Big Commercial Opportunity / Small Operation !@#$%

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by sniggly, Dec 11, 2004.

  1. sniggly

    sniggly LawnSite Member
    Posts: 190

    Got a phone call tonight.....long story short......I have the better than average shot at landing a large commercial condo property. Here is what I know:

    Current Servicer contracted for $78,000 per year.
    12 buildings
    42 cuts per year
    2 fertilizations

    Here is what I DON'T know:
    Square footage of Turf
    Linear footage of hedge
    When the current contract expires
    What the manpower needs would be for an account like this.

    I'll know all of the above on Monday because I am going out to the property to look at it.

    If you'll research my username'll see what my equipment is, just add a Dixie Chopper and EBZ8000 blower. I am a solo operator and currently have 24 residentials and 2 commercials I am NOT willing to give up.

    How would you approach this?

    Thanks in advance yall!
  2. BryPaulD

    BryPaulD LawnSite Senior Member
    from MI
    Posts: 392

    I would look nice, have a nice notepad & sharp pencil,and a tape measure. Look for stuff that may give you fits, look at easy stuff, try to balance it together. I would keep in mind that it's a lot of work (big chunk of change) all right together, possibly for a little better deal??? What ALL do they want done mowing, fert, edging, hedge trimming, clean-ups, etc. Charge accordingly (how you may normally do it), thoughly do your "homework" measuring and what not. If props. are the same, do one and multiply the rest? But look at them good, so you really know what your up against, so you're not shorted.

    Hope this helps a little, good luck :)
  3. Green Care

    Green Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 530

    one thing is your going too need help with that if landed good lucks
  4. matthew horner

    matthew horner LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 696

    First, congrats on the good luck.
    Second, make sure YOU can do this for 78k and that you meet the requirements or plan to (insurance ETC)
    Third, do you want to??????
  5. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Maybe include price of some growth regulator for the hedges and take a measuring wheel with you like already said. If you're by yourself I'd consider investing in a Flex Deck depending on how narrow and how many obstacles there are in the propert. Will it need a leaf clean-up come fall? Will you have to haul or will they let you mulch? Will you include aeration and dethatching also? How about sprinkler work? Will you have to hire someone to do it as part of your contract or will they hire someone seperate to do that? Just some stuff to consider.
  6. matthew horner

    matthew horner LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 696

    I would think you 'd be better off buying a good second hand batwing, or financing a new one if you get a 3 year or so contract as opposed to a flex deck.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    You said you have a better than average shot at getting this...does this mean they are unhappy with the current LCO? I'd want to know why they want a change. Make sure they don't expect 100k worth of work for 78k. Numbers are both absolute and relative. 78k is a nice chunk of change if you're doing 78k worth of work.
  8. Geezer

    Geezer LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    You MUST HAVE a copy of the specifications of the contract so you can review the scope of services. You MUST HAVE have a good handle on what your COSTS are so you can PRICE your work to your desired PROFIT MARGIN. The advice you have been given to measure is dead on .... trusting that once you have the data you can use your known production rates for each aspect of the required scope of work. Once you know how many labor hours you will need to produce the work it will be easy for you do price the job. If the job requires any chemical applications (even fertilizations in many states) make sure you have the legal authority to do the work. If not, find a lawn care operation and subcontract that portion of the job.

    Try not to be tempted to grab that big hunk o' dough ..... only to end up hurting your feelings and your reputation if you get in over your head.

    Good Luck!
  9. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    These are my thoughts as well. Don't let that big 78K number get you all wet in the panties. From your biography, and the sounds of it, you are a new guy and small company. An account like this could take you right off the map and bury you in one fell swoop. You don't have any employees, so now you have to hire more than one probably to get it done. Usually, people hire one employee at a time until they really get their feet wet to know all the headaches and expenses that come along with them. Now you would have to hire multiple help, learn new taxation procedures with them and the appropriate filing (headaches), and perform a quality job as well. Getting new employees to perform quality work and do it efficiently is a challenge in itself. You would need more equipment, trucks, mowers, etc.. You're not going to land this job and just work on it for three days out of the week. You most likely will need the manpower to get it done in a day. I don't know to many condo associations that let a service spend half the week mowing the property. So now you will need the right amount of help to get in and out of there in a day. So what do these guys do the rest of the week? Also, to learn all this new stuff on a condo association, which now you have many many people critiquing your work and employees. People with nothing but all day to pick apart what you are doing and complain to you and the association. Most big jobs like this are not all their cracked up to be.

    Finally, you still have to figure an accurate bid for what it will cost you to do and make profit on it. I don't think you have that experience at this stage of the game. Nothing personal by any means, it's just that bids like this are big deals. From our experience, 99.9% of these bids are won by the cheapest guy, the association is rarely happy with service (that's because they squeeze everyones balls and scare people into low-balling to get the work). We bid on half a dozen projects a year like this to find out that we would be like 20K higher than the winning bid, so I am still puzzled on how these guys make money at them. Of course, that's why these places go to bid every year.

    So, I am not trying to rain on your parade, but something like this will more than likely do more damage to your young business than good. Choice is yours though. All though it will waste some of your time, I would still go through the motions of bidding on this and it will help shed some light on how it all works though. This way you will start getting a feel for the procedures and related tasks involved and hopefully at the end you'll be the wiser for it. Honestly, without history of your business and credentials from other associations, you really shouldn't end up getting the work. If you do, I would be a little reluctant to accept it. Whatever inside info you have, there are still other members and a committee that decides who to hire. So, good luck and hopefully you'll gain some knowledge in this area. I don't know what else to really tell you. Just some things to think about.
  10. BryPaulD

    BryPaulD LawnSite Senior Member
    from MI
    Posts: 392

    I was thinking on this too. What if you can work there everyday? Like go mow it and blow it one day, trim hedges the next, edge the next, and so on? perhaps still leaving you time to do your other properties. Then they will see that you are commited to that job, there will be someone there everyday, stuff is getting done. Just a thought?

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