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A Property management Co. requesting "extra" work

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by WildWest, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. WildWest

    WildWest LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 384

    ;) Let me start at the beginning,

    I'm a forklift mechanic at Disney World, I was working at a forklift dealership part-time unitl the hurricanes hit and my neighbor (who had a lawn service) had some damage to his house. He and his wife decided to move to Indiana... I had mentioned an interest in the lawn service business. After trading in his 44" rider for a 4-wheeler, and due to his financial needs, he offered to sell me his 36" walk-behind and other goodies for $2000.00 (detail later) but along with this, came his customer (who weren't even aware he was leaving!) I agreed to the offer since the forklift Co. was screwing with my hours. I bought a trailer, registered the name, license, business cards, ins. etc, etc,.

    Yes, I said "customer", a property management company with 36 RENTAL properties. They offered to let me have a go at it, since my neighbor hadn't even serviced but 12 properties and they were only 1 week into their agreement!

    Anyway, here's my concern. All the properties we’re supposed to be mow,edge,whack,blow and go, but the management company seems to want me to maintain the landscape now. They haven’t come flat out and said it, but they asked me if I could do some hedge trimming. I would HOPE that they realize that my time is worth $$. I’ve noticed that they are starting to have issues with the landscaping, weeds in the mulch, overgrown trees and hedges, the grass needs fert. and so on. As of now I get 45.00 a mo. Per property (I know, it’s low, but that seems to be the going rate for management companies according to a couple of others I’ve talked to in the business.) it takes about between 15 and 25 minutes per property. What sort of increase should I charge for maintaining the landscape in order to maybe makeup for the low rate on the lawns?

    2003 Dodge ram 1500 w/ the 360ci
    2004 Exmark LazerZ HP 48” w/21 hp Kawi
    2004 6 X 12 Emerson open trailer

    Bought from neighbor for 2 grand:

    1999 JD ES30 36” walk-behind w/ sulky
    Echo trimer
    Echo edger
    Echo Blower
    Echo hedge trimmer
    Kawi hedge trimmer
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    Figure out how long it will take you to do a small section of shrubs. Figure in an hourly rate, add dump fees and time for that, and multiply it by the amounts you have. For the beds, do something similar. Figure out how long it will take weekly to clean and pull weeds when you are done mowing, and multiply that by the # of cits you will be doing. Then, find someone who is licensed, and have them put down a Pre-emergent such as Snapshot. This will save you ALOT of time in the long run, so you will come out ahead. Well worth the investment. Just charge them a set rate for the whole package. You will be talking to several people in your area on here who will be able to assist you on many of these things. I hope this helps.
  3. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    I have a customer like that, management co, wants it done cheap. Then they see what cheap looks like. You have to make money on it, just charge what you think is fair. But be prepared, most of these type of customers are cheap, cheap, cheap...
  4. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    If it were me ….. going into the “dormant’ season n wishing to grow …. I would do what it might take to get the “common grounds’ contract …. In other words what ever it may take to GROW …. ANY jobs one may have lined up fore next year …. We may consider giving a “deal” fore shrub care or what have u …. On this ONE bid sooo we may get the annual lawn maintenance contract

    I’m NOT saying lose $$ but it might be a consideration to bid it “competitive” to get a foot in the door n be able to provide monthly maintenances

    So think of how much to at least cover the cost of clean up n go from there with a foot in the door

    AS far as what is expected Right NOW ... maybe lay back n give a price related to your cost .... with some profit of coarse ..... than later if they like you n you see a way to be able to provide services .... thus have a commercial account n bid it as so in the Spring ..... (do a good clean up .... kiss ass NOW ..... make $$ later) .... than DO IT ...... it's Nov ....how many get the prospect of work ... your in the South ....NO SNOW ... this is the Slow time ..... ANY NEW work is good work
  5. cutnedge

    cutnedge LawnSite Member
    Posts: 194

    $45/month/property? (4x per month each property?) If that's the going rate in Florida, I'd be pulling up stakes too.
  6. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    $45.00 Per Property And 15-20 Min?? That's$135.00/hr.
    I'd Say That's Pretty Good.
  7. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    Re-do the math.
    $45 per month/4 cuts= $11.25 per cut on each property.

    That means in 1 week after making 36 stops at each place you did a revenue of $405. That includes no expenses.

    Wildwest, the only way this is going to make you any money is if it is 12 month contract.
  8. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    The only thing that will make you money here is to sell what you bought for a profit!

    It is very hard to do any work for property management companies..........you are the dirty boy and they are the clean, neatly dressed bunch. They simply see those that are dirty as "less than" and therefore treat you as a "laborer". I can't stand them and will not work for them under any circumstances. Forget asking for more money because there is someone out there willing to do it for less than your getting already.
  9. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    Depends on how it's laid out. It is a townhome complex? Or 36 stops all over town?

    Here in MN, the going rate is between $35 / $50 / month / "home" for a townhome complex, year round.

    If it's a property management company that's got stops all over town, not worth it.
  10. WildWest

    WildWest LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 384

    Cutnedge, I know, it's painful for me some times too! I'm not saying it's the greatest, but it's 1600 -1800 part time....(busting my a$$)

    It's a yearly contract, so it's every other week as of Nov 1st until April 1st.
    The properties are laid out in three main areas. All are in a close groups, one group of 15, another group of 16, and the last group of 5. About 30 seconds to 1.5 minutes of travel time between most, some are next door.

    The way I see it is, they are paid to maintain privately owned properties. They start looking shabby, they aren't gonna keep their client. If I take some before pictures of a shabby one, and risk the investment of time and some money, fix it the way it's MEANT to look, and show them what's possible for x amount of dollars, they may go for it, it's good for them because they won't have a disgruntled client and i'll be making more, while at the same time making it easier/quicker to mow!

    I like this site man! good info ALLLL OVER!

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