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View Full Version : First time for this sized account. Please help.


Above Par Lawns
02-01-2013, 01:10 PM
Ok guys, I have never gave an estimate for this sized lot before so I need some help determining how long the job will take. I will be using a 60 inch zero turn mower. I do not know the total square footage Unfortunately and don't really want to be out there with my measuring wheel on the size property to get it. There are three houses and a large shop on the property, as Well as a full-size basketball court and pool. This is my friends parents property and have agreed to let me cut for them on a weekly basis this year. Should I go measure the property even though it will take forever? I know there is a computer program out there that will measure you the property via satellites but I do not have that nor the money to get it. I am thinking about hiring one person to help me on this property with weed eating and blowing so would like to be around the 70.00 per hour range. Based off of this picture alone what would you guys put in an offer at? I greatly appreciate it.

Above Par Lawns
02-01-2013, 01:20 PM
Hope this picture helps.

agrostis
02-01-2013, 01:21 PM
That's not big, it will only take an hour or two to measure. And you need to measure it, no question. Cut all those funny shape's into square's and rectangle's when you measure, write all those number's down and add them up.

205mx
02-01-2013, 01:27 PM
The worst part is the undefined shapes. Takes time to cut.

Landrus2
02-01-2013, 01:31 PM
You don't have a street view picture:waving:

CreativeLawncareSolutions
02-01-2013, 01:33 PM
Price each house individually and add them up.

Hillbillly guess is about $200-250/week

dstifel
02-01-2013, 01:37 PM
Service vine free online measuring tool gets pretty close to. I usually measure three times with it and take the biggest number to be safe.

jones68
02-01-2013, 02:00 PM
someone on a different thread posted a link to an online measuring tool. I forget what it was but a quick search should find it. good luck i dont like the online measuring it cannot see small things that you have to go around which all take time. in my opinion nothing beats walking the yard. i do not measure when i price a yard. since i will be the one mowing for the most part i know what i can get done per hour and base it off that. 10,000sqft on 1 yard may not equal 10,000sqft on another

Roger
02-01-2013, 03:15 PM
"... Should I go measure the property even though it will take forever? ..."

Not to be critical or harsh, but if this is your approach to this sized job, perhaps it is not one you should be attempting to land. Even if it takes you two hours to measure off, and get it right, the two hours will be trivial if you ignore measuring, and estimate the job 30 minutes short for each visit.

There are online tools for property measurements that are very accurate, and cost nothing. But, if you not willing to invest some time in a good estimate, them maybe you are stepping into a hornets nest that will sting you in the end.

LandFakers
02-01-2013, 03:26 PM
I would definitely go measure the property, or worst case if you are that lazy wait for spring to come around and tell them to let you cut it once so you can figure out your price. If this is your friend that could be an option. I did the second of those options once whit the largest property I Currently have (3 acres). I gave him a ballpark figure but asked him if he wouldnt mind me cutting it first to get my time down as I had never done such a property before. He gladly agreed.

jrs.landscaping
02-01-2013, 04:11 PM
Using your rate of $70 PMH I come up with $332.50.

Above Par Lawns
02-01-2013, 04:27 PM
You don't have a street view picture:waving: Unfortunately, no this address does not have a Street view picture.

"... Should I go measure the property even though it will take forever? ..."

Not to be critical or harsh, but if this is your approach to this sized job, perhaps it is not one you should be attempting to land. Even if it takes you two hours to measure off, and get it right, the two hours will be trivial if you ignore measuring, and estimate the job 30 minutes short for each visit.

There are online tools for property measurements that are very accurate, and cost nothing. But, if you not willing to invest some time in a good estimate, them maybe you are stepping into a hornets nest that will sting you in the end. Don't worry buddy, I know what I'm getting into. I just wanted to have a ballpark figure before I called and talked to this guy. If he had asked me approx. how much would I charge him i wouldn't have had the slightest clue that's why I was asking others opinions first. That is what this website is for.

Price each house individually and add them up.

Hillbillly guess is about $200-250/week

Thank you for your guesstimate. I will definitely be splitting up the three properties when I take my measurements.

MOturkey
02-01-2013, 06:08 PM
Hard to say for sure without the property dimensions, but just looking at it in the pictures, I'd say $300 would be in the ballpark, but perhaps a bit on the low side, depending upon the trimming, edging, and blowing required. I do agree to look at as 3 separate properties. Add the 3 prices up, and maybe do a slight reduction because you staying in one spot and only having to invoice one owner.

