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View Full Version : 8.5 acres of athletic fields-mow, no trim-how much?


grassgirl4
03-30-2008, 06:26 PM
How much would you charge to mow and blow--not trim--8.5 acres of athletic fields (softball, baseball, soccer, and football)? Ground is flat and wide open. I have figures worked up but want to see where they fall with yours!!

Also, this is all one location--no travel time, vehicle fuel expense, vehicle wear-and-tear expense, or load/unload time.

Thanks in advance!!

mowerbrad
03-30-2008, 06:32 PM
I would go with $50 for the first acre and then $20 for each additional acre. This would come to a total of $200. So I think a good estimate would be somewhere in the $200 range.

nosparkplugs
03-30-2008, 06:33 PM
what is the quality of cut required, weekly/biweekly?. i use Walkers on these types of accounts and get nothing less than $450 per cut

RonB
03-30-2008, 06:38 PM
Yep, I'd say about $200-225, $25 acre for something like that. Should take about two hrs most. Do the cut when nobody is around - you can blow with the Z. Set the deck low and go backwards - works good for me.

meets1
03-30-2008, 06:44 PM
My area - $175 - $200 easy.

unit40
03-30-2008, 06:58 PM
I've got an 8 acre soccer field that takes several hours with a 72" mower. The Excel with the range wings will take at least an hour and a half. Thats a 13 foot width. All of our baseball and softball fields demand a high quality of cut, several times a week, at a short height. Nobody wants the clippings blasted onto the clay or clumped up, be prepared to pick up the trash before you mow. What if you gat a lot of rain or the fields are fertilized like crazy.

SoloSulkySurfer
03-30-2008, 07:09 PM
I would'nt cut it for any less than $40-$50 an acre. Then again I might not get the job.

nosparkplugs
03-30-2008, 07:13 PM
Walker Mowers

grassgirl4
03-30-2008, 08:16 PM
Very interesting--and wide array--of perspectives!! Thanks!!

A little more info:

1. They do want a high quality of cut (which, to me, means no 'blazing' through it in as short a time as possible...it needs to look good--including striping to a certain degree).

2. I recommended cutting twice per week to maintain optimal playing conditions and eliminate clumping and clippings in general.

Here's what I came up with:

$425.00 ($50 X 8.5 acres)
- 42.50 (same site discount...no travel time)
- 57.50 (multiple acre discount)
+ 10.00 (fuel surcharge)
---------
335.00/cut...which, if done twice a week, would be $670. For the season (24 cuts), it would be $16,080.

For a high-quality job (i.e. not going for optimal speed), what do you think of my methodology?? Am I pricing myself out of the job?

Note: These figures put me at just under $40/acre...remember no trim...

nosparkplugs
03-30-2008, 08:24 PM
How many others bidding, you need to be able to offer something that other LCO's cannot at your price? Our selling point is the Walker

mowerbrad
03-30-2008, 08:25 PM
Well since you have to go a little slower while mowing I would change my original estimate of $200 to $300. I figure that you will be spending a little over 3 hours mowing the fields vs. about 2hrs if you were able to mow at faster speeds. So a 50% increase in my estimate would be justified.

unit40
03-30-2008, 08:34 PM
Nobody will care what machine you use to mow the field. They probably don't have a clue. It is the finish job. Obviously, time is a factor, so you want a machine that will do the job in a reasonable amount of time. A 48" mower is really a joke out there, so your 60 machine is somewhat better. What you may be in for is scheduling problems. If you aren't collecting clippings, you will need to mow when the conditions are right. No dew or wet grass.

grassgirl4
03-30-2008, 08:45 PM
Dew and wet grass conflicts should be minimal, as I don't start until around 9:30 (I work another job part-time where I don't get to bed until 3:30, so I'm not up until 8:30...out the door until 9:15).

Rain will botch things up, though...

Matts lawn care
03-30-2008, 08:52 PM
i like your pricing. i would put it in at around 40 per acre.

SoloSulkySurfer
03-30-2008, 10:00 PM
Seems like fair pricing to me.

kjslawn
03-30-2008, 10:04 PM
300 per cut

bigclawn
03-30-2008, 10:51 PM
If it's easy and wide open don't price yourself out! Any big Z 60 or 72" will easiliy easily do 3 acres an hour just putzing along at a "quality cut" speed! 75 to 85 an hour and you"re doing fine if it's truly a straight mow! If you are real fair with the people you will be there a while! If you are pushing the limit and really trying to squeeze top dollar, they will continually market it for a lower price.

grassgirl4
03-30-2008, 11:57 PM
Here is what I have decided to do.

