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irocz106
06-08-2007, 06:16 AM
I just started my business a montha ago, and have ust recently been asked to amaintain a 12 acre waterfront property, there is about 5 of those take away bins (the large commercial drop off ones) to be taken off the property along with about ten acres of luch grass to be mowed. I have a quote in mind, but am interested to ee what others would charge for a peice this size. Wondering what one would charge for land this size, cost per acre exctera. I am going to buy a new ZTR if i ge the job. Any comments or advice would be great. I am not a lowballer, i just want this job. I work for the government here, so this is a second income. I have no reason to lowballl and choose the jobs i want, but this is one i am very interested in, just because of the size, and the feel good nature after completing the job every week. What would you do, as far as a pay scale, times per week? Charge per hour?

Runner
06-08-2007, 11:39 AM
What are you cutting with now?
It sounds like it may be way out f your league (don't take this wrong - I don't mean it in a bad way). But you do NOT - and I repeat NEVER consider purchasing equipment based on a contract to suit that contract. That is backwards of how it should be done. As tempting as it may seem, you can find that it costs alot more to do a place like that than most people realize.

irocz106
06-08-2007, 12:37 PM
I understand where you are coming from on that note, but i can offset a bad decision on purchasing equipment from my day job, and i need to upgrade to a larger mower which weill make some of the larger properties i do much easier. This is a side job, but i really enjoy maintianing large properties and the feel good factor after doing this would be great. I don't think there really is an "out of anyones league", i just think that people need to take on larger jobs to get more experience. I just am having a tough time telling him that it will be 400 a week to maintain. I don't know if this is too much. Who knows. I'll put in the quote and see what happens.

65hoss
06-09-2007, 12:20 AM
What are you cutting with now?
It sounds like it may be way out f your league (don't take this wrong - I don't mean it in a bad way). But you do NOT - and I repeat NEVER consider purchasing equipment based on a contract to suit that contract. That is backwards of how it should be done. As tempting as it may seem, you can find that it costs alot more to do a place like that than most people realize.

Re-read this post. This is very good advice!! No matter if you have a "job" or not, you will get your lunch ate when you are not prepared. Preparation comes from controlled growth over time.

Hello Runner...been a long time:drinkup:

irocz106
06-09-2007, 05:14 PM
Well, i was thinking of getting a new ztr instead of a new truck. I don't see any harm in it, it would just satisfy my thoughts if i got this job, and justify it more or less. I don't see the harm in upgrading equipment. Busnesses need to grow. I have a few accounts that would benefitfrom this, and i think it would pay off quickly.

GreenT
06-09-2007, 08:45 PM
irocz106,

1. You shouldn't ask for advise if you are not willing to at least consider it. I seems to me that you are looking for an excuse to justify you wanting to buy a ztr. You have already made up your mind so, go ahead.

2. If your bid is $400.00 to do 12 acres, in my opinion is too low. Specially if there is any amount of trimming/edging involved.

Then again, you'll probably won't listen to this. ;)

irocz106
06-09-2007, 09:47 PM
Haha. I see where you are coming from. I wanted some opinions, and i got them, they werent really what i was expeting, but opinions nonetheless.

topsites
06-09-2007, 10:33 PM
Put in the quote, if approved buy the Z, then see what happens.

And remember, best you can do if things don't work out is look back and L O L real good.
Then, come back here and share your wisdom with the younglings contemplating making your very move, o' Yedi Master, every single day there's at least one of us learning something, oh yeah, lol.

Oh man I needed that, I feel better now.
Which is to say, I just came back from school myself.

MOturkey
06-09-2007, 11:21 PM
If you can afford a ZTR, buy one. I understand what the other guys are saying, and I know many of them have forgotten more about this business than I'll ever know, but, in my opinion, you must, in any business, be a little ahead of the game. I mean, let's say you are mowing with a 21 inch, and someone calls and says they need 4 acres of knee high grass mowed today, and there is a possibility of getting the job of mowing the property weekly. What are you going to do? Run out and rent a ZTR for the day?

I do agree that you should be careful of purchasing expensive equipment for a single job. In other words, if your service area was postage-stamp sized yards, and you bought a 72 inch ZTR in anticipation of this one job, that might not be too smart, because if the deal falls through, what are you going to do with a 72 inch ZTR? If, however, you can use your ZTR on other properties you already service, and there is the potential of gaining more where it would be appropriate, then I see no harm in it.

