It is certainly a sad reality that a few weed, turf and tree jobs are taken at absurdly low prices. Sometimes these low bids actually result from deliberate price slashing; sometimes the contractor has simply not used a pricing basis which covers all costs and profits.
Whatever the reason for price cutting, the end effect on the industry is unsettling. Prices are soft, profits inconstant, quality of work inconsistent.
"The only thing worse than a man who cuts prices is the man who meets them," one reader wrote us recently. This is a telling comment, and perhaps spells out the real ethical questions. Since price-cutters exist in any business and crop up from time to time regardless of what is done to stop them, whether or not to meet reduced prices is a decision reputable companies are often forced to make.
Click on the image above to read the whole column, titled "Don't buy business!" While you're at it, check out some of the letters to the editor on the left-hand page. My favorite is the one from Charlie P. Johnson of Miami's Charlie P. Johnson Spray Co. who says, "We derive constant satisfaction from your magazine, and use it over and over in our everyday business."
In fact, I can see that taking shape as LM's new tagline: "Providing the Green Industry with constant satisfaction in everyday business for more than 50 years." What do you think?! --Marisa Palmieri