PDA

View Full Version : No time to search, Need help fast


gunputt
12-07-2001, 08:02 PM
I have a great opportunity to bid a commercial property. I need to bid it as soon as possible. At this point I am not able to look at the property and know how long it will take to mow. I can figure out the square footage, but need some ideas on square foot pricing.
I am also looking for suggestions on what all is involved in the bid process such as forms, contract or no contract, legalities etc.
Thanks
John

LoneStarLawn
12-07-2001, 08:16 PM
I would never bid on a property without looking at it.

Searches get results quicker. Instead of waiting you could be reading.

Fantasy Lawns
12-07-2001, 08:22 PM
Kinda Like a Blind Date ..... ;->

AielLandscaping
12-07-2001, 09:04 PM
i never need to look at a property to make a bid, i have a formula that i use based on square footage and other measurements, i also use plenty of forms to keep everything on the up and up.. if you want my formulas or if you want to check out my paper work, e-mail me... i plan on copyrighting these so i don't want to make them completely public just yet, but if you want some ideas i'll help you out

CSRA Landscaping
12-07-2001, 09:48 PM
Let me guess, they called and said. "How much do you charge ... "

MATTHEW
12-07-2001, 09:58 PM
Hopefully ,you have a property you do now that you can compare it to. But if you do mostly small to mid-sized residentials with 1 walkbehind and this is a 2 acre property with 125 trees, you may be getting in over your head. You simply MUST go out there and look at it. Don't go too low. The other guys may be charging a small fortune and they only want to trim the budget a bit.

LoneStarLawn
12-07-2001, 10:18 PM
Originally posted by AielLandscaping
i never need to look at a property to make a bid, i have a formula that i use based on square footage and other measurements, i also use plenty of forms to keep everything on the up and up.. if you want my formulas or if you want to check out my paper work, e-mail me... i plan on copyrighting these so i don't want to make them completely public just yet, but if you want some ideas i'll help you out


I see a flaw. So if someone called told you square footage you could give them a price?



40 degree sloped areas would be alot more than flat land...(Just one factor)
No formula can be accurate without a degree of difficulty and that factor must be obtained from going to the property.

John DiMartino
12-07-2001, 10:25 PM
If you cant look at it,and you arent sure about how to write the contracts or other important things,I think you should pass on it.You cant loose any money that way.It sounds as if your not ready for this yet.I would never,ever bid a property without actually going to the site,and talking with the manager to discuss details,and problem areas.If you insist on bidding it anyway,ID bid it with a very big cushion,in case everything is worst case senario,steep,rough ground,lots of garbage,tons of trimming,etc..

Kent Lawns
12-07-2001, 10:34 PM
Originally posted by LoneStarLawn


that factorer must be obtained from going to the property.

You can get all the information you need off an aerial photo and topgraphy map.


Historical perspective:
I used to be that you needed to see a someone in person in order to communicate with them.
Then mail
Then telegraph
Then phone
Then fax
Then cell phone
Then e-mail, etc. etc.
Meeting is person is still the best.


I can see the same thing happening with lawn quotes.

Currier
12-07-2001, 10:42 PM
Guys, I think he can look at the property. He is just not at the point yet where he can "look"at the job and know how long it will take him to do it.

My suggestion. Break it down into small units and figure out about how long each little section will take. Bid the job as you would mow it, one section at a time and then just add together to get the total. Walk the perimeters to get an idea of eging and trimming. Make note of trim obstacles. Visit the site once and think how easy $$ it will be, then leave and THINK for awhile. Realize you probably have been too optimistic, and go back for a second, realistic view of the job.

1grnlwn
12-07-2001, 10:43 PM
Don't be pressured in to something you will regret. You need to know the foot/min of your mowers. Here are mine 42" dixon Z 500ft/min Lesco walk behind 48" 500ft/min 62" Ferris 1000-1500 ft/min. Trim / edge 75 ft /min trees signs 20 sec- 30 sec (depends on dist between) blow 75 ft min. Ok that being said (for some reason no one will say these things) don't listen to Mfg or any body else when figuring your ft/min because its what you can do x what you charge capish. Just remember a crapy small job last a half hour a crappy big job can last all day. Good luck gun.

