View Full Version : Crew size & $$/acre

HS Football Rules
07-04-2007, 08:14 AM
B][/B]I'm bidding 6 Apartment Complexes::weightlifter:
1 @ 6 acres
2 @ 9 acres
1 @ 12 ac
1 @ 17 ac
1 @ 24 ac

Drive time is 1 hr from one end to the other..with 3 in bunched up in the middle. Equipment is all commercial:
1- 25/60 ZTR
1- 15/36 W/B
1- 21" push
2- trimmers
2- blowers

I'm considering $135/acre and think 3 guys can turn these in a 40 hr week.

What do you think....

07-04-2007, 08:25 AM
1. How much is actual grass?
2. How many linear feet of trimming and edging is there?
3. Will there be garbage to pick up?
4. How much in the way of toys and outdoor furniture is there?
5. What is there in the way of parking area and islands?

Off hand, those 3 mowers aren't enough IMO.

HS Football Rules
07-04-2007, 08:40 AM
I can't detail out each site....they're typical complexes...some have less trimming some have more...I've walked them all,,,, a couple are wham bam...a couple are all day-ers, the rest are somewhere in the middle. They're being bid as a group, not individually, so I'm looking for opinions on avg $ per acre.

What would you add equipment-wise,,, Rodfather?:usflag:

07-04-2007, 08:43 AM
Another WB and velke in the 60" size probably. If something happens to your Z in the middle of one of your props, are you going to use a 36" machine to finish up? I doubt it, it will take forever.

HS Football Rules
07-04-2007, 08:54 AM
I've got the hookup on a backup 60" until I know we can handle these apts.
Once I'm comfortable I will shop for my own.

Wanna take a stab at $$ per acre ? ..:confused:

07-04-2007, 09:01 AM
The other thing too is that a WB will get in closer than a Z eliminating some trimming. If your Z goes down, you can still finish the job with the big WB. Sure it will take a little longer, but at least you wiill finish.

As for $$$/acre, I never price out a property that way. I do everything in man hours. No two jobs are the same so how can you estimate by acreage? Only time I use square footage/acreage for estimating is for fert or aerating/seeding service.

I would walk each property twice (if it's large) on a different day (bring someone else too as well to get their opinion), estimate how long you think it will take and just multiply that by your hourly rate.

07-04-2007, 09:02 AM

Wanna take a stab at $$ per acre ? ..:confused:

Try an estimate your mower cutting these. How long will it take? A productivity chart may be helpful.. http://www.scag.com/productivity.html

In my area, 135.00 per acre is way too high. I figure the time it will take, and then use that hourly number and multiply it by the hourly rate I charge. it is currently $39.50.

07-04-2007, 09:09 AM
How many cuts per year/length, type of contract are you going to have.?
Are these props for a non profit Housing Authority?
Can't give guess until I know more - are the props irrigated, low rent, medium or high end.
My company maintains 6 apartment complexes, all for the Texas Housing Authority, all are right at 8.5 acres, and I have had this contract for three years now. There is absolutely no way you would be able to get through these properties in one week with the limited amount of equipment you listed.
Furthermore, hammering the equipment you do have all day cutting turf, jumping innumerable curbs, yanking on the steering tillers, is going to increase maintenance requirements. Add in a rain delay or two to your properties and essentially, realistically, you will never catch up = limited renewal because you can't finish. And don't even expect 3 guys to produce this quantity of work, at an acceptable level, all week for at least thirty six weeks out of a year.
So to guess at an acceptable bid per acre? Anything more than say $55.00 or so and you have just bid yourself out of a contract. Although on one property we are receiving slightly more than what would equal $70.00 per acre due to conditions but for $135 per acre what are you doing, cutting with 21" wb's?

