PDA

View Full Version : "Just won a big one" comes to an end...


Herrick
12-10-2012, 12:36 AM
In reference to this thread:http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=253180 from a few years back, for any of you that remember.

Summary: won a large contract for a retirement community, 46 acres total, about 1/2 turf. Mow, trim, blow and bush trimming twice a year. Quit a 36k/yr job to do this.

At first things seemed to go really well. I was having a blast doing what I loved. Funny how over time reality sets in.

First year (2009) was a one year contract. I recruited my dad to help out and we worked our way through it. I did all the trimming and blowing and dad helped with 1/3 to 1/2 of the mowing. Towards the end of the year I started realizing how things were wearing on me... Wife volunteered to come out and help as she had free time between her part time job and our 4 kids. In September I wound up purchasing a second (new) zero turn so she could quit her job and come help the following spring. Now i had 3 mower payments, plus the typical fuel, ins, etc... Typical growing pains with doing a large complex like this for the first time, few complaints, but you can't please everyone, right? Especially with almost 300 retired folks staring out the window at you. Got a three year contract signed that fall/winter. I was on top of the world....

Second year (2010) is when things really started to come apart... With the wife now helping full time, I picked up two school districts along with the other 20 or so small stuff we did. With three machines going, we should be able to knock this out in no time.... Wrong! My wife soon realized that this was actually like work, especially trimming around almost 80 duplexes. We start getting behind a day or two because of rain, and the spring growth quickly gets away from us. These 300 retired folks now start calling the executive director because the head of maintenance keeps blowing them off. By August we receive a letter saying that if things don't improve and we don't come up with a better plan to keep up on things, we won't be working there next year. We end up hiring a high school kid to help trim, more money going out instead of in. We end up stepping up and keeping the contract.

Year three (2011) One school district is only a year contract, so we don't re-bid that one, and cut out a couple other small jobs to try to devote more time to this big one. Head of maintenance is replaced with a great guy and communication of issues resolves them before they can get out of hand. High schooler is still with us, and things actually go pretty well... Except the budget. This is when we start to realize how much this is really costing us to do.... $1200 a month in fuel, $600-800 a month in labor, $750 a month in mower payments... Suddenly it's getting harder and harder to keep up with things. I start to realize that we can't really afford to do this anymore... But by now it's late summer, and we have no money saved up.... We can't rely on snow money to replace what this contract pays over the winter (we had it set up on 12 month billing). We've got to finish this out.

TriCityLawnCareLLC
12-10-2012, 12:43 AM
So, what's the bottom-line of your post?

One thing that stands out to me (and i may be wrong) is you saw some pretty big contracts, and estimated them based on you doing all the work- no problem other than what we think we can handle isn't always accurate. So in turn you came in way under what the other guys were doing the work for. I'm no going to throw the term "lowballing" out there because i think it's an ignorant term used to frequently but in essence you are doing the work cheaper. But, it does seem like you focused on the numbers and didn't anticipate for expenses.

Herrick
12-10-2012, 12:52 AM
Now we're on to this year. Good thing we stuck it out, with the lack of snow we would have been living in a cardboard box. I cut the high school kid to save money. Start figuring out where we can save time... Thank goodness for the drought, saved us thousands in fuel. We were able to get by mowing once a month for almost three months. I also cut some more accounts that were farther away to save windshield time. Loose a few others due to various things, but I know at least a couple are from lack of attention. We spent so much time on this big one that we end up loosing others... Income takes a hit again, plus the drought cuts out the rest of the clients for a few months.

We told the head of maintenance that we won't be bidding again for next year. He wasn't surprised at all. He saw how I was killing myself trying to keep up. About 50 man hours a week, plus trying to trim almost 2500 bushes twice a year with three people just wasn't working. We made it through, but even facing winter with not near what I should have saved up, I am less stressed than I have been in years. Re-focusing my attentions on quality and being proud of what I am doing. Not just rushing through to get on to the next one. Sorry folks, you can kill yourself trying to do three times more than you should... Me, I'm going to watch my kids grow up. Not leaving the business altogether, but I think I may have to find some part time work to make ends meet until things are built back up to where they should be for a full time solo guy.