LoneStarLawn
12-07-2001, 10:50 PM
Originally posted by Kent Lawns


You can get all the information you need off an aerial photo and topgraphy map.


Historical perspective:
I used to be that you needed to see a someone in person in order to communicate with them.
Then mail
Then telegraph
Then phone
Then fax
Then cell phone
Then e-mail, etc. etc.
Meeting is person is still the best.


I can see the same thing happening with lawn quotes.

Degree of difficulty can not be obtained form a aerial view. There are too many factors to risk not seeing the property.

AielLandscaping
12-08-2001, 12:04 AM
I never need to see a yard. i just ask all of the questions over the phone. for all the obstacles and degree of difficulty i am accurate within 30 seconds. as long as the measurements that are given are accurate you don't need to see it.

Fantasy Lawns
12-08-2001, 12:31 AM
right ....n a I can teach a blind man too see .... hey nnnoooo problem .... let's see ....... charge em' ... say .... $ 50 n acre ...it's flat land right ....o heck ....my aerial is 12 months old ....dang is that a pond with 50 extra trees ....when did that plant bed get installed ?? ....I know for a fact they told me 120 feet not 1200' of edging ....when did they install that extra plant area ...oh well ....guess I'll sit with this bid for 12 months ... ;->

LAWNGODFATHER
12-08-2001, 12:55 AM
That's why he is on here reading all the advice we are giving. LOL

There is no way I would bid over the phone!!!!! Simple as that.

gunputt
12-08-2001, 10:03 AM
My last post I stated that I could not tell how much to charge by looking at the property. I have seen the property, what I dont know is how long it will take me to mow, due to lack of experience behind the mower.

That being said, here is a description of the property.
3 big rectangles, 2 small parking lot islands, the whole thing is as flat as my first prom date, and there are probably 30 new trees to trim around.

The square footage of this property is 18445.

strickdad
12-08-2001, 10:46 AM
sorry i didnt get your last post so i dont know what kind of equipment you have.. but i can tell you how long it will take us.. we use a two man crew on anything less than 3ac. so here goes, 18,500 sq. ft. aprox. @1.90 per 1000. it comes out to 35.15 so make it a even 35.00 and we will do it. we will be useing a 48" greatdane ztr. and 1 man own a echo 260s weedeater.plus any other needed equipment (push mower for small islands) from the time the mower hits the ground it should take 40 to 45 min. to complete......

AielLandscaping
12-08-2001, 10:52 AM
maybe i should clarify that i only do small residential lawns, i know the speeds that i do every task, make every turn, time to empty bagger when necessary, time of exact sq ft per min i can mow, how long it takes to mow around obstacles, how long it takes to weed eat around obstacles etc, i timed everything individually and created formulas that would give me a price all based on math, and when people sign my forms they are signing up for a time frame, say 30 minutes, and if their yard takes even 1 min more i charge per minute, so yes i can give estimates without ever seeing it!

1MajorTom
12-08-2001, 11:13 AM
Gunputt:

I merged your two posts together, so anyone following this thread will be able to easily read your other post.

65hoss
12-08-2001, 11:20 AM
I've never seen any homeowner that wants to tell you over the phone "oh yes, I have a very difficult yard to cut". They also don't have a measuring wheel to get linear feet of trimming and edging. What about those 3 flowerbeds to edge around? They don't know sf or linear ft. Degree of difficulty can ONLY be seen. As stated before, to many factors. Rough ground to slow speed down can't be determined without going to see it.

If someone is pressuring for a site unseen estimate, don't be fooled. There is probably a reason. One reason you work for yourself is so you make the decisions. Make the decision to not get screwed. Never give bid over the phone without seeing the property.

