View Full Version : vacant lots
01-10-2000, 08:49 AM
I've been asked to submit a bid on (6) 1/2 acre vacant lots in a subdivision. They need mowing and edged along road. My concern is the wear and tear on my equipment. Field grass and sand are the "enemy". Do I charge more for this? A couple of guys thought it would pay less because the quality of the cut is not crucial. Any thoughts or experience in this area would be greatly appreciated.<br>Bill
01-10-2000, 09:17 AM
In Illinois, guys charge around $125 for a 2 acre lot if done on a monthly mowing. Yes, I would charge more. Empty lots are places that turn into a dump sites for some. Broken glass and other things can be hard on tires, blades and the extra tall grass is an extra strain on the machines. If you mow a 1/2 acre lot and make just a few bucks and ruin a tire on a ZTR, it can cost $60 to $75 to replace it. I stay away from this work, but did some when I first started out and found out it wasn't really worth it.<p>----------<br>Eric@ELM<br>http://pages.prodigy.net/eric.erickson/index.html
Just like Eric, I too used to mow vacant lots when I was starting out. I don't know about the lots in your area, but here they are usually not mower friendly. There are many hidden gifts waiting to tear up a mower, not to mention they are usually bumpy as hell.<p>Five years ago my minimum charge for a lot 20-40 thousand ft^2 was $100.00. That will barely cover any repair costs if you break something. I would charge more too if it was really overgrown. <p>I know it takes time, but walk through the lot thoroughly before you mow it, this may save you a lot of problems in repairs and estimates. I know where I live, people only want these mowed down because the city is making them cut it. Growth was usually thigh high by the time I would get to it.
01-10-2000, 01:06 PM
I had this problem before and the way I handled it was to get someone with a bush hog to give me a price, let him hit it first and then finish mow it. If the owners of the property don't want to pay you for it let them find somebody that is willing to tear up their 7000 to 10000 mower. Leave the heavy stuff for the heavy equipment!
MJM Landscaping Inc
01-10-2000, 02:14 PM
I agree, I would stay away from this work<br>unless you really need it or strongly believe that you might get more work from the builder. I did it when I first started out and its just not worth.
01-10-2000, 02:31 PM
I think what lawngator is asking about is mowings on a regular basis, not letting the grass get out of control. There are two sides to this coin. <br>1. You are cutting an undeveloped property that may have some of the obsticles mentioned above. This can be a drawback.<br>2. The plus side to this, is that since they are not manicured lawns, you can get away with a quick cut. The owner of the lots also will probally not care if you are a few days behind because of rain. This can make for a good "fill in" job.<p>As long as the grass does not get out of control, I say go for it. I have a couple of properties like this, and they are great. I cut them every two weeks in the spring and fall, and as needed during the summer. The grass doesn't get out of control, and I let it get as tall as I can before it will slow me down cutting. They don't mind clumps in the lawn, or worry about patterns or striping, just keep it from becomingf ovregrown.
MJM Landscaping Inc
01-10-2000, 02:42 PM
Jeff, I understand what your saying and your right. It depends on what his bid includes. I was talking about the lots where they only want you to mow 1 or 2x a year. But if its 2x a month then sure go for it.<br>Mark
01-10-2000, 02:49 PM
Bill-<br>You need to weigh the value of this job to your business:<br>1- Is this a growing development where your presence will generate business you need?<br>2- In our area most such lots have been hydroseeded to a 15'-20' depth, so you will have a decent appearance along the street. This area is mowed regularly, but the balance of the lot just 3-6 times a year, depending on growth. You can work with the developer or homeowners assn, whoever handles it, on a schedule. This could provide some extra $$ for you that does not have to be done on strict schedule.<br>3- If this is not an old development, the lots can't be compared to urban vacant lots. By keeping them mowed, dumping is discouraged, and you will have a simple job to do. You can mow at the end of a day, before sharpening your blades for tomorrow.<p>----------<br>Jim<br>South Bend, IN
01-11-2000, 03:05 AM
This forum is great. The opinions and knowledge are priceless. I was going to include in my bid a "minimum # of cuts per month". This would, of course, be two times. This would eliminate overgrowth and excessive trash. I am trying to "get in" with the neighborhood. The treasurer of the association said that if I turn out to be reliable, he has a lot of homeowners asking about lawn service. I'm still not sure about the price, but I'll come up with something. JEFFCLC, you hit it on the head. I figure it's not crucial work (aesthetically speaking), so like Groundkprs says, I'd hit it at the end of the day and not worry about my blades. Thanks for all your help, Bill
01-11-2000, 09:04 PM
My experince like many other we take on any work at first to get started and to have your name seen. I still do a couple lot mowing for 1 and only 1 reason the devopler hand me lotsssssssssss of landscape work plus brings us in on condo ass. before they turn it over to ass. I have a older machine still works great but is not a daily user. That is the one and the only one machine that does the lots. If its a big lot I will rent a tractor that way its not mine to fix. Now would I do it for anyone esle only if Iam turning a very high profit or if it wil bring me more money down the line other wise NO way Never again. Same goes for plowing a driveway that was never plowed for 5 snows all it means is abuse and headaches. If you have a old beater that not that important go for it if not it will be more coatly then its worth.
01-14-2000, 03:34 AM
Lawngator,we specialise in overgrown vacant<br>lots over here including subdivisions.You<br>would be amazed at the things I have hit<br>in long grass with the slasher(bush hog?).<br>A set of slasher blades on my machine are<br>about 2 foot long and weigh about 20lb each.<br>If I can write off these blades within 100<br>hours,then thing of what damage you would<br>do to your mower.You get the same money for<br>the nice jobs so why wreck your gear on the<br>crap jobs.Leave it to the guys with the<br>heavy tractor/slashers.:-)
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