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clncut
03-24-2007, 08:57 PM
I have the opportunity to bid a property of 20 acres. The largest property I maintain at this time is 6 acres so this is new territory for me. Ive been searching on here and cant decide on how to bid this.

Ive read to figure estimate how long this prop would take and add my hourly rate. Bidding by the hour seems Id be leaving a lot of money on the table. Some say to bid by the acre. Im just trying to figure which way most use. Currently on all my props are bid by the hour and not a per acre price.

Any help would be great. Thanks

John

TNT LawnCare Inc.
03-24-2007, 09:01 PM
What will you be using to get the job done ??

Albery's Lawn & Tractor
03-24-2007, 09:03 PM
Bid by hour. Thats what we do.

clncut
03-24-2007, 09:03 PM
Two ztr, a 52" exmark and a 60" Dixie.

TNT LawnCare Inc.
03-24-2007, 09:12 PM
I'd bid by the acre. How long do you think it will take you to knock that. IF it takes 5 hours and you price it at 50 an hour thats only 250. If you bid bye the acre and its wide open mowing you can charge 35 - 40 an acre and make three time thee amount .

Albery's Lawn & Tractor
03-24-2007, 09:28 PM
If you go with a high amount there gonna take another bid over yours. If it takes you 6 hours charge $360 ($60 pr hr). Yeah $30-40 per acre sounds great when it totals $600-$800 but unless your customer isn't very smart you will get out bid.

TNT LawnCare Inc.
03-24-2007, 09:41 PM
He didnt say if he was worried about being out bid and i'am not sure ?? how bad he needs this account. Iam in business to make money not accounts. Iam not sure also how big his company is, or what he prefers to make in a single day. If bidding hourly works for you thats fine. I like bidding by the acre and it always works for me cause most peolpe over bid thinking they can charge 50-60 an acre. Just my thaughts

Albery's Lawn & Tractor
03-24-2007, 09:58 PM
If it works for you then cool. I guess its really just different markets. Around here I'd me laughed out of town bidding that way. I'm not saying its better to have 100's of cheap accounts, but you need accounts for $$$ but you have to be fair on bidding. We've been in business long enough to how things work. Just my 2 cents though, run your business the best you can good luck.

clncut
03-24-2007, 09:58 PM
Thanks for the replies. To answer some of the questions asked, my company is small, myself and a helper. I do this part time and am not to worried about if I dont get the account. Dont get me wrong, I would like to win this if possible buy wont lose any sleep if I dont. I was thinking 5 hours to complete this job and bidding by the hour seems more reasonable. I dont think the prop owners would go for it if I bid it by the acre even if I dropped the bid to 30 per acre. I would love to bid by the acre because 20 acres means more chedder.

Oh by the way, did I mention this is a bid for a church? ;)

TNT LawnCare Inc.
03-24-2007, 10:03 PM
You could possibly bid somwhere in the middle?? 400. would be resonable and still somewhat profitable. I understand where Alberys Lawn and Tractor is coming from,but only you know your costumer ..

Albery's Lawn & Tractor
03-24-2007, 10:08 PM
Oh its a church......PASS!!!!!!!!!!!! We've had the hardest time collecting from them. Add $50-100 to the total monthly bid (if it's a monthly bid) to cover the headaches of trying to run down your money. Good luck with what ever you decide.

LwnmwrMan22
03-25-2007, 10:16 AM
I have the opportunity to bid a property of 20 acres. The largest property I maintain at this time is 6 acres so this is new territory for me. Ive been searching on here and cant decide on how to bid this.

Ive read to figure estimate how long this prop would take and add my hourly rate. Bidding by the hour seems Id be leaving a lot of money on the table. Some say to bid by the acre. Im just trying to figure which way most use. Currently on all my props are bid by the hour and not a per acre price.

Any help would be great. Thanks

John

There are plenty of posts on here about how to charge.

Most will say anything over 10 acres is going to go for somewhere between $20 and $25 / acre, tops.

If that's the case, you're going to have to bid at around $300 to even be in the ballpark.

Did they call you?? Or do you go there??

