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View Full Version : Kansas city has hit all-time low in "lowball bids"


RECESSION PROOF MOWING
01-26-2011, 10:10 PM
$750 total per cut of 27 ac/5000 headstone cemetery * complete with hard edging, any trash pickup, blowing...all within 5 day period, no weekend cutting. Anybody think that city park mowing is getting people rich? Lol...didn't think so. Kansas city: You've hit rock bottom and you're in for a long summer of going through contractors while the cemetery suffers in quality.

$100 for 5 inner city, ghetto parks filled with trash and whores and drugdealers. Yep...$100 gross before any expenses...3 acre total, hard edging, trimming, trash galore (looks like mini city dumpsites), mowing, blowing, and keeping your equipment from being stolen and/or yourself from being shot at. Worth it to ya, guys? Any takers?

Next time you want to venture into the city bidding game, think of the numbers i just gave ya. These fools are just making payroll, covering expenses until the next check arrives in the mail. Nobody's making any money better than $5 per hour when it all comes down to it. Think about that. These guys have 15 mowers, equipment all over the place...make less per hour than minimum. Why do you think most city landscapers live in dumps, have nothing personally, and drive used up cars? They make nothing cleared. Their net is terrible. They pay peter with this week's city check and hope that next week's pays Paul's BP gas card.

grassman177
01-26-2011, 11:09 PM
comlete idiots and that is why i only choose to work where guys like that are not welcome

Richard Martin
01-27-2011, 04:00 AM
Who's Paul?.. j/k

Richard Martin
01-27-2011, 04:11 AM
I'm surprised the city even pays someone to cut the grass with the serious financial problems they're having.

In the meantime, the city is cutting services across the board. In March, the city decided to shut down 28 of its 61 schools in an attempt to close a $50 million budget gap, and the city council has approved a $15 million cut to the police department, slashing civilian positions and stretching the existing police, Funkhouser said.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/budget-deficit-economic-turmoil-deter-cities-pricey-projects/story?id=11183298

Hell on Blades
01-27-2011, 04:40 AM
I went to a bod meeting for something like that last year. They published the winning bids for the last 12 years. They were down to 22.50 per acre, bagged at the pool.

I didn't even turn one in.

grassman177
01-27-2011, 08:33 AM
nope, we stopped years ago now as they prices have gone below what we can even operate at. dont know how anyone else is doing it besides losing money. i guess that is why there are so many new contractors each year!


hey OP!!!!! is those prices from Shawns law and landscape? i know he does only large municipal accounts, has all kinds of trucks and mowers and stuff, but is a super low baller and i know he is in a financial bind from his stupidity in low pricing. he does parks and other things down there in the city, but is from up here.

MOHUSTLER
01-27-2011, 08:56 AM
Leave the city, school and cemetary bids to low ballers. They have allways been under cutting thier work and they dont last. We sell mowers to them every year thinking they are going to get rich doing some job part time and realize they cant hack it.

Id laugh all the way to my next good paying job.

TMlawncare
01-27-2011, 09:15 AM
What is crazy is you would think after you lost your shirt the first year, you would get a clue. OH know, they just go at it again next year. After a while they are out of credit and can't make there payments and pay the workers. What does it take to make some people learn.

delphied
01-27-2011, 09:40 AM
Well by Goshh, if you guys are too good to work for your money, go down and get on the govt dole. You guys are just afraid of a little work. When I was young, we did this stuff for fun. Not for money. Thats the trouble with Americans today. They want it all handed to them.

MOHUSTLER
01-27-2011, 10:33 AM
I dont thinkt that the topic of the thread was to say they dont want to work hard for money. They want to work and be properly compensated.

It hits a point where you do your work for so little money that after your said and done all you have done is wasted your time and added hours and wear and tear to your equipment for no proffit.


I give all the respect in the world to guys in this industry who have figured out how to make thier business work for great proffit. I dont look at them as greedy. Or that they are looking for a handout.

The first couple years as a dealer I might as well been down at the soup kitchen helping out for no money. And yes I complained when my competition was under cutting me and I was looseing money to keep my brands on thier trailers. I wasnt looking for a handout though. Just wanted to keep my light bill paid and keep food on my table.

Penncare
01-27-2011, 10:59 AM
The law of economics will keep tosing out the lowballers who think they can be like Walmart and run a volume business. They soon enough run out of money, credit and willingness to work for nothing and move on. They start with no business plan, usually finance all the equipment and could not explain the difference between net and gross if you gave them an hour to do it. When you ask them what thier business plan is they will say "to work hard and make lots of money." I say let them work for the lowball customers because the folks who want quality and can pay are rarely part of their business plan!

Tinkerer
01-27-2011, 01:13 PM
In the little town I grew up in there is a cemetery thats at least 5 if not more acres. 3-4 people typically bid on mowing it. It was down to $65 per mowing by a gal that was my classmate in school. I told her she was loosing money and wasting time on it. Every 5 or so years she would get a loan on a new mower or her dad would buy her a new one.