Talk about a learning lesson... At least I am really confident moving forward about what it takes, and what my abilities are.

Herrick
12-10-2012, 12:58 AM
So, what's the bottom-line of your post?

One thing that stands out to me (and i may be wrong) is you saw some pretty big contracts, and estimated them based on you doing all the work- no problem other than what we think we can handle isn't always accurate. So in turn you came in way under what the other guys were doing the work for. I'm no going to throw the term "lowballing" out there because i think it's an ignorant term used to frequently but in essence you are doing the work cheaper. But, it does seem like you focused on the numbers and didn't anticipate for expenses.

I actually was $500 more per year than a large firm from out of town, but was given the opportunity to match them since I was local. Not so much of under bidding, as not being set up to do the work in the first place. If I hadn't had to go out and get more equipment, and was just paying $10/hr kids to do all the work, with plenty of labor to call on when things got busy, it would have been much better. Problem was I couldn't keep five guys busy outside of this account. I couldn't afford to get another truck, trailer, etc.... The business outgrew itself basically and I wasn't ready.

chuacro
12-10-2012, 01:49 AM
I think I will stay solo.

TriCityLawnCareLLC
12-10-2012, 09:36 AM
You can always re-submit a proposal for more money.

larryinalabama
12-10-2012, 10:33 AM
Another case for being debt free. It happens over and over. Ive been called dumb, white trash and a lot of other unkind things for recomonding people run their business debt free.

jrs.landscaping
12-10-2012, 10:51 AM
I might be missing something, but four full time employees to make 30k? A 3 man crew should have been able to knock that place out in 1.5 days MAX.

205mx
12-10-2012, 10:52 AM
Now we're on to this year. Good thing we stuck it out, with the lack of snow we would have been living in a cardboard box. I cut the high school kid to save money. Start figuring out where we can save time... Thank goodness for the drought, saved us thousands in fuel. We were able to get by mowing once a month for almost three months. I also cut some more accounts that were farther away to save windshield time. Loose a few others due to various things, but I know at least a couple are from lack of attention. We spent so much time on this big one that we end up loosing others... Income takes a hit again, plus the drought cuts out the rest of the clients for a few months.

We told the head of maintenance that we won't be bidding again for next year. He wasn't surprised at all. He saw how I was killing myself trying to keep up. About 50 man hours a week, plus trying to trim almost 2500 bushes twice a year with three people just wasn't working. We made it through, but even facing winter with not near what I should have saved up, I am less stressed than I have been in years. Re-focusing my attentions on quality and being proud of what I am doing. Not just rushing through to get on to the next one. Sorry folks, you can kill yourself trying to do three times more than you should... Me, I'm going to watch my kids grow up. Not leaving the business altogether, but I think I may have to find some part time work to make ends meet until things are built back up to where they should be for a full time solo guy.

Talk about a learning lesson... At least I am really confident moving forward about what it takes, and what my abilities are.

Well it sounds like some of your lawns were actually costing you money. interested to know how it turns out. good luck to you

Herrick
12-10-2012, 11:07 AM
I might be missing something, but four full time employees to make 30k? A 3 man crew should have been able to knock that place out in 1.5 days MAX.

Who said anything about 30k? This contract was closer to 40... And it took a three man crew 2.5 days in average growing conditions... Granted my dad and wife aren't all that fast, but 5-6 guys could probably get it in a day. We averaged less than an acre an hour because of how chopped up this place is. There was 10-12 hours a week of just string trimming. Three of us could get it mowed in a good 8-9 hour day.

205mx
12-10-2012, 11:11 AM
How many acres was it total mowing? Closer to 40? I'd think 50k would have been a good place to start. Based off what I'm seeing. I hope things work out.
Posted via Mobile Device

Herrick
12-10-2012, 11:12 AM
Well it sounds like some of your lawns were actually costing you money. interested to know how it turns out. good luck to you

I had a cluster of three that I was doing that was about 45 min one way from my house... A HOA detention basin, and two houses on 50x100 lots. After expenses I would have been better off at Mickey D's.....

