Pricing pressure

As far as residential, are you seeing more pricing pressure / losing bids to someone cheaper more often?

More seem to be balking at price and I’m on the low end of average in my area and this is even when throwing in a discount and an area like a porch for free.
Wondering are prices being driven down by a lot of competition or is it something else?

For 27 years we’ve always referred to the couple weeks before Thanksgiving as ‘hell week’ because I get slammed with last minute ‘emergency’ calls for window cleaning. For the first time last year we really didn’t have many calls during that period.

I’m usually pretty steady during the summer PW, this year people seem to have been putting it off to spend the money on vacations. There has also been a noticeable uptick of ‘hagglers’. I did a royally amazing job for a customer last year with a housewash, awnings, concrete and nasty 1gen Trex. She called me up and said she needed WC and deck done again but was “fielding bids from companies”. I got back and said last time was $460, she went with the $400 guy “but thanks anyway”.

It’s not looking good this year, noticeable ‘sea change’ with this inflation.


Not good to hear but thanks for the honesty. Inflation roars and people want to spend less for this…

I had one guy that wanted me to do his driveway and walkway that was covered in stains. He wanted me to do it for 150 while the chemicals alone would have been 100, I even offered to show receipts for the chems but didn’t care.

But if people are going with lower bids then that’s about more competition, right? And I’m not taking about the 99$ guys. Seems like other legitimate people are dropping their prices.

If I’m right then: holdout or drop prices also?

It’s helpful to be able to justify your price. Do you have nice equipment that sets you apart from Chuck in a truck? I always mention I’m the owner and I do the work myself, I don’t send out crews. A lot of people have a very positive response to that. There are always cheap skates and you don’t want to work with them


realize that there is a low barrier to entry into this field, and in most areas no licensing requirement. As with all things, the market will eventually dictate the prices. You just have to decide if you can market yourself to higher premiums. Do you really think that Nike, Chevrolet, Gatorade, hershey’s chocolate, lays potato chips, or Milwaukee are the superior products in their market? Nope, just marketing, but people pay 2-5 times as much vs another product.

I’m only a part timer as I am retired, some people try to dicker with me on prices. The first year I was overeager to get my name out and went along with some, now I tell them goodbye.

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Population of my town is 30k. Tripled what i made last year. That being said, ive still noticed people balking but because im still developing idk if thats always been there or not. This is the first full year i have been tracking data and have about a 60% conversion rate from estimates to jobs. The way I see it is if people want to race to the bottom they can have it. I will continue charging what I need and do the best job i possibly can and try and do one or two things extra. So far that seems to be working.


100% what you said , they are impressed with me , my advertising, equipment and explanation of how I work and so forth. They are strictly balking at price more and more.

some always will… we’ve had people spend 30 mins talking about the nightmare they had with the “other guy” last time…then balk at the price to “shop around”. Some things you just can’t fix

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I’ve yet to do an intro post, but in brief I run a commercial cleaning company with a focus on interior cleaning (office, shops, schools, etc.) but we’re constantly asked for external cleaning. We don’t have the expertise so Apex is the ‘brand’ we do that under but we always sub-contract.

As we do commercial clients only, not residential, we can usually charge a slight premium. However, commercial clients look around too and are coming back with rates per square metre that are as low as half what we’re been able to charge. Rates from £3-£4 psm down to £2-£3 psm. I saw one the other day that was “…from £0.90 psm”. Crazy for commercial and impossible I’d say.

Here in the UK pressure washing / softwashing has become a popular thing in the last couple of years or so, with a million YouTube videos and a low barrier to entry cost wise. It’s an issue because it become like domestic cleaning - every man and his dog is trying it. I got a leaflet through my door for a carpet / upholstery cleaning company that now does “Stone and Tile cleaning and Restoration” - what the heck.

As mentioned by others, it’s about your marketing and service offering. Try to make it so it’s not comparable on a price-to-price basis, add value, completeness, professionalism. The cheap guys won’t put the effort in to learn the trade properly, get that deep understanding they can articulate to the client in a way that boosts confidence, get the right equipment, quote / invoice / bill properly, clean up after themselves, even dress properly, etc. It all counts.

