Helping me bid on bigger jobs

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by MattsMowing, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. MattsMowing

    MattsMowing LawnSite Member
    from nanaimo
    Posts: 1

    I just started my company last winter, the spring has really surprised me with all the business i have received but now with summer here all the grass is dried up. All the residents here on Vancouver island just let it die. The majority of the green grass in town is commercial properties with irrigation. I have gotten in on a few bids only coming out with one, a smaller job that my commercial honda can handle. So i went and bought a 42" john deer ride on mower to help cover more ground. The trouble i'm having is next to no experience on this bad boy and placing bids to land the bigger jobs? Any helpful tips that can be passed down?
  2. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 516

    Take your time and walk before you run.

    If your looking to get into commercial properties, get a zero turn not a tractor.

    The problem with commercial properties is you either often need to
    a- bid cheap to get it
    b- have a friend on the inside

    Ive found most commercial properties want something for nothing but there are some out there that are gold mines and will pay for exceptional service, they are just hard to come by.

    Id jsut take your time, grow the residential side. Pick up a nice 52" zero walk behind or rider, do exceptional work and it will come
  3. mownredneck

    mownredneck LawnSite Member
    Posts: 245

    +1 I have found that commercial is one of the most cut throat clients there is. If you don't have the lowest bid they don't want to talk to you. More reliable and loyal clients on the residential side.
  4. sapper1975

    sapper1975 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    I could use some opinions or critique on my first commercial bid. I have only done residential business for a year and a half. Buddy of mine convinced me to expand to commercial accounts. The account has 15 acres with very little obstacles. Trimming would consist of 561 feet (used measuring wheel). Has 2 flower beds that are a combined 500 sq. ft. I can get mulch for $22 cu. yd. And has 18 bushes to trim. Mulch has to be done once a year, bushes 3-4 times. Also has 11 acres that need bush hogged. My plan is to use a 4 man crew when the flower bed need done and 2 man for the mowing/trim. My price break down is this:

    Bush Hogging will take roughly 3 hours with 15 ft batwing price $500 ($125 per hour)
    Mowing should take 3.5-4 hours with 2 machines running price= $420 ($56 per hour)
    Trimming with 2 units working will take 4 hours price= $180 ($45 per hour)
    Trim Bushes with a crew of 2 will take 3 hours price= $108 ($36 per hour)
    Mulching with a crew of 4 will take about 5 hours (mulch will cost $3670) price= $4320 first time pricing this service, am I close? My total bid for the job is $24,752. Breaks down to 1x charge of $5528, 3x charge of $1208, and 26x charge of $600. This sounds high to me, but like I said it is my first commercial bid. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  5. GVL LLC

    GVL LLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 154

    Everything looks good except for the mulch/install price. Your only going to charge $650.00 to spread 150+ yards of mulch? seems really low. You need to figure out your cost per yard of mulch installed which includes the cost of the mulch.

    I sure as hell know I cant find a 4 man crew to install 150+ yards in 5 hours
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  6. sapper1975

    sapper1975 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    GVL LLC what would you estimate the time requirements for the mulch? I have never done a mulch job this big. I know the mulch is $22 a cubic yard. I am starting to second guess this going commercial strategy. I am sitting at $60k this year so far. I will not break 6 figures, but my 2 employees are happy and I am way ahead. I bought 2 new ferris ztr's, a 16' enclosed trailer, and 2 Stihl back pack blowers in Feb. 13 and all is paid for. Any career advice for going commercial or not would be appreciated. Thanks.
  7. Denlinger326

    Denlinger326 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    Snapper 1975, I have a couple big accounts for landscaping and the advice I would give is forget commercial. Its way to cheap and competitive. I am in the process of finishing up the commercial accounts and going to all residential. As far as the mulch prices, I go by a per yard price. around here I can get mulch for 20-25 a yard, for install and material $65 a yard is bottom dollar. There is no money in it under that. Some of your big national companies are cutting throat and going as low as $42 a yard!! they can have it. Residential around here you can easily get it for 75-100 a yard. Hope this helps and good luck!
  8. Pressedun

    Pressedun LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 40,790

    2 employees and you're not going to break $100,000? Yikes, there's something wrong with that right off the bat. It's all paid for, have you set aside money in case things get bad? Have you set aside money for taxes? Sure all that new stuff is great but make sure the numbers add up.
  9. GVL LLC

    GVL LLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 154

    I would definately go with at least $65.00 a yard installed. Your numbers were way too low. That would have been a disaster if you bid that low of a price. Honestly its not really the smartest thing to bid a huge commercial property when you havent done commercial before. Why not try to get a smaller one for your first commercial?

    Im with others though, id rather just stick to resi seeing how commercials are usually going to go with lowest price. No thanks
  10. CuttingEdgeLandscapes

    CuttingEdgeLandscapes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 95

    I'm confused as to how it's 150 yards of mulch on 500 sq ft

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