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Old 02-27-2008, 09:27 AM
RobinsonLawns RobinsonLawns is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 7
Is this a Fair Proposal?

Posted this same topic in the Commercial Landscaping Forum but got nothing so far, maybe some of you can help!

I am putting together my final bid on an apartment complex, here are the specs.

-8 cubic yards of mulch needed

-140 small shrubs to be pruned

-Mow/trim/blow

As of now i have my estimates like this:
Mulching @ 8 cubic yards ($35.99 per cu. yd.)= $288
Labor= 100%($288) + 25% of 288x2($576)= $144 = $432
Total= $720

Small Shrub Pruning @ 140 shurbs:
$50 per man hour

Mowing/Trimming/Blowing @ 25 minutes(2 man crew)
$55 per visit


Do you guys think this is a relatively fair bid? Im in my second full year as an LCO, any comments or suggestions are welcome!
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:40 AM
topsites topsites is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 21,677
No, you're way low but that's not unusual in a 2nd year.

I think you might want to give it more time, don't mess with this stuff until you got about 4-5 years in, honestly because ...
Unless it's a one-time job.

See here's the thing, who do you want to be fair with, them or yourself?
I'm not trying to tell you to be unfair to the customer, but be fair to yourself.

Look, I just bid a job that likely could've been squeezed out for 4-500 at 675, and I got it, here's the thing: I got room to play with, all of the mistakes and the logistics and the bs is covered, I got the money to do it right and first time it is done, no regrets.

So if it's just a one time thing then I'd as likely tell you to give it a shot, but bid closer to $45 a cubic yard for the mulch, at least get 45 a cu.yd. so times 8 = 400, yes I would bid 400 on the mulch, that's 50 a cubic yard and be done with it. That or you made a mistake and it really only needs 6 cu's but I don't know, it's a lot of work and I don't know what it looks like.

Either you're using regular mulch which won't look right in a commercial application... Or you're using colored mulch which EVERY last Lco is doing wrong... They go out there with this 25 dollar a yard crap and put it down a foot thick, what a joke.
If you're using colored mulch it has to be hand-spread paper thin, and for that to work you need a base of existing mulch already there. But spread correctly it only takes half the mulch but it runs $85 a c.y. delivered + spread so x 4 is 400 also.

So what are we putting down here, regular mulch I get for around $15 a cubic yard, colored is closer to 25, cost...
Oh well, 400.

Cut/trim/blow, 2 hours x 2 = 100 but that's too tight, make it 120 but 110 is fair.

Oh yeah the shrubs, 2-3 bucks each, 140 x 2 =275 + 140 x 3 = 420 ehhh so 345.

What we got here, 400 + 345 + {110-to-120} = 875.
LOL wait a minute...
Shoot it's going to cut me off before I can edit this

Last edited by topsites; 02-27-2008 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 02-27-2008, 10:59 AM
RobinsonLawns RobinsonLawns is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 7
Topsites, Thanks for all the pointers and tips!

I do disagree with waiting 4-5 years to be doing bids like this because how am I going to grow if I don’t?! It’s also a learning experience as well!

This property is not as big as you may think and I did indeed estimate the mulching wrong, it is 6 cubic yards. I didn’t have my tape measure with me the first time so I went back to take measurements.

As for the mulch, I get the perma mulch black in bulk at $35.99 per cubic yard. My pricing for the mulch job included the product + 100% + 25% of the total for labor. Which now puts me at a total of $541 for the mulch/labor.

I do, however, agree with you about the shrubs. Last spring I was charging 2-3$ per shrub, depending on size. But I had heard of just charging per man hour and thought I would give it a try. I figured with a 2-man crew at $100/hr($50/hr each) we could complete the job in 2.5 hours. Thus being the total of $250, not far off of being $275, but including my disposal fee which is $25, it would total to being $275.

I do question your mowing prices. If it only takes a 2 man crew 25 minutes, you think I should still charge $110? All other commercials I have average around 65$ I was gonna bid this one at $65 as well, but thought dropping the price would help me win the bid.

Thanks again for your input! Anyone else have any other ideas or suggestions? I will be submitting this on Friday
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