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View Full Version : Homeowners association and Apartment complexes???


sildoc
02-04-2005, 07:22 PM
For those of you that have HOAs and Apartment complexes how do you figure out how much to come out with on a bid?
I Have a few commercial and mostly residential complexes that I make decent money on but when I look at HOA's that are 50+ communities I am way over bidding. I have bid 4 so far this year and have been 20-30 thousand over what the current LCO is bidding. Same with the Apartment complexes that are 100 unit with small back yards.

Case in point. I know that the HOA fees of this up coming bid is 87 a month. It is a 59 unit complex with about a 3/4 acre common area. Of the 59 units there are 49 with small back yards and small front yards. There is a lot of edging and this is where I am having the problem. I am solo and figure this to take me 2 days + at 8 hours a day. They also include fert, sprinkler repairs(minor) and Light bulb replacement of at least 108 light bulbs. It also includes the low voltage lighting. Aeration is eoy and is bid seperatly along with over seed. I know my operating costs are between 16 and 19 an hour pending on cost of fuel at time of calculation (last year averaged 19.23 and hour operating costs).
Now with all of this I am coming up with a 50 grand + a year price tag. Knowing the HOA money is only 61596.00 for the year.

Here is my short and to the point questions:
1. Do you bid by the day (say you want 300 a day - operating costs)
Or
2. By the job. (59 units (normally 20 apiece seperate) + common grounds and divide it by the times you show up?

I would really like driving up and knowing I am not having windsheild time all day. This would be a bonus.
Oh by the way this is for 41 cuts a year.
I am really having a hard time finding that the current LCO is making that much money off of it, How ever he has dang near pleaded with this association to keep him on. This is up for bid every 2 years and that is being the reason it is up for bid now.

sildoc
02-04-2005, 07:25 PM
By the way I have a 36" mower that will do probably 1/2 the area to be mowed and 21 for the rest.
The current LCO does the entire thing with a 21.

YardPro
02-04-2005, 07:34 PM
generally larger properties produce thinner margins, BUT more volume. Espacially off season.

this is where you have to know your hourly operating cost.
figure the time it will take you ( we always add 15-20% on top as a just in case), then calculate how much it will cost you to do the job. then add your desired profit margin.

also,
be careful trying to underbid just to get the job. the guy there now may be loosing his shirt.

Stay away from properties that are happy with thier current landscaper. the only way you'll get the job is if you are substantially under thier price.
look for properties that are unhappy with thier current service provider. they WILL be hiring someone new. also a higher price may not scare them away. they are probably coming off someone that was cheap. just tell them that, you had cheap, now you can have quality, but better quality costs more.

sildoc
02-04-2005, 09:36 PM
generally larger properties produce thinner margins, BUT more volume. Espacially off season.

this is where you have to know your hourly operating cost.
figure the time it will take you ( we always add 15-20% on top as a just in case), then calculate how much it will cost you to do the job. then add your desired profit margin.

also,
be careful trying to underbid just to get the job. the guy there now may be loosing his shirt.

Stay away from properties that are happy with thier current landscaper. the only way you'll get the job is if you are substantially under thier price.
look for properties that are unhappy with thier current service provider. they WILL be hiring someone new. also a higher price may not scare them away. they are probably coming off someone that was cheap. just tell them that, you had cheap, now you can have quality, but better quality costs more.

No definitly not looking to under bid. Just trying to figure out where i am going wrong and being way over. I could under stand loosing a job where I am being under bid by 3-5 grand but not 20 or 30 grand.
Normally I would bid all of these at 20 a pop just for the mowing and edging. there is no way I am going to get that here. I figure I could do between 4-5 props an hour and then the common area in an hour so I am looking at 15 each and 50-60 for common area. The lack of window time will make up for the difference. ( I hope)
Here they are 50/50 on the current LCO.
Thanks for your input.

specialtylc
02-04-2005, 10:08 PM
Are these houses all fenced? or are the lawns all connected. If they all have fences I wouldnt do it any cheaper than $ 15 each.

