View Full Version : 2 Huge Properties 295,000 ft and 227,000 ft

03-21-2007, 12:17 AM
I am looking for some suggestionss on an overall estimate on these two properties.

They are both apartment complexes with some wide areas of lawn and also some small nitpicky areas around the buildings.

I have a 52" Ferris Zturn and a pushmower, and I think that I can do 280,000 and 222,000 respectively witht he 52" and will have about 15,000 and 5000 of pushmowing respectively. I will have to trim all areas and blow any clippings necessary every week. I will also have to blow off the pavement. How much production can I make mowign with a pushmower? It seems like I will be doing as much walking between areas as I will be actually mowing areas. Both total properties are at least 10 acres so quite a wide area.

Edging is not included here. Spring cleanup is not included, fall cleanup is not included (We are doing a seperate proposal for landscape maintenance and these things will fall into that category)

I know many variables come in here but can you guys help me compare to what I come to as a formula.

I spoke with another commercial property mower and he says he operates his wide area mowers 52" up to 72" at a 50% production rate at 5 MPH Average. Although the mower manufacturers have 80% efficiency. What do you guys use? At 5 MPH and 100% efficiency ( which to me means a football field mowed in a spiral basically (NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN) I would be able to mow 112,000, at 80% = 89,600, 65% = 72,800, at 50% = 56,000.

I will post my #'s after I get some ideas or estimates from you guys, I do already have them figured out, I just want you guys to give me an impartial guess, and I know it isnt easy to estimate without actually seeing the property but can any of you give me a range? What it might be high and what it might be low?

bart may
03-21-2007, 01:42 AM
On something like your describing I can average around 24,000 ft/hour one person. Thats mow trim blow, so I apply what ever hourly rate I want to acheive. Usually between $40-55 hour. Hope that helps.

03-21-2007, 02:05 AM
thats a start now I need to hear from a few others to compare.

03-21-2007, 02:07 AM
are you going to be doing everything by yourself?

03-21-2007, 05:15 AM
I dunno man, I can flat out an acre with my 48" wb in 45, and 30 with the 60" Z, but put in a ton of curbs and islands and it literally takes me at least twice as long and that's busting my tail, really 3-4 times longer is closer.
I'd say 1,000 / cut for 10 acres, $100 / acre if it's all full of islands and stuff...
But there was another thread on here where another guy just bid either that ($100) or $80 / acre (I cant remember) and he was complaining he lost the bid...

What I do know is I ain't fooling with another association until I have more employees standing around idle than I know what to do with, and right now the only one is me lol.
Assuming I were in the mood, I still wouldn't mess with that big a plot by myself, no way.
Even if I can do it, it's too big a percent of my company's income and resources, I can not afford to depend on an account like that.

03-21-2007, 07:23 AM
Way out of my league here because I do mostly small to 1 acre residentials but I have done a few large areas on one time occasions. I have a 62" Toro Z and can do 3 acres an hour of flat out cutting in mild conditions. In heavy spring growth that time increases. This is cutting at 3.25 ". I think you will be able to cut the larger areas but the big time killer for me as a solo is walking to trim and to blow large areas, it sounds like the same may happen to you. I would estimate my solo operation to dedicate at least a day and a half to this. Its an average because the spring growth is a killer but the summer brown out can make it profitable. I am assuming the property is not irrigated and also assuming that it is not fertilized. If you get in a situation where some happy squirt boy is pouring nitrogen on the lawn 5 times a year, you best off run from this bid and stop by when the next poor sap is getting beat mowing it. Price wise I am not in a position to quote what you need to make on the job. There are lots of variables to this type of work and I am not set up to compete of bid on these large properties as a solo. I have plenty of equipment but refuse to bid as large mow crews can come in and finish a job like this in 3 or 4 hours max. I am no where near and can maximize my profit by staying small.
I don't know if you are planning to increase manpower or purchase back up equipment but that can all cut into what the job is worth. A nice batwing WAM is the way to go but then again its a different type of mowing.
I'm sorry if I didn't directly help you with numbers and I do admire your will to play with the big ones, thats more than I have a stomach for. Take care.

03-21-2007, 07:59 AM
You are definately gonna need more than just a 52" Z for sure. Our average residential props are 2.5 and 3 acres and the smallest mower we own is a 52"...all the others are 61's and 72's.

