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wrm
04-14-2007, 12:47 PM
My partner and I just had our proposal for a 11 building Apt. complex accepted. We got it for 325 a week, mow, blow and trim. The grass
was pretty high, because they took so long to decide on a co. and
there was a ton of debris - branches, garbage, contractors cords etc.
It also was very wet in spots, but we had to do it Friday because of\bad weather coming. We both had 36 wb's and it took us exactly 10 hours
just to cut, we're going back monday to trim. We are pretty demorilized
right now that we under bid big time. I knew the head maintenace guy, got us in the door, he said most bids wwere around 375 - 400. We feel we can't do this for less than 650 per cut, but hate the idea of not standing by our bid.
No contract has been signed yet, any opinions ?
Thanks, CLEAN CUT LAWNCARE

unit28
04-14-2007, 12:54 PM
I have 3 ways around this, but will wait for
other replys.
-----------------------------

The size of the machines are not the problem.
So don't go buying something bigger to try and justify the time.

Maybe lease, but don't buy something just for one property.

Good Luck WRM

chris638
04-14-2007, 01:31 PM
36" WB's sound small to me for a complex like that, but if that's the biggest it allows then so be it. I'm sure in the future it won't take as long to do it. As far as the debris and contractor cords, make them clean it up before you get out there or tell them it will be extra. If other company's are bidding at 375-400 per cut, you know they are probably making money. Personnaly, I also stand behind all of our bids whether they are wrong or not. You never know when you will get a rep for bidding a price and then wanting to charge more once you start.

wrm
04-14-2007, 01:35 PM
Assuming the truth is being told about the other bids, but even on a normal day, we think it will still be 8 hrs for 2 guys, plus another couple for trim.

OMG
04-14-2007, 02:00 PM
Suck it up this year, but bid more next year....and be prepared to lose the contract.

xtrim
04-14-2007, 02:33 PM
Its very unprofessional to change the bid on contracts. What would stop me from bidding $1 and then jack up the price to a dollar less than the next lowest bidder?

Next time do your research before you bid, we always survey & measure the properties before we bid or estimate. And we suck it up if we think we under-priced it, its our own fault and no-one-else's.

Woody82986
04-14-2007, 02:44 PM
I have only underbid one job my entire 5 years in business that left a really bad mark in my head. That left such a bad taste in my mouth that I will now beat an estimate to death before I submit it, just because I do not want to underbid anything ever again. I am sure this will be one of those defining moments in your estimating lives.

Premo Services
04-14-2007, 02:46 PM
For sure you will need bigger mowers for that much mowing. I also do not think it is wise to go back and let them know you underbid the job and need more money. That would look so unprofessional. As for the debris, they should pay for the time to clean it up. I would seriously look into a bigger walkbehind with a sulky, it will cut more and take a lot of time off of your total time for the job................................................................................................. .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................
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ed2hess
04-14-2007, 07:26 PM
Is it correct you have 20 man-hrs in this job so far and still have the trimming and blowing to do?

wrm
04-14-2007, 07:36 PM
yes, we still have about 3 hours of work left. but because the property was in such bad condition our first cut, that here on out we should be able to do it all in about 8 hours, with the two owners working it.

d&rlawncare
04-14-2007, 07:39 PM
Do you have any pictures of this place? PM me with the address, I can pull it up on google earth.

wrm
04-14-2007, 07:54 PM
computer dummy here, have no idea how to pm. but i did google earth,
that was pretty cool.

d&rlawncare
04-14-2007, 09:55 PM
computer dummy here, have no idea how to pm. but i did google earth,
that was pretty cool.

Click on my name and it should drop down a link/box that says send a private message. You should be able to send one now that you have 10 posts.

Yeah google earth is cool.

d&rlawncare
04-14-2007, 10:08 PM
computer dummy here, have no idea how to pm. but i did google earth,
that was pretty cool.

Check your PM's

PatriotLandscape
04-14-2007, 11:50 PM
if you are losing money drop it quickly. no matter the situation.

Vikings
04-15-2007, 12:06 AM
I don't think you can change a bid after you won, but you might be able to lose the job depending on the contract (if any).

I would be tempted to suck it up though. You are both owners so you're just wasting your own time in a learning experience. Maybe you could use this huge job to justify buying some bigger, faster machines. Then you would save time on all your other jobs.

Do you use sulkeys?

DuraCutter
04-15-2007, 12:08 AM
if you are losing money drop it quickly. no matter the situation.