SouthSide Cutter
01-27-2011, 01:26 PM
When anybody on here got into this someone else cut it before you. So they probably called us names to. They make bigger faster mowers every year. So they cut it faster and it takes less time. And time is money. But it can only go so low. Nobody wins they loose money because of not knowing how to bid, and you also lost an account so you lose money also. You just have to weather the storm and have a game plan.

Accu-cut Lawn Care
01-27-2011, 06:13 PM
Moons ago... I charged a ridiculously low price for a small town in my area. 3 parks, 12 baseball fields, miles of fenceline to trim... very trashy areas at the diamonds. Major acreage. That was a hot year and a half.

Even at a loss, I sucked it up... Performed my duty as a contractor. No complaints or excuses. 1 saving grace was that I priced the town's guardrails and made bank off of that.

Year 2 comes around. They offer me a 10 percent raise. I say no... Let's put it to bid. At the bid meeting, I gathered ALL of the contractors together and TOLD them what my bid would be... From 50 k to 100k. I was straightforward... and said that, at that price, I would not get the job... but urged people not to sell themselves short.

The winning bid was 40 k! They went bankrupt in 2 months! The city opted to do it themselves after giving me an offer of 55. I ofcourse said no... 100 k. Long story short. The city paid 50 k in equipment and employs 4 full timers to do a shoddy job! Go figure

RECESSION PROOF MOWING
01-27-2011, 11:14 PM
We've got a guy up north, has way too many boulevard contracts to accomplish in 5 day schedule...he'll fail. Had a guy, listen to this, bid $30,000 less than last year, same park and same duties! Left $30K on the table! We do not have any M.I.T. grads working city parks in KC, believe me. These are high school dropout types. Especially in business math 101. My prediction for 2011: Cemetery cutter at $750 for 27ac/5000 headstone job will lose $250 first mow, be out of city park cutting game by mid-May begging for his performance bond returned...never to be seen from again. I predict...guy who got city park 5 park bid in ghetto town kc for $100 WILL cut corners and do what the guy last year did...not cut a few cycles at all! That's right, he'll not only not hard edge those parks, but because the Jackson County inspectors can't cover such a large area, that contractor oh about June and July will systematically not mow the parks in attempt to recoup losses he suffered. And how do I know this fact? I pass these parks to my storage every day of the week. I predict...at least two contractors will be fired first month of boulevard cutting for inadequate quality and missing on time schedule. I also predict liquidation damages levied to a whole host of contractors, thus driving their break even margin deep into the hole. In other words, the city loses because of its greed to take the lowest and worst contractors money can buy. And at the pre-bid meeting, we were all told that this time around, the city wanted BEST BIDS NOT LOWEST in an attempt to upgrade park quality. Just more lies. Lowest and worst always makes it with these folks, no matter what manure they spread at pre-bid meetings. Kansas City has employed mowing companies destined to lose money right from the start...and they don't care. The city's motto: we don't care if a contractor makes money, we want our parks mowed. Well, you better care if a contractor makes money because the ones who don't are scamming you like a punk behind your back. Contractors are not mowing areas of parks that don't get looked at from the road. When inspectors go on vacation, I've seen guys not mow complete parks and get away with it. Mechanical edging? Are you kidding me? lol...these guys don't even own a stick edger! You think all contractors are going to lose money all summer long? Depends on if they are marginally dumb or full-blown insane as to how soon they'll start scamming the city to make up their losses. Get ready to replace a whole lotta guys and going to the second, the third, and the fourth backup bidders on the sheet. And guess what gang...at those levels, you CAN MAKE SOME MONEY. ha ha...can't wait...

delphied
01-27-2011, 11:20 PM
This summer is going to be funny really. Gas prices are going up and people still wont want to raise their prices trying to cut the other guys throat. Mowing for peanuts is going to be the norm.

RECESSION PROOF MOWING
01-27-2011, 11:26 PM
I went to a city park bidding at Overland Park, KS city hall couple years back. I was one of about 7 guys total that put bids in and I was feeling a bit hesitant about putting mine in at $106,000 for the work they wanted. Thought it was too low and I might get burned. Listen to the workload the city wanted, are you sitting down? 490 acres mowed, trimmed, blown every 10 days of the season. Every...10...days. From one end of Overland Park to the other. Close to 1500 ac per month! Well, I was squirming in my chair that afternoon when bids were read and low and behold, my bid was the absolute highest by far in the room of 6 others! I wasn't even close. The winner was a big old guy at $52,000. $52,000. Yes, you read that right. Almost 1500 ac of city park cutting for...$52,000! I could not believe my eyes or ears, caught glimpse of this guy waddling out into the parking lot and stopped him. I said to him, "why in the hell are you smiling, that's a lot of mowing for no money." He turned to me with that grin and replied, "All I care is to make a little bit on every bid win...I can make something off it." And with that he got into his beater truck and drove off thinking he'd conquored the world. That's the stupidity you go up against in the city park mowing game, folks. I've got no better story to tell than that one right there. Unless you have free labor, free equipment, and free expenses...there's absolutely no human way to make a dime off that contract. I don't care how many lies the old man tells. He bought himself a loser contract and feels good about it. That's business mental illness.