03-21-2007, 08:19 AM
I agree with rod. I don't think a single 52" is going to do for properties that size.

03-21-2007, 09:41 AM
Are those square foot figures turf measurements?? Or is that the size of the entire property??

Basically you're saying you've got 7 acres of grass and 5.5 acres of grass to cut??

I think it can be done with your 52". You're looking at probably 3 hours +/- for cutting each. Then the trimming, depending on linear feet, probably another 2 hours (if you took your time) for each, for a total of 10 hours.

Sooooo.... with that said, that's about 10 man hours, and I'd charge about $75-100 / hour, so per cut would be $1000, a flat monthly fee would be $3500 / monthly, for the length of the season, whether it grows or not, and I'd bet the bid will go out for about $400-500 / cut, IF the numbers you posted in the title are actual turf size.

The problem is, that if your turf is pretty flat, you'll get someone in there with a 72" mower, possibly even bigger. The 72" mower is already almost 50% bigger than your 52", and then if you had someone set up like myself, who carries a 10.5' WAM on the trailer (or used to), then they're cutting almost 2.5 times more than you in one cut, with one guy.

03-21-2007, 09:46 AM
What is the reason i cant do it alone? Because it is goign to take more than 1 day? If thats the case then i would want to throw two people at this everytime. One person is more efficient than 2, but if I have to go back just to trim the property that would be silly. I cannot purchase a 61" or 72" for just two properties, maybe if I get more properties I may be able to, where even if I lose one or two I still have the need for the larger equipment. As for the properties themselves I have a good in with the owner so if I can comein close to the others I will probably get the jobs. He already gave us a shot last year at a large planting (90 shrubs and 25 evergreen trees) and we came in just slightly above the other bids. He is neighbors with my parents in WI and also they play golf together in FL at the same course, and he specifically told me, he likes to help out new small companies get going because he was given those same opportunities when he got started. I know this doesnt secure the job alone but it takes a little stress off of this process.

The owner has requested a 2 fertilization schedule so I figured early spring with crabgrass and then a mid summer app to keep things going up until the fall. Wheny ou do 2 ferts how much N doy ou put down per app, I oobviously am not goign to get the 4 LBs of N per season am I? The grass is pretty healthy for low fertility and no irrigation, only a few bare spots and those are mostly in the shade.

03-21-2007, 09:57 AM
Oh and those are turf areas, including all mowers and trimmers. But liek I said 15,000 of the 290,000 is push mowing or walk behind, and 5000 of the 227,000 is the same.

So 5% of the mowing is small mowers, the rest should be able to be done with the 52" or bigger if I can justify it. I just have to get more contracts.

03-21-2007, 01:41 PM
I mow BIG properties and after 3 years of mowing big with some big equipment. I will have to say you cant make any money with out the right equipment. Two of my nice open parks are a full city block and about 80% grass I estimate 5 acer grass. I have a 60" ZTR with a 48" pull behind, that 9 feet in one strip. I cut out the open bigger areas and then unhook the pull behind and get as close as i can then weed wipe, blow off the walks and I'm in and out in just over 2 hours.

From your description it hard to tell but I feel you will need bigger equipment to be completive and get this kind of work, and make any money in the process.

03-21-2007, 02:00 PM
I know that a 72" cuts more turf per hour but isnt it also more expensive to run? We have a chevy silverado 1500 with an open trailer I can get my 52" zturn out there much cheaper than you guys hauling 20 foot enclosed trailers with 3 mowers on them, so although it may be inefficient in terms of mow time my overhead should be lower than all you big property guys.

03-21-2007, 04:03 PM
I know that a 72" cuts more turf per hour but isnt it also more expensive to run? We have a chevy silverado 1500 with an open trailer I can get my 52" zturn out there much cheaper than you guys hauling 20 foot enclosed trailers with 3 mowers on them, so although it may be inefficient in terms of mow time my overhead should be lower than all you big property guys.

It all depends.

I can purchase a 23 hp Kubota diesel, 72" deck from Toro for $9100.

I don't, because I don't think that 23 hp is enough engine for a 72" deck. That's another topic though.

I'm running a 24' enclosed V-nose aluminum trailer. Yes, it cost me about $10,000, but I'll also depreciate it out over 8 years before I buy a new one.

