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DLAWNS
11-06-2008, 10:42 AM
Okay, so I have never worked on sports fields before. I have the opportunity to bid on a Little League complex in my town. It is 5 baseball fields that need to be mowed and bagged weekly. A few weeks in the summer it has to be done twice for a big tournament they host. Plus there is also some common grounds there that also needs to be mowed every other week. They also need fert however I am not worried about that as I will figure that out once I get there and measure it. Plus some aeration, dethatching, and seeding.

I am just lost as to where to start with the bid as I have never done something like this before. I have the equipment (Exmark Navigator/Toro w/Bagger/Truck Loader, etc. I will get measurements and pictures asap and post them. I just need some help getting this started. Thanks for reading and I look forward to the responses. They will be greatly appreciated.

DLAWNS
11-06-2008, 08:47 PM
Bump Bump Bump

DLAWNS
11-06-2008, 10:27 PM
Nothin guys?

Yard Green
11-06-2008, 10:30 PM
How about just figure your sq. ft. and compare it to existing things you do to get an idea. Then maybe you can figure in something for the exposure it will get you to cut them a little of a break. Just a thought.

AintNoFun
11-06-2008, 10:36 PM
well first thing i would do is not put your location and where the job is.. if i was in the grass cutting biz, id be calling manchester little league! not trying to be a dic, but you should always watch how much info you give out..

foreplease
11-06-2008, 10:39 PM
My approach would be to break it down as to what, exactly, they want you to do. Sounds like the mowing expectations are clear. Don't be surprised if it changes though.

Think about things, in no particular order, such as:


Are they interested in improving what they have or finding someone to maintain it as it has been done in the past?
Something you will want to find out discretely: who used to take care of it and why are they interested in having someone else do it?
Do they want game prep work such as marking lines and maintaining infield dirt areas?
Insist on knowing the schedule for use of the place. Around here, youth fields get almost constant use and no one person seems to know the entire schedule or have the authority or desire to step in. It will impact you in terms of delays. If you show up to do what you planned to do and find the field(s) full with unscheduled practices and others lined up behind, somebody is going to be inconvenienced or unhappy.
Is bagging your idea or theirs? Since, in my opinion frequent and proper mowing is the first thing (and cheapest) you can do to make an improvement or impact, I think you could deliver better quality grass by mowing more often and not bagging Ė at not much price difference. I have never bagged a field and cannot think of a time when I should have. Have had to double cut once in a great while.
If you do bag, where are you going to get rid of the clippings? Figure in more fertilizer as you will effectively be mining some of it out.
Figure out you square footages for each field. Much of the non-mowing work will be based on size. It will be helpful for your mowing somewhat too just knowing what is there.
Fences: they slow you down, obviously, and need to be trimmed or sprayed around or both. How often?
Are the fields irrigated? If so, who runs or controls the system? You? Will you maintain it? Your mowing will be less dependent on the weather if they have water.
Try to get a feel for how your standards and theirs line up. If there is a big difference, you may end up putting in a lot of time free because you canít stand it. Example, if they want minimum quality and attention to detail and you cannot stand the idea of running popcorn bags and candy wrappers through your mower (might be a different matter if you do bag) and leaving them on the field Ė how and how often is that resolved (times 5).


Once your photos are up people will be able to give you ideas more easily. Itís rewarding work. Try to spec it out in terms of what would make them happy and price it how it will make you happy. Once you are there and working, if you are delivering results, what they want will probably increase. Good luck.

DLAWNS
11-06-2008, 10:44 PM
That makes sense, it's just that I don't have something that size to compare to, but I do see what you're saying.

Aintnofun--I appreciate the advice, but I did think about that, it is not Manchester Little League. Manchester is kind of part of another town, and there is also another boro of Manchester so there would be a bunch of township ball fields for people to try to contact. I do appreciate it, though as you gave me a reminder to not throw so much info out there.

DLAWNS
11-07-2008, 12:05 AM
My approach would be to break it down as to what, exactly, they want you to do. Sounds like the mowing expectations are clear. Don't be surprised if it changes though.