You’ll still get the people who just want a low price. Move on, they were never your customers anyway and the $99 guys aren’t your competition.

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What I’m trying not to do is get into driving down pricing to get jobs because then I think it never ends. Technically I can afford to since this is not my only thing but I don’t want That.

When and how do you evaluate if this means you need to lower pricing? Too many lost bids? Or have you seen this “wave” before and just dealt with less work while you hope it passes?

If people won’t accept your bid ultimately it’s because they don’t have the money, or you aren’t a good enough value to them (broad paint brush stroke of course) What can you do to build that value? This is a question I ask myself a lot and I’m still getting there to be honest.

What I’ve done to in my mind build my value is…

Vehicle wrap
Employee uniform
Insurance & business license included with estimates

I think these things above help with starting off with value. I also genuinely talk To these people like they were friends and family and tell them what I would tell them, even if that means that I lose out on money. Why would I want to screw a person over once and collect their cash when i can build their trust and collect cash from them multiple times over a lifetime?

I show up when I say I’ll show up, I do a good job, I educate the customer and set proper expectations before work is started.

I can’t stress that last one enough. Year two and i feel like I’m hitting my stride with customer facing quotes where I’m not bungling my way through it hemming and hawing. Don’t get me wrong I still have a lot to learn but that’s a rough idea of what I do to increase my value and ultimately my goal is to turn every customer I work for into another one or two from them raving about me and have it snowball.


I’m on the ball with all of those. I’ve even shown them my equipment and such (enclosed trailer).

I always find the opposite to be true… commercial folks assume anyone bidding can do the job, so they just want the lowest price. I only do commercial via relationships & referrals for that reason. Homeowners more often value quality, if sold correctly.

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situation specific… too many lost bids means too many of my guys not working, but pricing too low results in long term issues. I usually talk it over with my guys. They are great at finding other things the client needs done when they are out there, or selling a wash to the guy next door, so getting them out there at a lower price can make sense (always a temporary discount, not a lowered price). If they were better at just going out and finding jobs on their own, that would be a different story.

May want to re-think that. It’s one thing to stare you are licensed and insured, but to voluntarily give up that information without asking is just begging for a scam artist to jack you up.

I can’t for the life of me see how that would work…bogus insurance claim? A scam artist will do that no matter what. We get more that I’m sure are just looking to scam off our 100% satisfaction guarantee. They claim we did all these damages to their paint, soffit, gutter guards, etc. I show them pics of the prior damage, they change to complain about something else, threaten to sue… blah blah blah. It all just figures into our overall cost of doing business. I’m sure we sell way more work at premium prices touting our guarantee than it will ever cost us… I’d rather insurance claims in theory, then I wouldn’t have to do so much dealing with it, I’d let them tell the people to pound sand.

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Man all they have to do is have a look at how much coverage you have and cook up a scheme.

I asked my broker about this, it’s a no-no to give a full policy summary to a customer. They give out a basic, abbreviated version that just lets the customer know the business has insurance and that’s just ‘on demand’.

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I mean I don’t give them my full 11+ page policy with inclusions/exclusions. More like a 1 sheet cliff note :joy: I think with all the jokers around here people want someone legitimate who isn’t going to be going anywhere. That may bite me. May not. So far I’ve been doing well with it. At my point in life, is rather have a 50-60 percent close rate at my prices vs a 80ish percent close rate with lower ones. My time is valuable (as is everyone’s of course) but I’d rather be working what I’m doing making what I’m making and spending free time with my kiddos. That’s the real reason I work.

A COI is just a one page document that states your coverage limits. I think providing it immediately gives the client a certain feeling of assurance that you’re legit. I’ve always done it from the start. I just provide it to someone that I’m taking the trouble to put in my system and send an actual quote to. I don’t send to scammers. You’ve got car insurance, do you get scammed on it?

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Probably just here then, we have a ton of low income thieves trying to scam in various ways.