Herrick
12-10-2012, 11:20 AM
How many acres was it total mowing? Closer to 40? I'd think 50k would have been a good place to start. Based off what I'm seeing. I hope things work out.
Posted via Mobile Device

Total area was 46 acres. I figured up one time it was around 25 acres of grass. Not football fields of lawn type 25 acres.... Like 160 small lots 25 acres.... With crap every 20 feet in the lawn.... Bird feeders, rain gauges, flowers, flags, solar lights.... You name it, they stuck it in the lawn somewhere.

I thought long and hard about upping the price and going after it again, after all, I knew exactly what it was going to take. But my equipment was starting to age... Another year or two of doing this and it would need replaced bad, plus I was wearing myself out, I needed more help. Then my dad has begun to have health problems, so he probably wasn't going to be able to he much longer.... Everything just said it was going to cost more than what I was going to raise the price. Better to walk away while I'm still sane....

jrs.landscaping
12-10-2012, 11:28 AM
God, fate, whatever you want to call it is so funny... might remember the big school I was bidding on and lost cause it was too big for me... well, I landed something even better. Just got word yesterday that I won the bid for a local retirement community... about 40 acres total, but only about 1/2 that is grass. About 70 duplexes and 2 larger facilities... best part it's about 5 minutes from my house. I'm figuring about 25-30 hours time, and won the bid at $30k/yr. This along with my other accounts and some realistic growth will put me well over what I'm making at my current PITA job, and be able to provide so much better for my wife and kids, and hopefully have more time in the cold months to spend with them. Photo of the property is attached. How do you think I made out?



You did in your original post ;)

larryinalabama
12-10-2012, 11:29 AM
Total area was 46 acres. I figured up one time it was around 25 acres of grass. Not football fields of lawn type 25 acres.... Like 160 small lots 25 acres.... With crap every 20 feet in the lawn.... Bird feeders, rain gauges, flowers, flags, solar lights.... You name it, they stuck it in the lawn somewhere.

I thought long and hard about upping the price and going after it again, after all, I knew exactly what it was going to take. But my equipment was starting to age... Another year or two of doing this and it would need replaced bad, plus I was wearing myself out, I needed more help. Then my dad has begun to have health problems, so he probably wasn't going to be able to he much longer.... Everything just said it was going to cost more than what I was going to raise the price. Better to walk away while I'm still sane....

Just curious....Whats your next move? Do you just go solo and do individual houses?
I have alot of days that McDucks would be better lol.

Herrick
12-10-2012, 11:51 AM
You did in your original post ;)

Lol... Original bid was 30k for mowing plus 6k for bushes... I guess I left that out.:dizzy:

Herrick
12-10-2012, 11:55 AM
Just curious....Whats your next move? Do you just go solo and do individual houses?
I have alot of days that McDucks would be better lol.

Trimming the business down to the equipment that I need to run by myself. Chasing work over the winter to hopefully fill up most of my schedule. Also looking to expand services... I've got my pest license, so I can push that, plus I think lawn renovations will be big next spring. Next few months will be the toughest, hopefully well have some snow to fill in the gaps.

larryinalabama
12-10-2012, 12:08 PM
Trimming the business down to the equipment that I need to run by myself. Chasing work over the winter to hopefully fill up most of my schedule. Also looking to expand services... I've got my pest license, so I can push that, plus I think lawn renovations will be big next spring. Next few months will be the toughest, hopefully well have some snow to fill in the gaps.

Thats sounds good, Ive had several oppoturnites to get "big" but turned them down, I enjoy being solo.

4 seasons lawn&land
12-10-2012, 12:16 PM
I actually was $500 more per year than a large firm from out of town, but was given the opportunity to match them since I was local. Not so much of under bidding, as not being set up to do the work in the first place. If I hadn't had to go out and get more equipment, and was just paying $10/hr kids to do all the work, with plenty of labor to call on when things got busy, it would have been much better. Problem was I couldn't keep five guys busy outside of this account. I couldn't afford to get another truck, trailer, etc.... The business outgrew itself basically and I wasn't ready.