Since this is through a friend, you might ask if he can find out what they have paid in the past. It doesn't mean that price will be correct, but it will give you a starting point, plus let you know what they have been comfortable paying in the past. In my experience, people with money, are often the tightest. I mowed a single family home for an attorney a couple of years ago, telling them I'd do it for $100 the first time, then give them a price for routine maintenance. After doing the property, I called and told them I'd have to have $125 per mowing, based on weekly service. His wife said they just couldn't afford that, and I told her that was the best I could do considering the size of the property and the difficulty involved in mowing it (on a hillside). Took me about a month to get that $100 check, too.

StanWilhite
02-01-2013, 06:38 PM
Using your rate of $70 PMH I come up with $332.50.

The way I read the OP's post is that he was shooting for 70.00 per hr (combined) for him and a helper. I may be wrong but I would think 70.00 per man hr would be way high.

32vld
02-01-2013, 06:45 PM
The way I read the OP's post is that he was shooting for 70.00 per hr (combined) for him and a helper. I may be wrong but I would think 70.00 per man hr would be way high.

The way math works in my country is $70 / 2 = $35 per man hour.

ArTurf
02-01-2013, 06:46 PM
Do you have a hand held GPS or know someone who does? Most of these can be used to measure Sq Footage and give you an idea. Go to the Exmark website and they have a mowing time calculator. Add mowing time and trimming and you can guesstimate how much time it will take. It seems to me that I always underestimate the time. You might can offer a one time price with the understanding you can actually see how much time it takes and then discuss a regular price. After I mow a property for a while I usually can figure how to cut a little time. Sometimes I will suggest to the owner changes that will cut time and thus price just to make the property easier to maintain.

knox gsl
02-01-2013, 07:04 PM
With your hourly rate for 2 workers I getting $280-$300 or 8 man hours total.

Above Par Lawns
02-01-2013, 07:10 PM
Using your rate of $70 PMH I come up with $332.50.Thanks. Yeah I was thinking it would be somewhere around $300 to cut. That just seems crazy to me. That's $1200 bucks a month someone's paying to have their grass cut. That's more than my damn house payment! Lol

Hard to say for sure without the property dimensions, but just looking at it in the pictures, I'd say $300 would be in the ballpark, but perhaps a bit on the low side, depending upon the trimming, edging, and blowing required. I do agree to look at as 3 separate properties. Add the 3 prices up, and maybe do a slight reduction because you staying in one spot and only having to invoice one owner.

Since this is through a friend, you might ask if he can find out what they have paid in the past. It doesn't mean that price will be correct, but it will give you a starting point, plus let you know what they have been comfortable paying in the past. In my experience, people with money, are often the tightest. I mowed a single family home for an attorney a couple of years ago, telling them I'd do it for $100 the first time, then give them a price for routine maintenance. After doing the property, I called and told them I'd have to have $125 per mowing, based on weekly service. His wife said they just couldn't afford that, and I told her that was the best I could do considering the size of the property and the difficulty involved in mowing it (on a hillside). Took me about a month to get that $100 check, too. I'm waiting on some checks too brother. I hate it! That's why I'm not taking them anymore.

The way I read the OP's post is that he was shooting for 70.00 per hr (combined) for him and a helper. I may be wrong but I would think 70.00 per man hr would be way high. I wish I could get $70 per hour by myself on a regular basis!

Do you have a hand held GPS or know someone who does? Most of these can be used to measure Sq Footage and give you an idea. Go to the Exmark website and they have a mowing time calculator. Add mowing time and trimming and you can guesstimate how much time it will take. It seems to me that I always underestimate the time. You might can offer a one time price with the understanding you can actually see how much time it takes and then discuss a regular price. After I mow a property for a while I usually can figure how to cut a little time. Sometimes I will suggest to the owner changes that will cut time and thus price just to make the property easier to maintain.

I've got an iPad. So there's got to "be an app for that" right?

Above Par Lawns
02-01-2013, 07:21 PM
With your hourly rate for 2 workers I getting $280-$300 or 8 man hours total.

Thanks Knox. I talked to the home owner finally and turns out he is getting a great deal from the people he has been currently using. They cut all 3 properties and his office for under $250! I found this out from his daughter (My friend). There's no way I can compete with that. Turns out it is 3 Hispanics with 2 zero turns that are in and out pretty fast.

