Originally Posted by Kelly's Landscaping
What you ought to do is stop by the place next year when its being serviced and see how the guy was able to blow your price out of the water. Don't be surprised if they are using 10ft 11ft or even 16 ft mowers.
This is a good point. Different companies equal different sized fleets. Some companies are just better equipped to handle these large facilities. This means they most often can give a better price while using their large machines as a selling point. If you were a property manager, would you rather use someone with large 16ft mowers, or a guy with 2 54 inch mowers.
I agree that price is most often the biggest factor. However, a property manager needs to believe you will be able to handle 32 acres every week since it is his job to make sure the premises looks good. As a solo guy, what happens when your mower breaks, you get hurt, or your kids need you.
Large jobs are hard on equipment and time consuming. They always take longer than estimated.
Most guys will agree that it costs much more than 15/hr to run a business so you really need to plug in the numbers or talk to a financial adviser.
Successfully bidding large jobs is something that comes with time. There is no magic formula, and not much solid info on what ABCMOWS would charge for a specific property when he is on the other side of the US and has not walked the property.
Maybe you know someone that is in charge of lots land. Ask him what prices the bids came in at and compare it against what you would have asked. This will give you a gauge although far from perfect.
Go up to the property manager and ask him what his decisions were that lead him to pick someone else