Did they show you the bid?

lawnkingforever
12-10-2012, 12:52 PM
Thats sounds good, Ive had several oppoturnites to get "big" but turned them down, I enjoy being solo.

Yep. I have had many opportunites to get larger properties. Every spring through various contacts I get calls wanting me to mow youth centers, common areas, office buildings (owner of wife's company) ect.... I am not set up for these types of accounts nor would I want to be at this time. I see my buddy who does these larger accounts with his multiple crews getting more grey by the year. Let him make pennies on the dollar. Once I seen what these accounts get bid at I knew I was going to stay small or get really big where I could do volume and turn a few bucks.

Bid jobs you are set up to do.
Posted via Mobile Device

Herrick
12-10-2012, 01:01 PM
Bid jobs you are set up to do.
Posted via Mobile Device

This says it all...

I have to chuckle to myself a little when I see guys on here in the same situation I was in a few years ago. I just though what great advertising, what a way to make a name for myself! There was no talking me out of it at the time. I feel so much wiser now... Or maybe that's just old...

Herrick
12-10-2012, 01:03 PM
Did they show you the bid?

No, and looking back that was a HUGE mistake. Who knows if we were even bidding the same work? Never again. At the time I was more worried about keeping the work than $500.

TriCityLawnCareLLC
12-10-2012, 01:21 PM
I commend you though, for coming on here and admitting a mistake that we can all learn from.

hackitdown
12-10-2012, 01:27 PM
it took a three man crew 2.5 days in average growing conditions...

Sounds like 60 man/hrs per week. So 60 hrs multiplied by $50 per hr would be $3K per week. If you are doing 30 weeks of service, that is a $90K bid. Or at $40/hr it is $72K.

Was signing the contract at under $40K profitable?

TriCountyLawn
12-10-2012, 01:50 PM
I like a good follow up and someone who isn't afraid to admit the situation. New guys should read thru these.

Herrick
12-10-2012, 02:10 PM
Sounds like 60 man/hrs per week. So 60 hrs multiplied by $50 per hr would be $3K per week. If you are doing 30 weeks of service, that is a $90K bid. Or at $40/hr it is $72K.

Was signing the contract at under $40K profitable?

I averaged 24 cuts a year, about 45-50 hours a week. Price should have been more, but it's a bid, so you cut corners to try and get it, or keep it.

Herrick
12-10-2012, 02:12 PM
I like a good follow up and someone who isn't afraid to admit the situation. New guys should read thru these.

Main reason I did it. Hopefully it will help someone, although I'm sure many it will go in one ear and out the other. It was an expensive lesson, but knowledge is priceless...

KeystoneLawn&Landscaping
12-10-2012, 04:35 PM
Another case for being debt free. It happens over and over. Ive been called dumb, white trash and a lot of other unkind things for recomonding people run their business debt free.

Debt free is the best way. If you can't go totally debt free, then you should keep your total debt payments to under 10% of your net.

herler
12-10-2012, 04:55 PM
Most folks don't understand, they come in here and ask for advice and you get these guys who have ten and twenty years under their belts but when I try and tell the folks that it's not a good idea all I ever catch is attitudes, like I don't know what I'm talking about... Now some folks got seriously lucky those people were not out to take advantage of anyone because with a contract they could have took the contractor to the cleaners, inexperience will do this, folks take on way more than they can chew, the red flags were everywhere but maybe this time the lesson stuck.

AI Inc
12-10-2012, 04:57 PM
I might be missing something, but four full time employees to make 30k? A 3 man crew should have been able to knock that place out in 1.5 days MAX.

wondered about that myself.

JeffInTexas
12-10-2012, 07:02 PM
Why not re-bid it and up the price? If you know you made a mistake, correct it on the new contract. I wouldn't say you could double it to 72k but you could still submit a higher bid. If you are on good terms with them, then they will understand. If not, you got your wish.