He told me to come by next week and talk to him about fertilizer and weed control though. He's got another company handling that currently and he wants to change. I'm thinking that'll be more profitable anyways.

Above Par Lawns
02-01-2013, 07:27 PM
"... Should I go measure the property even though it will take forever? ..."

Not to be critical or harsh, but if this is your approach to this sized job, perhaps it is not one you should be attempting to land. Even if it takes you two hours to measure off, and get it right, the two hours will be trivial if you ignore measuring, and estimate the job 30 minutes short for each visit.

There are online tools for property measurements that are very accurate, and cost nothing. But, if you not willing to invest some time in a good estimate, them maybe you are stepping into a hornets nest that will sting you in the end.

So should I go measure the lawn to see how much fert and pesticide to put down? :laugh: joking...joking

lawnpro724
02-01-2013, 09:13 PM
Around here property that size would be bring in around $400-$500 a cut depending on amount of trimming and blowing needed.

herler
02-02-2013, 12:14 AM
I'm all in at Four hundred and seventy dollars.

Snyder's Lawn Inc
02-02-2013, 01:00 AM
Go walk it off dang thats part of the business knowing sq ft of lawns and you get a feel of the land you cant get that from a picture

bel-nor
02-02-2013, 09:26 AM
Hello Above Par and Mo Turk always good to see Missouri Mowers onboard. Sir your in missouri I know you must have a Yardage Pro or similar distance measuring tool for deer hunting. This tool is in my truck 24/7 for quick measuring larger areas as refernce to lot sizes. Total all your areas and figure the acreage and apply that price, then add in your trimming and blow vac hard surfaces. These propertie(s) could handle a yearly rate that will be divided by 8 months. This rate should include every service you will perform divided by 8. AP if you can mock mow the property to get and idea of how much time you will spend on the mower in one area that would help the axniousness for this job. Good luck and look at this in small portion not the overall mass of property.

orangemower
02-02-2013, 09:36 AM
Thanks. Yeah I was thinking it would be somewhere around $300 to cut. That just seems crazy to me. That's $1200 bucks a month someone's paying to have their grass cut. That's more than my damn house payment! Lol

You sound like a kid. Why would that be crazy? to pay that much when it takes the time and money to do it.

I'm waiting on some checks too brother. I hate it! That's why I'm not taking them anymore.

You'll weed out all the high end customers by saying you don't take checks and be left with the cheap ones.

I wish I could get $70 per hour by myself on a regular basis!

If you know what you're doing, you can get that kind of money.



I've got an iPad. So there's got to "be an app for that" right?
Go to the app store and take a look.

Being you'll be putting down herbicides and stuff, you obviously have a license for it right? I'd find it hard to believe that you do if you can't even begin to figure out what to charge to cut grass.

Making smart comments to Roger isn't going to get you far either. He's one of just a few that actually know what they are doing.

StanWilhite
02-02-2013, 02:56 PM
The way math works in my country is $70 / 2 = $35 per man hour.

Right, one poster was apparently thinking he was shooting for 70.00 per man hr, (he stated 70.00 PMH) instead of 70.00 per hr combined, which is as you said, an average of 35.00/hr.

chesterlawn
02-02-2013, 04:04 PM
Looking at it $250 does seem low, but if he was kicking the idea around of giving you the job it might pay to go and talk to him. Give him the price you were thinking of and sell yourself, find out why he wanted to switch and talk about the benefits you would bring to his property. I would love to have that job.

Matlock Lawncare
02-02-2013, 07:03 PM
Above Par, I understand the learning curve and one thing that has always stuck with me about learning about bidding on a property is an easy sentence to remember when your looking at what your bidding and you think "man that's a lot of money". Don't bid their lawn with your wallet. im sure you get it but just bid the bid and don't drop your price cause you think its too much. They are getting bids for a reason, cause they can afford it, and if they cant then you will find out when they don't take your bid, but don't compromise. Hopefully that will work for you the way it does for me! Good luck

Above Par Lawns
02-02-2013, 09:25 PM
Hello Above Par and Mo Turk always good to see Missouri Mowers onboard. Sir your in missouri I know you must have a Yardage Pro or similar distance measuring tool for deer hunting. This tool is in my truck 24/7 for quick measuring larger areas as refernce to lot sizes. Total all your areas and figure the acreage and apply that price, then add in your trimming and blow vac hard surfaces. These propertie(s) could handle a yearly rate that will be divided by 8 months. This rate should include every service you will perform divided by 8. AP if you can mock mow the property to get and idea of how much time you will spend on the mower in one area that would help the axniousness for this job. Good luck and look at this in small portion not the overall mass of property. Damn how did I never think of this! Of course I have a Bushnell laying around somewhere! It never crossed my mind to it for measuring large properties. :hammerhead:

Go to the app store and take a look.

