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View Full Version : How to Bid Cemetery mowing


bedbug
10-23-2006, 01:59 PM
In Kansas there are lots of contracts for rural and small town cemeteries.
How do you bid the contract ? Most contractors do not come back the next year. :confused:

MarcSmith
10-23-2006, 02:19 PM
I have a 400 stone cemetary on campus it burns about 4-6 man hours. I use a 52" scag wildcat to cut and a an echo straight shaft string trimmer.

I imagien if I had the guys round up a 6" buffer around each stone i could cut the string trim time a bit....

The string trimming is gonna eat up your time and your string....

hope this helps

her is an image of part of it while a building was under contruction.

General Landscaping
10-23-2006, 05:54 PM
So... do you estimate on a per stone basis, then add for the open areas?
Seems like it might work for standard issue cemetaries:confused:

PMLAWN
10-23-2006, 07:06 PM
Not trying to be a smart a$$ but-- The time it takes you Xs the rate you charge for time.
You need to know how long it takes to do. And trimming takes a lot of time!

DBL
10-23-2006, 08:54 PM
theres a lot of triming turning and its just a pain but you probably already know that

TNT LawnCare Inc.
10-23-2006, 09:55 PM
Most contractors dont come back cause they under bid the property,as others have stated there is alot tof trimming involved with a cemetary.when bidding commercial type property you need to know your rate per man hour .So if you want to charge $50 bucks per man hour and it takes you 4 hours,thats $200 dollars.

topsites
10-23-2006, 10:00 PM
Every single time I see a cemetery thread, I can't help but think about a 'per stiff' formula.

Then it would be simple, give me a headstone count.
Sick humor aside for a minute, it would serve as a guide of sorts.

......
On another note, I am not so sure I'd even want to bid it, nevermind the money (that, too), but just looking at that one picture makes my back ache in response to the mere thought of all the trimming involved.

eaglejrl
10-23-2006, 11:01 PM
Here are a couple of other things to take into consideration.
In addition to trimming time, you may have to go around and pick up loose flower petals on the ground. Thunderstorms can make a mess out of cemeterys. If the cemetery doesn't have good rules, people just place flowers, markers, and statues in the oddest places.
Also, most rural cemetery's markers looked like they were placed just randomly here and there. It makes for more mowing time because you can't really develop a pattern to mow it.

General Landscaping
10-24-2006, 12:01 AM
Not trying to be a smart a$$ but-- The time it takes you Xs the rate you charge for time.
You need to know how long it takes to do. And trimming takes a lot of time!
So... are you supposed to cut it before giving a estimate/bid?:dizzy:
That would be tough to give out estimates for 5-6 different plots.
Not everyone here can do a drive thru and come up with a competitive estimate for this niche of lawncare.

If someone has worked up a time for trimming 50 stones, that would be a start.
For an estimate you could just get the # of flat stones, mosaleums, standing stones and whoop out a $$$$ figure for the main part of the job. From there, make sure the mower will be able to work efficently in the layout; add on for accessory areas, and work out a plan for clean up etc.
For the most part, cemetaries follow a similar layout; it would'nt be too far fetched to work out a formula "per stiff"

noseha
10-24-2006, 04:39 AM
Here are a couple of other things to take into consideration.
In addition to trimming time, you may have to go around and pick up loose flower petals on the ground. Thunderstorms can make a mess out of cemeterys. If the cemetery doesn't have good rules, people just place flowers, markers, and statues in the oddest places.
Also, most rural cemetery's markers looked like they were placed just randomly here and there. It makes for more mowing time because you can't really develop a pattern to mow it.

most of the time I'll figure out the time for mowing and count tombstones add $2-3 per stone. plus clean up time .5 hrs flowers and sticks. can you dump on site if not add .5 hrs. Or just tell them you will mow the first time hr rate and go from there. Did they ask you to mow or posted for a bid? how big?

MarcSmith
10-24-2006, 06:56 AM
All of my employee's are "in-house" so there is no bid.

My cemetary is easy as the stones are allthe same and in nice neat lines...

If I were bidding on it and they were nto willing to let me mow once on a per hour basis I would get a body count.... I would then set up a bout a half dozen cinder blocks inmyown yard and working at a reasonable pace i would figure out how long it takes to trim around and between those head stones. figure our your per stiff trimming cost. If a mosoleum has about 6 bodies in it. I figure it would take as long to trim around the mosoleum as it woudl to trim around the same abount of head stones.

then figure out the acreage, then assume that you will be only 50% efficient mowing as a result of narrow aisles, lots of turns, ect.. Then after all these numbers are added up add on a couple extra hours to stoppingto replace trimmer string, to walk back to the truck to gas up the trimmers and then another couple hours to remove the flowers. I remove the flowers every two weeks and the stones with flowers I don't trim around.

Make sure that you have a clause int he contract that adjusts the price as the number of bodies increase. If you have abd year and you get 100 new bodies, it would affect your bottom line.

Also keep in mind that you WILL need to have a mulch kit as most places don't want dried grass stuck to the head stones....

in a situation like this, oneof those trimmer attachments may be worthwile.

http://www.4mtrimmers.com/support%20files/h-7.JPG

PMLAWN
10-24-2006, 09:17 AM
So... are you supposed to cut it before giving a estimate/bid?:dizzy:
That would be tough to give out estimates for 5-6 different plots.
Not everyone here can do a drive thru and come up with a competitive estimate for this niche of lawncare.

