PDA

View Full Version : Check my quote please


Fine Gardens Landscaping
05-24-2012, 04:19 PM
I've been having mediocre landing jobs. I only get a couple of quote requests per month. Then I rarely get those jobs that I quote. So I'm really going to sharpen my pencil on this one and hopefully land the job.

The job is weekly maintenance on an apartment complex in Alameda, CA. The two big negatives about the job is that it requires a lot of topiary pruning, additionally the beds have rock in them with no weed block. So it's going to require spraying round up to control weeds, and then it's going to be a hassle cleaning shrub clippings out of the rock when I prune.

I included a picture of the complex below. It goes from the driveway all the way to the corner, then it bends around has some frontage on the water side as well. It's basically twice as big as what you can see in the google maps.

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&biw=1058&bih=1415&q=301+broadway+alameda&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x808f86a3de2a0525:0x323a33e7a9bebd67,301+Broadway,+Alameda,+CA+94501&gl=us&ei=LoS-T-v-DuariQKBg9zgBw&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1&ved=0CAkQ8gEwAA

The job is all shrubs and ornamental trees. Lawn mowing, weed control in lawn, beds, etc., blowing, fertilizing lawn and shrubs, programming clock and monitoring irrigation system. Once a year lawn aeration.

Extras: Sprinkler repair, trees over 20', landscape improvements.

My estimate for services on a monthly basis:

4 man hours a week for general maintenace (includes materials): $880
1 hour a month for irrigation checks:$50
Hauling: $45
Annual lawn aeration broken down into monthly: $25

Total: $1,000 a month

That's how much I'd like to get for the job, however if I knew their magic number I'd be willing to fudge with the price. Getting a job at a reduced price would be better than not getting it at all. However, I'd hate to be doing it for $850 a month if they would have said yes to $1,000 a month.

Anyway, what do you think about my estimate/pricing?

Do you have any suggestion for me on how I can feel client out on pricing before I submit the bid? I'm considering just calling the property manager telling him my quote verbally and how he thinks that will go over with the owner.

Thanks for any help on this!

Dr.NewEarth
05-24-2012, 05:00 PM
I like to give them a weird number like $998.00. Then they might think that it is the cost instead of a rounded up number.

I couldn't give you an idea of what to charge, as you know your business costs.

Telling the manager any-thing about your price could be a bad move. You don't know who's side he is on.

You will have to expect to do some hand weeding, as well as use glyphosate. Why not look into using a pre-emergent? I don't know what you can legally use down there.

Also, the topiary may take longer to prune than you think. And one slight wrong move and you can chop off some-thing you want to keep on the shrub. Hard work on the arms and shoulders. More so than a normal hedge.

How about buying some-thing like, an Echo blower/Vacuum? That will help with the clean-up in the rocks.

Fine Gardens Landscaping
05-24-2012, 07:31 PM
Yeah I was wondering about rounding it down to a precise number, I'll probability do that.

I will use a pre-emergent coupled with glyphosate in the bed areas. I didn't mention that in my first post, but I was planning on doing that.

I don't think there's much chance of me damaging the shrubs. They're just shaped into balls. I could try the blower vac. I generally use burlaps and tarps to cover the rocks. It takes time to set up, but it really speeds up the clean-up.

Florida Gardener
05-24-2012, 08:33 PM
OK

Use sureguard herbicide in all rock areas. You will get around 4-6 months of coverage. That will severely limit the amount of roundup needed and hand-pulling. You could lower your bid that way and save a lot of time. I think your bid is about right considering how detailed the pruning is. I wouldn't give too much info to the property manager. I would def. give a typed out bid detailing exactly what you will be doing. It will look more professional, and explain why your price is what it is. Good luck.