If you continue this contract, you're faced with very low profits. I've done this before and have dropped the accounts while still remaining on good terms with the companies. Just explain that you are wet behind the ears or something to that effect and that you can't do it for the price.

If the company has any sense of decency or is run by real human beings, they'll understan, everyone makes mistakes and it takes a brave person to admit it. Move on, remember this lesson, and like it's been suggested, think twice before you fax the quote.

Whoever is saying, "just suck it up and do it" don't have anything at stake here and it's easy advice to give. They won't be the ones missing out on profits you dearly need to grow your business properly. The full day you say it will take to do this property should bring in at least $1,500 gross for 2 workers... period, no ifs or buts. Don't ever short yourself as time can never be taken back, and it ticks pretty darn fast up to fall.

Good luck. :)

chris638
04-15-2007, 01:21 AM
You never answered the post about the size mowers you are using. Why are you using 36 in WB's.

Vikings
04-15-2007, 06:19 AM
The full day you say it will take to do this property should bring in at least $1,500 gross for 2 workers... period, no ifs or buts.

Wow. Are you even in business? I mean the lawn care business not rodeo clowning.

2 guys should gross $7500 a week, EH? no ifs ands or butts. You have a lawn care business that grosses $95 a man hour?

supercuts
04-15-2007, 07:52 AM
Wow. Are you even in business? I mean the lawn care business not rodeo clowning.

2 guys should gross $7500 a week, EH? no ifs ands or butts. You have a lawn care business that grosses $95 a man hour?

i think he meant the 10hr day along with teh 3 more hrs nessasary?? 2 man crew with us gross 800-1000 on an 8hr day.

my advice is that i think your equiptment is too small for the job and your in the "ballpark" for your estimate although a bit low. i think i could cut a lawn 3-4 times quicker on my ZTR than a 36" WB. think about it this way, if you show up with a 21" push mower and it takes you 20 hrs should you get double what your at now?? no, $80 less a week isnt chump change but that shouldnt make or break you. you can talk to the service manager, explain your situation and be honest and upfront. you dont want to lose money but you also dont want to ruin the contract for next year. maybe he'll find a way to add pay for "extras" like cleanup up after contractors that will compesate for your poor bid.

wrm
04-15-2007, 08:21 AM
thanks for all the advice guys, I'm meeting my partner at the property this morning to discuss gameplan. This was a very first commercial account,
he had a 36 rider but not commercial, he's buying a 48 wb exmark today,
I had a 36 wb exmark, with a sulke, but could use it only about an hours worth, due too the terrain - hills, saturation, and my inexperience !
So I walked the other 9 hrs, little sore ! but live and learn. We don't have plans
for bigger equiptment yet
2 well kept conversion vans
5x10 trailer
6x10 trailer
36 wb exmark
48 wb exmark
36 rider - resd.
2 sthil blowers
2 sthil trimmers
getting company shirts and magnetic signs for vans this week.
ad in yellow book and did the fliers and even cards in easter eggs

topsites
04-15-2007, 08:46 AM
This one would've seen the recycle bin the instant inside information came across, that's crossing the line.
It's really uncool to do that to someone inexperienced, but it's uncool regardless, because it's influencing the estimate :nono:

There's a whole lot to it I could expand, but my advice is to drop it.

Since you're almost done, might as well finish the initial job (to make the best of a bad situation), collect payment, and somehow in that process inform them you evidently lack the resources to take care of this, will likely not be returning, and thanks for the opportunity.

d&rlawncare
04-15-2007, 08:50 AM
There is a LESCO dealer 8.2 miles from you. Go check out LESCO. You can get a 60" ZTR for 6799.00 plus tax.

Or you could get a 52" hydro WB for 4300 plus a sulky for 339 .00

Whatever you do GO DEMO something the next time this place needs to be cut. Call dealers and set it up. Dont make a decision to fast because you know you need something.


If his exmark is in good shape get the Hydro WB/sulky and after an hour of practicing in your yard or a school field you will be able to fly around that Apt place.

If you can afford the ZTR then go for it. But for the price of the WB and depending on the size of your other accounts I would go with the WB for sure.

There is ALOT of wide open area according to google earth. You also stated there were alot of ditches. Only you and your partner will be able to know 100% what you need and can afford.

Just in case you forgot GO DEMO!!!!!!!!!! Use the machine on this property before you buy!!

unit28
04-15-2007, 09:34 AM
I completely agree on demoing a mower.
But,
Like I said, check out leasing.
At least if you drop the account you won't be stuck with machines you can't use until something else comes along.