HS Football Rules
07-04-2007, 09:18 AM
Mow rate alone won't work...these are full service contracts...fert,rye,color changes,irrigation,etc...

happy 4th of July !:usflag:

HS Football Rules
07-04-2007, 09:36 AM
I know what the mgmnt company spends annually for grounds contracts for these 6 sites....It's just shy of $200K ! Based on that alone....I'm coming in at nearly 40% less.

As to crew make up...for the biggest site (24 total acres) currently a four man crew mows and blows in 6 hours and trims 1/3 of the shrubs to fill out the day. The 9 acre sites get 3 guys all day and do shrubs every other week.

07-04-2007, 10:44 AM
@ $135 per acre.....$200k works out to around 21 cuts per year on all properties.

40% less than that and your hardly ever there?

The Ripper
07-04-2007, 10:56 AM
If you know exactly what the management comapny pays out right now then go in and under cutt the current contract by a few thousand dollars and it should be yours.

07-04-2007, 12:10 PM
If you're coming in at 40% less you have no business bidding these properties.

You need to know actual sq. ft and a cost per hour then find a mulitplier for each service

Your going to have to include a cost per acre to mow, cost per acre for spray service, cost per 1000 sq ft for bed maintenance program, cost per flat for seasonal color,cost per man hour for leaf removal, price per yard of mulch and per man hour for hedge trimming and pruning.

Once you find a the multiplier you need to include the number of visits for each service and put it in a excel spreadsheet then come up with a cost per month for each complex.

Example of how I bid large complexes

251,500 sq ft X 3.66 per K=$920.49 per visit for mowing, weedeating, edging and clean-up
$920.49 X 22 visits per year=$20250.78 per year/12=$1687.57 per month

Spray services
251,500 sq ft X $4.50 per K=1131.75 per app x 7 apps=$7922.25/12 =$660 per month

Bed Maintenance-includes pre emerge fertilizer and insecticide (same formula as above but 3 apps per year)

Leaf removal (per man hour X visits per year /12=cost per month)

Mulch (cost per yard times amount X number or times per year/12 for cost per month)

Seasonal color (cost per flat x number of planting per year/12)

Hedge and tree pruning (cost per man hour x estimated hours x visits per year /12)

Non selective weed control (parking lot) cost of app X # of visits/12 for cost per month.

Add all of these services up and i guarantee your not 40% low. This is what it takes to maintain a large complex properly and make sure your accurate on your figures or you can lose bigtime.

If you break these numbers down in an excel spreadsheet per property and go in like you know what your doing you've got a better chance of knowing what your getting into on the front end and the property manager will be more likely to give you a chance if the $$$$ is right.

You're also going to need to provide a copy of general liability, workers comp, and some require proof of commercial auto.

I always provide this in a binder on the front end with the spreadsheet and contract. It's not a bad idea to include your License for applying chemicals as well.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

07-04-2007, 12:34 PM
I don't get it. 68 acres, full service contracts...

Apparently you're equipped to handle this(well definitely not with the mowers you have).

If you've got the knowledge and know-how to do it why are you even asking for help?

Not to mention it looks like you're going to lose your butt coming in at a full 40% less than the previous company.

Good luck, hope it works for you but I think you're in over your head...

HS Football Rules
07-04-2007, 01:08 PM
#1 I never asked on how to bid or carry on business.
#2 I never talked any trash about anyone that was kind enough to reply.
#3 I never told anyone they can't do this or that.
#4 I never said I was bidding as an outside contractor.

What I did ask was if $135/acre (x78.17ac = $131,325.60/YR) was appropriate for a 3 man crew.

I fully realize that a fourth man is needed for mowing season only, and the monthly charge to each property will be structured accordingly. Since I'm a supervisor for the management company, if I need to add another man or machine I'll do so.

I just love grounds maintenance work and wanted to talk shop, and I appreciate the good spirited replies.

Happy 4th of July !

07-04-2007, 02:16 PM
Opinions not criticism!

What I did ask was if $135/acre (x78.17ac = $131,325.60/YR) was appropriate for a 3 man crew.