Fine Gardens Landscaping
05-25-2012, 01:26 PM
Thanks for the tip about the sureguard, I'll definitely use that.

lukemelo216
06-03-2012, 04:39 PM
Personally I would say your quite high on that job. Since its CA, im assuming about 42 cuts or so per year? 4 hours per week seems a little high, especially in the slow time of the year. Id say your looking at about 2-3 hours per week and that includes mowing and your weeding etc. depending on the time of the year. IF you prune twice per year, thats probably about 16-20 hours of work right there. If your not getting a lot of your jobs, my guess is your rate is probably a little high, maintenance is usually right about $40-$45 per hour, construction is a hair higher, probably around $54-$60/hour. Everyone on here alway says $60, $75, $100 to cut grass, but I stongly doubt that. With that you can probably plan on about 120-130 hours per season for the site, which will get you about $5600, plus probably about $250 for aeration, another $500-600 for fertilizer. Should be about a $6500 per year account, or about $540-550 per month (based on 12 month payment plan)

Duekster
06-03-2012, 04:56 PM
I did not take off the site either. I am on board with the odd numbers. I do not even like 998, I would rather go $978.00

I also do as mentioned above.

Say 44 visits @ $x = ?/12 for a monthly.

Can you apply Cutless to the shrubs?

Only use a pre-em in the rock beds if you can water it in.

You have to develop your system for bidding and then also trust your gut. Hopefully the two match or are close.

Mikegyver
06-03-2012, 09:42 PM
Are you talking about the place on the corner with the white roof or the whole block? If it was the whole block there's no way i would do it for that much per month :dizzy:

Florida Gardener
06-03-2012, 11:30 PM
Personally I would say your quite high on that job. Since its CA, im assuming about 42 cuts or so per year? 4 hours per week seems a little high, especially in the slow time of the year. Id say your looking at about 2-3 hours per week and that includes mowing and your weeding etc. depending on the time of the year. IF you prune twice per year, thats probably about 16-20 hours of work right there. If your not getting a lot of your jobs, my guess is your rate is probably a little high, maintenance is usually right about $40-$45 per hour, construction is a hair higher, probably around $54-$60/hour. Everyone on here alway says $60, $75, $100 to cut grass, but I stongly doubt that. With that you can probably plan on about 120-130 hours per season for the site, which will get you about $5600, plus probably about $250 for aeration, another $500-600 for fertilizer. Should be about a $6500 per year account, or about $540-550 per month (based on 12 month payment plan)

I doubt that these plants are only 2x/year pruning. CA, much like Fl, has a year-round growing season in which plants always need to be maintained. That's what most guys in all the other states don't get. I could be wrong as I don't know the plant species in the pics, but I would bet that they need more pruning than 2x/year. Since it is all formal, it will be time consuming. I think your bid is right on personally. I do all detailed landscapes and I can tell you the time adds up quick. It is easy to mow and go on a property, but to keep a place top-notch in every aspect takes time. I would much rather bid a little high and not get it than bid too low and dread going to the property every week.

Fine Gardens Landscaping
06-04-2012, 02:17 AM
Hey guys thanks for the responses and here's the answers to the questions posed:

I bid the site for 52 visits a year, mowing will be skipped if the lawn is at all soggy like during the winter. They will still receive a visit though. Also, shrubs will likely need to be trimmed 5-6x a year and it does include those juniper trees you see in the picture. The shrubs will be time consuming because of the sculpted style they've been trained into.

I bid this particular job at $50 a man hour. I've been bidding most residential at $45 a man hour and most commercial at $50 a man hour. I don't know if $50 is pushing it, and something I will need to determine as I continue to give quotes and receive feedback.

@ mcc lawn care, it is the cream colored apartment buildings with the red trim btw. Keep in mind that the picture only shows half of what there actually is to maintain because the property stretches around the block. You seem to be shocked at my price but I have no idea if you think it's too high or too low. What would you charge for it?

Mikegyver
06-04-2012, 08:59 AM
I thought you meant all the apartments on the block for a second...then you would be paying them to let you mow their yard. That's a tad high for just that building but you are still in the ballpark. I might have bid it closer to 850/month

Duekster
06-04-2012, 09:01 AM
I did not take off the site either. I am on board with the odd numbers. I do not even like 998, I would rather go $978.00

I also do as mentioned above.

Say 44 visits @ $x = ?/12 for a monthly.

Can you apply Cutless to the shrubs?

Only use a pre-em in the rock beds if you can water it in.

