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sheltonimprovements
03-29-2010, 01:54 AM
I have a small lawn service 40 or so accounts at this time. I have been approached by the city to bid on all their properties. Over 50 with a total of over 300 acres. I have no problem bidding the 1 to 5 or so acre properties but they have 4 parks over 30 acres one of which is over 50 acres. I was approached by the mayor as we currently service his home account. So I just want to be sure with this size as it will require additional equipment that I will pay for. I was trying to stay small and do most work by myself. I have just 1 full-timer now.

bigw
03-29-2010, 01:58 AM
I have a small lawn service 40 or so accounts at this time. I have been approached by the city to bid on all their properties. Over 50 with a total of over 300 acres. I have no problem bidding the 1 to 5 or so acre properties but they have 4 parks over 30 acres one of which is over 50 acres. I was approached by the mayor as we currently service his home account. So I just want to be sure with this size as it will require additional equipment that I will pay for. I was trying to stay small and do most work by myself. I have just 1 full-timer now.

Way out of your league unless you are prepared to spend a lot of money and hire a crew of guys

sheltonimprovements
03-29-2010, 02:06 AM
I plan on spending the money and hiring would not be hard. I just want to make sure that I am on the money on the larger projects. They are mainly open areas - soccer type complexes. There are a couple 72 inch Kubota's with less than 300 hrs I can get for about 15k I will buy if i get contract to take care of the larger areas.

SuperiorService.110mb.com
03-29-2010, 02:13 AM
Other than not haveing the equipment or labor which if you have the money you can get both, remember most big bids take 30 days to pay after they recieve an invoice which maybe at the end of the month, so you need to pay for equipment and labor and your other bill for about 2 months before you see a penny. Next being that small I don't think you know what it takes to to a job that size. On bids of that size they normally brake it up into sections, you should ask. I can tell you though from many years of expereance that the way the economy is right now their is not money to be made in gov. lawn service right now. I have bid gov. for years and since 2008 bids have been 20%-45% less than 2007, and the people in charge say they haven't ever seen prices this low. Thats not just in east TN but almost everywhere. My buddy in FL where we both did gov. contracts said a few weeks ago the same thing to me.
Stay small and make good money and grow as you can, slowly!!!!

sheltonimprovements
03-29-2010, 02:23 AM
That is what I am going back and forth with. I know only way to make money is stay small or go big not get caught in the middle. I am fairly new to business 4 yrs in but have owned a commercial cleaning business for about 17 years. I just hate to give up the opportunity to grow but don't want to be stuck in the mid size range and not make money.

sheltonimprovements
03-29-2010, 02:27 AM
It is not a one company gets all contract so I thought about bidding on the smaller .5 to 5 acre areas. Plus it is the first time they have ever put out for contract and will require all insurances and bond so that may help.

topsites
03-29-2010, 08:38 AM
LOL...

I'm sorry but it is kind of funny.

That having been said, I don't think this would be the way to go about acquiring
a bunch of new equipment and employees, I realize the opportunity sounds promising
but I think you'd come out a bit sore?

Anyhow, if it was just one or two of them .5 to 5 acre lots that I might see, but the entire city, parks and all?
I think I'd politely decline, but personally speaking I think it's neat that you service the mayor's house and that
they would be so inclined as to extend this offer to you, that says something about you, I'm certainly impressed.

I plan on spending the money and hiring would not be hard. I just want to make sure that I am on the money on the larger projects. They are mainly open areas - soccer type complexes. There are a couple 72 inch Kubota's with less than 300 hrs I can get for about 15k I will buy if i get contract to take care of the larger areas.

Ahhh yeah, you're going to need a lot more than that to tackle what you said were
several parks consisting of 30-50 acres each...
Yes I realize it's probably not ALL grass, but still...
Dude... :p

The winner of that bid is probably going to be someone along the lines of Brickman.
Not necessarily quite that size of corporation, but someone with several trucks and trailers, I would think.

topsites
03-29-2010, 08:59 AM
I mean, not to blow the idea away completely, but here's what I see happening
on an HOA where I service a few residential customers of mine...

Every time I go out there, which is maybe two to three times a month...
What I see...

Is a bunch of guys tackling the roadsides, evidently someone just drops them off with all the
equipment, at least one Ztr and several guys trimming and a walker and a Wb and a push mower
and trimmers and blowers and edgers...
Roughly speaking, I'm really not taking exact inventory of what all they got out there.

But a whole crew, for just one HOA, they're probably there all day, or most of it...
That crew of dudes is there a LOT, I don't swing past there but so often but
they're there at least often enough to catch my attention.