Being you'll be putting down herbicides and stuff, you obviously have a license for it right? I'd find it hard to believe that you do if you can't even begin to figure out what to charge to cut grass.

Making smart comments to Roger isn't going to get you far either. He's one of just a few that actually know what they are doing. I am taking my test on the 14th to get my license. I just took an 8 week class on Pesticides and am confident going into my test. Don't assume just because I have no experience bidding larger properties that I'm clueless about everything else. The Green Industry is my passion, I love what we do. This will be my first year mowing lawns so pardon me for asking a simple question that YOU may think is dumb.

And who the hell is Roger.

Above Par, I understand the learning curve and one thing that has always stuck with me about learning about bidding on a property is an easy sentence to remember when your looking at what your bidding and you think "man that's a lot of money". Don't bid their lawn with your wallet. im sure you get it but just bid the bid and don't drop your price cause you think its too much. They are getting bids for a reason, cause they can afford it, and if they cant then you will find out when they don't take your bid, but don't compromise. Hopefully that will work for you the way it does for me! Good luck Great Advice! Thanks man.

Looking at it $250 does seem low, but if he was kicking the idea around of giving you the job it might pay to go and talk to him. Give him the price you were thinking of and sell yourself, find out why he wanted to switch and talk about the benefits you would bring to his property. I would love to have that job.
I talked to him finally. He's going to stick with 'the other guys' for this year which I think is better for me anyways. They cut his office as well and it's pretty large. He even told me that he knew he was getting a steal. Since he's getting such a good deal on mowing he said he wants me to make some changes in his landscaping and handle weed & feed. I'll make a nice profit handling all this for him and it'll be neat to do some design work on such a nice property!

StanWilhite
02-02-2013, 09:47 PM
The way I read the OP's post is that he was shooting for 70.00 per hr (combined) for him and a helper. I may be wrong but I would think 70.00 per man hr would be way high.

Sorry, this post was worded badly and is confusing.
I was attempting to point out that a poster had used the term 70.00/ PMH, but I thought the OP was originally meaning 70.00 for him and a helper, which is obviously 35.00/ PMH (average).

Maybe someone will delete it for me.
Thanks, Stan

StanWilhite
02-02-2013, 10:04 PM
Above Par, I understand the learning curve and one thing that has always stuck with me about learning about bidding on a property is an easy sentence to remember when your looking at what your bidding and you think "man that's a lot of money". Don't bid their lawn with your wallet. im sure you get it but just bid the bid and don't drop your price cause you think its too much. They are getting bids for a reason, cause they can afford it, and if they cant then you will find out when they don't take your bid, but don't compromise. Hopefully that will work for you the way it does for me! Good luck

This is some of the best advice I've ever read here on LS. Yes, it's really simple when you stop and think about it, but it's such an easy trap to fall into.

Stan

dhardin53
02-03-2013, 01:58 PM
I have explained this before and it fell on deaf ears. But thats OK, You cost per man hours is fine $60 to $70 per hour for 1 man with one mower. A $30 to $45 per man hour for any one doing trimming, blowing and aiding in the mowers is about right.

But for a job like this you have to know what your doing now with the equipment you have. There is now way for a computer program to calculate this big Veronese. SO Your best bet is to find you average now. Do this on as many of the properties you have now, Hopefully you know how long it takes to mow them. Go out on all your large lawns and a few smaller one as well. Start a stop watch and walk the perimeter of the property, now walk only the larger obstacles, the house, garage, drive-ways. Anything that is larger than automobile. Do not walk flower planters or trees unless it is large. Now walk back to your truck, find this time in hole minuets. What you want to find is it took you 12 min to work the area and it takes me 30 min to mow said property. Do this with as many lawns you mow now, remember to walk about the speed that you mow at. Then average the time on each lawn by the number of minutes you walked the perimeter and the actually mowing time. This will give you something to base your productivity on. Example here is 12 min to walk perimeters / 30 min to mow lawn = 2.5 The 2.5 should for all intensive purposes give you your time to mow a big lawn that you are looking at. If there is a ton of trees and small stuff within a new big property it might be OK to add a few minuets to your walking time when biding. But be careful, remember there was tress and small obstacles in the smaller lawns you used to get your starting point.