Problem with bigger areas like this, is you have companies like myself that have 11' WAMs where 1 guy cuts as much as 2 guys, so you cut out ALOT of the labor cost.

clncut
03-26-2007, 05:30 PM
A member of the church is one of my plowing contract. I asked him if he was taking bids since he is on the commitee that awards such contracts. He wanted a mowing/plowing bid for the upcoming season. Im estimating 5 hrs to complete. Mostly wide open mowing, trimming consists of the building only. I was thinking of bidding 360.00 /cut. Is my estimating correct for mowing? (5 Hrs)

John

supercuts
03-26-2007, 06:28 PM
i know alot of guys on here say they would rather have a large account so you dont have drivetime but face it, you will never get the same dollar for dollar for the same amount of grass, one large vs many small, including drive time. i bid on a smaller church recently too. its only about 4-5 acers and my price is just under $200. i also know that it is just below what they were paying last year! 20 acers is alot of mowing. 5hrs for 2 ZTR's is alot. $360 divided by 10 man hours is only $36/hr per man. 5 hours of straight mowing is going to use close to both tanks of fuel on each mower. $2.50+ a gallon right now could easilly be $50 in fuel a mow. now your down to $31/hr per man. my business needs to make $40/hr to pay basic bills prior to any payroll. id be much higher than $360 personally but if you feel you can make money at that price go for it, if you really dont want it as much as you want the money, bump the price up a bit. also, albery said add on money because its a church, not all churches opporate like that and you could always have late fee clause in yoru contract. even if they are late, maybe you'd be willing to wait if you got enough $ from them.

Duekster
03-26-2007, 06:47 PM
Both,

Those mowers, cut 30,000 SF per hour each.

Divide the total SF by 30,000 and that is you man/machine time that you need to charge.

So then multiply by or man/equipment rates.

Duekster
03-26-2007, 06:52 PM
i know alot of guys on here say they would rather have a large account so you dont have drivetime but face it, you will never get the same dollar for dollar for the same amount of grass, one large vs many small, including drive time. i bid on a smaller church recently too. its only about 4-5 acers and my price is just under $200. i also know that it is just below what they were paying last year! 20 acers is alot of mowing. 5hrs for 2 ZTR's is alot. $360 divided by 10 man hours is only $36/hr per man. 5 hours of straight mowing is going to use close to both tanks of fuel on each mower. $2.50+ a gallon right now could easilly be $50 in fuel a mow. now your down to $31/hr per man. my business needs to make $40/hr to pay basic bills prior to any payroll. id be much higher than $360 personally but if you feel you can make money at that price go for it, if you really dont want it as much as you want the money, bump the price up a bit. also, albery said add on money because its a church, not all churches opporate like that and you could always have late fee clause in yoru contract. even if they are late, maybe you'd be willing to wait if you got enough $ from them.

He may not be competitive with his equpment but he needs to stick to his prices he sets for those mowers.

He may decide to bite the bullet and bid competitvely and go get some equipment to do the job then bid some highway mowing jobs. If I were to go this way, I want to investigate the new equipment cost and production rates.

LawnBrother
03-27-2007, 08:39 AM
If you go with a high amount there gonna take another bid over yours. If it takes you 6 hours charge $360 ($60 pr hr). Yeah $30-40 per acre sounds great when it totals $600-$800 but unless your customer isn't very smart you will get out bid.

I'm sorry but this is just bad advice. How could he possibly make any money at $360 or even $400? He said he's running 3 machines, that's $20/hr/mower. Ridiculous. Are you trying help this guy go out of business?

Albery's Lawn & Tractor
03-27-2007, 08:54 AM
Lawn Brother: So in your 3 years of expierence your an expert uh? If he wants to bid competitive then my figures are on track, but this is just how pricing goes in my area. It would be great if he could get $800 out of it but it will never happen, someone will probably lowball around $200 anyway. No I'm not trying to help him out of business, but assuming he needs work I was giving my opinion. Besideds two mowers doing 20 acres can be knocked out in just a couple of hours, then a little time trimming, I'd guess 4 hours or less. Who can't work for around $100 an hour?

BeautifulBlooms
03-27-2007, 09:15 AM
are you sure about the math that the mowers average 30,000 per hour, I was thinking something more like 2-3 acres of wide open turf, especially if the fertility is low.