Think about things, in no particular order, such as:


Are they interested in improving what they have or finding someone to maintain it as it has been done in the past?
Something you will want to find out discretely: who used to take care of it and why are they interested in having someone else do it?
Do they want game prep work such as marking lines and maintaining infield dirt areas?
Insist on knowing the schedule for use of the place. Around here, youth fields get almost constant use and no one person seems to know the entire schedule or have the authority or desire to step in. It will impact you in terms of delays. If you show up to do what you planned to do and find the field(s) full with unscheduled practices and others lined up behind, somebody is going to be inconvenienced or unhappy.
Is bagging your idea or theirs? Since, in my opinion frequent and proper mowing is the first thing (and cheapest) you can do to make an improvement or impact, I think you could deliver better quality grass by mowing more often and not bagging – at not much price difference. I have never bagged a field and cannot think of a time when I should have. Have had to double cut once in a great while.
If you do bag, where are you going to get rid of the clippings? Figure in more fertilizer as you will effectively be mining some of it out.
Figure out you square footages for each field. Much of the non-mowing work will be based on size. It will be helpful for your mowing somewhat too just knowing what is there.
Fences: they slow you down, obviously, and need to be trimmed or sprayed around or both. How often?
Are the fields irrigated? If so, who runs or controls the system? You? Will you maintain it? Your mowing will be less dependent on the weather if they have water.
Try to get a feel for how your standards and theirs line up. If there is a big difference, you may end up putting in a lot of time free because you can’t stand it. Example, if they want minimum quality and attention to detail and you cannot stand the idea of running popcorn bags and candy wrappers through your mower (might be a different matter if you do bag) and leaving them on the field – how and how often is that resolved (times 5).


Once your photos are up people will be able to give you ideas more easily. It’s rewarding work. Try to spec it out in terms of what would make them happy and price it how it will make you happy. Once you are there and working, if you are delivering results, what they want will probably increase. Good luck.

Thank you so much for the detailed post. It really helped me think about things.
-I do know who took care of it previously and they probably became unhappy with him as his work has declined.
-I got a scope of work from them and they want it bagged, and I do have a lace to dump clippings. They did not mention anything about pregame things such as marking lines, etc.
-I'm 99.9 % sure it is irrigated as the fields weren't in the worst shape when I took a quick look.

I guess I just need to measure it out and take some pics and that should get me a lot further than where I'm at now. Thanks again for your input.

foreplease
11-07-2008, 01:47 AM
Hey, you're welcome. We're all experimenters on a (sometimes) fun ride with someone else changing the variables.

Do your own figures, of course, but if it helps you as a guide,:I figure 30 M of grass on a Little League field with a 180' fence (corners) and grass infield. On a larger field I work on where it's 330 corners, 385 center field, I have 92 M in grass and 12 infield dirt. Size of aprons and backstop areas change things.

Might be fun to see if they will let you do four fields to their specs and one to yours and see how they compare. Make sure yours is better. Consider more frequent mowing, in four directions, and skip bagging on that one

I don’t have all the answers that is for sure. I look forward to seeing your pictures posted.

DLAWNS
11-07-2008, 10:24 AM
Hey, you're welcome. We're all experimenters on a (sometimes) fun ride with someone else changing the variables.

Do your own figures, of course, but if it helps you as a guide,:I figure 30 M of grass on a Little League field with a 180' fence (corners) and grass infield. On a larger field I work on where it's 330 corners, 385 center field, I have 92 M in grass and 12 infield dirt. Size of aprons and backstop areas change things.

Might be fun to see if they will let you do four fields to their specs and one to yours and see how they compare. Make sure yours is better. Consider more frequent mowing, in four directions, and skip bagging on that one

I donít have all the answers that is for sure. I look forward to seeing your pictures posted.



I hate to sound naive but do you mean by 30M? Do you mean meters? I will get those pictures ASAP.

foreplease
11-07-2008, 10:43 AM
M=1,000 square feet. Some say K.
43,560 sq ft in an acre so a typical Little League field is just under 3/4 A. Most fertilizer and pesticide rates are per M or per A so knowing how many M you have is important.

RD 12
11-07-2008, 10:59 AM
If you take pride in your work and do what you say your going to do to the fields, you will probably need to cut them more than once a week. I took over a park, and they wanted it to be cut on the same schedule, but if you take care of them right you will need to cut them more than once a week. Plus it will take a little longer to cut then a regular yard, different patterns, etc.

