 

vandiesel99

New Member
Normally low bid gets the job as long as the bidder is qualified. If they do any type of inquiry on what past jobs this contractor has done or what type of equipment/methods they will use then they will probably kick his bid out.
 

FCPWLLC

New Member
Actually the low bidder is the same guy that did them last year. I watched them (he and his wife) RINSE a 7 floor Garage last year for $4000. I had bid $17500 because it was for the public library and I explained that the waste water should be reclaimed and he wanted th walls and ceilings rinsed also. This is how our local Gov. works. Only concerned with the lowest price. I was so hot!! They did that garage in 9 hours on a Sunday. The local Enviroment Dept. Encouraged me to report the fact that they did not reclaim. Nothing came of it. There is no enforcement here.

The other low bids were from a Lawn Care Company and Building Management company.

I placed a "No Bid" because I spoke with the city about thier belief that these Garages could be done on one day. I would have had to bring in extra machines and labor to do that. While this other guy and his wife will just rinse and walk away because he knows that the city just doesn't care as long as the cost is low.

I know that some think that I should just bid the same way and go in and rinse too. I just can't bring myself to to do shoddy work and put my name on it. I'd rather make less money this month. I'll make up for it the next time.
Actually, I got lucky; I got a "no-bidding" contract with our Housing Authority to clean Vinyl on thier properties. About 60+ Townehome type properties. The Director found my Name at the BBB site.

So screw those Parking Garages!!!
 

Steven J

New Member
Sounds to me as if the lowballer operates with such a low profit margin he's unable to remain competitive. He's unable to provide a profesional service. So I guess he'll wet the pavement and you'll come in later and polish it, right? Yes he'll get some work. He'll win some bids. His work SHOULD advertize for you. To educate the public capitalize on this with before and after pictures. Word will spread. Lowballers can't compete with this. Use them to your advantage by allowing the work to speak for itself. I can imagine customers complementing you to others. "Dam! That guy does good work!!" I believe that is where the seperation is between the lowballer and the pro. IMHO
 

north coast

New Member
I am sure that they do not want every inch of the floor cleaned with a wand or surface cleaner they are probably just wanting a good rinse to get dirt, debris and sticky soda off of the floor and not so concerned with oil and grease and all concrete being spotless. A glorified wet sweeping if you will. If they got $4000.00 to do that and it take them 10 hours that’s $200.00/hour per person, that’s pretty good money in my book. I would do love to do these at those prices but our equipment would never fit in a parking garage. Yes water recover should be done no matter where you live.
 
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TRAVISJ

New Member
bad numbers

Do The Math If The Job Was 31,000 Ft Instead Of 310,000 It Would Come Out To Just Under .08 Sq Ft. Ok For Small Contractor Doing
The Work Himself Without Reclaming Water.

He Messed Up Big Time, And He Will Pay For It Dearly.
After All That You Will Still Be In Business He Wont.
 

Doug T

New Member
Sorry for the delay.. but have been on vacation..it is nice this time of year in FL. Any way my calculator still tells me .0079032/sq ft. Or like I said earlier .8 cents/sq ft. And it is still too cheap for me.

Doug
 

goodfellas

New Member
everybody knows the goverment really dont care about the quality of work, who the companys hire or who does it. HELL LOOK HOW THEY ARE RUNNING OUR COUNTRY NOW...Here in atlanta yesterday all the mexcans basically did a walk out because off a bill they are trying to pass that will MAKE THEIR ASSES PAY TAXES AND LIVE BY REGULAR AMERICAN RULES LIKE THEY NEED TO. So what happens, they get mad and walk out on the business for a day i guess to show that the businesses need them. Now ask yourself, if u ever just walked out of a job what would happen to you??? Fired right away!!!! Well here they took them all back because in the long run all these companys care about is money and even thought most of the companys was mad they are not about to mess their money up. Well same for the goverment, they are nothing but a big business who really gives a shhhh about their customers
 

Scott Stone

New Member
Micah said:
Scott,

Just curious, but why do you bet it would be a window cleaning company?

QUOTE]
In my area, the window cleaners are notorious for bidding under a penny a foot to get a power washign contract, because they want to do the windows. For what ever reason, they think that they make more money off of windows, so they sacrifice the pressure washing.
 

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