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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by BuntonMan, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. BuntonMan

    BuntonMan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    I need some tips on bidding apartment complexes, I do primarily residential but I would like to make the jump to bigger things. I have 40 accounts but I would like to cut half of those and make my money in commercial. Please anyone with tips for me I would appreciate them
  2. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    lots of stuff about apartments...
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Apartment complexes are something else due to the large spread, I bid my first one this year my 4th year and it was a small complex, hardly an acre of total grass (yeah but wait) ALL spread out along walkways and small squares with curbs everywhere.
    One way to bid it right would be to take someone experienced along but that does somewhat defeat your own learning experience, nothing works better than hands-on, and nothing fails better when you're new, so here's how I did mine:
    I parked the car and started walking around, then returned to my car and DROVE around because even a small complex with only 4 inter-connected rows of about, oh maybe 100 or 200 apartments appeared to be a 20-minute walk one way.
    So then I drove ALL around (slowly) and with pen and paper added up all the little island in TIME factors: 5 minutes for this, 2 for that, 10 for this curb, 20 minutes for the larger area over there, and try not to miss anything. In the end, my paper had a bunch of numbers which I added all up and came up with around 150, which meant 2.5 hours so I figured 150 dollars @ 60/hour so then if it takes 3-4 hours (because all the curb-jumping and walking in between takes time, too), I was STILL safe with 150 dollars I would earn a MINIMUM of $35/hour.
    Then I drove around a SECOND time and instead of minutes, I added up dollars. 2 bucks for that, 5 bucks for this, 10 for the other, and so on. Again I got to the end and added it all up and also came up with a figure in the vicinity of 150 dollars. Still, I was nervous.
    I drove around a 3rd and a 4th time, not adding anything but double and triple-checking my figures and yes, I felt it would take at LEAST 2.5 hours per visit, 3-4 would not be unusual. So, since my standard labor rate IS $45/hour and I don't care to consider less, I felt my figure was not THAT high and if it was, I could always LOWER it later but when it's too LOW to begin with, you can never raise the price at a later time.
    Thus, I quoted the guy 140-160/visit and never heard another word which is fine by me because with these things it's almost ALWAYS lowest bidder wins and if that is the case, then lowest bidder can HAVE it!
    But, that's just me.

    p.s.: part of what influenced the higher end of the price (I was going to go with 120-140/visit) was the fact the owner/manager or whoever the hell the guy was who wanted the bid said he wasn't pleased with the current Lco and to be quite honest the place didn't look half-bad at all and you know what that means: Extra work for a picky customer.
    So, for someone that doesn't appear TOO picky and appears easy-going, all you gotta do is make it look half-decent, 120-140 would've been right.
    Now THIS price is not YOUR price, you have to go out there and figure out your own complex and if you're way scared it may be better to say NO than to do what the other guy did and bid 400 mobile home lots at $3.50/lot and end up in a real bad way because it SHOULD've been closer to $7/lot. Another way to say it is, you're MUCH safer over-bidding than trying to get the job via the price.
  4. BuntonMan

    BuntonMan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    Thank you that was very helpful I understand that if you bid high you can always come down but you bid low you cant come up. Real picky customers work a worken man down to the the last cent.
  5. eliahwoodcutter

    eliahwoodcutter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    that because you have more responsibility.
    lots of cars around , more windows ,trash, kids , people walking ...etc

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