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Just won a big one...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Herrick, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. yard_smart

    yard_smart LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 590

    The other guy raised his prices because of the following most likely

    A] He has employees - You should still be charging as if you had employees because one day you will have them too
    B] Do you really think gas isn't going to go back to 4/gal?

    I would be sending 3 guys out to do that and from your info i would have been at like 50k for the year

    Good luck and let us know how it goes
  2. Tyler7692

    Tyler7692 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,086

    Right there... That is what is wrong with this sector of the green industry.
  3. Lee33

    Lee33 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    I'm jealous. Way to go, Herrick.
  4. saw man

    saw man LawnSite Bronze Member
    from utah
    Posts: 1,021

    We did a 124 home community for retired people. Very small lawns, some with no lawn at $75k/yr

    The biggest problem is there will be a few old guys/gals that just want to complain and will always let you know how bad you are doing. Granted you have a lot that will thank you but the mean ones will ruin your day.

    Good luck, hope everything works out.
  5. Herrick

    Herrick LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 506

    Wow, thanks for all the love guys... I guess I asked for it.

    Yea, it's a lot of eggs in one basket... guess I'll have to make sure that basket is happy. At least if I loose this one I'll still have half an income... better than working a regular job... if you loose that you're out 100% of your income.

    Yes, I'll be trimming every week... but if it don't need trimmed, I'm not going to trim it. There are definitly spots and areas that just don't need it that often to keep it looking nice.

    I know gas is not going to be $2/gallon forever, I tried to figure things that way.

    For all you that are telling me that I should have bid this at 50-75k/yr... I'm glad I didn't, or else I wouldn't have the job. At the same time I know now that I left a good chunk of money on the table.

    Maybe I'm a lowballer... so be it. I guess I have comfort in knowing no one is dumb enough to undercut me. I'm pretty well commited at this point, I guess worst case I work my butt off for the summer and learn a big lesson. Best case, I got myself a new career.
  6. Fordsuvparts

    Fordsuvparts LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 517

    First off let me say congrats on winning the bid. Now you need to figure out how to cut cost on this job and make a good profit.
    As a owner operator your quality will be much better and if you slack off , you only hurt yourself. I wish you the best and hope that you make enough money on this job to get by and that next year you don't leave as much money on the table.
    When My company went and bid on our first really big job (400K we left 100K on the table, but it was all we could get Bonded for at the time.) we had several companies laugh and say that we couldn't make any money on that job, but because it was a state job and we got paid as we went, we were able to make a nice average profit and be able to double the size of our current fleet of trucks and equipment. When we bid the job we only had part of the work force we needed and only part of the equipment, but when we landed it we went out and bought what we needed and hired several more employees and now most of that is paid for. In business you have to take chances if you want to grow.

    Good luck
  7. yard_smart

    yard_smart LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 590

    I don't mean to rip on you i'm just trying to show you that there is more to running a business then just sitting your a$$ on a mower . . .

    I would have rather bid it at 50k, been 5k higher then the other guys but still won the account because my proposal was cleaner, and i was more professional than the other company . . .

    I recently lost a bid by about 10k but thats okay because the guy told me that in the 12 years he had worked there I had the most professional proposal he had ever seen . . .

    Hang in there and stop selling your self short bro :weightlifter:
  8. Accu-cut Lawn Care

    Accu-cut Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,206

    Congrats on the contract. Don't listen to what people are saying about your lowball. We've all done it in the past. Here's a point that no one has gotten to... Even if you don't make a lot(or any) profit off of this account, you will learn many valuable lessons. One being how to operate on a budget. If you find that you didn't charge enough, you'll have to think of ways to stretch your working dollar... which will be a beneficial for years to come. You'll also learn to value pride as a biproduct of your work. It's going to be a challenge to maintain that property at 3,000 per month. At the end of the year, you'll be able to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
  9. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    I've thought about this for a couple of days. I keep coming back to the same conclusion that I had the first day. This really looks like too much work for a solo op. I've worked alone for the better part of 15 years now so I know what I do and don't like to do.

    I have no doubt that you can do this by yourself. I know I could. The question is: How long will it take you?" I believe your estimate of 25 to 30 hours is a bit low. You may be able to cut the cut in that amount of time. I believe it's trimming the grass and blowing off of hard surfaces that's going to burn you.
  10. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    First thing, get yourself an OCDC. This should help in alot of the grass on hard surfaces.

    Second, ask if you can use a growth regulator for the areas that need to be trimmed.

    This will keep the grass green, but if applied properly, will allow you to trim the majority about every 6 weeks.

    Third, build a rack to carry the trimmer on the ZTR while you mow, just a couple of brackets. This way when you get done with a small area, you can hop off quick and trim it, rather than mow the entire thing for 2 days, then trim for 2 days. Each person should then have a finished yard when you're done, rather than having some people complain because you mowed it two days ago, but it never got trimmed.

    Fourth, get a decent sized trimmer where you can use it to blow off at the same time. You should be able to hold the trigger wide open and it'll cause enough air flow so you can get the minimal amount of clippings off yourself. Learn to use the throttle on the mower as well, slow the throttle down so you're not blowing grass all over the hard scapes.

    I can go a whole month without pulling a blower off the trailer. My guys that I have now, there's grass everywhere when they get done.

    Now, there's my hints at cutting time. Here are the problems.

    What are you going to do if you're sick, break your leg, whatever. I learned this, this summer. I broke my foot.

    I had to hire 4 guys and sub 8 accounts out to another company so all my work was getting done in one week. I'm now down to two guys, and trying to keep them on salary, yearly.

    You should have never taken this property. You will lose it. You will lose it. At 30 hours, that's 3 days for a solo op. 1/2 a week, IF it doesn't rain, or you're not double cutting in the spring.

    You lose the one account, and you're out 1/2 your work. How long is it going to find accounts to fill it, so your family doesn't have to struggle?

    You solo op guys (I know how it is, until this year I'd been one for 19 years) have to realize you CANNOT do certain accounts efficiently enough to make it work. You CANNOT just look at a bid amount and be happy. It WON'T work.

    I've seen sooooo many guys in 20 years say "wow, look at all this money I'll make on one account". I don't have to do anything else. 3 years later they're complaining because there's no money to be made cutting grass.

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