Also, You can choose to buy them if you wish to.
I believe after it's been used, the price will come down to fair market value.
And, The write off will cover the lease gas and maintenance.
If not, the warranty will cover the maintenance.

You can also try to sub it.
I know a few companies that do, especially 3 huge ones when they get busy.
Not saying you'll find one, but hey, check into it.

trackmaster
04-15-2007, 10:34 AM
I guess I have been bidding all my propertys wrong, I should go ask the maintenance guy what he thinks I should charge,:hammerhead: More like what they wanted to pay!!!Drop it like a bad habit, let someone else take a loss to cut it. You said you cut for 10 hours and still have 2 of trimming to do,heck ya made almost 14 dollars an hour per man :dizzy: :laugh: , thats good money for LOWBALLERS!!!! Dont go buy more stuff to handle only this one job, drop it a concentrate on getting 7 or 8 residental lawns and u will easily make up for your loss. Even if you are just starting out you cant be that hard up for work to kill yourself like that. But that is just my opinion and we all know what those are like, a__holes and everybodys got one.

wrm
04-15-2007, 11:40 AM
we didn't ask the maintanance guy about the bids, after we bid 325 a cut,
he told me the other bids averaged between 375 - 400, so we looked to be in good shape, it was our first time bidding commercials, so we thought, not to
bad to be in the neighborhood, we were wrong, live and learn. but we've
decided to keep it, normally be about 8 hrs for the 2 of us.

trackmaster
04-15-2007, 12:01 PM
RED ALERT, RED ALERT, LOWBALLER IN THE HOUSE!!!! What a joke wow your gonna make 20.00 an hour each now!! Guys like you are what ruin the industry for legit business that try to make an honest living by charging an honest price and doing a job that is of the same quality.Glad i dont have to have these kinda problems. I charge according to the profit i need to make not what i need to charge to steal a job that now you cant handle.Number one your way to slow should not take 8 hour to cut ,2. your under equiped to even bid on a job like that. and last but not least it wouldnt take a rocket scientist to figure out that you dont have a clue on bidding a job, look up your previous posts!!!Start charging legit prices and you will attract jobs that are of that quality cheap prices crap work!!!!!!!!

wrm
04-15-2007, 12:10 PM
50 dollars lower on a job like this is not lowballing,you idiot!
profit margins are all relative, no employees and equiptment
paid for. Job could easily turn into other properties that we will
adjust our pricing, and a so called expert as yourself should know
that you can't tell me you could do it quicker without seeing it first,
lots of variables. But your right i guess, we can't call ourselves
HONEST? grow up would ya

txgrassguy
04-15-2007, 12:24 PM
Just so I understand your posts, you bid on an eleven acre apartment complex, and planned on using only 36" walk behinds?
As it stands, you will have over 26 labor hours in this job for only $325.00?
That factors out to $12.50/per hour on the initial cut.
Basically you lost a bunch of money on this estimate.
Provided you really can complete the whole job in a total of 8 hours, which I really can't see how you could with only those smaller machines you are still only grossing approximately $40.00/hour.
I would finish the job and inform your point of contact that unless you are receiving more money you cannot justify returning.
Chalk this one to experience, finish the work and concentrate on more correct estimate procedures in the future.

fool32696
04-15-2007, 12:27 PM
I just read through the entire thread and I don't think WRM is in any place to call someone else an idiot.

paul vroom
04-15-2007, 12:30 PM
I wouldn't say you low balled it as apposed to making a mistake. Is there area for up-sell? Hedge Trimming, mulch, parking lot sweep....Try and recoup some of your losses and no matter what learn all you can from the job, and I don't mean just estimating. Good luck

wrm
04-15-2007, 12:31 PM
it was'nt 11 acres, 11 total buildings. property was in real bad condition
though, lots of limbs, garbage, saturated ditches, contracters extension cords etc. they are trying to refurbish this property, but long way to go.
We just feel we should stand by our bid, but we are going to insist that they
clean all debris and obstacles, or we will for 175 - 200.
thanks for the help though.

