PDA

View Full Version : First big break.


jtrice11
08-26-2005, 04:29 PM
Yesterday I was asked to bid on 8 large commercial complexes in the Twin Cities.They range from SuperTargets to large office buildings. They would be really nice accounts. Only summer work, snow plowing is a seperate contract. Now I just gotta figure out how to bid the damn things.

PMLAWN
08-26-2005, 05:20 PM
Don't make this your first big mistake, If you have to ask how to bid them maybe this is too big right now. A $30.00 a week house off by 20% is only $6.00 but a $5000.00 contract off by just 10% is $500.00

Target with a lot of parking islands and beds can eat a lot of time ---be careful

jtrice11
08-26-2005, 05:35 PM
Don't make this your first big mistake, If you have to ask how to bid them maybe this is too big right now. A $30.00 a week house off by 20% is only $6.00 but a $5000.00 contract off by just 10% is $500.00

Target with a lot of parking islands and beds can eat a lot of time ---be careful

I might have to use some buddies that work for large outfits for some tips on what the best approach is. I definately won't go in "blind".

jtrice11
08-28-2005, 01:10 PM
Anyone have any other input to my original post? I currently have a large townhouse complex, about a dozen high end residential homes but no office buildings or shopping centers. Would estimate the job by the time it takes to service or square footage?

OMG
08-28-2005, 01:19 PM
jtrice,


I have some shopping centers with islands.


I have one that only has 1 1/2 acres of grass (but many islands with trees that make them almost impossible to mow).


For what should take about an hour or so, takes 5 man hours.


Moving from island to island, jumping curbs, etc. take time.


Plus, the islands, landscaping, etc. make alot of it inaccessible to mow (in other words, there is ALOT more weedeating than it appears). :realmad:


Take that into consideration when you bid.

grassmanvt
08-28-2005, 01:50 PM
jtrice,


I have some shopping centers with islands.


I have one that only has 1 1/2 acres of grass (but many islands with trees that make them almost impossible to mow).


For what should take about an hour or so, takes 5 man hours.


Moving from island to island, jumping curbs, etc. take time.


Plus, the islands, landscaping, etc. make alot of it inaccessible to mow (in other words, there is ALOT more weedeating than it appears). :realmad:


Take that into consideration when you bid.

This guy hit the nail in the head. I do a hospital that faces some of the similar issues. Here are a few more things that we have to deal with. We usually mow on weekend due to a parking shortage. Even on the weekend there are numerous cars and people to work around. Lots of islands that we usually have to bag for adequate results which means lugging around garbage pails and chasing the dump truck around the yard to empty the grass. Also, lots of curb trimming etc. I wouldn't discourage you from placing a bid but, to re-emphasize what omg said, what should be accomplished in an hour or two usually takes at least double that time. Also with the close quarters areas and proximaty to cars, people, usually creates a nessesity to bag and dispose of clippings.

ed2hess
08-28-2005, 06:01 PM
Often they seek bids to leverage the landscaper who normally gets the maintenance job. But let's assume this is legit. Measure the area of grass and put it in three buckets: 1. Grass to be mowed with 21" 2. Grass to be mowed with 36" WB 3. Grass to be mowed with bigger mower. Then calculate time for each area based on your experience or use manufactures numbers. Next double the time number to take care of trimming. Then add something for minimal clean-up, don't assume you are to blow off the entire parking lot. Then add up the time and calculate the charge using your labor and burden rate(Normally $20/hr in our area). Usually they want to know what mulch will cost them per bag, and irrigation repair rate. Normally the super big companies like TG get these in our area and the rest of us only get one when we know somebody, that is in charge of management company.

nobagger
08-28-2005, 10:11 PM
We had last season several shopping plazas where we went island hopping for what would take 1/2 tops if it where a regular lawn took us well over an hour with 3 guys (weeding included). A major pain in the A*@!!!!. It looked good on a resume but in the end by far not worth what we were getting! I figured we could have made $100.00 in that hour and a half that we wasted at these stupid shopping plaza's. I bid plaza's like these fairly high so if I get them great but if not, oh well. payup

bushtrimmer
08-28-2005, 10:22 PM
that's no big break, take my word for it
sounds like US Maintenance
do a search for here for them and see what they are all about.
been there done that never again
actually they keep calling me to bid on things for them, I say ok fax me specs, then they call me back to see when I'm sending in bid, I tell them when they send the money they owe me from 3 years ago
talk about a PITA

jtrice11
08-29-2005, 10:54 AM
Wow, sounds like I could be getting into a major headache and its only worth it if there is some decent dough in the equation. I'm guessing I would have to bag at least 1/2 of the property. And yes, there are a half dozen islands that need to be mowed. large areas of mulch and beutifully manicured bushes etc....

topsites
08-29-2005, 11:17 AM
I might have to use some buddies that work for large outfits for some tips on what the best approach is. I definately won't go in "blind".