Also, find some legitimate guys you can pay 10/hr. Your wife and dad I'm sure are great help, but if you find some nails and act like a hammer you may spend a bit more $ right then and there on that contract but you are spending way less time on it and it allows you to grow elsewhere like in the residential market where you can do the majority of it by yourself. Sorry if something like this was posted already, I just read the first few posts on page 1. Best of luck either way. -Jeff

Mickhippy
12-10-2012, 07:08 PM
Thanks for the update Herrick and Im sorry I was proved (at least in some respect) right!

Pulled from the other thread...
I think this could of been a good job had you priced it right. Your going to get real pizzed off doing it for the dollars earnt. This is a huge job and I dont think you realise it! Youll get break downs and rain that will mean missed weeks which in turn mean longer grass that will slow you down and generally make life miserable with even more clean up, trimming etc.

You do have a positive attitude though and I hope this dosent suck the life out of you, and your dad!


Ill give you credit for having a good go at it though, and your honesty!

4 seasons lawn&land
12-10-2012, 08:33 PM
No, and looking back that was a HUGE mistake. Who knows if we were even bidding the same work? Never again. At the time I was more worried about keeping the work than $500.


Thats what I figured. So why not bid it at 80 k and then be working your tail off for good money, should you get it. Although that would leave a bad taste in my mouth after getting screwed hard for 3 years. I bet you would still be less than the big outfits. From everything youve said its obvious you low balled it, even if unintentionally.

Greg78
12-10-2012, 09:21 PM
No, and looking back that was a HUGE mistake. Who knows if we were even bidding the same work? Never again. At the time I was more worried about keeping the work than $500.

Mow, Trim, Edge, Blow... by myself for the most part, 60" ZTR. The trimming isn't really as much as it looks, as most of the pavement is asphalt... with my experiences it really only seems to need touched up every couple weeks. Most of the trees have 2' mulch beds around them. They are in the process of building some more duplexes in the empty area at the top of the pic, so there is a large area that will be under construction and will not need any attention for a while. Part of the large area at the bottom left is actually sweet corn also. They have a full time maintenance staff for the odd jobs, just hire out the mowing. Forgot to mention I picked up the hedge trimming on this also for some extra $$.

I actually did get to see the other bids, and they were both around $45k. Guy that had it last raised his rate by $12k this year for some reason. he was at 55 hours a week, but only charging $27 per hour... my hourly rate is almost double that, but time is almost half also... he was using employees... The story I got from the center made it sound like he didn't want the job anymore... not sure why, hopefully I won't find out.

Part of my thinking is that this should be a fairly nice account... no kids, no toys to deal with, no dog poo... a lot of headaches that won't be there...
Guess I'm not following too well?

Herrick
12-10-2012, 09:33 PM
Greg, that was the original bid... It was re-bid the next year, which is when I matched the other guy, and got a three year contract.

At this point I have no interest in working here anymore... For whatever money. I want to simplify things and "start over" in a way. Just a man and his mower...

NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC
12-10-2012, 09:37 PM
I've always believed to never mix family/friends with business.... Hire a couple of guys from how do I say this, "Ethnic Persuasion" and watch your productivity increase 50% or more....

johnnybravo8802
12-13-2012, 07:43 AM
Yea, you experienced what most of us have gone through in the past. It's tough to figure out how to grow, get the job done, and not lose your shirt and kill yourself in the process. It's like I've always said about myself, I can ride the mower all day long but running the business is the tough part for me. The fact is, you were successful with this contract when everyone thought you wouldn't be-you proved everyone wrong!!!!!:clapping:Personally, I'd keep the contract and try and figure out what I need to do differently to be a business. I'm planning to bid on a golf course community in a few months that consists of 260 units, common areas, club house, office, etc,etc, and about a billion shrubs(It's huge and the largest thing I've ever tackled). The company that's currently maintaining it now has 20 trucks.....I have one pick-up and just me and whoever I hire. Some may think I'm crazy but I say, if they can do it, so can I-I don't let that kind of stuff stand in my way. Everyone has to start somewhere and I can grow just like the next person...it's not rocket surgery. The only person standing in your way is you. Good luck!:drinkup:

Duekster
12-13-2012, 08:43 AM
Time to sit down and look at your books. Review your cost and desired income.
You need to sharpen your pencil for bidding.

