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osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 05:56 PM
Hello i was wondering how you estimate by the acre? I have a couple of big bids that i am working on. Going by the acre sounds like the easiest way for customers to understand. I am working on a bid for a 5 acre lot commercial. All open area expect for around the building. I believe it takes me about 2 hours per acre. What is the math formula to figure this out?

Hawkshot99
02-05-2012, 07:14 PM
Hello i was wondering how you estimate by the acre? I have a couple of big bids that i am working on. Going by the acre sounds like the easiest way for customers to understand. I am working on a bid for a 5 acre lot commercial. All open area expect for around the building. I believe it takes me about 2 hours per acre. What is the math formula to figure this out?

What are you mowing with? A 34" mower going 5MPH will mow 1.5 acres per hour at 80% efficiency. You either need bigger machines, or pass on the jobs.

osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 07:31 PM
if i get the job i will get a gravely 60'. I have the credit and a co signer. just need to know the formula you guys use for commercial jobs. i was thinking $1 per min.

osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 07:32 PM
Its for a municipality 38 lawns no more than 6 acres. working on the bid tonight

orangemower
02-05-2012, 07:40 PM
What are you mowing with? A 34" mower going 5MPH will mow 1.5 acres per hour at 80% efficiency. You either need bigger machines, or pass on the jobs.

It's obvious he doesn't know how to figure his time on a job. I do a 3 acre commercial property with ditch lines, drainage ditches and terrain changes everywhere. Not a flat place on the property plus 25min trimming and I'm done in under 2hrs.

osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 07:43 PM
how do you figure the cost for that? I just do residential for now but i thought it would be worth it to put a bid in. I usually do 1 per min no less than $30.00 a lawn.

hitechlm
02-05-2012, 07:53 PM
If you bid by the acre you will lose money. You have to bid by the hr i.e- how long will it take to mow+how long it will take to trim+how long it will take to blow off= total hrs x your hourly rate. You could have one property that is one acre wide open, and you could have one acre with fences, trees, retaining walls and buildings on it, if you bid by the acre you will loose money on the one with all the obstacle's. No offense, but you seem to be getting in over your head, this is the reason the market is in a slump. Uneducated people lowballing properties because they dont know how to accurately bid them and they dont know what their overhead is.

osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 07:58 PM
I am in school for horticulture-landscape. I am getting educated i just thought this would be a great opportunity. 5 1/2 acres i have $180.00 with 15-20 min of trimming. Does that sound right or to high?

hitechlm
02-05-2012, 08:08 PM
No one can tell you what its worth, everyone has different overhead. If your making money then go with it. I hate to break it to you though, but municipalities usually go pretty cheap.

osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 08:13 PM
yep that's what i thought. i pretty much have no over head at the moment. truck, trailer & handhelds are all paid off. Just need to finance a mower. I was thinking if i got this job i would have the mower all paid off by the time the season is over. Next year i would just be making money!

hitechlm
02-05-2012, 08:22 PM
This is what i mean about uneducated people. You have overhead, fuel, taxes, equipment maintenance, insurance and so on. That's all stuff that you have to put into perspective.

osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 08:25 PM
How much do you make a year with your business?

hitechlm
02-05-2012, 08:32 PM
We did $350k this year, would of done more, but with the summer as hot and dry as it was and this winter hasn't been so good for the snow removal business either.

orangemower
02-05-2012, 08:33 PM
How much do you make a year with your business?

What's that got to do with your inability to estimate properly?

The price you came up with is too low IMO.

osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 08:38 PM
Nothing i was just curious. Congrats on making 350K that is great! Orangemower how would you estimate 5 acres ?

orangemower
02-05-2012, 09:09 PM
By how long I think it will take me to service the entire property times my hourly rate.

osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 09:13 PM
what do you charge hourly generally for commercial? i'm just looking for some rough numbers.

hitechlm
02-05-2012, 09:15 PM
I dont know anyone who is going to openly come out and tell you their hourly rate on here. Like i've said, you have to know what its going to cost you first. Its fairly simple math.

orangemower
02-05-2012, 09:55 PM
what do you charge hourly generally for commercial? i'm just looking for some rough numbers.

What I charge is irrelevant to what you need to charge. Honestly if you don't know what to charge you should pass on the job.

osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 09:57 PM
I thought this site was about helping people out

orangemower
02-05-2012, 10:03 PM
It is but what you want is someone to tell you what you should charge and that's something they just can't do. Know your numbers. If you did, you wouldn't need to ask how much a guy makes in a year.

hitechlm
02-05-2012, 10:06 PM
give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for life. With that being said, we told you how to come up with your price. Add up how long it will take you to mow + How long it will take you to trim + how long it will take you to blow off everything = total man hours x what you charge. In order to know what you charge, you need to know what it cost to run your business per hour.

osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 10:07 PM
No i just wanted to know what he averages in a year. I am going to school for horticulture/landscaping and what people make interests me. the numbers are all over. I know how to do the residential accounts i mow but i have never mowed anything over 2 acres. I want to expand so i am trying to get the knowledge to do so. I dont want to underbid and work for pennys. I really wanted some type of formula to base it on.

hitechlm
02-05-2012, 10:07 PM
i think this is a loss cause orangemower

osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 10:08 PM
If you don't try you will never succeed

hitechlm
02-05-2012, 10:10 PM
if you know how long it takes you to mow 10k sq ft then you should know how long it will take you to mow an acre. An acre is about 4.4 times the amount of 10k

T-Trim
02-05-2012, 10:10 PM
No one is going to give you the right way of doing it. You can read all the How to get rich books you want, But none of them will tell you what to do and when to do it. If you know what your costs are to run your business not joe down the street. figure it out monthly. total cost divided by 12. Now you take it from there.