My normal $50/acre includes basic trimming, basic obstacles to go around, and basic terrain conditions. Since these fields involve no trimming and are flat, I am discounting them $10/acre ($5 for no trim and $5 for no terrain challenges).

I am not discounting for obstacles because I feel that the goal posts, track and field track, and surrounding fence on the football field; the infields, warning tracks, and surrounding fence on the baseball and softball fields; and the goals and partially-surrounding fence on the soccer field constitute obstacles to either go around, take care when mowing alongside, or avoid spraying grass on.

Using that methodology, my per acre rate is now $40, which gives me $340 for 8.5 acres. Since I am at the same site for the entire job (no travel time, fuel usage, or wear-and-tear on my truck), I will give a man-hour discount (which for me is $40). My price is now $300. Unfortunately, with gas prices the way they are and uncertainty of future gas prices this summer, I will add on $10 (assuming $2/gallon increase and 5 gallons of gas used for this job).

Final price: $310/cut.

LwnmwrMan22
03-31-2008, 12:07 AM
If there's truly no trimming, which would either mean everything has round up, or there's other people doing the trimming, this account will get bid out at about $200, maybe even a little less.

You'll get a company such as myself or Meets1 with an 11'+ mower and will knock that out in under an hour.

We do a senior high for a school district, 24 mowings, with 3 football fields, 2 soccer fields, 2 baseball fields, 2 softball fields and general grounds for the season and get $18,000. That includes mowing whatever fields are in use during the school season (baseball / softball in the spring, football / soccer in the fall) 3 times per week.

Without the trimming it takes 2 guys 8 hours, with a 15' mower and a 72" Kubota ZD331.

The other 4 schools we can knock out in 8 hours total as well with just two guys.

meets1
03-31-2008, 12:34 AM
So true - who cares what your using for a mower - walker or a scag etc. Even on a 60 inch deck you should be able to cruz and still be able to look good. If you want to dink around go for it but if others are bidding - I can almost guranatee that the price will be in the $175 - $225 range. Even is someone comes in with a bigger machine, 72 or a wam or pull behind - prices drop. Let us know what happens.

grassgirl4
03-31-2008, 01:50 AM
I'm not sure if anyone else is bidding or not. My contact (who is also a friend and attends the same church as me) mentioned that the president of the school board had said something about knowing someone who mows; however, that person lives 30-35 minutes away, whereas I live right down the road. Don't know if that someone is retired and just mowing for a little extra income or what...and don't know if he is even in on the bid process...

Don't know if this will be to my advantage or not, but the school is my alma-matre (sp?), and many people who are involved in the school--teachers and otherwise--know my reputation/character, as well as that of my entire family.

The board already knows what the outcome is when the grounds are neglected (they look baaaadd!!), so I think they are looking to make a significant change.

unit40
03-31-2008, 06:24 AM
It won't matter if you live closer or not. Since you may have connections is a good thing. Maybe one angle you should take is the fact that since it is a school property, poorly maintained, you could offer "IPM" scouting services. Schools in my state required to have an IPM plan in place. If you are on the property, actually covering the whole place, then you are the eyes that can monitor growing conditions, and pests and diseases. How do the grounds look elsewhere. That might be a place to expand. Do you offer fertilization? And trimming a chain-link fence can be time consuming. Remember, usually athletic fields generate a lot of litter that can't be ground-up and spit out in a million pieces. Time is money.

bigclawn
03-31-2008, 08:29 AM
ball fields are usuyally non profit which equates to economically challenged---the 175 to 225 looks good! Our Scag 72 will do a football field in about 14 minutes--if you have the right equipment you will be able to price it competitivly yet reasonably profitable for your time.

MarcSmith
03-31-2008, 09:44 AM
fields.... can still be a PITA.... Goals, and other equipment like benches and such are not easily moved by one person. Keep in mind you will have ace bandages, guaze, water cups and other odd-n-ends to pick up. Depending on the type of grass, even cutting twice a week, you may still have to pickup grass... do not short change yourself.

there is no reason to have a fuel surcharge. bid your price with the assumption that gas will reach 3.50 a gallon.

make a note in the contract that all goals and other movable obstructions are to be removed by the school prior to your arrival. If you have to move and replace goals and such you current labor rates will apply.