wrm
04-15-2007, 12:35 PM
yes, she asked if we can do snow, we will either sub out, or more than likely
purchase the necessary equiptment. also lookinr to get the mulch job next year, about 50 yards worth.
thank you, for the input

paul vroom
04-15-2007, 12:47 PM
I do not know the whole story but it sounds like they should have been charged for a spring cleanup. Is it to late to approach them on a cleanup? There are a couple people that will help you with bids, you already had one guy google earth it for you. Stick with him and if he is willing to continue to help check with him on your next bid, if you think you need help with it. I do not know what mulching goes for in your area but here in Mass I would start at a minimum of 35 hundred. It goes up with longer walks. A good idea is g-earth it again and plan out your trim route. It helps when you have a plan as opposed to showing up and figuring it as you go. Try to find a path to follow, it will save you a lot of time.

wrm
04-15-2007, 12:56 PM
yes we are going to inform them of the need for clean up - them or us
tomorrow, i have it googled, and we both agreed that we cut it the best possible route. we are talking of doing half ( 4hrs worth ) one day, other half
next, which is across street. we both have full time middle management jobs
that we are trying to quit. job knows about our endeavor and has offered
to keep me on part time (with full time pay )6am to 1pm, just trying to work
that fine line of getting enough businees to QUIT!

trackmaster
04-15-2007, 01:14 PM
we both have full time middle management jobs
that we are trying to quit. Now that explains some of it!!! Get legit pay taxes and insurance and then show me your profit margin.:cry: Dont quite the day job pal you dont have it. If you cant take a little constructive critisism without getting all bent out of shape and calling people names, how far do you think you are going to get in this business. Yes I do have alot of experience, been doing this stuff since I was 14. I paid my dues I was a crew member, then a crew leader ,then moved on to a lawn maintenance supervisors job for a very successful N.W. Ohio company. And Now I have went legit and on my own,and am very proud of the strides I have made making a name for myself with my customers. I am 50/50 with commercial and residential and make good money on all!!!thanks and have fun monday!!!!

wrm
04-15-2007, 01:33 PM
constructive criticism is great buddy, i don't think the word idiot
is any worse than RED ALERT LOWBALLER, but to each his own.
can't wait, mondays are great, good pay, parttime hours, able to keep
getting more customers, just hate depending on other people to do their
job. Looking forward to and already enjoying ownership.
thanks for your input, we could all use it on occasion.

DuraCutter
04-15-2007, 08:55 PM
Wow. Are you even in business? I mean the lawn care business not rodeo clowning.

2 guys should gross $7500 a week, EH? no ifs ands or butts. You have a lawn care business that grosses $95 a man hour?

Yes. Here where I work it's possible if you bid right to hit good money. There are lots of lowballers around as well, so don't get me wrong, most lcos still underbid something fierce, I've seen it over and over this spring. I'll ask the manager what the bids were, and most are 1/2 of mine.

I only get maybe 20% of what I bid and I'm keeping the lawnmowing to a minimum compared to parking lot cleanups, dekmaster installs, exterior landscape, stucco repairs and a few other services I offer to the property mgrs. Sorry for the long reply, but I assure you I'm in business...hehe.. just bought 3 parking lot sweepers, and the pain of spending that money(not financed) assures me I'm for real. Anyways, yes, the good money is there if you specialize in finding the real good paying jobs.

Don't forget, I don't do residential beyond the spring clean-up.

NO RESIDENTIAL MOWING for us!!! all condos and industrial. :)

Vikings
04-15-2007, 09:03 PM
Yes. Here where I work it's possible if you bid right to hit good money. There are lots of lowballers around as well, so don't get me wrong, most lcos still underbid something fierce, I've seen it over and over this spring. I'll ask the manager what the bids were, and most are 1/2 of mine.

I only get maybe 20% of what I bid and I'm keeping the lawnmowing to a minimum compared to parking lot cleanups, dekmaster installs, exterior landscape, stucco repairs and a few other services I offer to the property mgrs. Sorry for the long reply, but I assure you I'm in business...hehe.. just bought 3 parking lot sweepers, and the pain of spending that money(not financed) assures me I'm for real. Anyways, yes, the good money is there if you specialize in finding the real good paying jobs.

Don't forget, I don't do residential beyond the spring clean-up.

NO RESIDENTIAL MOWING for us!!! all condos and industrial. :)
In my Defense I was Drunk when I wrote that :P :drinkup: :canadaflag:

DuraCutter
04-16-2007, 10:33 PM
In my Defense I was Drunk when I wrote that :P :drinkup: :canadaflag:

Hey that works for me... :drinkup: :drinkup: :canadaflag:

bahamamills
04-16-2007, 11:10 PM
Good advice Paul.