Hummm... Yes!, well, maybe not, perhaps, maybe? Wow, now I'm not sure.:dizzy:

You seem to have all the answers so... why you ask?

07-04-2007, 02:43 PM
To answer you question.........NO

Your calculating your rate based on size of the land not on actual sq ft of turf and bed space. I realize your probably only looking at 30 acres of turf to maintain, but your only quoting a price for mowing services. You have not even thought about costs above cutting the grass.

My advice to you is to get a copy of the current contract and see what it includes beyond mowing grass and maybe you'll get a dose of reality.

A general rule of thumb I use is......each man per crew is responsible for a minimum of $5,000 per month. A 4 man crew better be doing 20k a month worth of business in full service maintenance contracts to make any real money.

HS Football Rules
07-04-2007, 03:16 PM
Point taken....and I definitely like your number better. The six current contracts range from $1350 to $4800 per month, and I've read them cover to cover. The reason I'm trying to arrive at an appropriate per acre charge is that the complexes earn revenue based on number of units which correlates with property size. Having said that my 17 acre site is paying $2k more than my 24 acre site, and they are basically identical, just different LCOs. What I'm proposing to our owners is re-structuring their spend to coincide with revenue generation.
So, while you are absolutely correct in what you are saying, I'm a supervisor with the management company, setting up an in-house crew, so monster profits aren't the main focus in this case.

So have we beat this subject to death yet?:cool2:

Thanks again

07-04-2007, 03:44 PM
Are you thinking about doing this as well as other accounts that you already have? Or just doing this all by itself?

07-04-2007, 04:00 PM
so you currently have different crews doing these, and you want to have one crew do them all, and all you have to do is drive around and manage the workers?????

when you bring it inhouse, don't forget to include workers comp, insurance, payroll, trucks, mowers, maintenance, and training.

it turns out capitalism really works. i bet in 2 years you get fired.

07-04-2007, 04:14 PM
What I did ask was if $135/acre (x78.17ac = $131,325.60/YR) was appropriate for a 3 man crew.

Am I stupid or does this mean you're only going to mow 12 times/year?

$135 X 78.17acres =
$10,552.95 for mowing all complexes

131,325.6 /10,552.95 = 12 (.44) mowings per year?

07-04-2007, 04:18 PM
I don't get it either, he also states the 135/acre is for full service.

Well one way to look at it, if everything goes to hell, the property managers will know who to blame...

07-04-2007, 05:23 PM
I don't think you can come up with an accurate pricing structure going off of site size. There are several variables that you are leaving out. The most important is sq ft. Just because the 24 acre site is larger on paper doesn't mean it is more sq ft or more man hours than the 17 acre site. Until you can accurately gauge the costs your going to have a hard time presenting good numbers to the owners. Although I don't know all of the details, it seems your setting yourself up for failure.

I've seen companies try to do things like this before and it just doesn't work. If these are low income housing units you may have a legitimate shot, but if they're high end apartments where nicely manicured grounds are a priority your getting in over your head.

I'm also assuming your subing out the chemical apps and having the mulch blown. I don't know about the laws in Texas, but you can't legally spray round-up in Tennessee without an applicator's license. That being said, I think you'll have a tough road ahead of you.

07-04-2007, 09:37 PM
You have no idea what you are doing! Leave this to the experienced professional.

07-04-2007, 10:05 PM
Am I stupid or does this mean you're only going to mow 12 times/year?

$135 X 78.17acres =
$10,552.95 for mowing all complexes

131,325.6 /10,552.95 = 12 (.44) mowings per year?

Yes, this had me perplexed as well.

Seems like that Texas style fuzzy math to me.

I'm guessing Texas having 40 cuts/year?

07-05-2007, 12:07 AM
... 135.00 per acre is way too high. I figure the time it will take, and then use that hourly number and multiply it by the hourly rate I charge, it is currently $39.50.

I agree with this ... an hourly rate of approximately $ 70-75 per hour for commercial properties, in my area !!