Also make mention in the contract that while you are cutting a particular field, it becomes un-usable while you are cutting. IE no students/coaches, ect are to be on the field while you are cutting.

I would also work with them on a schedule, IE Have set times when you are supposed to have the fields all to yourself. Some coaches like to have impromptu sessions with no regards for the mowing/irrigation schedule. The only way your schedule would be modified is if there is inclement weather to keep you off the field. IE lots of rain, lightning, ect.

Ask for extra's IE aeration, field striping ect.... There is good money in field maint.

Self_Paid1
03-31-2008, 10:59 AM
No Spark Plugs out of Memphis Do you use your Walker more than any other mower here in Memphis I was looking at a couple of Mowers like the Toro, Exmark, Scag, or the Walker

grassgirl4
03-31-2008, 02:12 PM
fields.... can still be a PITA.... Goals, and other equipment like benches and such are not easily moved by one person. Keep in mind you will have ace bandages, guaze, water cups and other odd-n-ends to pick up. Depending on the type of grass, even cutting twice a week, you may still have to pickup grass... do not short change yourself.

there is no reason to have a fuel surcharge. bid your price with the assumption that gas will reach 3.50 a gallon.

make a note in the contract that all goals and other movable obstructions are to be removed by the school prior to your arrival. If you have to move and replace goals and such you current labor rates will apply.

Also make mention in the contract that while you are cutting a particular field, it becomes un-usable while you are cutting. IE no students/coaches, ect are to be on the field while you are cutting.

I would also work with them on a schedule, IE Have set times when you are supposed to have the fields all to yourself. Some coaches like to have impromptu sessions with no regards for the mowing/irrigation schedule. The only way your schedule would be modified is if there is inclement weather to keep you off the field. IE lots of rain, lightning, ect.

Ask for extra's IE aeration, field striping ect.... There is good money in field maint.

MarcSmith,

Thanks so much for your input!! Really good info!! I thought about aeration, dethatching, etc...you're right, that would be good money. ...And I've got the JRCO's that attach to my ztr (and a collection system), so I could make good time. Right now, I'll be happy just getting hired!! Up to this point, they have had their maintenance man doing triple duty: building maintenance, janitorial, and grounds...and this year he is coaching baseball, too!! He's spread waaayyyy too thin... I just hope the board sees more than the dollar figure put before them (the bid isn't just for the fields but for pruning and mulching as well...at both their campuses)!!

As for fuel surcharge, I didn't make it a separate line item...I rolled it into the cost per cut ($310) like you indicated. And believe it or not, gas has already hit $3.49 here/diesel over $4.00--it's out of control...really.

Thanks again!!

MarcSmith
03-31-2008, 02:41 PM
nothing against the jrco..but if you do get the fields, and you can sell them on some extra's rent a tractor and 3pt mount aerator....its a much better job... the jrco just doesn't have the weight and tine depth for an athletic field, or resi's for that mater....IMO

What type of grass does the field have?

lawnboyoung
03-31-2008, 03:12 PM
i would charge $250

landscaper22
03-31-2008, 04:01 PM
I feel like your price if fair. The only thing I see is, like already mentioned, a lot of times schools do not have much of a budget for things like this. I know in my area there are public school grounds that hardly ever get cut. I talked to the principal at one school that was interested in a bid, and she told me how much money was in the budget for grounds keeping. It was only about half of what I would have charged. At one point the janitor was bringing his own mower to cut the property.
I would stay in the $300 range, like you have it. But $600 per week for cutting two times per week will probably be over the budget. But I would rather not get the job than to be mad with myself for biding too low.

ALC-GregH
03-31-2008, 05:15 PM
Maybe just charge them 1 price for both cuts each week. I'd charge $500 and be done.

Charles
03-31-2008, 05:38 PM
I would include and hour or more for trash pickup. Find out how picky they are about trash. Bubble gum rappers are a pia:laugh:

twj721
03-31-2008, 08:22 PM
just bid it on a per man hr base that is the way that we do our school district here they are happy and I am too can park my truck and not have to move for at least 6 hrs so I am saving on gas and they do not care how often it gets cut . we have 3 of the 5 school campus locations