THIESSENS TLC
02-05-2012, 10:11 PM
This site is about helping people, but I don't think asking people how much they make is any of your business. Everybody has overhead whether they realize it or not. Obviously you need to figure out your overhead & how much you want to charge per hour. No one can give you a real price to go by. I think you need to do some number crunching! Good luck.
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osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 10:15 PM
Okay thanks. I took a look at the property's today and wrote down some notes on how much trimming & edging is needed. I will have to figure out how much gas i will use & the time it takes and i should be able to get a good idea. I just thought the bidding would be different for commercial since everyone says its the better money. Sorry guys i was kind of in a bad mood today. I apologies for my ignorance. A lot of people have been telling me that there is no money to be made in the landscape industry. I am going to prove them wrong!

hitechlm
02-05-2012, 10:16 PM
if you do things right, then theres money to be made.

orangemower
02-05-2012, 10:23 PM
Tell us this much. Do you know what everything costs you to operate per hour? What do you pay for insurance? How about fuel? Taxes? How much do you spend on trimmer line and mix oil? How much did it cost you to have business cards made up? Do you know how much it took in fuel to mow for one hour? There's a ton of other stuff to add to the list.
Have you read through a bunch of threads in the "starting a lawn care business"?

osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 10:44 PM
yes for the equipment i have. I would have to upgrade to a ZTR 60'

Flex-Deck
02-05-2012, 10:56 PM
In my opinion, by the acre is the only way to bid. The businesses in my area know that they will pay between $20 - $35 per acre depending upon the obstacles, and difficulty. They really don't give a crap as to wheather I have a 21" push mower that takes 2 hrs/acre, or a 60" Z that does and acre in 20 minutes. Their acre is an acre, that is no bigger or smaller than anyone else's acre, and should cost no more or less than everyone else's acre of equal difficulty.

osmann_lawn
02-05-2012, 11:09 PM
only 20-35 an acre i get more for half an acre. that does not sound right....

Flex-Deck
02-05-2012, 11:18 PM
only 20-35 an acre i get more for half an acre. that does not sound right....

I am talking multiple commercial accounts. I have a $45 minimum bid that covers the first acre. So if someone with a postage stamp yard wants us, it is $45. I am not geared up for tiny yards, so that is really not a situation I deal with. Thanks, Brad

weeze
02-05-2012, 11:25 PM
i did a 3 acre job and got $150 a cut. took 2 1/2 hrs on average. it had about 45min of trimming. took about 1 1/2 hrs to mow and 15min to blow everything off. i'm not totally sure if it was exactly 3 acres. i just estimate property size. to me it's more about how long it takes to do the job. i still made more than my usual rate on the job. the usual is $50 per hour. i'd say $200 for a 5 acre yard is about right depending on the layout of the property and where you live.

OneLineAtATime
02-05-2012, 11:33 PM
Must guys are at $30-$50 per man hour

-Mowing grass
-Trimming Shrubs
-Pruning Trees
-Etc

Flex-Deck
02-05-2012, 11:37 PM
i did a 3 acre job and got $150 a cut. took 2 1/2 hrs on average. it had about 45min of trimming. took about 1 1/2 hrs to mow and 15min to blow everything off. i'm not totally sure if it was exactly 3 acres. i just estimate property size. to me it's more about how long it takes to do the job. i still made more than my usual rate on the job. the usual is $50 per hour. i'd say $200 for a 5 acre yard is about right depending on the layout of the property and where you live.

Well, that is where we are different - I have a 22 acre account that goes for $500/mow, and it takes me 6.5 hrs with one X748 (With 2 miles of curbing trimmed - I have a special deck that drops onto the curb on rollers, so I trim them as I mow lol) This is a very standard and normal time-acre settup we have, so as you can see we are producing about $77/hr of tach time.
Thanks, Brad PS> Our mowers and crews average $50/hr when you include travel time. From the time they leave my house in the AM to the time they return, they average $50/hr/man-machine.

weeze
02-05-2012, 11:46 PM
22 acres in 6hrs for $500? i'm not even sure what a x748 is. must be a big mower or a bushhog? my prices are for a ztr mower. i wouldn't even attempt to cut 22 acres in one day on my mower. :laugh: i would charge $750-$1000 for 22 acres but it would take me alot longer than 6hrs. depends on the amount of trimming and edging. i dont' have any special trimmer deck mount or anything. i don't do any jobs larger than 5acres at the moment. i just don't have the right equipment for it.