When people as me for a "ballpark", I always respond with "Autozone Park" (new one in Memphis). Then tell them I don't give ballparks. That is usually enough to get the address and make them wait until I get there.

strickdad
12-08-2001, 11:23 AM
mmmmm boy this is wild!!! you can sure tell the guys that have been doing this for a while. myself been doing it for 15+ years and in those 15 years the 1 thing i have learned is you can not price a job without looking at it. most of those who have been doing this for a while use the method of priceing by the 1000 square ft. we also factor in a degree of difficulty, the degree of difficulty is based on thousands of different variables that can only be obtained by putting your feet on the ground.. by the way this is for those of you useing the airplane picture method, mrs smith just called and wants us to come get her leafs up, can ya fly yer plane over and tell me if she has 2" or 8" of leafs on her back yard. (guess i made my point)

Pauls Mowing
12-08-2001, 11:25 AM
Don't bid without looking at the property. You seem in a real hurry to get yourself in a bind.

Paul

gunputt
12-08-2001, 11:43 AM
This thread needs to go away. Go to the post "misunderstood" for the explanation.
Thanks, John

1grnlwn
12-08-2001, 11:48 AM
You see Gunputt it's really not about you anymore! Welcome to LAWNSITE!

65hoss
12-08-2001, 11:57 AM
Gunputt, if you will notice the 2 threads have been merged into 1.

Randy Scott
12-08-2001, 11:58 AM
I guess everyone has their own way of doing things. I just wouldn't feel comfortable or professional enough to throw out numbers over the phone, but hey, to each his own. I don't have the opportunity to change my price if it takes one minute longer. Here, people are given a contract price and that's final. If I bid it low, that's my problem, not theirs. Whatever works for you, than I say stick with it. But for someone getting into the business, which is what it sounds like for you gunputt, take the time to look at it and try to get an idea. You are going to have to take your lumps on guesstimating until you get some experience, just like we all have to. Every property has it's own character so to speak and therefore needs it's own evaluation. Little things like parking/property access, clipping discharge, sidewalk/driveway cleanup, what size mower can be used in certain areas(like the parking lot islands),areas of lawn that may be a wet area(excess growth per week), all little things like that which factor into cost that cannot be seen over a phone. Of all the times to look at a property would certainly be when you are just learning this business. I would say that if you have been doing this for a few years and you know certain characteristics of some neighborhoods, or business properties of similar design and style, you will have an IDEA of what a property will probably cost but you still should walk the property. It's just good business.

AielLandscaping
12-08-2001, 12:27 PM
you guys that insist on walking the site, i've got a question for you, in your area how much competition do you have to fight against to get accounts? here everyone with a lawnmower thinks hes an LCO and most people will take the first offer that comes along, so here giving estimates over the phone and stressing the word estimate is definately an edge. plus i send out someone to do my measuring for me, i never have to see the property, but someone gets my measurements and if the customer doesn't give the right measurements i have the right to adjust the price.. what kind of legal agreements do you guys use? it sounds like yearly contract of some sort? what kind of wording? sounds like your boxing yourselves in...IMHO

LoneStarLawn
12-08-2001, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by AielLandscaping
you guys that insist on walking the site, i've got a question for you, in your area how much competition do you have to fight against to get accounts? here everyone with a lawnmower thinks hes an LCO
A alot here.
Originally posted by AielLandscaping
... most people will take the first offer that comes along, so here giving estimates over the phone and stressing the word estimate is definately an edge.
If a customer is "price shopping" here then they will definitely get many estimates first. Other future customers are calling us because they want us, so a quick estimate is not necessary.
Originally posted by AielLandscaping
plus i send out someone to do my measuring for me, i never have to see the property, but someone gets my measurements
Well then someone IS looking at the property. I am sure that person also informs you about other aspects of the property as well.
<b>Question:</b> How can you give a estimate when someone calls when you have to have someone go to the property and take measurements first. That is basically what the others are doing here.
Originally posted by AielLandscaping
if the customer doesn't give the right measurements i have the right to adjust the price..
Now I am confused. You just said you have someone go take measurements for you. Oh well.
<b>Question:</b> How do your customers react when you tell them $30 and then perform the services and then charge then $45?
Originally posted by AielLandscaping
what kind of legal agreements do you guys use? it sounds like yearly contract of some sort? what kind of wording? sounds like your boxing yourselves in...IMHO
We use contracts only on commercial properties and large estates. Getting the estimate right the first time will not box yourself.

