View Full Version : What to bid on 15 acres

06-27-2001, 03:42 AM
I am going to bid on a business that has approximately 15 acres to mow. Very few trees and hardly no weed-eating or edging. A flat, wide open area for the most part except around a few buildings. I do not know what to bid on such a large commercial area. I do not have any equipment to handle that large of a area but would consider purchasing a tractor and shredder if the business would commit(in writing) to a 2 year contract. Here in Texas I would probably need to mow 3 times a month for 3 months and 2 times a month for the other 2 to 2.5 months. What do yall think I should bid? I also saw one of those mowers that you pull behind a 4-wheeler that has its own motor attached. I think I could rig it up and off-set it on my 42" Snapper ZTR and have a total cutting path of about 84". This would do away with the expense of a tractor and shredder(I forgot to mention that they are using a shredder now so I could also). I need help on bidding and also if anyone has knowledge about those mowers you pull behind a 4-wheeler. Again, the area is very flat so I think my Snapper wouldnt have a problem pulling it.

06-27-2001, 03:43 AM
Forgot to mention that the going rate for a normal, residental yard that takes 45-1hr goes for around $30-$35. This will give you an idea of rates around here.

06-27-2001, 07:36 AM
just curious,does this buisiness just not want to dress up the place.sounds like a minimal amt of effort to me.to each his own.
dont know much about the pull behind finish mowers,but if you could sell them on a complete ,keep it right service,it could pay for a 60
ztr. then you can take on a lot more work. your situation may not allow that but thought id run it by you.later

06-27-2001, 09:16 AM
$50 per acre x 15 acres = $750.......also i wouldnt dare let a place go more than 2 weeks unmowed - also id stay away from pull behind mowers - what you need to do is sell your mower or park it and get a bigger mower - snapper is awesome - and your 42 is probably decent - but speed is money - i would look into a bigger deck and bigger mower - if you got that account then it would pay for some really nice equipment - my 52in snapper z rider is rated at 6 acres per hour. but i wish i would have went with the 73in deck and a deisel motor. good luck - hope you get the bid.

Eric ELM
06-27-2001, 09:35 AM
I sure would like to see that 52" Snapper mow 6 acres in an hour. That is just 1 acre less than a 72" mower going 15 MPH and you have 20" less of a cut.

Most big lawns you are going to have to drop the price per acre to get them. I would think $30 an acre is more like it for that size lawn since there is little trimming to do.

06-27-2001, 09:40 AM
I have a pull behind trail type mower. I only use it with the JD on one account, its a large field very bumpy, and weedy(doesn't have to be perfect). I also use it on my own property, again a field which is bumpy. The only justification on using this set up is that the area is bumpy so you have to go slow and the wider cut helps make up lost time.
The down sides of the trail mower is that it takes much more room to turn around, you will have more trimming, you have a separate engine burning gas(and my swisher only holds about 1 gallon), you have to take up valuable trailer space, and also you have to have both decks mowing at the same height.
As stated before, I wound't recommend using this set up to try to make money.
In two or three years I'm gonna get some type of 72" rider with a diesel :cool:

06-27-2001, 09:49 AM
There it is - if your a non believer read the article about my 52in snapper z rider - dont see why the dealer would lie - maybe you owe it to yourself to try a snapper for a day .:confused: also - eric - please let me know if you do email the dealers - im curious about what my blade tip speed is on my 52 and i know you dont mislead with your information.

06-27-2001, 10:38 AM
I think they mean 6.16 a.p.h. for the 61", not the 52". You would have to mow at 11-12 mph to do 6 a.p.h. with a 52"
Anyone that thinks they can mow 100% of the rate the mfg. gives is just fooling themselves, at least in my real world you cant.

06-27-2001, 11:11 AM
well let me mention this, i can mow about 7 acres, which include various buildings, fencing, trees etc in an hour (ive timed it) i do this using a 50 hp kubota with a 3pt landpride mower that is 6' i think. if u were to get maybe a 30 hp with the same mower or even a belly mower, u could probably do this new job in an hour (no buildings less turning then what i do), can also use on the other property and yours also. we did not get belly mower for the one reason that we do a lot of other work with this tractor (farming)

06-27-2001, 12:03 PM
currey--I have never used a swisher pull behind but the main idea that I don'tlike about them is that if the mower throws something out the front, you are in the kill zone if you are sitting close to the ground. I don't know if sitting on a four wheeler would get you high enough to be safe.

I have hit and thrown lots of things with my 48 wb and all have gone out the front or side. None of them have exited the rear for some reason.

my largest cut is about six acres and it goes for $200. hope that helps. good luck.


06-27-2001, 12:28 PM

6 acres (lets just round it down) = 261,360 sq ft.

Lets make the lot easy: 43.56 ft X 6000 ft LOT (not much turning)

52 in deck = 4.34 ft deck (rounded up to help)

TOP SPEED: 8mph = 42,240 ft. per hr.

To go from one end of the lot to the other..
6000ft / 42,240ft. per hr = 0.142045 hr

0.142045 hr X 60 mins/hr = 8.52 minutes. (Just to go from end to end at top speed)

43.56 (lot width) / 4.34 ft deeck = 10.03686636 total decks to cover width..(equals the number of stripes)

10.03686636 x 8.52 minutes (To cover entire lot) = 85.514 minutes

That is at 100% efficient (no over lapping, not timing for turning.)