If someone has worked up a time for trimming 50 stones, that would be a start.
For an estimate you could just get the # of flat stones, mosaleums, standing stones and whoop out a $$$$ figure for the main part of the job. From there, make sure the mower will be able to work efficently in the layout; add on for accessory areas, and work out a plan for clean up etc.
For the most part, cemetaries follow a similar layout; it would'nt be too far fetched to work out a formula "per stiff"

Not everyone here can do a drive thru and come up with a competitive estimate for this niche of lawncare.

You are very right, But it is even harder to believe that someone across the country, That never saw the lot, and has no idea how it is layed out, would be able to better answer that question than him.
You have to have some idea about your time before you bid jobs. Like Marc said- lay it out in your yard and practice. There is going to be a learning curve on this (just like any other part of the business) and Bedbug needs to invest in his business the time to learn the business. This is a niche of lawncare and any niche needs proper education and experience to join the game.
I stand by my answer that you need to know the time it takes. Marc has a good plan to figure that out, but the bidder still needs to do the work himself to get it right.

noseha
10-25-2006, 06:54 AM
I think most of the first timers think they can mow with a 52'' or 60'' ztr mower or rider from sears. the 52 or 60 just wouldn't fit in a lot of spots increasing your trim time which you don't bid for. same scenario for rider losing time with out zero turn. on top of under bidding the trim time per stone. some guys like to run a big crew. when a new worker comes to a cemetery they look and say son of a mower there overwhelmed. I like 2-3 worker crews I have found that equipment or your set up is best way to cut down your time. 44'' ztr, I do use 60''ztr where I can. trimmers stihl 110Rx lite weight extra spool and 20z gas bottle, I don't use titanium line or something special .85 stihl line. Way to wacth cost. I do blow off the stones with a lot having there own dump I don't have to bid for clean up just a straight hourly rate I can blow into the woods at a lot of places. here in Michigan there is all standing stones or raised stones. I think you should be able to look at a place and say 3.5 hours with 3 workers and be with in 15 mins, if you have to figure out the sqft

dwlah
10-25-2006, 09:58 AM
I think most of the first timers think they can mow with a 52'' or 60'' ztr mower or rider from sears. the 52 or 60 just wouldn't fit in a lot of spots increasing your trim time which you don't bid for. same scenario for rider losing time with out zero turn.

All I can say is AMEN
I used a 42 mower from sears I would take abour 6-7 hrs
Tried using my neighbors 60 Z cut my mowing time but increased the trim time
Now I use a 46 Z takes about 1-1/2 hrs to mow and 2 1/2hrs to trim and blow

DBL
10-25-2006, 02:13 PM
Every single time I see a cemetery thread, I can't help but think about a 'per stiff' formula.

Then it would be simple, give me a headstone count.
Sick humor aside for a minute, it would serve as a guide of sorts.

......
On another note, I am not so sure I'd even want to bid it, nevermind the money (that, too), but just looking at that one picture makes my back ache in response to the mere thought of all the trimming involved.

i can see it now every funeral the price goes up $5

MarcSmith
10-25-2006, 03:41 PM
i can see it now every funeral the price goes up $5

if you think about though a small increase, as the amount of labor you do increase, why not a sliding scale, even if its as small as a buck.... if ten people are burried each month in your cemetary and you charged just a buck for each body

the ten that died in january would gross you an extra $110 bucks at the end of the year, the ten from february would gross $100,, then 90, then 80, then 70, then 60, then 50, then 40 then 30, then 20, then 10.... Thats en extra 660 bucks total for th whole year....thats two weedys... maybe a buck is too mcuh...but you get the idea...

DBL
10-25-2006, 10:53 PM
if you think about though a small increase, as the amount of labor you do increase, why not a sliding scale, even if its as small as a buck.... if ten people are burried each month in your cemetary and you charged just a buck for each body

the ten that died in january would gross you an extra $110 bucks at the end of the year, the ten from february would gross $100,, then 90, then 80, then 70, then 60, then 50, then 40 then 30, then 20, then 10.... Thats en extra 660 bucks total for th whole year....thats two weedys... maybe a buck is too mcuh...but you get the idea...

i think a dollar a headstone increase would work because think of the extra time a guy has to work around there....now i just have to go bid on one

robbo521
10-26-2006, 12:23 AM
i have been doing my churches for 5yrs now.about 170 stones and not many in line.they do buy the weedkiller so i can spray the head stones and the fence.so not much trimming.it is almost 2 acres and i get 150 a cut each week sometimes twice a week.i do it now with a 42'' rider but have saved up to get me a ztr but i cant go bigger than 48''.after storms the flowers are the biggest thing to clean up,i pick them up and hang on the fence for 2 weeks so people can put them back.if they dont then they go to the burn pit.now when leaves fall from the 4 100year old oak trees i will be cleaning them for 4 to 5 weeks.thats when i get 300 for them each time.i can blow them suck them up or blow to gravel road and burn.it is not easy,lot of bad ground to travel,not very smooth.

bedbug
10-26-2006, 03:37 PM
I appreciate all the help and advice for bidding cemetaries.(I will let the younger guys have this end of the business thanks again Bedbug!