View Full Version : how much would you bid to mow 33 acres?

agent walker
02-13-2012, 05:12 PM
A local college is accepting bids for mowing 2 large flat areas of lawn. One is approx 10 acres, the other 23. its all flat, smooth ground, they aerate and roll it every year. There is no weed eating, and very few objects to mow around. When it was bid out a few years ago, most the bids were around $17-18 per acre, but a lowballer got it for around $11 per acre! I have 2 26hp walker mowers with 74 in decks and a 60in exmark. I'm not really sure I want the job, cause it will take most they day for 2 guys. All my equipment is paid for. And I pay insurance and taxes and workmans comp. I'm curious what you all would bid on a job like this??

02-13-2012, 05:17 PM
I'd probably bid it at 20 an acre, u should be able to do around 3 acres an hour with each of those mowers, thus getting 60 dollars per man hour.
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02-13-2012, 05:20 PM
Id let the lowballer keep it. You'll waste your time figuring out what to charge and more then like not get it.
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02-13-2012, 05:31 PM
Yea, screw that...lets say $350 is what you could get it for. 2 laborers at at least $10 an hour (not even counting the other legit fees) would be $160, add in fuel and everything else, SCREW THAT!

02-13-2012, 05:53 PM
33x20= $660

i would say $25 per acre or walk. $825

or you could just say $750 and you will do it. not sure what that is per acre.

02-13-2012, 05:55 PM
a lowballer got it for around $11 per acre!

I'm not really sure I want the job, cause it will take most they day for 2 guys. All my equipment is paid for. I pay insurance and taxes and workmans comp.

Why are you worried about what the bid went for a couple of years ago? Are you in business to just 'get the work', or to make money? $11 x 33 acres divided by 2 man days equals $22.68 per hour - net. Will you make money at that price?

Decide if you want to compete against a two year old price, or do you want to make money?

Bid the job to make money for your company and yourself. You already have a price in mind for what you want to bid. It's not going to take a lot more of your time to put it on paper and submit the price. If you don't get the job, move on and make money other places.


02-13-2012, 05:58 PM
Figure your costs, overhead, and desired profit margin and turn it in. Worse case is you don't get it. Best case you get it at your desired price.
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02-13-2012, 08:37 PM
$1,650.00 Thats with the discount.

Glenn Lawn Care
02-13-2012, 08:40 PM
I wouldn't even waste my time!! $11 thats effing insane!

SouthSide Cutter
02-13-2012, 09:39 PM
Just depends on how fast you can mow it. Say you got a rig that can mow it in three hrs. 300 would be 100 a hr. A pretty good size dozer is cheaper than that. A 100000.00 tri axle dump truck is only 75 to 85 a hour also.

02-13-2012, 10:28 PM
$1,650.00 Thats with the discount.

i like your thinking, i'd be pulling down $150 an hour.

agent walker
02-13-2012, 10:47 PM
well the guy that had been doing had his family working for him so i'm pretty sure he didn't have workmens comp and probably didn't pay them much. He had cancer and died rather suddenly last year, and i'm not sure if they're keeping on the mowing biz or not. There's absolutely no way I would mow it for 11 an acre! to fireguy i'm definitely in it to make money, not just to work. I do know at this point there are no other bids and the bid needs turned in by march. I was thinking 20-25 an acre and figure it will take 2 guys 4.5-5hrs

02-13-2012, 10:52 PM
Here in SE Iowa, I bid a 41 acre area at $700 and it was high. I think around here, 25-35/acre depending on obstacles works up to around the 5 acre size, but as the size increases, the $/acre bid needs to go down a bit, and in reality it should. One unload - mowers are running 100% of the time. I could have done quite alright on the 41 acre bid (Two of my mowers would have taken about 6 hrs.), but maybe the person that is now doing it does ok. This is a free market system. I have a nice clientel and am doing fine. Some day that 41 acre place may run out of bids lower than $700 and we will be doing it.

02-13-2012, 11:39 PM
It should take you about 3hrs give or take half an hr if you are doing it on a weekly-every other week basis. I think $15per acre is good.....$500 bucks, comes out to about $50 per man hr. Now if the job is only once per month or something I wouldnt even bid on it.

agent walker
02-13-2012, 11:46 PM
it's every week during growing season, or as needed if it gets to dry in summer

02-16-2012, 11:47 AM
We would bid this at $400 if it was on our route but we have a 16 ft Jacobsen and would be there for 1.5 hours max for 1 man. You figure this machine does three to four times the work of a 60" mower. My personal opinion is leave these big properties to the companies with the bigger equipment. I am a little biased in that opinion but you will end up creating more head ache for yourself. We used to do a 55 acre school district and was out bid by 60 percent. It took us 5 hours total with 3 and the new company bid it and it takes 3 of them 2 full days. Its up to you but they can be more head ache than good.

agent walker
02-16-2012, 10:28 PM
I do have 2 mowers with 74" deck but It will take 2 guys close to half day as best I can estimate. I'm not sure what other jobs i'll get yet this year, if I didn't get many I could take it on, but if i can get a bunch of smaller ones it would pay better. I'm definetly not bidding it cheap!