There are "Small Business Development Centers" and "Score" run through the SBA. These are free programs designed to assist you. They will not do the work for you, you should have a good understanding about your finances, and business plan, from there they will help you improve it.

Many of these folks are retired or semi retired business experts.

I run a fairly successful small business with 3 employees and one part timer. Been in business since 2005. I am going in today with my financial statement. It will be reviewed for free -

Below is the Bio of the person going to look over my business for me.

Director of the SBDC as well as a growth coach, financial consultant and Lean Costing trainer on staff at the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center. Tom specializes in helping organizations grow revenue and improve profitability. Tom created a simple method of Value Stream Costing to support Lean and improved decision-making.

Tom has trained thousands of people and helped hundreds of manufacturing, service and governmental organizations of all sizes improve their financial results. Tom’s customers include such recognizable names as Dell, Ralston-Purina, Ford Motor Company, Lennox, AAA, Revlon, Department of Veteran Affairs, the City of Plano Texas, The Dallas Morning News and hundreds of small to medium size organizations needing financial improvement.

Prior to joining TMAC in 2007, Tom served as president of Integrated Cost Management Systems, Inc., a training, software and consulting company he founded in 1988. Tom was the focus of a Business Week magazine cover story titled “That Old-time Accounting Isn’t Good Enough Anymore”.

Tom has authored hundreds of articles and numerous books, including Using ABM for Continuous Improvement, The Activity Dictionary, Activity-Based Management: A Healthcare Industry Primer and The Principles. He has served as editor of the Journal of Cost Management. Tom is an adjunct professor of the Executive MBA program at the University of Texas - Arlington and lecturer at SMU’s School of Engineering.

Tom has held senior financial management positions with Motorola, Johnson & Johnson and General Motors. He is a graduate of the University of Texas - Arlington

I would be a fool not to talk to this person and learn from him. I can take my 7 years of experience and grow it on sure ground with some mentoring.

Roger
12-13-2012, 11:34 AM
...
Bid jobs you are set up to do.
Posted via Mobile Device

What he said.

I'm only solo, and am much smaller in business size. But, I also have had opportunities (unsolicited) to take on jobs with larger work scope, or jobs that required equipment and experience I did now own.

I am at a season of life where I did not want to venture too far off the beaten path. While being really interested, and enticed to take on these jobs, I just decided to leave them alone. I've developed some relationships with a couple of other LCOs in my area that are better equipped to handle. I pass off these jobs to them. Sometimes they come to fruition, other times not.

As a side note, LCOs that have a few people as crew, maybe a couple of crews, and much equipment, make it a point to establish a relationship with the solo guys. I had to work at getting a business card from a couple of LCOs that I liked. I was ready to give them leads, ready to help them out, and they couldn't be bothered to go to the truck and find a business card. I only wanted to work with somebody whose work and equipment I knew. We worked properties in the same neighborhoods. Don't pass off the solo guy as being a thorn to you. He may be willing, and happy, to give you leads that you do not need to find yourself. And, if you get a lead that turns out well for you, have the courtesy of reaching back to let him know what happened. If not, he may never pass another one to you.

Duekster
12-13-2012, 07:37 PM
I had to work at getting a business card from a couple of LCOs that I liked. I was ready to give them leads, ready to help them out, and they couldn't be bothered to go to the truck and find a business card. .... If not, he may never pass another one to you.

I try to keep cards on my trucks but bottom line is they guys do not always have one. We do go through the trouble to put our contact info on the side of the truck. I hear ya however.

Will P.C.
12-13-2012, 07:56 PM
Sounds like your bid was way too low. There 'is' a reason you got the job and most likely the property manager saw a opportunity to save 30k and take you to the cleaners. Even guys with many years and previous experience with these types of properties struggle over their final bid to turn in.

On paper, senior living neighborhoods don't seem too bad. You probably thought to yourself, "not much grass, and we can knock the trimming/edging out fast" These places are riddled with walkways, curbs, patios, fences, and many more obstacles that someone without the experience wouldn't see due to the high emotions of 'scoring' such a 'great' job.