At 5MPH with an 80% efficiency for turns and overlap the 52" would be like 100,000 the 60" might be more like 115,000. If the lawn has tons of trees or lots of broken up little areas maybe add 25% for decreased efficiency. Add an hour for trimming and my flat out guess would be

6 hours of wide open mowing, or maybe 8
1 hour of trimming
1 hour of blowing????

Possibly between the range of $440 - $550??? But I am new so this is just an approximation. I do have to say churches are not easy bids to get because they have to use all of the parishoners money for building upgrades!!!! and they can probably pay the maintenance guy like $15 an hour to mow if they had the funds to purchase a mower.

LawnBrother
03-27-2007, 03:09 PM
Well, Albery, the market is different everywhere. I'm glad you can turn a profit at your prices.

bwilder10h
03-27-2007, 04:34 PM
I have to agree with Lawn Brother. 20 acres @ $360 a mow is $18 an acre.

It's hard to make money at that rate...

TJLANDS
03-27-2007, 05:56 PM
My Advice would be to never, ever bid lawn work by the hour.( as someone mentioned)
You would just penalize yourself for having good, fast equipment.
Everybody's costs are different, know your costs, figure how long and price in a profit you will be happy with.
I try to price in 30% profit on lawn work. Doesn't matter 1 acre or 100.

$800 is not unrealistic for 20 acres.

Flex-Deck
03-27-2007, 11:13 PM
My Advice would be to never, ever bid lawn work by the hour.( as someone mentioned)
You would just penalize yourself for having good, fast equipment.
Everybody's costs are different, know your costs, figure how long and price in a profit you will be happy with.
I try to price in 30% profit on lawn work. Doesn't matter 1 acre or 100.

$800 is not unrealistic for 20 acres.

Good statement "Never bid by the hr."
What do you think would happen if I submitted a bid for $25 per acre on that 20 acre property? - I would have a good chance of getting it for $500/mow.

What do you think would happen if I submitted a bid for $125/hr. (It would probably take 4 hrs. max. Do you really think I would stand a chance at landing the bid? - I would still be mowing the property for $500 because it would only take 4 hrs.

Soupy
03-28-2007, 12:15 AM
Good statement "Never bid by the hr."
What do you think would happen if I submitted a bid for $25 per acre on that 20 acre property? - I would have a good chance of getting it for $500/mow.

What do you think would happen if I submitted a bid for $125/hr. (It would probably take 4 hrs. max. Do you really think I would stand a chance at landing the bid? - I would still be mowing the property for $500 because it would only take 4 hrs.


Flex in a sense you are bidding by the hour but your customer doesn't know it. $25 per acre is a crazy low price that you wide area cutters came up with because you have faster equipment. So your doing exactly what the poster you quoted said not to do. Never ever give your productivity back to the customer, price by the job, not the fact you can do 1 acre in 15 minutes.

It's funny I charge more for a 5K lawn then you charge for one acre. Customers got love you wide area guys.

Oh, these guys are talking about pricing by the estimated hour, not charging the customer by the hour. So you look at a property and say, this will take my 6 hours, then you charge your hourly rate times 6. Your hourly rate should go up as you get efficient.

BeautifulBlooms
03-28-2007, 12:23 AM
Dont forget, you dont tell them your hourly price you give them a total. bid it however you want to but give them the end price, dont give them the way you figure it!

JKOOPERS
03-28-2007, 01:47 AM
no way in hell i would cut 20 acres for $400.

supercuts
03-28-2007, 07:49 AM
Dont forget, you dont tell them your hourly price you give them a total. bid it however you want to but give them the end price, dont give them the way you figure it!

i agree with mike, just give them a total. im really wondering why you are contemplating pricer by hour or acre?? when i bid, i just give a final price per visit. now what if you tell them ok, $20/acre and this place is a half hour drive each way, an hour out of yoru day. you show up and they tell you their maintenance guy was able to get all but 2 acres done this week and they hand you $40 for the rest. dont leave the door open. give them your price and let that be it.

dont forget too, if your paying one or two guys to help at $10/hr x 5 hrs each your looking at $100 just in labor,plus equip, insurance, gas, your pay etc.

Flex-Deck
03-28-2007, 04:51 PM
Flex in a sense you are bidding by the hour but your customer doesn't know it. $25 per acre is a crazy low price that you wide area cutters came up with because you have faster equipment. So your doing exactly what the poster you quoted said not to do. Never ever give your productivity back to the customer, price by the job, not the fact you can do 1 acre in 15 minutes.