02-18-2012, 10:55 PM
Wow. If I got prices like u guys are quoting I Defitley would not be in this business.

33 acres?! 3 hours?! 500?! Seriously?

I think that's gonna take 3 guys a long time to mow. My price would be well over a thousand bucks.

I wouldn't get the job and I think I would be fine with that.

02-19-2012, 02:49 AM
Not trying to knock on you gqnine but it really doesn't take long to mow acreage like that, it's a whole different ball game than
Mowing residential acreage. Its easy to knock out 10 acres per hr with three 60" zero turns at 60% efficiency
As long as you are mowing on weekly intervals. That job would profit me $200 dollars in under 4 hrs after labor and overhead
costs when priced at 500
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Procut lawn expert
02-19-2012, 03:14 AM
it may be paid for but it want last forever .. you are going to have to make the money to buy more mowers somewhere .. i get more than 300 for 17 acres . you do have so much a hr to put back for equipment ,fuel and what ever else may break through the year ..i put more than 11. a hr up for my equipment yea mine is paid for but when i have to go buy four new mowers i want them to be paid for to ..but you know its all up to you ,you are the one doing the work if you feel that your work is not worth no more than that go for it

Procut lawn expert
02-19-2012, 03:21 AM
see its people like that , that will take 11 dollars a hr to mow commercial property that is making it so hard for the guys that are going to make it . but we don't have to worry about them long usually they can't buy gas next summer or when it goes to 5.00 a gallon this summer .. i don't sees how they can have insurance and gas money for 11 a hr i pay my men 10.00 to 15.00 then put 12 a hr up for equipment i figure up the cost of each piece of equipment break in all the way down to the life time hours to get how much a hour to charge for it .

02-19-2012, 10:05 AM
Not trying to knock on you gqnine but it really doesn't take long to mow acreage like that, it's a whole different ball game than
Mowing residential acreage. Its easy to knock out 10 acres per hr with three 60" zero turns at 60% efficiency
As long as you are mowing on weekly intervals. That job would profit me $200 dollars in under 4 hrs after labor and overhead
costs when priced at 500
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U r right . My experience with huge acreage is somewhat limited. We do mow a property about 15 acres and it takes two guys most of a day but we do usually have to mow it twice because it is not cut weekly. For 33 acres I would still want at least 1200. A Jacobsen is the way to go.

02-19-2012, 10:34 AM
Just because the Jacobsen can do it faster doesn't mean you can do it for dirt cheap.

That jacosbsen has a much higher initial investment. You are dealing with dozens of hydraulic lines, etc... which are susceptible to leaks and the like. More fuel. Expensive repairs. Hard to find a backup in case of major failure.

Then factor in this is the only property you have to use it on, what if you lose the bid?

I've been tossing around the idea of buying one, but I just can't justify it unless I went after a whack of work requiring it. Those machines just are not worth owning unless it's running most of the week.

02-19-2012, 01:52 PM
3 man crew probably a day so about $1,800

02-19-2012, 02:45 PM
Full day with 3 guys??? Are you using 32" walkbehinds lol?
I really dont want to create an argument here since I am new to the forum and I respect and appreciate everyones input here but I am just a little baffled by the fact you guys think it will take such a long time to mow an area that size. I have mowed open acreage this size many times before and if you have a good crew its not a big deal.
Here is what the productivity should be based on my experience......
I dont have experience with walkers but I assume they are just as productive as other ZTRs
Mower #1 Exmark 60"
Mower #2 Walker 72"
Mower #3 Walker 72"

Total width of 17ft so lets say 15ft to cover for overlap.

Average Mowing Speed in Wide open weekly cut Lawn 5mph(actual) Based on ZTR rated at 9mph once you factor in turning and cutting speed comes to around 5mph

5 (mph) X 5280ft(1mi)= 26400ft linear distance covered per hr

26400ft X 15ft (cutting width)= 396000 Sq ft covered per hr

396000 divided by 43500(approx 1 acre) = 9.1 acres per hr

That comes to about 3.5 hrs to do the job. So lets say 4 hrs

500/4 = $125 per hr per crew

-200 Wages
-105 Mower and Mower Fuel Operating Cost
- 15 Truck and Fuel ( Assuming Half Day Truck Use and Fuel on Route to Other Jobs)
- 20 Misc Office and Other Expenses
$160 Profit before Taxes send out the guys to do it. I agree its not great but its not bad either to add around another 4k profit to the year. If you had a full schedule of jobs like that at that profit rate you would add another 50k a year to your profit before your personal or corperate tax based on an 8 month growing season. Now tell me if you think Im still wrong.

02-20-2012, 12:46 AM
I'm sorry. You can't mow 33 acres in 3.5 hours with three mowers.