As it was mentioned before "to each his own"..

Good Luck

AielLandscaping
12-08-2001, 04:10 PM
ok here is my order i do things in, this should clear everything up.. i know that all my statements seem a little confusing so far... ok first i get a call from a potential customer, they generally ask for a average price, which i then tell them that the price is based on measurements, and i ask what their sizes are, then i give them a quick guestimate based on what they tell me, i assure them that what i've told them is only a guess but will need to measure everything and do the math before i can give them anything final. then i send someone to go draw a picture of the property and take all the required measurements, including obstacles and things of that nature, when i have all my numbers in front of me, i can then figure out how long a normal mow, edge, blow is going to take. i will then contact the customer and let them know how much it is going to cost, at this point i've still never seen what i'm estimating on. before any work begins i have them sign my forms, which are not contracts but acceptance of my conditions, which includes extra costs for services not covered in the estimate. if grass takes longer to mow due to excessive growth, or wet conditions or whatever then that is an extra charge. i have had zero complaints about this from my customers, and i currently have 70 on a weekly basis. i'm sure that they do not complain though because when i send a invoice to them i detail all work that has been done and give explainations for additional charges. so in summary i guess the difference is that i give a guestimate without seeing anything, but give a formal estimate after someone representing my company gets the exact numbers for me. if i've somehow contradicted myself then i apolgize for the confusion. but yes to each his own.

LoneStarLawn
12-08-2001, 05:26 PM
Your way of doing things is pretty much the same as everyone else (LOL). You are sending <b>someone </b> to the property and that is what matters. When I state <b>we</b> go the the property I mean our company..not necessarily me.:D

LAWNGODFATHER
12-09-2001, 04:09 AM
Originally posted by AielLandscaping
I never need to see a yard. i just ask all of the questions over the phone. for all the obstacles and degree of difficulty i am accurate within 30 seconds. as long as the measurements that are given are accurate you don't need to see it.

I got to pull up my waiders, let me out the chest high ones on for this, it's getting REAL deep.

No possable way period!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Way to many factors involved:

Rain

Wind

Temp

Humidity

Different types of grasses

Mower runs out of gas

Weed eater runs out of gas

Blower runs out of gas

Guys decide it's time fo a smoke/coffie break

Flat tire

Broken belt

Weed eater runs out of line

Engines blow

Gets dark

Tree falls

Branches/twigs to pick up

ETC..................

HOMER
12-09-2001, 06:23 AM
When I give a bid the first thing I do is point my head up and spin 360 degrees...............then I know what the fall and winter months are really gonna be like. I once heard of a guy that would bid by using blueprints, never seeing the finished landscape. I think he's out of business now.

Look before you leap.

By the way............the time that has been spent on here could have been used to make a trip to the site anyway. The very questions you needed answers to could have been resolved and the bid worked up.

Just my observation.

gunputt
12-09-2001, 10:09 AM
OK STOP:blob3:

Once again.... I have seen the property. What I dont know is how long it will take to mow because I have not done any commercial properties yet.

The property is three big, flat rectangles, with a total square footage of 18500.

I need ideas on how much per 1000sq/ft.

I am a one man operation with a 36''Scag w/b.

1grnlwn
12-09-2001, 10:41 AM
Just go mow it and time. Its not that big. I had to quote a local cemetary once. Had no Idea how to quote. Took a average looking 100ft square and went to work. Then I had time for 10 000 ft sqr divided entire by that. Must have did a good job because I didn't get it.

I'm sorry should I not have posted this?lol

Albemarle Lawn
12-09-2001, 03:02 PM
E.O.M.

LoneStarLawn
12-09-2001, 03:14 PM
Originally posted by gunputt
OK STOP:blob3:

Once again.... I have seen the property. What I dont know is how long it will take to mow because I have not done any commercial properties yet.

