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View Full Version : First Commercial Account.. How much?


Petr51488
08-14-2004, 07:49 PM
Hey guys, this is my first commercial account for me. I am pretty excited about it because i can get sooo many more from this area. Here is one of them. The guy wants the grass cut and bagged, the sidewalk and walkway edged and trim the shrubs along the building. 70 percent of the grass is about a foot and a half high and i dont think that it has been cut in a while. I only have my john deere 21'' mower. So it might take a little bit longer to mow. Any idea of how much you would charge? or how much i should charge given the things he wants done? Any info would help. Here are the pics..

Petr51488
08-14-2004, 07:52 PM
heres another pic of the new place that i got....

tiedeman
08-14-2004, 07:54 PM
the first cut (when it looks like that) i always charge about triple of the normal cost. There are too many factors though so I can't give you an exact price

Norm Al
08-14-2004, 07:55 PM
i would be very worried as to why that place is in that condition!

Petr51488
08-14-2004, 07:56 PM
the only reason why the place is like that is because the guy just bought the place and he wants me to maintain it. I need a price on it..

tiedeman
08-14-2004, 07:58 PM
Originally posted by Petr51488
the only reason why the place is like that is because the guy just bought the place and he wants me to maintain it. I need a price on it..

ah lucky man. As Norm said, I would be worried as well, but since he just bought it and wants it fixed up sounds like it could be a good customer

ed2hess
08-14-2004, 08:01 PM
You start by asking how many cuts/year, how often bushes are to be cut. Then you est. how long it will take and work est. Keep in mind just because you have 21" you don't want to bid high and some guy with 52" will underbid you. You will have to suck it up a little. Any fertilize, weed control, insect control to be included. Normally fertilize for lawn is estimated and weed control under bushes. Trees would be extra so you give him a rate. Since this is old unit see if they have previous contract that states what is required (no. of mows etc.). I assume you want at least 12 month contract?

Green Care
08-14-2004, 08:09 PM
Nince size place would like too see more photo's before I ya ya.

That will determine my rate another thing that may hurt your 21 deere.

Precision
08-14-2004, 09:09 PM
It is rather simple. Charge a clean up fee for the first time. Include things like trimming of hedges and the like and a fee for taking the waste to the dump. I figure between $60-75 per hour for clean ups and $75 dump fee. Don't tell the guy 10 hours at $60, just say $600 plus $75 for taking it to the dump. And include the mowing in this fee but don't itemize it out. What I mean is itemize what will be performed but not a dollar amount for each service. That way they don't think they can pick and choose.

Then for the rest, worst case weekly time to complete x hourly rate x number of weeks to cut = total cost

total cost divided by number of months in growing season (or 12) to level out your cash flow.

Remember, if in doubt, pad it a little. Cutting deals is cutting profit.

Petr51488
08-14-2004, 09:30 PM
the thing is that i don't have to worry about getting underbid. I am the only one who is going to do this. The guy asked me and he doesn't have anyone else to do it. Hes a good, rich guy, money is never a problem with him but i don't want to rip him off... ill attach a few more pics for who ever wanted them. thanks again.

qualitylandscaping
08-14-2004, 09:47 PM
$500 cleanup then $175 weekly for mowing only.. Hate bagging

Petr51488
08-14-2004, 09:57 PM
heres another pic...

Petr51488
08-14-2004, 09:58 PM
and another picture of the place....

Petr51488
08-14-2004, 09:59 PM
and the last one i have... 500 i think is wayy to high.. i usually bag all my work.. it looks cleaner..

qualitylandscaping
08-14-2004, 10:30 PM
ya won't think $500 is to high when yer mower breaks cause it was stressed from all of the tall grass.

Petr51488
08-14-2004, 10:47 PM
yea thats true....

clc2003
08-15-2004, 12:34 AM
If I was you, I would charge a flat rate clean-up charge for the first time and go to your local home rental and rent a mower. Probably make more money and you wont tear up that 21. Don't forget when you quote that price, anybody with a ZTR will be able to do that property in 1/3 of the time. Even if there isn't anybody else now, there could be later!

Precision
08-15-2004, 01:03 PM
Again quote on the margin side of high. This isn't charity. If you do your best honest estimate and think that $ 150 per month is what you can do it for, Then go $160. It is only $120 extra per year for the client. Basically nothing, but if you under do it or kill your mower, without that little cushion you are working for free.

Do you have a Commercial grade 21" or are you using a Home Depot $199 special. If you are using the HD special you better figure on killing it off once a year. Might want to think about getting a used commercial 36". Way faster, will last way longer and I know you can get a good one for under $1000. I got one I would sell for less than that. So they exist.

Greybeard
08-15-2004, 01:34 PM
Interesting job. First thing I see are some problem trees. One real dead, another one circling the drain, and the big one hanging over the roof - think raccoons, squirrels, termites, carpenter ants. Not to mention plugged drains if it's a flat roof and other future damage. If you don't have the experience and especially the insurance to tackle it, I'd find a tree guy who does. But at least point it out to Mr. Landlord, and score some points.
The grass: Are you planning to buy a bigger machine? Not many guys here making a living with a 21. I'd shop your local equipment dealers for a 36 +/- WB or ZTR or what ever machine would be the most productive, look for "No payments til next April" deals, then demo the finalists on this property. Here's a creative financing plan: Tell Mr. Landlord it's a $600 or $700 cleanup job, but if he'll front you $500 for a down payment on a bigger mower, you'll call it even, then just bill him for the weekly work. Just make sure you get a contract to CYA.
BTW - is that cell tower on his property? If so, tell him you'll do unlimited landscaping, carry out the trash, wash the windows and be the doorman for half the cell tower rental - LOL, but those things are huge cash cows. Good luck.