So it is humanly impossible for a 52 inch deck to cover 6 acres in an hr.
The 60 (or 61) inch deck will get 6 acres in an hr at 10 mph at 100% efficient.

The 61in deck will mow 6 acres in 72.95 min at 8 mph.(100% efficient)

We are in Texas at we have a two -man crew getting about $30 -$35 for about 25 -30 minutes...

06-27-2001, 06:52 PM
15 acres of wide open flat grass! WOW! I would love to put my 325D Flail mower on that patch of turf....talk about stripes!!

06-27-2001, 07:44 PM
Remember to figure the efficiency at 80%

Eric ELM
06-27-2001, 07:46 PM
Fallguy, I did check out that link. I am sure they are talking about the 60" mower for 6 acres an hour. That would be with wide open smooth, no buildings, ect. I would think the most your Snapper would mow is 5 acres an hour and that would have to be perfect conditions. If you have any obsticles, I would think 5 acres an hour with a 60" mower is pushing it. Find a big field and mow for an hour and then measure what you mowed and you will know for sure. ;)

I'm not really concerned how fast I can mow, but how good it mows and if the mower finishes the day and finishes the day every day. :)

To figure out your Blade Tip Speed, use this formula.
Blade Spindle RPMs X 3.14 X Blade Length in Inches / 12

06-27-2001, 08:12 PM
Alright, let's talk. 15 acres is a very minimal amount to what I mow, so this will be a piece of cake. I mow 2 pieces of property for our county government (the county fairgrounds and the county airport)amongst other properties. They are a little bit under 75 acres apiece. What we run with is probably not what a lot of you are used to seeing. Our trimming mower (there is a lot of trees and buildings) is a F911 John Deere. Very old, but gets very little use, so alright machine. The next machine is a 630 Case (diesel) with a 7' Farm King behind it. Next is my baby. It is a 970 Case (Probably make a lot of you turf managers shudder; it tops out with the mower on at almost 2 tons.) It is pulled by a 19' Farm King. I am suggesting these to you because they cut like a Bush Hog, meaning they can cut heavy duty brush, but they are a very,very nice finishing mower. Not only that, but as soon as we got the 19' this spring, we cut our time by 2/3. This will be especially helpful to you if you bid it by the acre, and not by the hour. I would never suggest the trail mowers to anyone, unless if they are just doing their own yard. Most of these are bumpy as AltaLawnCare said, and if they're like the ones that we had (Swisher), then they each have their own seperate motor. This is nice only in the aspect that if one breaks down, you can run the others (we ran 3 in a gang mower setup). In the end, we ended up spending more money in parts than in the actual cost of the mower. So my suggestion, is get a pull behind that is powered by the to. And the Farm King's are nice, because they keep the grass off the runway.

B&H Mowing Service
Rensselaer, IN

06-28-2001, 12:20 AM
Does the 630 have Case-O-Matic ?

My book shows a weight of over 9000 lbs. for a Case 970.

07-01-2001, 01:47 PM

Not only is it a diesel, but it is a Case-o-Matic. Very rare, at least that is what we were told by a Case buff. And, my math was wrong. It is almost 5 tons like you said. But it is great for what we do. It's got more nuts than we need.

B&H Mowing Service

07-01-2001, 02:16 PM
contrary to popular belives one can make you money without buying these above mentioned monsters. because of the increase in acarege of various of our customers (buying larger properties) we purchased a power trac 425 and a 60" deck combined with two 57" acerease from kunz eng.
we can do around 10-12 acres in 1hr to 1hour and 15 minutes. that includes sending one or two acerease mower over the side of a bank of a creek and around a large pond (they are sailing on that pond).
last year we did the same thing with an exmark kohler 25 eng. and two acerease. the cost is less and you can use one acerease for smaller properties once you have learned how to move around.
the stripping is ok also.
We would concur with $25-35an acre and we suggest that you mow this place once a week during the spring and fall portion of the mowing season.
Good luck

07-01-2001, 08:37 PM
No cheaper than $35.00 per acre...Do what you want about mowers, but I would suggest at least a 60" ztr...They will cover flat ground pretty fast and can be used on almost any other yard...I have a Gravely 260z but they're several other good mowers out there...Just find one that suits all of your needs especially availability of parts and service from your dealer....Good Luck ...Clean-Cut

07-01-2001, 09:56 PM
Flat, wide open area mowing with minimal trimming.
Hilly and/or sloped terrain, Flat with many obstacles, and extensive trimming.

Hope this helps,

07-01-2001, 10:51 PM
Thanks for all the advise. I think I will bid $30 an acre. The going rate around here is not that much so I will be pushing it to get the contract with $30 an acre. I live in a small country town outside of Waco, TX and we have to many low ballers around here. Think I will go with an outfront mower with at least a 60" cut if I get the job.

07-05-2001, 10:53 PM
sorry so long to reply - been on a much needed vacation to KY - anyhow - thanks for the info lone star lawn - also thanks for not thinking me a idiot for assuming that the mower i have will do what teh advertisement says it will eric - i know one thing for sure - your blade sharpness and blade choice will affect your production dramaticly - i have changed to the snapper ninja mulching blades and when they are sharp i dont have to look back or do much overlaping anymore so thats a plus.thanks.