The property is three big, flat rectangles, with a total square footage of 18500.

I need ideas on how much per 1000sq/ft.

I am a one man operation with a 36''Scag w/b.


Alot of the posts are not directed towards you. They are disagreeing with another who posted.

HOMER
12-09-2001, 03:38 PM
18,500 sq ft is less than most of my residentials...........commercial or residential don't matter. Do you have anything of comparable size? If you do then you would know. My guess is I could do that size property in 30 minutes including trimming and edging. I would take that time (30min) and multiply it by the number of visits for that year. Ex. 30 minutes x 30 visits = 900 minutes for the year 900/60=15 hrs. 15 hrs x 60.00 per hour =$900.00/12 months =$75.00 per month

Is this helping?

I don't own a 36" walkbehind so add some time for yourself. Might take you an hour to mow it, just use the same formula.

Alan........is my math correct?

LoneStarLawn
12-09-2001, 04:09 PM
Originally posted by HOMER


Alan........is my math correct?

LOL..I guess I corrected your math before. Yes it seems to be correct.

LAWNGODFATHER
12-09-2001, 06:25 PM
Mulch

10' X 10' X 0.27' That is 1 cubic yard
L X W X D


or 3' X 3' X 3' but you don't want to put it 3 feet deep.
L X W X D


Now the mowing;

Don't worry if it's commercial or resadential

Just bid your time and size.

Charge them $25 a cut, it seems low for $18.75 a cut. You should at least have a minimum amount

At $0.001 per a 1000 it comes to $18.50, That's $1 per a 1000sq/ft

At $1.25 per a 1000 it comes to $23.13, I still say $25 minimum.

Alan, no need to check my math.

I don't use any of these figures anymore. I just know my sizes to price.

gunputt
12-09-2001, 09:00 PM
Originally posted by Albemarle Lawn
E.O.M.

gunputt
12-09-2001, 09:05 PM
Originally posted by Albemarle Lawn
E.O.M.

Maybe that new $4000 mower will somehow pay for itself just sitting in my garage.

65hoss
12-10-2001, 04:25 AM
Originally posted by gunputt
My last post I stated that I could not tell how much to charge by looking at the property. I have seen the property, what I dont know is how long it will take me to mow, due to lack of experience behind the mower.

That being said, here is a description of the property.
3 big rectangles, 2 small parking lot islands, the whole thing is as flat as my first prom date, and there are probably 30 new trees to trim around.

The square footage of this property is 18445.

I would bid out at $40 per cut. Mainly because you have 30 trees to trim around.

LAWNGODFATHER
12-10-2001, 11:22 PM
Originally posted by 65hoss


I would bid out at $40 per cut. Mainly because you have 30 trees to trim around.

Good point Hoss.

Like I said before, I wouldn't bid this till I saw it.

KirbysLawn
12-11-2001, 09:21 AM
Originally posted by AielLandscaping
i never need to look at a property to make a bid, i have a formula that i use based on square footage and other measurements

How do you know what the square footage is without looking at the property?:confused: How much trimming, how much of anything, are you taking the customers guess on how much lawn they have?

wow, reading on thru this mess I see you do visit the property...I think. Oh, well.

As for the question at hand $45 a week for me.

TGCummings
12-11-2001, 09:45 AM
$120/cut out here, according to my formula. Never had to bid on anything that big before, though, so I might be able to cut a break on the price once I got my 36" on the property.

I cut a site for a water company in my area that's about 12,000 square feet. Lots of trees. During Summer/Fall/Winter I can get in and out in 1-2 hours. During Spring, 3 hours minimum. Have to use primarily a 21" on it because of obstacles/terrain.

Good luck!

lawnboy53
12-11-2001, 12:33 PM
Gunputt, I'm in the same market area as you. I cannot see any possible way to make money on that property for under at least $50. I would be closer to $75 myself. 2 guys for 30-45 minutes include travel time and you are at an hour to do a nice job. I wont do anything for under $30 per man/ per hour. :)