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View Full Version : How do you folks estimate a cemetary?


QualityLawnCare4u
10-03-2004, 07:57 PM
I wanted to ask you folks who do cemetarys how do you estimate them? I know how to figure most properties now with no problem (still screw up sometimes) but I have never done one so I have no idea how long it would take. As I posted yesterday I went and looked at one and passed on it. Client calls this PM and wants to know if anyway I could do it Monday being they are having a funeral tuesday. He has one of the biggest lco in my area doing it one time a month for 275 and offered me 300 bucks. I kindly told him I could not do it tommorow and just did not have the manpower to tackle that job nor would I do it one time a month (bahai). The cemetary is roughly 3 acres and it is packed with graves. Dont think I could even use a rider at all on it. Im fixing to drop a rental property I have that are SLOW payers, have not paid for August yet and its 200 a month. Needed to replace it real bad I did not feel like I could handle this. Last year I was offered an 8 acres cemetary for, get this, 200 bucks. I almost busted out laughing but held my professionalism and told them no thanks. How do you folks with more expertise bid on these things? Thanks?

Danny

blair smock
10-03-2004, 08:06 PM
Hi guy, if it is of any help, The older the harder I have found, (The stone spacing) is what is a killer on the old ones, Very hard to get inbetween. I know I dont make what I should but I find them relaxing to cut, and enjoy them, I have a 600 stone takes me solo about 7 hours. charge $245 per cut and trim, Alot of trimming, 2nd one is newer, 400 stones, 4.5 hours just about all with small Zero turn. $225.00 per cut, Hope this helps, I know I am lower but these were my first accounts, and I enjoy them, I guess that counts for alot. Good luck and take care! Blair

QualityLawnCare4u
10-03-2004, 08:11 PM
Hey Blair, thanks, did not think to ask client how many stones were their, but it is well over 600. I was scared to take it even at 300 and only once a month at that. If I had one good helper might have tackled it.

Danny

kc2006
10-03-2004, 08:30 PM
Big thing is trimming.

I used to do a cemetary with 25 rows and each row had about 25 some more some less. The spacing between rows was big but inbetween each stone was tight most of the time, with a 60" lazer and one guy trimming I would get it done in about 2 and a half hours. Probably about a 3 or 4 acre lot total (it had some open area). This was when i was working for a company and the guy would give the church and cemetary a discount and he was only charging 195 a cut for the place.

Mico Landscaping design
10-03-2004, 09:43 PM
just try to look and see how long it would take you and go from there... good luck... those cemateries up here take for ever to do cuz there old.. but there sure is lot of whipping.. would not mind doin them though... put a bid in for next year so we will see... good luck :waving:

out4now
10-03-2004, 09:49 PM
Could be like an obstacle course. Consider applying a growth regulator. That will cut down on trimming time.

QualityLawnCare4u
10-03-2004, 10:10 PM
just try to look and see how long it would take you and go from there... good luck... those cemateries up here take for ever to do cuz there old.. but there sure is lot of whipping.. would not mind doin them though... put a bid in for next year so we will see... good luck :waving:

Mico, that was the problem, I could not figure my time being I have never done one before. If there is one thing I have learned is if you are unsure or uncomfortable with a job, leave it alone! I remember my first year in biz when a client offered me 200 to do his yard and all I could see was $$ signs. Man, did I lose my a$$ on that yard. Took 19 hours and 5 months to get my money. I aint forgot that lesson yet!

Danny

Supertiger
10-03-2004, 10:18 PM
ive been moweing a cemetary for 3 years now and it takes me and two others 6 hours to mow and weed eat, it pays 675.00 per cut and this is in the poor state of Mississippi. so i dont know how you guys stay in business mowing so cheep. anyway its better to walk away than to mow to cheep.

QualityLawnCare4u
10-03-2004, 10:22 PM
ive been moweing a cemetary for 3 years now and it takes me and two others 6 hours to mow and weed eat, it pays 675.00 per cut and this is in the poor state of Mississippi. so i dont know how you guys stay in business mowing so cheep. anyway its better to walk away than to mow to cheep.

Supertiger, when the client offered me 300 I was thinking more in the 500 range until he said once a month. I knew I did not want to mow it once a month with the type of grass there. The 300 sounded good for about 2 seconds till I though about it .

Danny

olderthandirt
10-03-2004, 10:26 PM
When you buy a grave site you get a deed to a very small piece of land. And I assume you have a minumum that you charge to do even a small piece of property or small lawn as that is what these are just small lawns. I like to think of them as gated communities and you have all the customers :D So if your min. of say $20 to mow then add up all the small lawns [just count head stones] and then give a discount for group rate and that will give YOU a fair price. The people that have to pay you will think your crazy, but cemetaries are a b!tch payup

Mac

Supertiger
10-03-2004, 10:34 PM
I know it sounded like i made up the price but i was ask if i would mow this cemetary for this price. that is the price they were willing to pay and i was just lucky the person before me charged so much. and this was being payed before gas prices went to 2 bucks a gallon.

kc2006
10-03-2004, 10:58 PM
. so i dont know how you guys stay in business mowing so cheep.

Actually if you figure the other guy that does it solo he is getting $35 an hour for his 7 hour solo job, your getting about $37.50 a man hour to do you 6 hour job with 3 guys. not too much of a difference :)

QualityLawnCare4u
10-04-2004, 12:06 AM
I know it sounded like i made up the price but i was ask if i would mow this cemetary for this price. that is the price they were willing to pay and i was just lucky the person before me charged so much. and this was being payed before gas prices went to 2 bucks a gallon.

