Bidding an industrial plant

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by johnnybravo8802, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Posts: 2,313

    I need some advice for writing a proposal for an industrial plant. I've been in contact with the main man for several months now. They had a company that just couldn't handle it. The bid comes up this June. This plant is huge and is something new for me. I've done some big jobs but have never tackled something this size. My goal has always been to take on strictly industrial plants. There are also two very large retention ponds with 25-30 degree slopes and weeds 4 feet tall. I really need to get this job, but I don't want to lose money on it, especially this size. I'm also getting tired of slinging mud with the lowballers. The last time I bid on a plant, I bid $3200month and failed miserably. The winning bid was around $1600/month. This was a very large plant with mowing, bushhogging, spraying and maintenance of a retention pond. To this day, it still seems too cheap. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. hmartin

    hmartin LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 590

    I work at a 50 arce power plant. 4 arces are kept nice, and the rest is cut yearly with a bushog. We have retention ponds on one side of the plant and long slopes around the high voltage switchyard. The guy that does it has a small tractor, a JD 757 and a 72" Ferris diesel. He gets 32k a year.
     
  3. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Posts: 2,313

    Hmartin, thanks for the reply. This plant is less than 50 acres but, the amount of maintained lawn is a lot more than 4 acres. One of the retention ponds alone is 7-8 acres. I don't even know where to start with a price-a price that'll get me the job. Where are you located? I plan to maintain this plant to a tee like all my other jobs. I estimate it taking me and two other guys a full day to mow the property, excluding the retention ponds.
     
  4. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 616

    Try hourly rate x man hours for the crew and equipment your going to supply to get the job done x frequency + 10% for incidentals.
     
  5. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Posts: 2,313

    I can come up with the basics like hourly rate times man hours but I'm guessing 8-10 hours per cut and believe me, that's just a guess. I think that a daily rate would be easier and I'm estimating $600/day/cut for a three-man crew. As far as the retention ponds, I don't have a clue. I was considering renting a DR field and brush mower but I don't know if one would handle a 30 degree slope.
     
  6. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    You will be the next company that can't handle it. Look yourself in the mirror. Read your own posts, you have no idea what you're doing.

    Not trying to be rude, but if you're going to charge $600 per day for 3 guys working, you WILL get the job, and you WILL be broke next summer.

    If you paid someone $10 per hour to work with you, you're only going to have another $10 per hour to run gas, mowers, trucks, insurance, etc???

    Break it up into something managable, meaning residential sized parcels of turf, or whatever you're comfortable with, then add all those prices up.
     
  7. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Posts: 2,313

    As I mentioned before, I have done some really large properties and have been doing this a long time. I can come up with a price but I need a competitive price and one I can make money! As far as things I can handle, everyone has to start somewhere. The difference between me and every other "Joe Blow" out there is that I'm on this post seeking opinions instead of just sticking a ridiculous low price on a job. I do my research and my part to break this cycle this profession has gotten into with every Tom-Dick-and Harry getting into the business, not measuring anything, and killing these bids with low prices. When I mention $600/day, I'm thinking in terms of my experience in what I've seen over the last 28 years-what the market will bear. All-in-all, I'd like to set the bar and make some money. These companies need to start paying what jobs are really worth and it will be a better industry.
     
  8. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    I agree, I'm always pushing the top pricing bar up, in hopes that it brings the bottom bar with it.

    But I want to shoot holes in your $600 per cut price, because you're way off base.

    Simple math would show that if you expect it to be 8-10 hours per cut for 3 guys, that we'll just give you an average of 9 hours, or 27 man hours per cut.

    If you are going to try to make the bottom of the "wage" that gets posted on here, roughly $40 per man hour, then your bottom price would be about $1080 per cut, or 27 man hours times $40 per hour.

    If you were going to make the magical "$60 per man hour", which has been talked about a goal to hit for years now, then your 27 man hours times the $60 per hour would be about $1400 per cut, 70% more than your original thought of a bid of $600.

    Hopefully you can see why my earlier post was what it was.

    Even at that $40 per man hour, you'd best have some efficient dependable guys, not drop any mowers into those retention ponds and all in all have a very smooth year / operation in order to make much money.

    Or, were you saying 8-10 man hours total, using 3 guys for roughly 3 hours at this site?
     
  9. Macdiesiel

    Macdiesiel LawnSite Member
    Posts: 82

    John,$ 60.00 is a good # to shoot for per man hour,I don't really have any large commercial accounts ,but I do take care of some large estates.1 is a 50 acre,about 22 acres that I cut.I can do it in a 10 hour day by myself(72" exmark frontrunner).Theres not much trimming to do when I cut on weekly basis.Maybe an 2 hours.There are several fields that we cut on a monthly basis when they need it.Just the weekly cut over the year brings in about 25k a year,this doesn't include the fields and extras.Now when I do this job I still have a crew of 2 men out cutting other accounts.
    Don't forget if you arn't making money theres no sense doing it.Gas is up this year and you got your insurance , taxes ,maintance, and all the other B.S that goes along with running a company.
     
  10. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Posts: 2,313

    Thanks for the replies. I was estimating three men for 8-10 hrs. I included myself in that. Is it still $60/hr. if you include yourself? I guess I get confused-I hear one guy say he charges $29/yard and the next guy is charging $100/hr. If the $29/yard guy is using three men at $180/hr(x3 men), he'd have to cut a yard in 5 mins. to only charge $29. No one mows that fast. I also run into guys locally that boast of charging $100/hr. and then I bid against them on a job and their practically cutting it for free-there's no consistency! I got out of lawn care for a while because of the low ballers and now I'm back in it because I love it so much. Before I got out I bid on job after job and my prices were always in the middle which is where you should be. Not surprisingly, there was always someone doing it for nothing and they would get the job and actually do good work! The end result is that I'm now gun shy with my pricing thinking that I'll never get it. I want to make money but I can't make money if I'm sitting at home because I didn't get that job I've worked on for months. But at the same time I know businesses don't go out of business from lack of volume, they don't make it because they aren't charging enough.
     

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