Bid on sprawling commercial job, didn't win

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mirrorlandscapes, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. mirrorlandscapes

    mirrorlandscapes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 79

    I just heard back about a good size commercial full service contract I bid on. We didn't get the job because we were significantly higher than the current contractor.

    There wasn't a tremendous amount of mowing about 6.5 acres with some steep ditches, a few berms, and some areas that would be a challenge to get to, but everything was so spread out. They have 6 buildings spread around about a sq mile, with several other places they didn't own in between. I figured about 7.5 to 8 hrs of work for a 3 man crew to mow it and bid it just under $600. That would seem high for 6.5 acres and if it were flat and in one place I could have charged $80. My question is: how do you guys figure out walking/riding time on something like this? These buildings were just close enough that it didn't make sense load up the trailer and move it except for 2 or 3 times, but they still left alot of time to just get to the next place to mow. I guess you'd have to see it to understand.

    Also they wanted weed control for the gravel parking lots where they kept their 50 or so semi trailers. How do bid something like that? I just guessed on the time to spray it and took a stab at the amount of herbicide I'd need. The parking lots are probably about 40k to 50k sq feet. Obviously not all of that would have to be sprayed, but there were alot of weeds growing up under the trailers.

    I subbed out the fertilizing and was high on the shrub trimming too probably.

    I guess if anybody could give some input on bidding stuff like this, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
     
  2. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,574

    If you bid $600 for a days work for a 3 man crew and didnt get it I wouldn't worry about it. I'm not familar with your areas pricing but a 3 man crew should generate much more then that in a day. But the other parts of the bid may have been where you were priced to high.
     
  3. Precisionlc9

    Precisionlc9 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    I'm currently bidding on a huge commercial job like this but it will take 6 guys about 2 days maybe 3 to complete this, and I was approx triple what you bid and I hope to get this..... but as you know there is always someone who knows someone in the bids that gives them the advantage so I would'nt worry to much about it as jc1 says a crew of 3 guys should atleast generate about $800 a day.
     
  4. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    just a thought for weed control in the future.

    use round up to kill it all off, then right after you are done with the round up, put down snapshot. In florida I get 85% weed suppression for 10 weeks. Then another dose of round up to get the few that came up and snapshot again.

    Snapshot is WAY more expensive than roundup, but WAY less expensive than spraying (man power) every 2 weeks. For me it is a big money saver.

    Don't know if I would lower the bid much, but would certainly improve profits.
     
  5. LawnscapesUnlimited

    LawnscapesUnlimited LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    We bid on a large HOA and we were over budget I bid it at 32.00 a man hour for 120 hours a week and the other comps bid it at 19.00 a man hour they can have at it. Your lucky you did not get it 600.00 a day is too low for three men a day.
     
  6. green horizons

    green horizons LawnSite Member
    from zone 5
    Posts: 144

    Pricing is relative to location so I can't say for sure hi or low. However, I believe your price is competitive. Perhaps very competitive. Maybe the the areas could have been divided and cut on different days?? Kinda like they were different accounts, so to speak. This allows for load/unloading, but you don't need to do it all the same day (which you stated as ineffecient). My last comment is regarding weed control in the gravel lots... There is no reason to "take a stab" at estimating the chems needed to complete this job. Measure the area and read the label. Bids/Quotes/Estimates are half art, half science. Knowing the chem. needed is the science. Knowing the time to complete the work is art (a.k.a. experience). Again, I believe your bid was competitive.
     
  7. JayD

    JayD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,060

    Doe's the comp.you bid on tell you where you were in the biding. I just lost a nice one and thought that I was really cheap,not trying to lowball, but after the bid went in I saw that I screwed up.....And lost it anyway, go figure.I wanted to ask where I was but did not know how to or even if it were ok to ask. What do guys think on that. Can and do you ask about where you are/were on bids?
    Would really like to know. Thanks, Jay
     
  8. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995


    You can always ask. the worst they can say is no and you didn't win anyway, so you have a whole year before rebids.
     
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,654

    I don't know if my answer is going to help, but I took on what was the rough equivalent of 1/2 acre of turf some time ago, maybe it was 3/4's but it really wasn't more than an acre of actual turf I am sure, commercial...

    There were so many islands and curbs to mount / unmount and linetrim that it took a ton more time a residential 1/2 acre lot would. It was also sprawled out over about 4-8 acres of land, not quite the same as yours but on a scale probably so, and those curbs were just murder, they literally wore me out every visit, it took 3-4 hours by myself.

    It might've been ok if I had employees, I can justify sending out the guys at $30 pmh but my own rate is closer to $60 pmh and I was lucky to squeak out of there with $40... It got to where it would take several hours between the time I woke up and the moment I could convince myself to go do it.

    I thought I was as good a sport as could be and took it in stride, but in the end it was a failure.

    Probably the lowest bidder thing had some to do with it, and not having employees, I see commercial contracts today as a simple way for a large company to keep their guys busy, unfortunately without much if any profit but it's something for them to do.

    So don't feel too bad is all I'm saying, it seemed like a lot of money at the time but I won't touch another one so long I'm solo heheh.
     
  10. mirrorlandscapes

    mirrorlandscapes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 79

    :) :) :) Thanks for the input guys! I apprciate it and feel a little better that we didn't get it. In fact, after going around today and checking on other bids I've submitted, I'm thinking if I get these I'll wish I had bid a lot higher. We'll see.

    JayD, what I usually do when I get called back on bids, is ask if we were in the ball park. I don't ask for specific prices (haven't had the nerve and it does seem unprofessional) because I want to be able to stand by my bids. I suppose it wouldn't hurt too much to ask though.

    Green horizons, not a bad idea to split it up, but I don't think they would have gone for that. I'll keep that in mind for the future though.

    precision, thank for the ideas on weed control. Where do you get snapshot? FS dealer, landscape supply?

    Thanks guys.
     

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