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  #1  
Old 02-26-2014, 09:06 PM
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mwalz mwalz is offline
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Bid on a shopping center. Need Help!

So this year will be the first year i will be going for commercial properties. I haven't really advertised and today i got a call from a guy wanting me to cut a shopping center. Way sooner than i thought i would get any big jobs. Now the issue i have is pricing it. And i only have a 36" mower.......And he said there was about 2 acres of grass. Well i drove by tonight, and my guess is it is closer to 2.5 acres. He said to give him a call back on a bid. But the problem i have is that i am unsure if my 36" can handle it. I would have a friend using the handhelds while i cut. If i can do it in no longer than 2 hours should i go for it? I really want this job but i don't want to under bid. He said that it would be cut every 10 days, 3 times a month. I'm thinking somewhere around the $100 mark for each cut? Too low? I have attached a Google map view of the property to give you an idea. Also all those little islands in the parking lot are mulched and don't have grass or any trimming to do.

Thanks for the help!!
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  #2  
Old 02-26-2014, 09:16 PM
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If u could so it with 2 guys in 2 hrs at $100 you would make$25 per hr each before expenses. More like $225 per mow to me. Don't under bid it
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Old 02-27-2014, 08:48 AM
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jrs.landscaping jrs.landscaping is offline
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Originally Posted by nashlawn01 View Post
If u could so it with 2 guys in 2 hrs at $100 you would make$25 per hr each before expenses. More like $225 per mow to me. Don't under bid it
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I'd bid around the same @ 225. Don't forget about trash on the turf that can eat time picking up......
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:04 PM
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TPendagast TPendagast is online now
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Originally Posted by jrs.landscaping View Post
I'd bid around the same @ 225. Don't forget about trash on the turf that can eat time picking up......
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dont pick up the trash, kick it out of the way.

Trash isn't mentioned, it isn't bid, you're not the trash man.

Malls and shopping plazas frequently have a man for that.

If it's not specifically called out in the bid then you don't bid it because you're competition won't be.

If it becomes a big obstacle you simply tell the manager/owner...This trash needs to be picked up regularly, unless you want to pay me to do it.

Just like a residential, do you factor in hoses, hammocks, dog toys and frisbees when you give your price...or do you talk to the owner about all the ridiculous lawn obstacles?

Some resi's wont have a single thing in the lawn, others will be covered.

some commercials wont have trash to pick up, the wind blows it some where else.
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:08 PM
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MarkintheGarden MarkintheGarden is offline
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Originally Posted by TPendagast View Post
dont pick up the trash, kick it out of the way.

Trash isn't mentioned, it isn't bid, you're not the trash man.

Malls and shopping plazas frequently have a man for that.

If it's not specifically called out in the bid then you don't bid it because you're competition won't be.

If it becomes a big obstacle you simply tell the manager/owner...This trash needs to be picked up regularly, unless you want to pay me to do it.

Just like a residential, do you factor in hoses, hammocks, dog toys and frisbees when you give your price...or do you talk to the owner about all the ridiculous lawn obstacles?

Some resi's wont have a single thing in the lawn, others will be covered.

some commercials wont have trash to pick up, the wind blows it some where else.
I do pick up the trash (it takes little longer than kicking it), but I often put it in the bid, and it is in my service description, and often on the invoice. Trash is a fact of life and some areas are worse than others.

I had one helper who would not pick up trash, even after I mentioned it several times. One day I saw him drive the mower around the trash and give it a dirty look. Later, I said to him, that at least he gave it a dirty look, and after that he started picking it up.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:59 PM
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Sprinkler Buddy Sprinkler Buddy is offline
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What about the parking lot? Picking up trash, etc... That's a lot of blowing, do they have a parking lot sweeper service?