RECESSION PROOF MOWING
01-27-2011, 11:39 PM
In the 1990's, my wife loaned money to Subway francise owners chasing that big money hit they all dreamed of. Now, this was pre-Jared days and the financials proved out that once you bought a Subway, pretty much bought a $30K/year job. That's why so many went for 4 or 5 restaurants...couldn't make squat off just one. And their "million dollar plan" was: If I can squeeze $30K off one, shouldn't I be able to earn$150K/yr off 5? No. lol...doesn't work that way, Einsteins. And lowball bidders out there, your math doesn't work any better than these sub shop owners. You add more work, more expense, more hassle, more problems, and net less per store and might scratch out $100K with 5. And that's a big maybe. You'll quadruple your risk, quadruple your headaches, and yeah...might net $70K more overall. But at what cost?

Lowball bidders in the city park boulevard game think that if they collect a bunch of parks, that magically the cost of mowing them will dramatically go down, thus...make more margin. Let me introduce you to those Subway franchise owners...they'd love to meet ya. That's the business plan of the guy up north who collects contracts for no money like he's buying Oriental Avenues and the Oranges on Monopoly. Transport of equipment is the least of your worries on big-ac mowing jobs. Getting the work done on time, within scope of service, and keeping crews working hard throughout the day...those are your headaches. And keep from getting robbed or shot because you're working right out in the line of sight of drugdealers and felons.

For those of you who want to know the truth about big city mowing...keep reading my posts. I could write a book...I'll tell you the truth with zero sugar added.

grassman177
01-28-2011, 08:41 AM
we stopped bidding along time ago on that work for many reasons. the first is the money is no longer there, it is done so cheap we could not recoup costs. forget that!

second is they are crap holes. i dont just wnat to mow crap and have to deal with trash, drug needles etc!!!!! i want to manage a place totally and make it very nice which a city park in our area is never going to happen.

so, let the scrubs gain all that work and come and go, keeps them busy and outta my hair!

ChiefsBeHoofinIt
01-28-2011, 11:08 AM
you guys seem like bigger operations. I'm just starting out but could you please come outbid epic at my apartments they are probably the worst lawn and landscape company i've ever seen. and i swear if these mo fo's blow their trimmings all over my balcony again this spring and summer, ish is gonna go down with the one white guy who checks sprinklers. takes them id say about a 5 man crew 3 days to mow and blow, ruts everywhere. 30 buildings tops, in 5 groupings of 6.

RECESSION PROOF MOWING
01-30-2011, 05:54 PM
you guys seem like bigger operations. I'm just starting out but could you please come outbid epic at my apartments they are probably the worst lawn and landscape company i've ever seen. and i swear if these mo fo's blow their trimmings all over my balcony again this spring and summer, ish is gonna go down with the one white guy who checks sprinklers. takes them id say about a 5 man crew 3 days to mow and blow, ruts everywhere. 30 buildings tops, in 5 groupings of 6.

You're stuck with them. They lowball and drive out all competition in their way. My mom's Leawood property is mowed by them, get this...325 unit complex for $600! Next highest bid was double that. Epic and MExicans are driving wages into the toilet, will continue to drive out competition for as long as the Mexican laborer will work for nothing. As long as residents and apartment managers look for tha absolutel lowest bid, and nothing else, Epic will collect properties like a game of Monopoly.

fredmullegun
01-30-2011, 08:22 PM
You're stuck with them. They lowball and drive out all competition in their way. My mom's Leawood property is mowed by them, get this...325 unit complex for $600! Next highest bid was double that. Epic and MExicans are driving wages into the toilet, will continue to drive out competition for as long as the Mexican laborer will work for nothing. As long as residents and apartment managers look for tha absolutel lowest bid, and nothing else, Epic will collect properties like a game of Monopoly.

That's not true. The Democrats told me that we need Mexicans because Americans are not willing to do the work.

grassman177
01-30-2011, 10:20 PM
that makes sense now since they are the ones doing work now for a builder here that screwed us over, and is now screwing over the local landscape company with starting to use epic. wow, what a small world huh. i was def not impressed with the installs they did except for the big wigs house. it looks amazing but overdone. i guess if you save so much money using lowballers you too can have a multi million dollar place on a dime

Bob_n_weave
01-31-2011, 12:17 AM
I mostly stick with residentials, only 5 commercial accounts. To many low-baller's bidding on Commercial accounts around here. They can have it.

I do this ( part time) to make money, not break even.

RECESSION PROOF MOWING
02-01-2011, 12:30 AM
All you can do is let them have the lowball bids. I lost 475 acres of gov'ment contract work to them bi-weekly. I know exactly how it feels.