View Full Version : Commercial Property Mowing Estimate Help?

06-01-2011, 01:51 PM
I will be submitting a bid for mowing a commercial property, which the area is approximately 26,000 sqft. It will take about 2hrs to complete the job (mow, blow, and edge). This will be my first commercial bid, and I am trying to figure out how I should base my rate.

My question is: Should I base the rate on residential sqft. pricing, ie. $36 per 5000 sqft of turf? Knowing my low overhead, what formula should be used to generate the pricing and equipment paid for. Your help is greatly appreciated, as I am new to the business, and respect your seasoned knowledge.


starry night
06-01-2011, 02:26 PM
Does your overhead and operating costs change if you are on a commercial vs. a residential lawn?

If you have calculated your rate properly , then there is no reason
why the two would be any different. JMO

06-01-2011, 02:45 PM
With my equipment paid for, the highest overhead cost are man hours and insurance. Insurance is constant and manhours varies. Based from your response, I guess I am headed in the right direction. Just want to make sure I am not cutting myself and the business short. thanks Dirtandhoops

starry night
06-01-2011, 03:13 PM
On the other hand, it is cheaper to do one location at 26,000 sq ft than it is to travel to four different locations to do the same amount. And is this commercial location more open and obstacle free than your typical residentials or is it more difficult?

06-01-2011, 03:35 PM
The commercial property is pretty much open, not to many obstacles, just a few small tree beds. And i agree with you, it is cheaper to service this commercial property for about 2-3 hours a week versus, driving to 4-5 residential properties. I have been trying to think of all the advantages and disadvantages. There are not many disadvantages. So far, I have come up with $145.00/cut for 26,000sqft.

06-01-2011, 04:05 PM
the major disadvantages to commercial jobs is ....if your schedule is full and you lose the 2 +hours of work its a substantial loss to your company ... if all your commercials are 2+ hours it limits the number of jobs you are capible of completing daily again putting you at a higher risk of failure if 2 jobs fire you ........ Dont invest nuch time in a commercial job because every year a new lawn guy will bid it $1.00 lower to get it from you . welcome to business 101

06-01-2011, 05:40 PM
at just over 1/2 an acre why is it going to take 2 hours? Especially if its wide open and not a lot of obsticles? We do a 33k strip mall and it takes 2 of us 1 hour mow, trim, collect large trash items from parking lot (about 1 acre) and then blow it off. Theres a lot of trimming since theres smaller islands and areas inaccessable with a ztr or wb. The blowing is tough becasue its like a wind tunnel there and everything has a curb line.

Your way to high on that job. I am getting $60.00/cut on mine, which is a good price. I wasnt the low bidder but I wasnt the high bidder either. But 2 hours for 1/2 acre? What equipment are you using a 36" wb?

06-01-2011, 06:05 PM
2hr timeframe was the max, which I was using given the amount of edging, trimming, blowing and trash removal. Also, this was the beginning project time, which I feel the time will be faster as we become more fimiliar with the property. We will be using a 36"wb, 48"wb and 2- 21" for sidewalk areas.

starry night
06-01-2011, 06:08 PM
I wondered about that, too. I don't compare prices per acre or 1000 sq ft or whatever because each area's economy is different. But, we all have the same capacity for time management no matter where we live.

Glenn Lawn Care
06-01-2011, 06:25 PM
I have come up with $145.00/cut for 26,000sqft.


06-01-2011, 06:33 PM
exactly. Production times for companies shoud be fairly close to one an other. We figure that our 48" wb can do about 30k per hour and our 36" can do roughly 20k per hour. So with that being said, if you have two people on property, you should be able to simply have 1 guy cutting with the walkbehind and then the other guy can start buy doing the island areas and stuff, and when hes finished start trimming. Do you know how many linear feet of trimming there is and how much actual push mowing there is? I would venture to say 2 people can easily be in and out in about 1 hour on that job. Just with the given information. Doesnt sound like theres a ton of trimming or anything but I could be wrong. Can you give a little more property info?

06-01-2011, 06:54 PM
This is very interesting and I agree with you both. On this particular property, they were previously paying approximately 161.00 per cut??? I will get you the numbers of linear ft shortly.

06-01-2011, 08:50 PM
815 linear ft.

Darryl G
06-01-2011, 09:22 PM
I don't get how that would take 2 hours. Maybe 45 minutes. Call me a lowballer but sounds like a $50 or $60 job to me.

06-01-2011, 09:45 PM
You can call me a high baller. Doing the same thing about the same size with lots of curbs, hills, pick up trash, bagging, islands at commercial locations. 165.00 to 175.00plus fuel surcharge. 2 guys and 1 1/2 hours to do it right. You had said low over head and equipment is paid for. Please be sure to remember that equipment does break down and at some point it all will need replaced. Don't fear a fair price. Stress quality to the customer. If you are a little high negotiate for more work done. Good Luck !!

06-01-2011, 10:14 PM
Thanks to all for your help.
Gebby, you are correct. I try to put a percentage of the funds back into the business, and we are always trying to maintain the equipment with attention to detail.
Attention to detail and quality service is what we strive for, so, we aim to finish in a timely manner, with the thought of being ecomonicly sound. bc what i have found with speaking with many of my current customers, they appreciate how we care for there property.

06-01-2011, 11:46 PM
That just sounds high to me. I plugged the numbers into my formula (just rough ideas). 815 feet of trimming should take you about 15 minutes with walking time between areas. Figure on like 25 minutes if you have some obsticles to trim as well. how much area would you say actually needs to be push mowed? I am seeing this site taking maybe 1-1.25 hours at the most with 2 guys. In our area we are getting about $35.00 per man hour for maintenance work so that equates to like $70.00 to 85.00 per visit. Is bagging the account required? We dont bag islands, we just put a mulch plate on the push and make sure to trim so the clippings fly inwards towards the islands and it really reduces the blowing.

Just from the sounds of it. The one guy with the 48 should be able to cut the main part in probably around 30-40 minutes or so. Trimming should take say 30 minutes just to be safe. That leaves you 1 labor hour of picking up trash and blowing the site off which should be mare than enough time. Just my opinion on the matter with my prices too. Most small business should be right around $20.00/hour cost, so at $35.00/hour your making more that 50% profit.

I think it would help if maybe you posted an aerial image of the site so we can get a better idea of it. a 26k site with 10k in islands is much different than a 26k site with like 2k worth of islands.

06-02-2011, 01:20 AM
The customer doesn't give a rat what someone is striving for,
all they want is the very best for the absolute least.

06-03-2011, 11:22 AM
I cant see this job taking over 30 minutes of clock time for 2 people using the right equipment. I wouldnt use a walkbehind on it and depending on the islands width (if over 4' wide) i see it being a $40.00 cut in route or $50.00 within 5 miles