Supertiger, what size cemetary is it and roughly how many headstones? 675 is not bad if its not a huge cemetary. Like I said, I was offered 200 bucks to do an 8 acre one, I still cannot believe it. :rolleyes:

Danny

mbricker
10-04-2004, 02:05 PM
Cemetary associations can be pretty bad tightwads. I had one for about 4 years, took me about 3 1/4 hours, and they dropped me when I got price up to $95. I never measured acreage, or counted headstones. I could use Z along the rows, then used trimmer down each row to get most of the smaller spaces between stones. Trimmer time was about equal to mower time. You also need to realize that blowing a bunch of clippings onto the stones and leaving it there, will make a bunch of people really mad. I bagged, they had a place on site to dump clippings. Used trimmer wind to blow each stone clean as I trimmed it. No extra trip around the cemetary with blower.

Another hassle was Memorial Day. People put these flimsy artificial flower arrangements on the grass around the stones, and if you barely touch one with the trimmer, you've got a trash storm. I got to the point that my rule was, 2 weeks after Memorial Day, everything not resting up on the stones goes to the dumpster. And I charged them a little extra for the time on the day I picked the stuff up.

BTW, I have seen cemetaries where lco is using Round-up around each stone to eliminate trimming--it looks like cr@p.

Good luck.

MMLawn
10-04-2004, 02:37 PM
But aren't Cemetaries a dead business... :cool2:

Hawkeye5
10-04-2004, 03:46 PM
Danny: There has been much discussion regarding cemeteries on this board and others. I worked as a groundskeeper for the Nashville National Cemetery in Madison, TN for awhile. In a National Cemetery the stones in a section are uniform and in a line. Mowing: Give consideration to how the stones are arranged and how many. Watch fresh graves, people don't like mower tracks over their loved one's grave. Make sure there is room to turn around when you run into a fresh grave. Trimming: This is where the work and time is. You will have to walk each row twice. We would trim the face of the stone and the far edge, between the stone, and then on the return trim the back of the stone and the far edge. Military stones are only about 4 inches thick so all it took was a quick motion to hit the edges. Flowers? If you have to move them add time, if you hit them, add clean up time. Learn how to use a trimmer strap and how to adjust it properly. After about five miles of walking trimmers get heavy. Use weight lifter gloves to help with vibration, otherwise your fingers will go numb. Learn how to lock the throttle, mile after mile of holding the throttle will cramp your hand. Headstones eat trimmer line so plan time for rewinding or changing spools. Walls or fences? More time, more line. Depending on stone density and alignment I would take your regular per acre charge and increase by a factor of 3 to 4. That would be for weekly mowing, I don't think I would do anything only once a month. Personally, I will never even look at a cemetery after having worked at one.

steve122
10-05-2004, 06:20 PM
We've done several cemeteries over the years. I have found that we average 3/4 acre of gravestones per man hour. That is finished work. 10 acres cemetery cut and trimmed would be about 13 man hours of work. We worked around flowers and picked up the ones the weed eater or mower hit and scattered. If the grass grew too tall thru the plastic flowers they went into a shopping bag on the hip and the to the dumpster. Figure any open area the way you normally would. We did not make two trips down a row of stones. Worked out a trimming pattern (I'll try to describe it so it makes sense) as you approached a stone you did the narrow side facing you, the front as you walked along it, the space between it and the next stone including the narrow face of the stone you just passed, and then you would half step between the stones and weedeat the backside, step back and do face of next and on and on and on. Got to where you barely stopped moving on the halfstep for the backside. At the time I had more employees, none of them liked the weedeating, I usually let them mow and I'd weed eat until they were done and then they'd join in to finish. For me it was exercise and a chance to put my mind in neutral, it just got to be so routine I didn't ahve to think about it.

QualityLawnCare4u
10-05-2004, 07:10 PM
Thanks for the replys. I think I will leave the cemetarys alone at this time because of the low pay on them in my area. Also would feel better if I had one good part time helper.

Danny

Flex-Deck
10-05-2004, 07:11 PM
I mow a one acre cemetary that has 295 stones - Takes 45 minutes to mow and 45 to trim, (only have to trim every second or third mowing), if that helps. Personally I would bid at least $75 per acre if the stones are in decent rows, and not a lot of extras between the rows. A $100 would not be out of line as cemetaries are physically and mentally demanding. Thanks Brad

QualityLawnCare4u
10-05-2004, 08:30 PM
Flexdeck, this cemetary was a very old one and the graves were packed just as close as you could get them. I would have to had weedeated about the whole thing. The only place I could use a z was in the driveway thru the middle of the 3 acres. The once a month really cinched it for me though.

Danny

Mueller Landscape Inc
10-05-2004, 08:53 PM
I always found that the residents were constantly badgering us to trim their stones just so. And then the President of the resident association would always want extra attention spent in his area which usually was much older with a lot more obstructions and stranger noises. I don't know if it's really worth the money these days. The majority of the residents no longer have incomes......

was that over the top??? I'm sorry if I offended anyone! :pumpkin:

orangejbird
10-06-2004, 10:46 AM
But aren't Cemetaries a dead business... :cool2:
No . . . Everyone's dying to get in! :D