DLAWNS
11-07-2008, 09:07 PM
M=1,000 square feet. Some say K.
43,560 sq ft in an acre so a typical Little League field is just under 3/4 A. Most fertilizer and pesticide rates are per M or per A so knowing how many M you have is important.

I've always heard K. Now I understand. Thanks for the clarification.

DLAWNS
11-07-2008, 09:10 PM
If you take pride in your work and do what you say your going to do to the fields, you will probably need to cut them more than once a week. I took over a park, and they wanted it to be cut on the same schedule, but if you take care of them right you will need to cut them more than once a week. Plus it will take a little longer to cut then a regular yard, different patterns, etc.

Thanks, man I will definitely take that into consideration in my estimate.

foreplease
11-07-2008, 10:41 PM
I use K for dollars and M for grass :) Hope you find a lot of both to take care of.

DLAWNS
11-15-2008, 11:51 PM
Here are the pics that I promised. I am also having a very hard time figuring out how to get the square footage of the fields. I know length times width and all that but they are such weird shapes and I've never dealt with that. I've pretty much only measured homes and small commercials. Is there a formula or any advice that anyone can give me. I'm racking my brain over this. There are five fields. 1 tee ball field, 3 little league fields, and 1 larger field. The first 3 pictures are the tee ball field and the next two are one of the three middle sized fields.

DLAWNS
11-15-2008, 11:58 PM
The first of this set is one of the three middle sized fields and the next four pics are of the biggest field. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

DLAWNS
11-16-2008, 12:05 AM
I've been starting to run some rough numbers for this bid, but I'm stumped on how to get the square footage of the fields. I'm trying to get pretty accurate numbers. My question is: is there a method to determine square footage of fields? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

jmoore16135
11-16-2008, 12:18 AM
Try this link for the square footage.
http://www.fielderschoiceinc.com/Field-Construction-Services/Baseball-Fields/
Click on the table 11.1 link. That should give you an idea on your square footage.
Hope that helps.

scagdude
11-16-2008, 12:31 AM
do you have pics of the job? there is no way to get the sq. footage with out asking the customer. you should look at the job and try to estimate how much time and effort it will take then compare it to how much time and effort your normal residentials/commercials take just for a starting price then you can go from there.

DLAWNS
11-16-2008, 12:33 AM
Try this link for the square footage.
http://www.fielderschoiceinc.com/Field-Construction-Services/Baseball-Fields/
Click on the table 11.1 link. That should give you an idea on your square footage.
Hope that helps.

Dude, you're my hero. lol Two more questions if you would know off hand, Would you measure to the outfield fence from the backstop or home plate? And would these numbers include the area outside of the foul line?

Any other input and opinions are welcomed as I'm trying to gain as much knowledge about this stuff as possible.

DLAWNS
11-16-2008, 12:41 AM
do you have pics of the job? there is no way to get the sq. footage with out asking the customer. you should look at the job and try to estimate how much time and effort it will take then compare it to how much time and effort your normal residentials/commercials take just for a starting price then you can go from there.

Sorry about that, I posted pics in the athletic fields forum. I'm mostly worried about getting the square footage for fertilization prices. Check out the pics and let me know what you think.

jmoore16135
11-16-2008, 12:43 AM
I believe the center field numbers in the link are measurements from the back of home plate. And the square footage numbers should be for the total area inside a fenced off baseball/softball field.
Glad I could help...

DLAWNS
11-16-2008, 12:46 AM
Cool, thanks again, man.

puppypaws
11-16-2008, 10:08 AM
I've been starting to run some rough numbers for this bid, but I'm stumped on how to get the square footage of the fields. I'm trying to get pretty accurate numbers. My question is: is there a method to determine square footage of fields? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

You can use this link and calculate very accurately any property you can see definite points from the aerial photograph. I have used this on my crop fields that I already know the acreage and it comes within a tenth of an acre on fields from 10 to 50 acres.

This is a wonderful way to calculate acreage quickly and easily by just marking points around the property you wish to know the acreage of. To convert to sq. ft. take the acreage shown by the calculation method, such as 1.4 acre and multiply times 43,560 sq. ft. in an acre. This tells your there is 60,984 sq. ft. in that area.

http://www.gravoplex.com/Planimeter/GMapPlanimeter.html

DLAWNS
11-16-2008, 10:29 AM
That's awesome, man. Thanks for the awesome tool. I've already been playing with it and have 10 times of a better idea than when I started.

puppypaws
11-16-2008, 01:43 PM
That's awesome, man. Thanks for the awesome tool. I've already been playing with it and have 10 times of a better idea than when I started.