It'll end up costing me about $1,250 / year.

I know it's more that a 16' open trailer, but it also doubles as storage for the winter, plus I carry (2) ZTR's, a 48" DD Ferris, 21" push mower, PermaGreen ride on, 20 bags of fertilizer, 3 trimmers, 1 brush cutter, 1 20' pole saw, my signs for spraying, my Gojo for keeping my hands clean, paper towel rack, backpack blowers, battery operated grease gun, plus the misc. chargers for my cordless drill, grease gun, and cordless impact wrench.

It's a portable shop basically.

So yes, your over head WOULD be lower than mine.

However, there's guys out there, that'll throw 3 workers with 72" mowers at the thing, mow it all and trim it in 4 hours at $40 / man hour and come in with a bid at $500 for the total.

Me personally, I wouldn't mow all day for $500, it's just not a property that I'd be set up to do efficiently enough.

I know what my niche is, and this property wouldn't fall in it for me to compete that low. If I could get the spraying / fertilizing, then I could juggle some numbers around to where it looked like I was competing, but I'd be coming out ahead.

As for the 2 rounds of fert, go to the sponsor forum. There's a discussion there right now about a fert that will last 3-4 months, which is what you need.

However, if he's only paying for 2 rounds right now, then he's probably price point shopping rather than caring about how the grass looks. You're definately in the 4 round market in Milwaukee.

03-21-2007, 07:58 PM
I think it can be done with the equipment you have, do I think it's worth it with that equipment is a different story. Also I can almost guarantee that that will go for below or around $500 per cut. A 3 man crew would have that done in 3-4 hrs depending how much trimming and how open it is. I don't think it's worth doing if your going to be there all day or even part of the 2nd day. I would get bigger equipment and aleast 1 helper for jobs like that so you can do it quick.

03-21-2007, 08:30 PM
The helper is the first thing i will add, and then see if another piece of equipment is necessary beyond that.

My calculations ( and I am not positive that they are accurate yet ) have figured out to be about 9 hours for the big job and 7 for the small job using only my 52" Ferris, Push Mower, Strign Trimmer, and Backpack Blower. If I charged $49 to cover my man hours ($40) and machine hours ($9) I would be asking $441 and $343 per cut respectively. That includes mowing, trimming, and blowing. All other stuff is bid seperately like lawn fert, weed control, landscape maintenance. Thats $3136 per month, and $18816 for 24 cuts. With the sum of money I may be able to add a small enclosed trailer and a walkbehind or even another 52", 61", or 72" ZTR. That includes mowing, trimming, and blowing. It just took the math to be completed to really know if I could afford more stuff.

Another question i didnt involve here is if if I were to purchase a bigger mower and an enclosed trailer, how big of a truck do I need to pull it? I have a Chevy Silverado 1500 Gas. Is that capable of moving all that stuff or do I need ot upgrade just to have more equipment?

03-21-2007, 09:33 PM
Another question i didnt involve here is if if I were to purchase a bigger mower and an enclosed trailer, how big of a truck do I need to pull it? I have a Chevy Silverado 1500 Gas. Is that capable of moving all that stuff or do I need ot upgrade just to have more equipment?

Depends on the shape of the truck, I had a F-150 when I started and it did fine pulling a 14ft open trailer with 2 wb's. It was older and it did struggle passing on the highway or uphill but did the job. I would get helper springs or timbrens for the rear so it doesn't squat as much if you overload it, that was a problem with my 150 and most 1/2 tons, it doesn't take much to make them squat.

11-21-2011, 07:44 PM
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knox gsl
11-21-2011, 08:19 PM
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Why bump a 4.5 year old thread about a guy second guessing if he should take on a job that's too big for a solo op.?

11-21-2011, 08:19 PM
Forget the bigger truck, bigger trailer, and bigger ZTR. Can you replace the 21" mower with a 32" or 36" at those sites? Get a mount to carry a string trimmer on the walk behind mower and you can knock a lot of time off the job.

11-21-2011, 09:50 PM
Wrong thread

11-22-2011, 07:50 AM
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Its good fodder my friend,was wondering if the guy ever took the job or flamed out, any guesses from the peanut gallery? My guess ......flamed out
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