You have to develop your system for bidding and then also trust your gut. Hopefully the two match or are close.

Again have you considered Cutless?

Fine Gardens Landscaping
06-04-2012, 03:36 PM
I've never used Cutless before. Most of my customers don't have a lot of hedges. I'd definitely consider it for this job however. I'd just have to learn more about the product. I'm curious if it's recommended for junipers? However that works out, I still think it'd be better to bid the job as if I had to do shrub trimming at normal frequency.

I ended putting in a bid of $985 per month. I'm hoping to hear from them after there next board meeting (late June). I'll post a follow up here later in the month to let you guys know if I got it or not. I kind of think I won't get it but we'll see.

Duekster
06-04-2012, 05:43 PM
It does not say Juniper's just woody shrubs. It is likely a good idea to plan on the regular cost to trimming them.

Looks like a pretty big initial cost on the treatment but I know if I have tedious trimming, I would use it to slow down the need.

I have seen it slow down growth a lot. Trick it treat it and trim it because it impacts new growth.

Tanum
06-04-2012, 07:41 PM
Hi
I use a excel spread sheet, on left column is the list of services, across the top is the months, and finally on the right the total of monthly visits and costs for each element of the quotation. That is; the customer can see the frequency of visits per month and the costs involved in each item. They can also add & subtract items that suits "their needs". I find that when you break down the quotation into its components the customer can see that you have not pulled the figure out of the sky. This is also a great tool for maintenance crews, they see at a glance what is or is not included in the contract and also, what they need to do in any given month during the year. If anyone here wants to see a schedule you can contact me through www.lavin.ie
Regards Cian

Florida Gardener
06-04-2012, 07:51 PM
Hi
I use a excel spread sheet, on left column is the list of services, across the top is the months, and finally on the right the total of monthly visits and costs for each element of the quotation. That is; the customer can see the frequency of visits per month and the costs involved in each item. They can also add & subtract items that suits "their needs". I find that when you break down the quotation into its components the customer can see that you have not pulled the figure out of the sky. This is also a great tool for maintenance crews, they see at a glance what is or is not included in the contract and also, what they need to do in any given month during the year. If anyone here wants to see a schedule you can contact me through www.lavin.ie
Regards Cian

Great idea. There is a guy on here(AzGardener) who does the same thing. I need to start implementing it b/c people sometimes look at me like I am crazy when bidding on a property that has a lot of detail and more components than just "cutting the grass." Like you said too, if the customer doesn't like the price, they can cherry pick what services they want.

Duekster
06-04-2012, 08:52 PM
I also bid on a spread sheet. Problem is stuff has to be trimmed and mulched during the busy season from time to time. Freaking weeds need control during peak growing season.

Tanum
06-05-2012, 08:34 PM
Hi again
Attached is a schedule we use on a high end site, lawns are cylinder finished and the site is about 20 acres in size, hence the year round visits. There is about 7 acres of beds! yep, lots of weeding and spraying. I have omitted the costs column as it is commercially sensitive should any of my rivals be looking. This type of template is standard with property management companies in Ireland.
a little bit of advice. Always send quotes via email in PDF form and never in word, also be sure to have a watermark on the page before you save it off as a PDF. If you send it in word, a manager can change the final figure to suit their preferred bidder. I learnt this lesson the hard way when I was asked to quote for 15 sites.. stung big time.
Regards

Duekster
06-05-2012, 11:06 PM
Hi again
Attached is a schedule we use on a high end site, lawns are cylinder finished and the site is about 20 acres in size, hence the year round visits. There is about 7 acres of beds! yep, lots of weeding and spraying. I have omitted the costs column as it is commercially sensitive should any of my rivals be looking. This type of template is standard with property management companies in Ireland.
a little bit of advice. Always send quotes via email in PDF form and never in word, also be sure to have a watermark on the page before you save it off as a PDF. If you send it in word, a manager can change the final figure to suit their preferred bidder. I learnt this lesson the hard way when I was asked to quote for 15 sites.. stung big time.
Regards

We use a matrix as well. Not sure the terms are the same.