An athletic field of any type would be very accurate because you can see the outline to follow very closely. The only thing you have to compensate for is where tree lines or overgrowth hangs out into the area you are attempting to calculate. You can allow for a small difference and still be very close area wise. You can also figure area on bodies of water very accurately.

DLAWNS
11-16-2008, 02:00 PM
Definitely, if you think about you go a little bit conservative by the tree lines and you still have to account for the infield sand. Man, I wish I was biding football fields instead. It would be much easier. lol

puppypaws
11-16-2008, 06:12 PM
Definitely, if you think about you go a little bit conservative by the tree lines and you still have to account for the infield sand. Man, I wish I was biding football fields instead. It would be much easier. lol

Run a separate calculation around anything such as infield areas and subtract them out. This is very simple, from the aerial photo run around the entire area to be mowed and then go around anything you want to subtract out and remove it from your calculation.

You could have a 50 acre tract with 3 lakes of 2 to 10 acres each, run around the entire boundary with your mouse putting more points in curves, because it is calculating from point to point. Then run around your lakes and subtract them out, this is your area left to maintain.

On a infield for instance run from the home plate area down the grass line to beyond first base where grass intersects grass then put your points around the arc about every 25' until you intersect back at third base. This will automatically calculate the area inside the infield back to the point at home plate where you started.

DLAWNS
11-16-2008, 08:17 PM
Cool, I appreciate all of your help. I will use all of this advice for my bid. Thank you so much.

foreplease
11-16-2008, 09:57 PM
Based on the photos, you're going to have an opportunity to do much more than mow and bag if they will let you. I would encourage you to push them - even if they think they do not want it initially - to let you do one field on a more complete program to show what you can do Ė just make sure you know what to do. With all that can be seen about current conditions in the photos, my opinion is that bagging clippings should be way, way down on the to do list. I understand your to do list is what they ask you to do.

I have worked on many fields that looked that way when I arrived.

The links the others provided look great, I am going to check them out. For baseball fields, youíre dealing with 1/4 of the area of a circle whose radius is an average of the distance from home plate to the outfield fence, plus two rectangles for the aprons in the area between the foul lines and the fence on each side.

example:
.25 x (3.14 x ((home plate to fence average distance) x (home plate to fence average distance))

+ width of 3rd base apron x distance to left field foul pole

+ width of 1st base apron x distance to right field foul pole
[technically, one of the two rectangles is larger than the other even if the width matches, otherwise part of the backstop area does not get figured in]
- area of infield dirt

This gives you total square footage of grass inside the fence. All meant to agree with what others here have said. Here, Little League size amounts to about 30 M in grass, Instructional is about 12 M, Softball is around 35 M, Pony about 40, and Babe Ruth with huge aprons is about 90-95. One park I spend a lot of time in has 6 fields. 5.5 acres (240 M) in grass inside the fences from 1 instructional, 2 Little League, 1 softball, 1 pony, 1 Babe Ruth.

On a full-size field with grass infield, you can count on about 12M as the area of the skinned infield surface, including base paths, mound, and batterís circle. Soon, if things go well, you will need to know how much material you need in order to add 1/2" to the infield dirt.

You are going to see more of the fields than many who use them, so make sure you 1.) enjoy it and 2.) can see results for yourself, for your own satisafaction, from week to week.

DLAWNS
11-16-2008, 10:58 PM
example:
.25 x (3.14 x ((home plate to fence average distance) x (home plate to fence average distance))

+ width of 3rd base apron x distance to left field foul pole

+ width of 1st base apron x distance to right field foul pole
[technically, one of the two rectangles is larger than the other even if the width matches, otherwise part of the backstop area does not get figured in]
- area of infield dirt

This gives you total square footage of grass inside the fence. All meant to agree with what others here have said. Here, Little League size amounts to about 30 M in grass, Instructional is about 12 M, Softball is around 35 M, Pony about 40, and Babe Ruth with huge aprons is about 90-95. One park I spend a lot of time in has 6 fields. 5.5 acres (240 M) in grass inside the fences from 1 instructional, 2 Little League, 1 softball, 1 pony, 1 Babe Ruth.