How big that company is, I don't even know the name of it because I don't think I
have ever seen the truck that drops them off and if I did, I didn't catch the name but...

Which, that's just to give an idea as to their size, and I suppose it is possible, one truck and a trailer
but then you'd run back and forth to the shop to pick up equipment and employees in the morning,
ditto in the evening and you really can only count on getting at most 2-3 trips in...

How about lunch?

I would think it's more than just that one truck and trailer?
I would think that's just one of their accounts, out of at least several others like it.
That's just my theory now.

topsites
03-29-2010, 09:08 AM
Here's more, if you did do it with just one truck and trailer...
Have the first one loaded by 6am, take off and get a move on, I mean you got to be OUT of there by 6.
Because it takes 1-2 hours to head out, drop everyone and everything off, and be back at the shop,
load up the next entourage, tools and trimmers and mowers and water cooler and all, guys, too.
You'd get 3 crews like that out and it's noon, almost time to start picking up the guys you dropped off at 6.

Start picking those guys up around 2p and then it's a repeat of the morning, bringing it all back to the shop,
1-2 hours a trip it will be 8p by the time you arrive with the last crew, then I might
recommend doing maintenance, which if you got the guys they can probably tackle as much.

Which, that probably can take care of ONE of those 30 acre parks, unfortunately you can't be spending
the entire week servicing just one account, if that's all your company consists of that would be placing all
your eggs in one basket so you still need more, a lot more.

You ready for this?

grassmasterswilson
03-29-2010, 09:17 AM
I'm not going to question your skills, whether you have the money to get equipment and hire labor. With that being said here are a couple of things to think about.....

What are pay terms?
what is length of contract?
Is this 1 bid or each park bidded individually(you could get 1 or all that way?)
Insurance/worker's comp requirements?
Will I be required to mow before special events, games, etc..could affect scheduleing?

From there just figure your time. Open feilds will be pretty quick. Never hurts to put a bid in. Since you say your town is small might be few companies bidding, but it should be advertised so watch out for outside companies.

howierd3866
03-29-2010, 09:27 AM
before you get your hopes up check to see if you can get bonded.. Bid bond or a bank check for the bid part is easly but then the Performance Bond which is hard to get it goes by your past history of jobs of equal size and how much you have in the bank at all time I think its like 27% of the total Per. Bond. If you can get all that then keep looking at it. Also your first Per Bond will take a long time to get if you never had one. Now for bidding it you going have to bid it so low you will already need to have all the equipment in hand..good luck

sheltonimprovements
03-29-2010, 11:44 PM
Thanks for the input. It is separate sites- about 20 under 20000 square feet, 10 that are about 50000 square and the rest are large 5 acres up to 52 acres with largest mow able area of about 39 acres. They are awarding each property separately. After thinking about and seeing responses I am just going to go after the 50000 and under at a rate I know I can make money at. I will not have to worry about performance bond as I will have letter of credit from bank and I already have workman comp at level needed and 1,000,000-2,000,000 liability as well as 1,000,000 auto for a couple Federal cleaning bids I have. Thanks for all the insight.

LwnmwrMan22
03-30-2010, 01:11 AM
It's going to be a boondoggle.

Whoever gets the large properties will bid and get the small properties as well.

The city will find a contractor bigger than myself to take everything on.

I have a 15' mower, a 72" ZD331, (2) ZD331 60" and a Grandstand. I would NEVER touch this account you're talking about.

We do about 100 acres / week and it's everything we can do with the equipment with 3.5 guys / week.

You'd have to triple the equipment and workers, and you'd never be able to afford it, if it's truely 300 acres.

At one point you were thinking of just (2) 72" Kubotas?????????

For 300 acres, you're going to need at least 8 72" mowers, plus the 3 trucks and trailers to haul them on.

Go back and read all the threads about big area mowing. It's not all it's cracked up to be.

300 acres will probably go for about $6,000 / week. It'll take about 80 man hours, meaning 8 guys could do it in a day, with the right equipment, and you'll probably NET about $8,000 on the project at the end of the year, depending on how quickly you depreciate the equipment you're going to have to buy.

Stay small. Tell the mayor thanks, but no thanks.

fiveoboy01
03-30-2010, 01:52 AM
Not to mention what if he loses the account, then he's stuck with a bunch of equipment that he can't pay for.

It's not wise to buy a piece of equipment specifically for one account.

SouthSide Cutter
03-30-2010, 06:34 AM
Bet it doesnt go for 6000. Probably wont go for 2000. Know of one around here that was 4000 and now its 1400. Dont see how they do it but they do.