CamLand
08-15-2004, 01:56 PM
I'm curious as to how long the building sat vacant? also i'm not sure about NJ,but in Michigan you have to be 18 to even look at a commercial account. 16 seems like it would be tough to get the proper insurance to do commercials.but hey if it works out then great i would charge double maybe triple. that Ash tree is dead and all those trees need to be trimmed up.I wish you luck and would like to see the After shots when completed...

eshreve1234
08-15-2004, 04:35 PM
Do you put your mower in the back of that Mercedes?

Green Care
08-15-2004, 04:45 PM
I would say about 760.00 based on what was said and shown also be prepared to buy a new 21 or rent a wb and a push edger.

NNJLandman
08-15-2004, 04:59 PM
have fun doing that with a 21" mower, ha good luck, yea for a cleanup, including edging along the sidewalk, trimming, blowing beds out, picking up of debris, mowing and bagging $575.00 sounds good to me, I would prob. be able to cut it for $50 a cut or $125/a month.

Jeff

BMFD92
08-15-2004, 05:11 PM
i'll sell you my scag

GrassBustersLawn
08-15-2004, 05:18 PM
That is going to take you 5 or 6 hours to mow it alone. Maybe double that bagging it! You are going to pull start your little 21" and push it about 3 inches into the grass and it is going to choke & die. You will be re-starting it a thousand times. This needs a PROFESSIONAL mower! Or at least a crappy riding mower. (I wouldn't want to risk ruining my $7000 mower running over some piece of metal or concrete hiding under all that grass). IF I WERE YOU I'D RUN AWAY FROM THIS JOB!

Mike

Petr51488
08-15-2004, 06:15 PM
I have a trailer for the mercedes for now lol. My john deere has gone through everything.... this is one is commercial grade ohv engine. Like i said.. its has been with me since i started the business.. i love it.. i will buy a walk behind without a doubt. But not this season. I was looking into the exmark metro.. I have the cash for it but i understand what you guys are saying.. I have the walkbehind edger.. i have everything i need for this job except a bigger mower.. next season i will get a bigger, walkbehind mower.. I know this guy and he doesnt care about insurance or anything so im good with that...

CamLand
08-16-2004, 07:20 AM
Originally posted by Petr51488
.. I know this guy and he doesnt care about insurance or anything so im good with that...


Here comes trouble then,don't tell me if you chuck a rock in the window that he wont care.As for you being a supposed professional you should care about the insurance,maybe you will when you hit an object in the lawn and hit a person walking or driving by... good luck your going to need it:angry:

NC Big Daddy
08-16-2004, 07:28 AM
He's 16.....I'm not sure why anyone who is full time would reply to this!?!?!

Mikes Lawn Landscape
08-16-2004, 07:53 AM
Originally posted by NC Big Daddy
He's 16.....I'm not sure why anyone who is full time would reply to this!?!?!

W/O the kids and people who make up stories this site would just be a bunch of legit businesses talking about how to grow and manage a succesful Lawn Care company, what would that accomplish ?

Petr51488
08-16-2004, 12:15 PM
Ok, maybe i said this wrong... if i hit a rock and it breaks a window obviously its my fault and i have to pay for it.. Why would i be making any of this up? But he is never worried about insurance.. if its obviously my fault i pay for it? its as simple as that.. All i wanted was some help from the bigger guys, not problems like im already getting..

Lawnboy112
08-16-2004, 12:17 PM
Charge like 125 for the first and 75 all the others. Just my two cents.

CamLand
08-16-2004, 03:52 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Petr51488
[B] making any of this up? But he is never worried about insurance..


But you should be...

Precision
08-16-2004, 09:10 PM
Insurance really isn't to protect him. It is to protect you. That is why you pay for it. Well at least why you should be paying for it. You do something at your house, like peg the neighbor with a mower launched rock, your homeowner's pays for his coma treatments.

you mow off your own property you are on your own. Not good to be on the hook for $150,000 a year to pay for coma boy when you only make $45,000.

Just something to think about.

qualitylandscaping
08-18-2004, 07:42 AM
Originally posted by Petr51488
Ok, maybe i said this wrong... if i hit a rock and it breaks a window obviously its my fault and i have to pay for it.. Why would i be making any of this up? But he is never worried about insurance.. if its obviously my fault i pay for it? its as simple as that.. All i wanted was some help from the bigger guys, not problems like im already getting..

Thats not the point though.. Most commercial buildings have thick, shatter resistant, and sun tinted glass.. One 4x4 window could cost up to $600-700.. You should be able to get $500,000 of liability coverage for less than that, and it keeps you safe. Like someone else said, kinda hard to pay for $150,000 in damage when you only make $500 on the job..