It dose not mater if you come up with 1.8 or 3.4 in your basic walk to mow time. This is you with what equipment you have. You need to find this basic number and feel confident with it. Over time you can tweak the basic number to better fit your productivity. This is a good way to evaluate new equipment saved productivity as well. If you change equipment used it would be wise to remember the walking perimeter will not really change but the time to mow is going to change. So you can update your basic productivity accordingly.

I know you have heard of guys that will do a first mow for free to see how long it takes and then to know what to charge. How silly and un-professional that is. But you can do the same thing but only walk there outer perimeters of property and permanent large obstacles, it looks professional as well. OK so it may take you 45 minuets to wall this big lawn you are asking about. We can not see under all those trees, around the building to see if there is hidden drives, sidewalks and so on. If you only walk on the grass need to be mowed you will have a basis number to work from..

Good luck and remember you heard it from me the old guy.. The guy that makes more money before noon than most of his competition makes all day.

Above Par Lawns
02-03-2013, 02:55 PM
I have explained this before and it fell on deaf ears. But thats OK, You cost per man hours is fine $60 to $70 per hour for 1 man with one mower. A $30 to $45 per man hour for any one doing trimming, blowing and aiding in the mowers is about right.

But for a job like this you have to know what your doing now with the equipment you have. There is now way for a computer program to calculate this big Veronese. SO Your best bet is to find you average now. Do this on as many of the properties you have now, Hopefully you know how long it takes to mow them. Go out on all your large lawns and a few smaller one as well. Start a stop watch and walk the perimeter of the property, now walk only the larger obstacles, the house, garage, drive-ways. Anything that is larger than automobile. Do not walk flower planters or trees unless it is large. Now walk back to your truck, find this time in hole minuets. What you want to find is it took you 12 min to work the area and it takes me 30 min to mow said property. Do this with as many lawns you mow now, remember to walk about the speed that you mow at. Then average the time on each lawn by the number of minutes you walked the perimeter and the actually mowing time. This will give you something to base your productivity on. Example here is 12 min to walk perimeters / 30 min to mow lawn = 2.5 The 2.5 should for all intensive purposes give you your time to mow a big lawn that you are looking at. If there is a ton of trees and small stuff within a new big property it might be OK to add a few minuets to your walking time when biding. But be careful, remember there was tress and small obstacles in the smaller lawns you used to get your starting point.

It dose not mater if you come up with 1.8 or 3.4 in your basic walk to mow time. This is you with what equipment you have. You need to find this basic number and feel confident with it. Over time you can tweak the basic number to better fit your productivity. This is a good way to evaluate new equipment saved productivity as well. If you change equipment used it would be wise to remember the walking perimeter will not really change but the time to mow is going to change. So you can update your basic productivity accordingly.

I know you have heard of guys that will do a first mow for free to see how long it takes and then to know what to charge. How silly and un-professional that is. But you can do the same thing but only walk there outer perimeters of property and permanent large obstacles, it looks professional as well. OK so it may take you 45 minuets to wall this big lawn you are asking about. We can not see under all those trees, around the building to see if there is hidden drives, sidewalks and so on. If you only walk on the grass need to be mowed you will have a basis number to work from..

Good luck and remember you heard it from me the old guy.. The guy that makes more money before noon than most of his competition makes all day.

Hey thanks man, I appreciate the advice. It was tough for me trying to figure out how long it would take me to mow because this will be my first year operating the 60.

andyslawncare
02-05-2013, 08:24 PM
if the trees are deciduous, use goilawn.com software to measure the areas--their photography is taken late winter, and you can take accurate measurements directly on the interface. It'll cost you $4

Its foolish to bid a job of this size without knowing each area individually.

Above Par Lawns
02-05-2013, 08:28 PM
if the trees are deciduous, use goilawn.com software to measure the areas--their photography is taken late winter, and you can take accurate measurements directly on the interface. It'll cost you $4

Its foolish to bid a job of this size without knowing each area individually.

Thanks man Ill check it out.