On a full-size field with grass infield, you can count on about 12M as the area of the skinned infield surface, including base paths, mound, and batterís circle. Soon, if things go well, you will need to know how much material you need in order to add 1/2" to the infield dirt.

I'm not going to lie. This part of your post confused me. If you feel like explaining feel free. But I don't want to keep asking for so much info. You guys have been so helpful already.

foreplease
11-16-2008, 11:27 PM
Area of a circle is pi x r squared
Foul line to foul line is 90 degrees, or one-quarter of circle
Figuring that does not inclue anything in foul territory, so we add the aprons
subtract dirt (skinned) area from total above to determine how much area is grass

The adding a half inch remark just meant once you get the grass looking good they may want you to bring in some more infield material, get that edged, leveled out, maybe take care of some of those puddles.

This looks like a good place to hone your skills. You wil probably rally be able to make a noticeable improvement by maintaining it well. Good luck!

DLAWNS
11-16-2008, 11:34 PM
Thanks, that clears it up a lot for me.

DLAWNS
11-23-2008, 11:21 PM
Just thought I'd update you guys that gave me all the advice. I got all the square footages that I need to calculate fertilization, cutting, aeration, dethatching, etc.. Well I met with the guy in charge of the fields and he was telling me that they were paying approximately $8500 as well as showing me the whole complex. I started to run the numbers. Here is what they were looking for...Approximately 30 cuts, (bagged) on 5 baseball fields (3 little league, 1 tee ball, 1 major) and 15 cuts for the common areas (which is not too much). 4 fertilizations per year with weed control, Weed control on warning tracks and on tee ball infields. 2 aerations a year as well as one dethatching. Does something not add up? There is no possible way that I could do this job for anything near this price. I was really excited at the chance to have this job. I ran the numbers a million different ways and just don't see how you can make money. I'm going to tell him that I don't want to waste any more of his time and that I just can't do it for this price. Any suggestions or comments about this? I'm baffled.

foreplease
11-24-2008, 08:33 AM
It was good of you to follow through with folks here. I know just what you mean about being excited about having the job and seeing how you could do with it.

The reason they are trying to find someone to do it for $8,500 is that they have been unable to find someone to do it for $8,500.

In my experience, it is not worth chasing, as you appear to be too far apart. Chances are it will not end nicely or fairly. Anything you do now only educates them or makes a market for someone else.

Sorry it is happening to you. The bagging issue was a red flag to me...

puppypaws
11-24-2008, 09:36 AM
Just thought I'd update you guys that gave me all the advice. I got all the square footages that I need to calculate fertilization, cutting, aeration, dethatching, etc.. Well I met with the guy in charge of the fields and he was telling me that they were paying approximately $8500 as well as showing me the whole complex. I started to run the numbers. Here is what they were looking for...Approximately 30 cuts, (bagged) on 5 baseball fields (3 little league, 1 tee ball, 1 major) and 15 cuts for the common areas (which is not too much). 4 fertilizations per year with weed control, Weed control on warning tracks and on tee ball infields. 2 aerations a year as well as one dethatching. Does something not add up? There is no possible way that I could do this job for anything near this price. I was really excited at the chance to have this job. I ran the numbers a million different ways and just don't see how you can make money. I'm going to tell him that I don't want to waste any more of his time and that I just can't do it for this price. Any suggestions or comments about this? I'm baffled.

This is probably the reason it looks the way it does, (pitiful shape) they have never been willing to spend enough money to have anything done correctly in the beginning. I can see looking at the drainage they had poor construction from the very start and whoever kept them up did a poor job. You get what you pay for, most of the time.


The sport complexes in this part of the country are immaculate in comparison to the pictures you posted. I've honestly never seen one look anywhere close to that bad.

DLAWNS
11-24-2008, 11:28 PM
Thanks guys. That makes me feel better. I was blown away last night while I was running the numbers.

treegal1
12-15-2008, 12:57 PM
Thanks guys. That makes me feel better. I was blown away last night while I was running the numbers.

dont be afraid of big #'s its just a few smaller ones hanging out together.

just next time white out the name on the water tower, my brother will love that field and make a killing.JK