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View Full Version : Am I crazy....?


Joel B.
04-03-2007, 01:56 AM
OK, I am going to bid on a large (for me) property. It is a church with approximately 5.6 acres of turf, 3 buildings, average number of trees and 2 small fenced-in areas.

Now for the crazy part...I have a 52" walk behind and a 38" tractor. I am not opposed to buying another mower but am worried this is a little too big for me. But....it is relatively easy mowing, no travel time, etc.

I have figured out a couple of bids but there is no way they would pay that much so I must be doing something wrong. What would you bid?

Thank you for any advice.

Joel B.

4curbappeal
04-03-2007, 02:12 AM
Joel,

In my opinion 5 acres is a bit much for a 52' WB, but you know your limits. I have a friend that does 350 acres with 4 60' ZTR's and a 72' ZTR and it take them about 10 hours. It is all proportionate! Give it a try if you think it's worth it!

Scag48
04-03-2007, 02:20 AM
Okay, go with me on this. If your schedule is completely full, then I'd suggest getting something bigger. But, if you have the time to spend mowing with a 52" w/b, it'll probably only take you an extra hour or two vs. a 60" or even 72" ZTR given the ground speed and deck width. Time is only worth saving if you have other things to do.

supercuts
04-03-2007, 08:50 AM
Okay, go with me on this. If your schedule is completely full, then I'd suggest getting something bigger. But, if you have the time to spend mowing with a 52" w/b, it'll probably only take you an extra hour or two vs. a 60" or even 72" ZTR given the ground speed and deck width. Time is only worth saving if you have other things to do.

good point about the schedual, id dump any riding mower. not only are wasting huge time and looks silly in my book for a proffessional company. either buy another walk behind or find a good used ZTR.

think about how much time you'd save too and you'd relize saving an hour or two a week ends up being 4-8 by the end of the month and that is only off this one lawn. add up the time you'd save from all yoru lawns and that time should be much much much more than enough money making potential to buy a at least one brand new ZTR assuming you can find the work. payments arent that much a month on a 4 year loan.

topsites
04-03-2007, 08:58 AM
It has been my experience churches either can not or are not willing to pay the cost of our services, probably because it is up to members of the congregation to maintain the property on a voluntary basis, since the church exists on donations. That is the way all churches work, it happens on occasion said members get tired of doing the work and think of hiring one of us, simply submit an appropriate bid and they should realize it is out of their financial reach.

A 5+ acre lot would run roughly 5-6 thousand / year, to maintain it properly at least the first year, maybe more at first and less later, but as cheap as they would like it to be does not happen.

i.e.: You're not crazy, don't do it.

ED'S LAWNCARE
04-03-2007, 09:32 AM
I personally don't do any churches, but I know a guy in town that does the church that he goes to. It's about 2 acres, playard, nothing too fancy. He uses a 48" ztr toro and it takes him 2 hrs. He gets $125/cut. Approx 3k yr. I wouldn't do it less than 4k.

IN2MOWN
04-03-2007, 09:59 AM
It has been my experience churches either can not or are not willing to pay the cost of our services, probably because it is up to members of the congregation to maintain the property on a voluntary basis, since the church exists on donations. That is the way all churches work, it happens on occasion said members get tired of doing the work and think of hiring one of us, simply submit an appropriate bid and they should realize it is out of their financial reach.

A 5+ acre lot would run roughly 5-6 thousand / year, to maintain it properly at least the first year, maybe more at first and less later, but as cheap as they would like it to be does not happen.

i.e.: You're not crazy, don't do it.



Couldnt agree more. Curches are constantly complaining about pricing, sceduling, and wanting to do work themselves to keep the price down.

I take care of one church and the guy calls me yesterday 5 days after I mowed it to ask me if I had been there because it was getting tall.

Moron.

scchamblee
04-03-2007, 08:23 PM
I do one church, 1 1/2 to 2 acres mostly mowing not much trimming and a parrking lot to blow off... $70 per cut (usually 3 times a month)

Now for the intresting part... They want to let one of the high school kids who is a member cut it for the summer till he goes to college and then I pick back up in the fall!!! I am thinkin bout telling them to shove it up their ARSE!!!! This pisses me OFF!!!!

Joel B.
04-03-2007, 09:16 PM
Well, here's what I came up with:

The property has 245,878 sq. ft. of turf (5.64 acres). My lawn has 11,000 sq. ft. of turf and I can mow/trim/blow it in an average of 35 minutes and would charge $35. The church is roughly equivalent to 22.35 of my yards. So:

22.35 X 35 (min) = 782.25 (min) = 13.04(hours) @ $50/hr = $651.87

OR

22.35 X $35 = $782.25.

Now I know that there is no travel time and much more open mowing so I can come down some, but still, there is no way the church is going to pay that much.

What am I missing here?

Thanks,

Joel B.

scchamblee
04-03-2007, 09:25 PM
I do an a partment complex with 14 buildings 5 acres of just turf (lots of small areas not alot of wide open mowing), lots of sidewalks, 15,000 linear ft of weedeating, and lots of parking lots. I do it with a 60" ztr 48" WB 2 trimmers and 2 blowers and I do it in 16 man hours and I get $650 kinda low but I needed the work so I took it.

Woody82986
04-03-2007, 09:28 PM
You are missing the fact that your lawn is an average sized lawn and the two just cannot be proportionalized. My bid would probably come in at around $200 - $300 per service depending on the trimming. You probably aren't looking at more than 4 or 5 hours worth of work.

mbaker422
04-03-2007, 09:49 PM
Bid what you feel you need too. If you don't get it chalk it up as bidding experience. Could come in handy later.