sildoc
02-04-2005, 10:22 PM
Are these houses all fenced? or are the lawns all connected. If they all have fences I wouldnt do it any cheaper than $ 15 each.
Unfortunatly most are fenced. The largest back yard fenced in is 15*18 and the smallest is 8*10. Like I say they aren't very big but the time to go through the fences and back out is what I am unsure of. There is money to be made, just how much I am not sure. I won't bid it unless I can make a min of 35 an hour after costs.
I am just trying to figure out How I can do this and still make a buck. Looking for suggestions from those that have these. Time savers and such.

plateau lawn care
02-04-2005, 10:42 PM
just remember lowest bids win

Turf Dancer
02-04-2005, 10:56 PM
I have run into similar situations. I bidded one that was 32 duplexs and I was $9060 over the company that had it. This was mowing, trimming, blowing, leaf clean up, weed controll, fertilizing, irriagtion blowout, all pruning and grounds maintenance for the year. There were no fences except for the 350 ft fence that separated it from the assisted living next door. I figured about 5 minutes trimming each one and 10 minutes mow and blow each. Then about an hour for the long strips and office area. 30 mows a year and everything pruned twice a year at 12 hours each time. Total from weed control contractors bid was $3400 for the year, Irrigation guys bid was $300 a year for start up and blowout. With my fertilizer cost was in the ball park of $300
Well my total bid was based on the following and I was like I said $9200 over the low bid

Weekly mowing 9 hours x 30 weeks= 270 hours
Leaf and fall clean up = 36 hours
Pruning = 28 hours
Fertilizing time= 7 hours
Other including debris removal in winter months and weekly checks in winter months = 16 hours

Total time= 357 hours Year $45 an hour= $16,065

Fertilizer costs= $350
Irrigation Blowout=$300
Weed Control=$3400
Total bid was $20,160

The guy that got it was at $11,100

Norm Al
02-04-2005, 11:03 PM
you go in and ask them how much they will pay you,,,,then when they tell you, you go and put that number on your bid!

ed2hess
02-04-2005, 11:25 PM
Keep in mind, the HOA dues go to many things in addition to mowing. Most have a property manager, water, insurance, street maintenance, detention pond maint, tree maintenance, some include painting of homes. We learned from TG that for our area you have to bid at about $25/hr. We get about $15/property when they are linked together and have to mow with 36". We try to keep most everything besides fertilize/sprinkler check/bush trimming/bed weeding as extra. Things like aeration/grass disease/bug problems/sprinkler repair/tree trimming are extra. The reason we like these properties is the extra stuff..last year they had $500 to solve drainage, $800 of irrigation work, $1500 of tree work, $230 of fence repair...get the idea. With a crew of 4 we don't want to be driving, we want to be mowing and that is why we bid low on these kind of properties.

sildoc
02-05-2005, 12:06 PM
you go in and ask them how much they will pay you,,,,then when they tell you, you go and put that number on your bid!
I actually tried that approach last year. An off the wall bid approach on a property I could have cared less for. However If my bid approach worked I would be set.
Asked them for 40 an hour using my equiptment. They pay fuel, Fert, Weed control and any thing else. I was able to figure out operating costs at about 5.68 an hour, including wear and tear and maintenance. That would be almost 35 profit.
How ever they came in with a lower bid by 1000. Never the less to say I could have cared less if I got it but now it really looks like crap.

Albemarle Lawn
02-05-2005, 12:26 PM
Norm Al: "You go in and ask them how much they will pay you,,,,then when they tell you, you go and put that number on your bid!"

HUH?

sildoc
02-07-2005, 02:58 AM
Ok, Put in another bid and I am sure I am over. How ever you never know and I am not going to bid less and set myself up for a very slim profit margin. I guess at this stage you have to make a decision on wether you want to hire and make it big or just get by.
At this time I am not looking for a headache and will give it another year to hire a crew. I am running on a slim margin of paying myself, let alone paying someone else. Next year, if it goes as well as this year, every thing will be paid off and a decent amount of money in the bank.
Still trying to see how you larger guys cut costs to spend a day in one spot. I guess it has to do with 3 guys 10 an hour 8 hours and done. total to you is 240 wages and 90 in other costs. total 330 BID IT AT 700 AND MAKE 370 a day. I can see it but not right now. Keep the info coming though.