It's funny I charge more for a 5K lawn then you charge for one acre. Customers got love you wide area guys.

Oh, these guys are talking about pricing by the estimated hour, not charging the customer by the hour. So you look at a property and say, this will take my 6 hours, then you charge your hourly rate times 6. Your hourly rate should go up as you get efficient.

Soupy - We are talking about a very large property here. I have a $45 minimum for the small props. - Please try not to read more into my posts than what is actually there.
BTW - In this area, I have some large commercials that are $40 per acre, and some at $25, and I have lost a number of bids at $25 to someone that is lower. It is funny though, that after they mow for a year or two, their bids start inching up.

I do not give my productivity back to the customer - I bid what the market will bear, then figure out ways to get done faster than the competition. My banker is very happy with me. Thanks Brad

Soupy
03-28-2007, 08:01 PM
Soupy - We are talking about a very large property here. I have a $45 minimum for the small props. - Please try not to read more into my posts than what is actually there.
BTW - In this area, I have some large commercials that are $40 per acre, and some at $25, and I have lost a number of bids at $25 to someone that is lower. It is funny though, that after they mow for a year or two, their bids start inching up.

I do not give my productivity back to the customer - I bid what the market will bear, then figure out ways to get done faster than the competition. My banker is very happy with me. Thanks Brad

I understand that you bid what the market will bear. But somebody before you brought the market down by giving their production away. You are working a niche that should be bringing you larger profits. Lets face it not every lawn service can handle this type of property.

I only give you a little crap because your signature line reads just the opposite of what you and you competitors (whoever fault that is) are doing.

Flex-Deck
03-28-2007, 11:08 PM
I understand that you bid what the market will bear. But somebody before you brought the market down by giving their production away. You are working a niche that should be bringing you larger profits. Lets face it not every lawn service can handle this type of property.

I only give you a little crap because your signature line reads just the opposite of what you and you competitors (whoever fault that is) are doing.

Seems to always be about 5 bidding on all the big jobs. 1 newcomer and the other 4 are always companies who have been around a long time. As to my signature. The contracts that I have are all the way from 10K to 40 acres, and over the year last year, my mower generated $110 per hr. and my wifes mower generated $75 per hr. Don't really think that is too bad, do you? Maybe efficiency does = profit. Thanks Brad

clncut
03-29-2007, 12:13 AM
WOW, did not expect this kind of response. Just to let you guys know I decided to let this property go. I will still be bidding snowplowing but after talking to one of the church members who is responsible for awarding the contracts, he stated they currently have 2 guys who cut with "VERY LARGE" mowers. After really taking a closer look at the prop, there was more obstacles than I thought. Large retention pond in the back corner, ditch running through the middle of the prop and a small playground area to work around. Thanks to all who responded. At this time I think I will stick to smaller props, 5 acres or so. Im going to have to do some more research on this subject...Per acre/per hr. I just cant see cutting 20 acres for 360.00. (estimated 6 hrs with 2 guys) Seems I would be leaving a lot of money on the table.

Everyone preaches figure how long a prop would take and add your hourly rate. In this case I think bidding hourly is a bad idea.? Im still learning as I go so I think its best I let this one go. I would probably screw myself!!:hammerhead:

John

Soupy
03-29-2007, 08:41 PM
Seems to always be about 5 bidding on all the big jobs. 1 newcomer and the other 4 are always companies who have been around a long time. As to my signature. The contracts that I have are all the way from 10K to 40 acres, and over the year last year, my mower generated $110 per hr. and my wifes mower generated $75 per hr. Don't really think that is too bad, do you? Maybe efficiency does = profit. Thanks Brad

That is good and I bet you are ahead of your competition because of the equipment you use. I have always said you are a genius for coming up with that contraption (not sure what you call it, JD on steroids?) of yours. A Bobcat brings in $150 and up and that is what I think a wide area mower should be bringing, but I wouldn't complain making $110 or $75 per hour.

I do have to be honest and say I didn't cut large properties, but to think these mowers don't bring in much more then us using a much smaller cutting machine (cutting much less turf) just seems odd to me.

Soupy
03-29-2007, 08:49 PM
oops! double post trying to add flex's JD on steroids :)