Albery's Lawn & Tractor
04-03-2007, 09:57 PM
"You are missing the fact that your lawn is an average sized lawn and the two just cannot be proportionalized. My bid would probably come in at around $200 - $300 per service depending on the trimming. You probably aren't looking at more than 4 or 5 hours worth of work."

I agree with woody82986. The fact that you don't have the best equipment for the job is gonna hurt you. With one of my 60" Z's I could knock that out solo in probably less than 3 hours. $200-$250 would be my guess but only you know what you can afford to work at. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

P.S. They'll probably give the bid to a member of the church who is willing to use his 42" Murray on a saturday.

Liquidfast
04-03-2007, 10:28 PM
I do an a partment complex with 14 buildings 5 acres of just turf (lots of small areas not alot of wide open mowing), lots of sidewalks, 15,000 linear ft of weedeating, and lots of parking lots. I do it with a 60" ztr 48" WB 2 trimmers and 2 blowers and I do it in 16 man hours and I get $650 kinda low but I needed the work so I took it.

So you are cutting at $25 per hour (give or take a buck or two). If ya got nothing else going on then you are alright. However, if you pay taxes, maintain your equipment, take into consideration the depreciation and ofcourse the insurance, then you are operating at about $9-$11 per hour......seriously way too low.

My point: People who see a number without knowing their true costs (and its been said a zillion times) aren't running a business.....period. Don't look at the number and think you are getting $650 because you aren't, and sadly, you are hurting the biz as a whole.

drumbo
04-03-2007, 11:33 PM
Well, here's what I came up with:

The property has 245,878 sq. ft. of turf (5.64 acres). My lawn has 11,000 sq. ft. of turf and I can mow/trim/blow it in an average of 35 minutes and would charge $35. The church is roughly equivalent to 22.35 of my yards. So:

22.35 X 35 (min) = 782.25 (min) = 13.04(hours) @ $50/hr = $651.87

OR

22.35 X $35 = $782.25.

Now I know that there is no travel time and much more open mowing so I can come down some, but still, there is no way the church is going to pay that much.

What am I missing here?

Thanks,

Joel B.

That explanation is EXACTLY the reason you aren't quite ready to take it on. You are penalizing the customer (via high costs) due to your lack of equipment.

To further explain...what would you charge them if you only had a push mower?

You need to make the proper capital investments BEFORE taking on a job like this. If you don't, then you will price yourself out of any large job...which can be make or break a business.

Think about this, if you have a couple 60 ZTRs and a guy trimming, you should be done (depending on obstacles) in a little over 2 hours. I would say between $200-$300 is a good number.

Then, take the expected income from that job and use it to buy your new mower. However, if I were you, I'd try to get a few of these jobs so that you can have at least 2 60s.

We have several multi-acreage accounts and run 2 60" ZTRs and 1 48" WB and sometimes a 4th guy trimming. I am trying to decide if our next additional mower will be a 60 or 72. Either way, we need another one.

scchamblee
04-04-2007, 12:27 AM
So you are cutting at $25 per hour (give or take a buck or two). If ya got nothing else going on then you are alright. However, if you pay taxes, maintain your equipment, take into consideration the depreciation and ofcourse the insurance, then you are operating at about $9-$11 per hour......seriously way too low.

My point: People who see a number without knowing their true costs (and its been said a zillion times) aren't running a business.....period. Don't look at the number and think you are getting $650 because you aren't, and sadly, you are hurting the biz as a whole.

I know MY cost are because I can run a calculator, unlike you.... (650/16=40.625) I can make money at $40/hr I have low overhead. All I owe for is my mower and trailer, and I do pay insurance and taxes, my truck is paid for and I operate a solo business, my cousin brings his WB with him and helps me on this one job. You live in Canada.... which is another country, how can you tell me what MY cost are?

By the way buy a calculator that works... if you cant find one in Canada I will be glad to ship one to you!:usflag: :usflag: :usflag: :usflag: :cool2:

Joel B.
04-04-2007, 12:40 AM
Thanks for all the advice. As I said in my post, I am not opposed to buying another mower. I have two boys (15 and 13) that I have been wanting to get working with me and this just might be the right time.

Liquidfast
04-04-2007, 01:51 AM
I know MY cost are because I can run a calculator, unlike you.... (650/16=40.625) I can make money at $40/hr I have low overhead. All I owe for is my mower and trailer, and I do pay insurance and taxes, my truck is paid for and I operate a solo business, my cousin brings his WB with him and helps me on this one job. You live in Canada.... which is another country, how can you tell me what MY cost are?

By the way buy a calculator that works... if you cant find one in Canada I will be glad to ship one to you!:usflag: :usflag: :usflag: :usflag: :cool2:


You missed by point but I will clarify. First off, I have lived in Canada for 3 years now. Moved from Orlando, born in New York but that's besides the point.

I calculated the costs based on your usage of gas (again, know your cost because $40 an hour is only gonna happen if you are running electric mowers). The number was derived as a measurement of "profit" after the most basic necessity of doing business was deducted.

I re-read my post and apologize if you took it the wrong way. I was basically typing what I was thinking without thinking. All I meant was ANYONE should know their cost. My $hit doesn't stink. I revisited my costs this year and can tell you I was $10-$45 per cut too low last year and to compensate, I got rid of 3 customers and ofcourse increased the remainder of the customers fees to where they should be.

I too serviced 6 commercial properties last year with big eyes focused on the "number" and it was almost the end of my biz. Now, I know MY costs.

Metro Lawn
04-04-2007, 02:10 AM
The price in this area would prob. be around $150 - $180 per cut. 3 man crew in and out in under an hour.

Justin's Lawn Care
04-06-2007, 08:11 PM
well if your not planning on bidding on it let me know what church it is I wouldnt mind putting in a bid ;-)