We started using a lawn service a few years ago. We had just had new sod installed and we went with the guy recommended by our landscaper.
The price was in the ballpark of what I thought we could get elsewhere so we decided to go with him, at least until the sod was established.
Now fast forward a few years… The lawn is doing great but I’ve come to realize that we’re over-paying for the level of service that we’re receiving. I thus decided it was time to shop around.
To do this, I asked some friends and neighbors for recommendations. With that information in hand, I started calling around to ask for estimates.
Within a few days, I had three new prices. The first was about 15% less than we’re paying, the second was around 30% less, and the third was on par with what our current service charges. And yes, all three were for comparable levels of service.
As it turns out, the second (lowest) guy happens to service the lawn next door, so I know that his crew does a good job. Given this, I was ready to make a decision — but not before trying out the seven magic words…
Unfortunately, even though he knew we were actively soliciting bids, he wasn’t willing to go any lower. This wasn’t terribly surprising since he had already quoted what seemed to be a very competitive price, but it can’t hurt to ask.
So… Decision made. We’re going with the lowest bid and, going forward, we’ll be saving a good bit of money on a biweekly basis.
For what it’s worth, I decided not to shop the new price back to the original guy, in part because the quality of their service had slipped a bit. I was also worried that they might try to compensate for the lower rate by cutting additional corners.
Anyway, the point of all this is to encourage you to periodically re-shop your recurring expenses. I’m talking here about all kinds of things: lawncare, TV service, your internet connection, insurance, pest control, etc.
Sure, you might have done your best to find a great deal up front, but you never know what someone else is willing to do to win your business — or what your current provider is willing to do to keep your business. The only way to find out is to ask.