That would be my recommendation is to go out there with someone experienced in this type of thing to help you out...

The ONLY large property I ever bid (NO contract, verbal per-cut) was an apartment complex and what I did is I drove around it as I added minutes (literally, like 5 minutes for this island, 15 for that one, and so on) on a sheet of paper then at the end totalled it all up and went with an hourly rate of $45.
Then I drove around a SECOND time and instead of adding up time, I added up dollar amounts (yup, 5 bucks for this here bit of grass, 20 dollars for that long curb I gotta weed-eat all around the other end, and so on) and at the end added THIS up.
And you know it, I drove around the entire complex a THIRD time (of course very slowly with frequent stops) and added everything up one final time this time with a combination of time and money and totalled it at the end.
After I had my 3 totals, they were pretty close to each other (I can't remember exactly but lets say one was $140 the other $120 while the last was around 125 or 135 or otherwhere in between) so then I quoted the guy 120-140 per cut ...

I didn't get the job lol and MAYBE I overbid it but like the other person said, don't let it be your first big mistake and I don't feel bad about not getting the job, I felt I did a proper job estimating and if someone else wants to do it cheaper then let them have it.

Last but not least, commercial props usually involve a LOT of curb-jumping (What you gotta do with a WB) and I'm sorry now I don't mind a little bit of curb-jumping for entertainment but if I gotta jump more than a few curbs, that's a bit extra for this challenge as well, as is the extra weed-eating which also on commercial props there tends to be a LOT of that.

So be careful and take someone along and you should be ok. If someone can't / won't come along, then just add it all up in sections, that's what I did since I couldn't SEE the whole picture in my head, I took it in bits and pieces.

topsites
08-29-2005, 11:29 AM
Anyone have any other input to my original post? I currently have a large townhouse complex, about a dozen high end residential homes but no office buildings or shopping centers. Would estimate the job by the time it takes to service or square footage?

I NEVER estimate by square footage in and of itself, the square footage to me serves as a background guideline so IF someone has an acre property then I know in my head it SHOULD be around 55 dollars but that is only a guideline and NEVER does this make the estimate by itself.

No, ALWAYS estimate by the time it takes ALSO, now mind you my hourly rate of $45 adjusts for the fact I have no ZTR but again what I do is add it up by the time it takes AND compare it to the square footage price then you got a more solid foundation.

So if it takes 2 hours and it's a 2 acre prop then I'm sweet with $45/hour times 2 hours actually equals $45/acre times 2 = $90 as well, now I am SURE my estimate of 90 dollars is on the money.

If in the end one or the other is WAY off (say time is $120 but square footage dictates $40 or vice-versa) then something is wrong OR there is a reason for the discrepancy (perhaps a lot of weed-eating or a TON of small islands all of them 300 hundred sq. feet a piece will throw you off, you can likely get 100 of these islands in under an acre but it won't take no less than an hour, more like 3-4 hours or more, for example). Thus if it's MORE work than sq. footage dictates, ultimately I HAVE to get paid for the WORK in this case, the square footage is meaningless thou I HAVE experienced owners who try to use the square footage to gain a cheaper price (oh gee, it's only 1/2 acre of grass - YEAH, spread out over 3 miles of property in little bitty islands).

Ok anyway hope that explains things, so take the square footage but also add up the time it will take and push comes to shove, you HAVE to get paid for the time it takes first, the sq. footage only serves as a guide to ensure you're not too far off but you CAN'T do an acre of pita-grass that will take 4 hours for the $55/acre price, it just won't work like that. I mean you can give them a little bit of a discount if you feel like being a nice guy but if it takes 3-4 hours then you gotta get paid for 3-4 hours.