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Bidding State Work

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by A Cut Above LLC, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. A Cut Above LLC

    A Cut Above LLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    I am preparing to bid some state work and am wondering what the general consensus would be on the per acre charge. It is about 30 acres with trees scattered throughout. There is a significant amount of trimming, edging and policing as well as quite a bit of bush trimming 3 or 4times per year. I usually charge around $60 per acre for commercial accounts, but I believe this is a totally different story. I would love your opinions. Thanks.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
  2. ajreeves

    ajreeves LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    I don't bid per acre I bid by each job but I can tell you that we mow a 20 acre sports complex (5 soccer fields, 3 softball fields and surrounding areas) I can get that done in 7 hours in good conditions. I charge $350 per cut and it is a city contract, which I find tend to be one of the lower paying gigs we come across but it's solid money and you never have to chase after it. Good luck
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. ajreeves

    ajreeves LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    Also in most if not all cases city and state records are public knowledge. You should be able to find the last contract price online or call them and have them direct you how to find it.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,541

    You have a google earth photo of it?

    What are you using as a mower and how many?

    This a per visit job or a seasonal?

    I don't know about your state but here You must carry WC to work for the state
  5. A Cut Above LLC

    A Cut Above LLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Thank you for the replies so far. To answer the questions. I have two other employees. I have a JD 71748" and a JD930M 60". This is a per month bid based on 26 cuts paid over all 12 months. I have asked for last years letting to compare. I just want other professionals opinions. Thanks
  6. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,144

    In years of late I have been of the opinion, when starting into a new venture (such as state contracts), I have found it best to start out small... With one of their smallest contracts available (yes I realize there exist ramifications and angles to all of that as well), the reasoning was that it's the best way for me to get a really good feel for it... Can I see the profit in what I'm doing, because I'm telling you if small don't cut it neither will huge, it's also for a learning experience... Ultimately one might well lose some money the first year or so, starting out small helps buffer out that loss, keeps the bleeding down.

    Oh I mean you're still going to get some kind of a contract, and 30 acres might also just BE their smallest...
    But I'd stay away from their largest most public property, if I'm making any sense.

    Because it's just hard to say, I tried various ventures before I found the sideline I truly enjoyed...
    I tried the stock market, lost my shirt...
    I tried lawn mower / small engine repair, still do a little of it but it never took off...
    Among other things I finally started selling on ebay some years ago and that turned out a decent income.
    Who would have known, you could not have told me, and I would not have known.

    So what I learned is outlined above, start out small, test the waters for a year, iron out the bugs, learn from the experience.
    If it works out well, work up to bigger and better.

    Oh yeah, slow and easy does it.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
  7. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,670

    just bid what you're going to bid man and hold your breath.

    you'll never out think the numerous guys that will bid on it, or ever figure out where they got their numbers from

    at least throw out your number, because you will get a bid abstract and see what everyone else bid for the same work, and that will give you an idea of what the other yahoos are charging.
  8. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,541

    I'm not saying a 48'' and a 60'' mower cant do it But I think you be better off looking for something smaller.
    Once you figure your price out on time wise you might be higher then a company that is setup with bigger mowers can do it cheaper and a lot faster.

    So its a seasonal account meaning your money is spread out in 12 months
    What happens if you have to mow it 30 times You going eat the extra.
    What about when the leaves fall do they want you clean them up?
    Who takes care of the Limbs that fall from the trees?

    Its hard for anybody on here tell you what to bid. Since cant see it at least a photo of it.

    I would bid at $50 per acre but if the bush trimming is include in you per visit price then I say $75 per acre to mow trim clean up and trim the shrubs
    So your year price will be $58,500 and you monthly price be $4,875 per month.
    Does that sound about right to your thinking.
  9. A Cut Above LLC

    A Cut Above LLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Thanks guys. Snyder, your numbers are about what I was thinking. I did win the bid for some snow removal from the State this last winter and all went well. I was paid quickly and no complaints. I was the lowest bid by $400 per snowfall which left about $8000 on the table, but it was my first state bid and I learned quite a bit from it. To answer your questions Snyder, yes, we police the grounds and pick up branches and trash every time. We have to put mulch around every tree and in every bed in the spring (160 cu yards). We have to edge once every three weeks (around 4800 linear feet), We have to clean up leaves and haul away in the fall. We have to trim about 200 bushes a couple times a year. We have to spray cracks in sidewalks for weeds as needed (same 4800 linear feet). We have to mow 30 acres 26 times a year. It's rather involved. I've figured the labor to be around 35-45 man hours per week. I've been in this business for over ten years now and have had acreages in my accounts. I have never bid one less than $45 an acre and that is for and acre with no obstructions. My knee jerk thought was $80 an acre for all that work. I don't think I really want to come off that number too much. I appreciate your input.
  10. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,541

    Spraying weed kill on a state job. Here there is more paper work you have to do each time.
    What is it like there ?
    You win this bid I would jump up to a 72'' mower

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