If I only had a 36" mower with no plans to go bigger, I would pass. If you do decide to go bigger, will you have regrets if they decide to drop you next season? Their isn't much love when you get into commercial jobs. Not much in residential either but it's a lot less painful when you lose one and they are much easier to replace.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:57 PM
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mwalz mwalz is offline
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Originally Posted by Sprinkler Buddy View Post
What about the parking lot? Picking up trash, etc... That's a lot of blowing, do they have a parking lot sweeper service?

If I only had a 36" mower with no plans to go bigger, I would pass. If you do decide to go bigger, will you have regrets if they decide to drop you next season? Their isn't much love when you get into commercial jobs. Not much in residential either but it's a lot less painful when you lose one and they are much easier to replace.
Well i actually plan to go bigger hopefully by next spring, with maybe a 52" mower. He didn't specify about the parking lot or any of that. Mainly he wanted to know how much it would cost to cut the grass, trim..ect.
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  #8  
Old 02-27-2014, 01:56 AM
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TPendagast TPendagast is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprinkler Buddy View Post
What about the parking lot? Picking up trash, etc... That's a lot of blowing, do they have a parking lot sweeper service?

If I only had a 36" mower with no plans to go bigger, I would pass. If you do decide to go bigger, will you have regrets if they decide to drop you next season? Their isn't much love when you get into commercial jobs. Not much in residential either but it's a lot less painful when you lose one and they are much easier to replace.
You don't have to blow the whole parking lot, just the edges of materials resulting in the grass cutting service…. that's industry standard.

2.5 acres with a 36" on full speed (7mph), 80% efficiency is 74 minutes.

There isn't a lot of trim… be wary of cars… are there curb stops to keep the cars and trucks from overhanging the grass, or can they back up all the way to the curb with their tires and be all up in the grass?

In the worse case scenario I usually say 'tough' vehicles are parked in the way, you get what you get.. I trim as much as possible without breaking a 3 mph pace.

IF you have curb stops and no overhang, easy.

Call it 30 minutes of trim.

you'll have 10 minutes of transport between areas.

10 extra minutes to move truck around

10 minutes of travel.

20 minutes of blow.

So…144 minutes.

That's 2.4 man hours

At $100 per cut, that's a little tight at $41.66/hr
buuuut with a 36" that's pretty fair actually.

if you were to cut this next year with a 52"
your cut time drops to 45 minutes

Brining your over all time to 115 minutes
Brining your average $ per man hour to $52/hr

with a 60" ZTR your mowing time is now 31 minutes
and a total of 101 minutes
Bang…and average of 62.50 per hour…with the same $100 price.

so…to be fair… your $100 price guestimate is RIGHT on the money….

you can't expect to make $60/hr with a 36" mower.

42 is slim net.
52 is better
but 62.50 is pretty sweet.

If it were me, I'd put my foot in the door.
If you get it an you only last one season in something this size…you've lost nothing..
IF you never take the step, you'll never expand.

Plus my times are only averages…can you do it faster with those different mowers including your 36"
If your good?
Yes.

Faster means better $/hr.

I say bid $100 and go for it.
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  #9  
Old 02-27-2014, 07:08 AM
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grassmonkey0311 grassmonkey0311 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TPendagast View Post
2.5 acres with a 36" on full speed (7mph), 80% efficiency is 74 minutes.
Will the operator be running behind the mower??? 7mph is certainly not walking speed.

My advice is take a pass on it until next year. Just let the guy know you'd love to bid it next go around. Get the experience first. I have passed on 2 commercial properties this year because I am not ready for them. Better safe than sorry...underbidding something like this could really screw you up.
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  #10  
Old 02-27-2014, 12:58 PM
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TPendagast TPendagast is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grassmonkey0311 View Post
Will the operator be running behind the mower??? 7mph is certainly not walking speed.

My advice is take a pass on it until next year. Just let the guy know you'd love to bid it next go around. Get the experience first. I have passed on 2 commercial properties this year because I am not ready for them. Better safe than sorry...underbidding something like this could really screw you up.
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