Unless you're mowing in Disneyland.

Your prices are very reasonable though. I wish you lived around here. I'd have you cut my lawn every day for 15 dollars and 15 cents an acre.

02-20-2012, 01:46 AM
Thank you for your opinion Cadzilla.

02-20-2012, 09:40 AM
www.landscapecalculator.com Go here and there is a mowing calculator. I've never used it so I don't know how well it works. I put in 72" mower at 5 mph and it says you can mow 3.27 acres an hour.

02-20-2012, 09:40 AM
You can mow 33 acres in 3.5 hours with 3 mowers. Its wide open area. I am not sure why a guy is posting this question. First of all, if you are already in the business, one should know how to price something. Second, if a guy is used to mowing small areas, residential, light commercial, how can you give a resonable answer to this? Also, on areas like this, you have no reason to buy a Jacobsen mower. Its one job. I own two Jacobsen R311T mowers, but we mow 450 acres a week! I think I read $1500 is what someone would charge for this, really? I am not sure why anyone ask or answers the questions about what to charge. It all depends on what your area can and will pay. I know out here in the middle of Iowa, I cant charge near what others do, especially on plowing snow. The market just won't bear the higher prices. These questions are kind of funny to read, but even more comical when I read the responses.

agent walker
02-27-2012, 03:22 PM
thanks txlawn for your formula. I looked at the property today and its not as flat open mowing as i was led to believe, there are several buildings, track, driving range softball field and 2 small ponds and rc airplane runway to go around. it also has some rough spots.

02-27-2012, 04:57 PM
I'm currently bidding a property that's 35 acres. So I feel the pain of the OP trying to figure out if its worth it. Guess we'll see when the bids go in.

agent walker
02-27-2012, 05:57 PM
Let me know what it goes for. I just bid it @ 28 an acre and am pretty sure I won't get it. But that's fine.
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02-27-2012, 11:57 PM
$1,650.00 Thats with the discount.

I am right at $1,650.00 myself. You guys are way to low!!! If I had a few wider ztr's I could see dropping it to $$1,200.00

green jeans 509
02-28-2012, 01:13 AM
I understand different areas charge different prices but what the *^&* how can anybody or myself be missing this. I run a 48 walker yes i know its slow ive had some experiences with the fast stand behinds 54 in but it would take me 1 hour going 5 mph with the walker to mow (landscaped) 1 acre of grass 43,500 sqft or whatever it is and you could probably say 45-50 min with a stand behind. I know for a fact that the bigger lawn companys around here charge $180 for 1 acre mow and trim and personally I charge 120 mow and trim or $99 just to mow what can I possibly be missing or how on earth could someone charge even $20 an acre people slam lowballers on here all the time but if I could sub out all my work based even on $50 an acre I sh!t you not I promise I would be richer than anyone one here or in my area period. My avg lawn is 15k sqft of grass and my avg price is $45+tx. So can somebody please tell me what could I possibly be missing. Would I touch 33 acres? Yes! For absolutly anything less than $2640 + tax put the contract in front of me and not a chance in the world would I take it after overhead, paying employees and myself plus the very soon replacement of the equipment not worth it.

02-28-2012, 08:04 AM
33 acres, $500 bucks. Wow. No wonder I have yet to get any new contracts this year.
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agent walker
02-28-2012, 01:29 PM
the other way to look at it is one guy can mow 3.5 to 4.5 acres per hour, thats still $98-126 per hour. Just curious how much some of you are charging an hour, and what kind of overhead you have that requires that kind of cost to cover expense. around here i think the equipment dealership is only charging $75 an hr and the mower dealer is @ 60 or 65.

green jeans 509
02-28-2012, 01:42 PM
Agent walker my overhead is about $28 ph and try to pay myself $30 ph after taxes obviously not so much. Given your name I am curious to if you run a walker? If so how is it possible to mow 3.5-4.5 acres ph with 1 guy. I was looking at a navigator that is 2mph faster than a walker and claims 3 something acres ph. As I stated it would take me 1 hour to mow 1 acre of grass at least. I dont have any straight wide open yards but how is it possible?

agent walker
02-28-2012, 01:46 PM
Yes I run 2 09 walker ghs 26hp efi. They both have speedup kits and 74in side discharge decks. There's no way I'd do 33 acres with catching decks!
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02-28-2012, 06:11 PM
i have 2 48 wbs and a 60 inch z so it would be some were around a day idk im just guessing maybe 5-6 hours with trimming. 1800 sounds fair to me

04-01-2012, 09:57 PM
i charge 35 an acre for one of our accounts but some parts of it are quite steep and the best you can do with a 74 inch walker is around an acre and a half an hour or a little less

JCLawn and more
04-01-2012, 10:57 PM
um a 60inch kubota around 6-8hrs of work depending on how fancy I get with lines. I mow a 15 acre property and I am done in 3-4 hrs with it depending on the direction of lines. I would be more than happy with $500.