I agree that the price sounds a bit low. I've never personally serviced that large a single property, but I know how long it takes me to mow the average acre, and unless the place is extremely smooth and level mowing, you are probably talking a minimum seat time of 5 hours, perhaps more, then maybe 3 hours trimming and edging, then you talked about the dumpsters, and the time required for that, plus probably a dump fee.

Someone much smarter than I, and I can't remember who it was, posted just yesterday that it was better to bid too high and not get the job, as to bid too low and be stuck with the contract for a year. I'm learning that myself, as I have a couple of accounts I underbid when I started my business. I don't lose money, but don't make what I feel I need, or want, to. Now it is tough raising them up to where they should be.

Also, remember that it probably will cost you $12 to 15 per hour to run the average ZTR. Some may question that, but with $3 gas here (probably higher where you are), that is in the ballpark, when you factor in depreciation, which could easily run $4 to $8 per hour, plus repairs, blades, routine service, etc.

Good luck with your business.

65hoss
06-10-2007, 12:11 AM
Never never never ever ever ever buy a piece of equipment for only 1 property!!!!

I don't care if you do have a contract. Contracts are worth as much as toliet paper if they decide to cancel you after 1 or 2 cuts.

Getting larger properties and buying equipment before you need it not the same thing as buying equipment for 1 property.

irocz106
06-10-2007, 12:25 AM
Never never never ever ever ever buy a piece of equipment for only 1 property!!!!

I don't care if you do have a contract. Contracts are worth as much as toliet paper if they decide to cancel you after 1 or 2 cuts.

Getting larger properties and buying equipment before you need it not the same thing as buying equipment for 1 property.

Did you read the post. It will help exponentially with everything. I have 5 contracts, and 3 of them would be nice to do with a new ZTR.

65hoss
06-10-2007, 12:47 AM
I have a few accounts that would benefit from this, and i think it would pay off quickly.
You have a few accounts that could benefit...ok!

but i can offset a bad decision on purchasing equipment from my day job, and i need to upgrade to a larger mower which weill make some of the larger properties i do much easier. This is a side job, but i really enjoy maintianing large properties and the feel good factor after doing this would be great.
Offset a bad decision because of a day job??? So its gonna make life easier on a few other and you can do this one. There again, if you lose the big one, you jumped in too soon. And don't think it can't happen.


I just started my business a montha ago, and have ust recently been asked to amaintain a 12 acre waterfront property, I am going to buy a new ZTR if i ge the job.

Everyone comes on lawnsite when they are new and thinks that a Z is the only way to start. As soon as possible and as early as possible they try to justify spending $8k. One job to justify buying the mower and can use on some others is not a good place to put yourself.

Take a good look...started 1 month ago, have a few properties, asked about a larger job, wanting to buy a $8-10k mower, have another job so I can offset a bad decision...see anything a little strange here?

Hey, I've made some bad business decisions over the years, thus why I am trying to help you.

irocz106
06-10-2007, 01:02 AM
You have a few accounts that could benefit...ok!


Offset a bad decision because of a day job??? So its gonna make life easier on a few other and you can do this one. There again, if you lose the big one, you jumped in too soon. And don't think it can't happen.




Everyone comes on lawnsite when they are new and thinks that a Z is the only way to start. As soon as possible and as early as possible they try to justify spending $8k. One job to justify buying the mower and can use on some others is not a good place to put yourself.

Take a good look...started 1 month ago, have a few properties, asked about a larger job, wanting to buy a $8-10k mower, have another job so I can offset a bad decision...see anything a little strange here?

Hey, I've made some bad business decisions over the years, thus why I am trying to help you.


So would you recommend turning it away? I am going to need to buy a larger mower soon. What do you think? I just don't really want to lose this one.

clcare2
06-10-2007, 01:34 AM
IF you already work full-time and mow 5 other properties. Do you really have a whole extra day to mow a 12 acre prop.

I have a 5-6 acre prop. that I mow weekly for $300. This is a little high but htey get what they pay for. I wouldn't touch that for less then $500.