Flex-Deck
02-05-2012, 11:52 PM
22 acres in 6hrs for $500? i'm not even sure what a x748 is. must be a big mower or a bushhog? my prices are for a ztr mower. i wouldn't even attempt to cut 22 acres in one day on my mower. :laugh:

I also have a JD 997 and with the special attachment it mows 8' and will do the same place in about 6hrs. the X748 is the JD 4wd garden tractor with a 24 hp yanmar (full time with hydrolic assist front wheels that speed up when turning). I have a addition to both sides of the deck to make 8' - Mows like a bandit. lol

weeze
02-05-2012, 11:57 PM
that's a wide cut you got going there. :laugh: you must do alot of big jobs with that thing. most larger acreage around here they just use a tractor with a bushhog and cut it once or twice a year. those lots never look good though. it's just pastures not manicured lawns. most of them don't even do that. they just have cows that eat the grass to keep it cut. :laugh:

fastlane
02-06-2012, 12:00 AM
yep that's what i thought. i pretty much have no over head at the moment. truck, trailer & handhelds are all paid off. Just need to finance a mower. I was thinking if i got this job i would have the mower all paid off by the time the season is over. Next year i would just be making money!

This is why some people go broke ! If you only charge enough to pay labor and a mower, and set your price accordingly next year you won't have money to buy any needed equipment. It's hard to raise rates to where they should be when you start out too low.

Puddle of Oil
02-06-2012, 02:19 AM
read this osmann http://lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=341624&highlight=bid+commercial

OneLineAtATime
02-06-2012, 07:39 AM
Nobody mows big??? I got a $1000 cut that takes 50 man hrs, and $100 in gas... We do it with two lazers, i don't know how many acres it is. Everyone here hates Tuesdays

hitechlm
02-06-2012, 08:34 AM
Nobody mows big??? I got a $1000 cut that takes 50 man hrs, and $100 in gas... We do it with two lazers, i don't know how many acres it is. Everyone here hates Tuesdays

Wow thats really sad, you make less than $20 per hour when you take the fuel cost out. This is the problem with industry, I dont understand why anyone would be happy with just breaking even. I didnt start a lawn care company because i loved doing it, or to make jobs for people, i started it to make money.

weeze
02-06-2012, 03:29 PM
$1000 for 50hrs of work? yeah that's too cheap of a price to me. i can work 30hrs a week and make $1500. you are working almost double and making 1/3 less money.

Blades Away
02-06-2012, 04:33 PM
This is about as simple as it can get:

Figure in what equipment you have, what expenses you have. That truck that is paid off still cost you money. You need to figure out your windshield time, advertising cost, any cost that is associated with you running your business. Your equipment will probably only last a certain amount of hours. Figure in that cost. You need to know how much fuel your equipment consumes per hour. The list goes on and on.

Remember , you will have repairs, be prepared for them by charging accordingly. You will also need to replace equipment. Charge for that as well. You want to be paid as well. Charge for that. If you are getting a 60"ztr, be prepared to raise your overhead. It all depends on how much you make with your customers, what your market can bare, and what your overhead is. If you can figure out that info, you have a good starting point.

Also, hourly pricing is a great way to bid. Your customer usually will want to know what it is going to cost them total. Figure out how long it will take you to service the property, multiply that by your hourly rate. Then there ya go!

Flex-Deck
02-07-2012, 10:01 PM
In my opinion, by the acre is the only way to bid. The businesses in my area know that they will pay between $20 - $35 per acre depending upon the obstacles, and difficulty. They really don't give a crap as to wheather I have a 21" push mower that takes 2 hrs/acre, or a 60" Z that does and acre in 20 minutes. Their acre is an acre, that is no bigger or smaller than anyone else's acre, and should cost no more or less than everyone else's acre of equal difficulty.

I keep seeing where people are bent on "Figure your costs - add what profit you want - bid that price for a property" If I had a propery, lets say for example 10 acres that I wanted to put out for bids, I am going to have a pretty good idea what the bid should be for the area I am in. In my particular area, those jobs get mowed for about $250-$270. I as the owner do not care what your costs are, or what profit you want. I want my yard mowed, and not only that, I will get my yard mowed for about $250 - $270. The guy that gets the bid is responsible for figuring out the type of equipment he needs to make the job profitable to him. It is not my responsibility as a customer to fulfill profit need of the non imaginative and inefficient operator who is taking on my propery with ill sized or ill suited equipment to get the job done in the parameters of $250 - $270. We have an operation that gets a 10 acre job done with two machines in just under 2 hrs. If one would like to show up with a 21" pusher and spend 2 days, so be it. The customer is going to pay $250 - $270 irreguardless, and if you think you can come in and bid $300 for this size job in this area, the good news is your overhead will be very small, because you will not need to purchase any mowers or hire any employees because you will have no clients.