These places run much smoother when you can 5-6 Mexicans doing each lot like an assembly line.

I am surprised to see you last 3 years. I probably would have lasted 3 months.

The positive thing is that you seemed to have learned from your experience and are restructing and reevaluating what you can and cannot do. Furthermore, what 'you' 'want' to do.

32vld
12-15-2012, 12:19 PM
I averaged 24 cuts a year, about 45-50 hours a week. Price should have been more, but it's a bid, so you cut corners to try and get it, or keep it.

24 x 50hr x $50 = $60,000

You mowed a $60,000 job for $30,000. That is low balling.

People biding are just like people at an auction. They have to win. So the collector over pays for the antique table. The contractor is willing to low ball so he wins the bid. Then lucky he breaks even.

There is not an LCO that will not hesitate to charge his hourly rate. And will refuse to do a $50 lawn for $40. Yet soon as they see the words BID and Large Property they can't wait to low ball.

Lawnvision
12-15-2012, 12:49 PM
If just the mowing was 30K per year then thats $1,250 per cut right? If you send a 4-man crew at 10 hrs each/ $12 an Hr($16 if you figure what they cost with taxes), then you have $640.00 in cost to mow it plus maybe 20 gallons fuel at most($70.00). Your at $710.00 in expenses and $540.00 left over before overhead(figure an overhead cost of $ 100.00 per day of operation for truck/3 mower payments/insurance/etc. if you take total monthly pmts divided over 20 working days M-F). You have a daily profit of about $400.00. Not sure how you can't profit on that, sitting at home and paying someone else nonetheless. You just need to repeat that model every day of the week.

Herrick
12-15-2012, 01:19 PM
That's just it, I had this huge job, and the rest were jobs that took me less than an hour by myself. I'm not paying 4 guys to watch me mow, or turn an hour job into 30 min. One of my biggest issues was my help... Dad liked to ride around on the mower... No walking for him. My wife, as much as I love her, liked to duck out on the hard work too. So I had one worker that was working at 50% and one at maybe 75%.

Fuel cost was a lot more than $70.... At least 30 hours a week x 1.5 gal/hr x $3.50/gal=$157.50. And that's only when gas is that cheap... We saw over $4/gal for a while this year.

italianstallion69
12-16-2012, 08:04 PM
youre not the only one who messes up a bid.

I lost 35grand on a project we were doing before I pulled the plug. The "allure" of a 99grand contract was high, but challenges on site made a 3 week project run to 2 months, I ran some numbers and told the crew stop going there!

dont feel bad tho. I sucessfully did an 85grand contract last week. You can bounce back just as easy as that.

learn to watch your numbers like a hawk. Youve got a bid youve got to work with that. if the numbers start looking horrible, abandon ship and throw it to your lawyer

Watkins
12-18-2012, 04:01 PM
That's a hell of a story man, not so unique but a good lesson you have learned.
I understand where you thought you would make money and didn't make 100% profit from the amount you put into it.
I've bid a job before where I estimated the time to be one day and we were there for almost 3 days and lost a few hundred but he added some things outside of the contract and to be nice because I was not busy we added a little to the price and helped him out.
In the end he gave us more work from his friends and business partners and he promised never to tell of the discounted price we gave him.

Green-Man
12-18-2012, 08:22 PM
Wow thanks for telling us this story! Im only 17 and I want to have a "Big" business just like most people. I know it won't be easy but now you show us we need to take our time before jumping into something to make sure it is worth it.

Herrick
12-18-2012, 08:37 PM
Tips...

Just because the contract says you get $xxxxx, doesn't mean it all goes into your pocket.

If you don't have the equipment, or can't afford to buy it for a job, don't take it on. In the same idea, if you have to hire more than one guy to do the job, don't take it on.

Old people are picky, and have a lot of time on their hands...they expect you to do the same.

4 seasons lawn&land
12-18-2012, 08:38 PM
must be a good feeling to be free after all that though.