If you really just have to buy a Z. We use Wright Standers, they are a little more versatile when going to a smaller property and usually you can save on price when compared to other makes.

65hoss
06-10-2007, 01:38 AM
So would you recommend turning it away? I am going to need to buy a larger mower soon. What do you think? I just don't really want to lose this one.

What mowers to you have now? What deck size?

irocz106
06-10-2007, 04:59 AM
2 21's
2 Echo Trimmers
1 Echo Blower
1 Briggs Aererator
The usual Hand tools.

I'm just tired of doing 3 of the other 5 lawns. They're not even contracts. I hate paper garbage. Maybe it will screw me and ill have to one day. It's just as though if i get this, it makes sense as the final peice to get things going.

As per my day job. I work shift work on a 4 days on 4 days off 2 nights on, 4 days off, 2 nights on 4 days off schedule. Which gives me a lot of free time.

Midwest Lawn Services
06-10-2007, 05:22 AM
irocz106,

1. You shouldn't ask for advise if you are not willing to at least consider it. I seems to me that you are looking for an excuse to justify you wanting to buy a ztr. You have already made up your mind so, go ahead.

2. If your bid is $400.00 to do 12 acres, in my opinion is too low. Specially if there is any amount of trimming/edging involved.

Then again, you'll probably won't listen to this. ;)

I agree completely. We recently bid and won a 5.31 acre commerical prop and our bid was 709.99 per week. 1,731 linear feet of one sided fence to trim, and 99 tree/bushes to trim around. That is good money for the 4 hours it will take 2 guys to complete, and we obviously won the bid because we were one, the cheapest, or two, had the most to offer in our contract.

zero
06-10-2007, 05:58 AM
$400 is in the ballpark for the mowing and hopper removal. Additional money should be added for trimming, edging etc...

65hoss
06-12-2007, 12:24 AM
2 21's
2 Echo Trimmers
1 Echo Blower
1 Briggs Aererator
The usual Hand tools.

I'm just tired of doing 3 of the other 5 lawns. They're not even contracts. I hate paper garbage. Maybe it will screw me and ill have to one day. It's just as though if i get this, it makes sense as the final peice to get things going.

As per my day job. I work shift work on a 4 days on 4 days off 2 nights on, 4 days off, 2 nights on 4 days off schedule. Which gives me a lot of free time.

Based on what you have...this property is too much for you to handle at this time. You don't have the additional work to justify the Z yet and you are stepping way up going to acreage like that. We maintain over 90 acres weekly with around 45 properties and I can tell you...12 acres is not a small task for a startup business. We are set up to handle large properties very profitably, but several years ago those large properties were not as profitable as the smaller ones. If you want larger properties like these, you need to work into them, not jump in head first.

This is my opinion based on what I see written here based on experience in the green industry and based on my financial experience. I have a degree in accounting, so I break things down in bottle line numbers.

fiveoboy01
06-12-2007, 12:35 AM
I'd agree that you should be careful purchasing one mower for one account.

What if you lose the account? You've got an 8-10K mower sitting there making no money.

When I started, I bought a 48" walk behind. Did I have any accounts? No. But I knew I could use that mower on virtually every property I would get. I still use it on my largest property which is just over 2 acres. Sure it takes me a little longer, but I just can't justify a Z right NOW. I have been looking at them but think I'll wait untile next season. Currently I have that 2-acre'ish property and 4 one-acre properties. My other 20 or so accounts are around 1/4 acre.

Simply not enough acreage to justify a Z. IMO, you just don't use a Z on 1/4 acre lots.

I do agree about having the equipment to do the job properly though. That is why I bought a mower with zero accounts last year. Sort of hard to go mow when you have nothing to mow with. I was able to pay that mower off by the beginning of this season, so I purchased a smaller 36" WB for several gated properties. Those are the only mowers I have and they get the job done. Could I be more productive on some of the properties with a 60" Z? Sure. But I just don't think I can offset the cost of one this year.

I guess I'm just saying don't jump into it with everything all at once. You have some small equipment, maybe consider a walk-behind at this point and spend some of that leftover money on advertising and try to get yourself some properties in the 1-3 acre range.

If I had an offer at a 12-acre property right now, I think I would have to turn it down. You may want to consider doing that as well, just an option.