I tell you Trackmaster it must have been great to grow up and not make any mistakes. I am a 43 year old man working two jobs and yes I have royally screwed myself on some bids. Nowing having a kid in college I know what my father did for me growing up first to cover my butt and then letting me make the mistakes even though it had to hurt him.

I can't tell you how great it is to ask for help and someone like you just basically call him a dumba$$, lowballer etc..

If you call what you are providing constructive you really need to look at your self and your attitude. If you really think you are a good representative of the industry with your "constructive comments" I will let others be the judge of that.

WRM you are in deep now, suck it up and look beyond this job as it sounds like besides this job your partner has made an investment which has to be taken into account.

wrm
04-17-2007, 02:18 PM
thanks bahamamills, We appreciate the advice and we are keeping it and feeling much better about it.
thanks and goodluck this year
CLEANCUT LAWNCARE

d&rlawncare
04-17-2007, 03:31 PM
thanks bahamamills, We appreciate the advice and we are keeping it and feeling much better about it.
thanks and goodluck this year
CLEANCUT LAWNCARE

Did you get a new mower?

wrm
04-17-2007, 05:40 PM
for now, I have 36 wb exmark with velke, partner has 36 rider and
48 wb exmark with velke. this property will be our big one, and we have 5
residential and a few small commercials, but yellow book add comes out next week.hopefully more customers to come, words out at other job, so we are going to start talking to our client contacts that we have good relationships
with about their lawncare needs.
Thanks for your help, I appreciate it.
CLEAN CUT LAWN CARE

fiveoboy01
04-17-2007, 07:28 PM
When you say you think you can do it in 8 hours, is that the TOTAL time including trimming? And is that with 2 guys?

I thought you said another couple hours for trimming... Assuming 10 hours total for 2 guys, 20 man hours, that's 17.25/hr.

Lesson learned I guess, but you will be losing money on this.

I just don't see how someone could possibly bid that low on an 11-building complex... You stated that(supposedly) the other bids were for 375-400. Those bids were also way too low, and fall into the lowballer's realm. I'm not calling you one specifically as it looks like you just made a mistake. I hope you learned from it.

If I had a job that took 16-20 man hours, I'd be at 800-1300/week range depending on the terrain, amount of trimming etc, and no lower.

topsites
04-17-2007, 07:46 PM
Some guy here has a topsiteism talk about when my mind is ill disposed I can't bid a job anymore.
I suppose some think it's funny, but this would be the perfect example of that.

People call and hey yeah I need a estimate on grass cutting, then I get out there and the place is a total disaster.
You want to talk about ill disposed? Yeah I'm ill disposed when someone asks for a grass cut and I get out there and it looks like it hasn't been touched in about 6 months.

Because you know you have a problem, right?
There's nothing you can do, they're basically seeing if you'll shoot yourself in the foot, all they did was ask for a grass cut estimate.
It's a catch 22, either bid on a grass cut and take a big loss, or bid accordingly and you still have a problem (they either laugh at you, or you face a risk of never getting paid IF they say ok) but either way prepare to be taken advantage of.

I still haven't figured out if this is outright customer ignorance, or a clever little plot.
But I'd be willing to bet on the latter.

That's like someone bringing a car in for an 'oil change,' yet nothing's been done to the entire car in the past 20,000 miles, and the oil change's the least of their problems.

Last one who did that to me got a letter explaining their yard was in such terrible condition that no simple grass cut could fix it. That they should get their heads together and come up with a concrete plan on what to do and how to go about it, and to understand it would take either hours upon hours of labor, or several hundred dollars of hired help, but that regardless of how they figured things out, I could not help them.

I RUN from jobs like this, soon as I see the customer wasn't upfront enough with me.

wrm
04-17-2007, 07:48 PM
We did make a mistake, initialy thinking we could do it in 4- 6 hrs total.
Which would of been 27-40 hr. not great but duable, hoping it leads to more from that property owner.Maybe we can do it in 8hrs total, once we are more accustomed to it, and get the place cleaned up, ( for additional price)
I disagree with the belief that we will LOSE money, won't make as much as we could of, but looking at the big picture.This isn't keeping us from other accounts, therefore we are making 9100 this year from this that we wouldn't have otherwise. Yes including taxes, ins, gas, repairs etc. We will improve
on our estimating procedures however, and improve the profit margin.
Thanks for the advice, we need it and use it.
CLEAN CUT LAWNCARE