Maybe picking up another contract, advice please

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Craftybigdog, Aug 6, 2002.

  1. Craftybigdog

    Craftybigdog LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 425

    Okay here is the deal a neighborhood called me about there common areas and they want me to mow them twice a month and its about 5 acres and about a 12ft strip up by the road that is about 500ft long and quite a bit of weedeating theres a small pond and alot of drainage ditches so Im trying to figure out a price. The president thinks 50.00 an hour is fair. I have a john deere Z-trak with a 60in cut with a 25hp Kohloer so what do you guys think and also the grass is about 12in or higher now so its gonna take some work how would you handle this one? Thanks alot for your help!:dizzy:
     
  2. nu83

    nu83 LawnSite Member
    from omaha
    Posts: 238

    I would tell him you will do it for $50.00/hr the first time and make sure he knows that it is going to take a lot more time since it hasn;t been mowed in a long time. Are you the only one working on the property? If you have time it is probably a fair deal, if its actual time and not a set amount of time that someone else did it in or a number he has in his head. Figure your expenses and it sounds like it will be pretty tough on your equipment so figure that in too.
     
  3. m&m

    m&m LawnSite Member
    Posts: 169

    i agree.......i would do the 50/hour first time and see what it takes........if it comes out to be more than worth it for ya, then leave it at that price ....if not, then calculate what you feelis fair and present it to him.......just dont cut ur own throat....kina hard guessing at some jobs like that
     
  4. scott's turf

    scott's turf LawnSite Senior Member
    from NH
    Posts: 949

    You can't go wrong if they want to give you $50/hr. Who cares how long it is. The next time cut the lawn at average speed and figure out a set price for him for the rest of the season. It sounds like a win win situation. Good luck
     
  5. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    Sorry guys, but this is a potiential losing situation. The president of the homeowners assn is dictating your price and your going along with it. I hate to tell you but if you accept his price this time, it will not be able to be changed. Every 2 weeks is going to be a lot harder on your equipment. Every 2 weeks growth will cost you more in expenses(gas). The HOA is in control of you and your biz. They get the benefit of you having bigger more effiecient equipment.

    $50 per hour may sound great, but your running a Z. Most of the time you will be pretty quick, so they will be paying you less for the job. It only cost them more when the grass is worse. Your not doing a job for them, your working for them. They will want to make additions to you and have it done at the same price. IE: Leaves, mulch, shrubs, aerating, etc.

    My experience with many hoa's have been the "president" is someone with a desire for some power. He/she can't get it anywhere else, so it makes them feel important in that current position. Now your under their thumb.

    It just my thoughts on the subject.
     
  6. MPhillips

    MPhillips LawnSite Member
    from zone 7
    Posts: 94

    I have some experience with HOA's, and it's wise to understand how they differ from residential and commercial. The person who hires you will, most likely, only be in charge for a year...so it may not be a long term situation. Look over the rest of the neighborhood to get an idea on the general upkeep...is the pool well kept? Is the clubhouse in need of repair. This will give you an idea of the priorities for the HOA in that year's budget. The HOA doesn't produce income so landscaping expense is, more than likely, a fixed line item with little room for growth.

    My experience would be that the first rate you work out will be the rate that they stick with so be pretty careful. Having said that, I like HOA's because they're like "billboards" for my company. A well kep HOA is seen byb the whole neighborhood and everyone driving by, put out a "maintained by..." sign now and then...you can put out newsletters to the whole neighborhood and do every wall, sprinkler, and install job in the place. I do a couple and use them as loss leaders...

    Good luck
     
  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    I agree completely with LGF. Where is this "50 an hour" coming from? Is this some number that he just pulled out of his hat? What if you went in and cut it with a 10 hp Craftsman? Would this make you worth more? Because you sure would make more on the job! Also, let's face it, this "2 week" thing is a losing game, period, no if, ands, or buts about it. Even if you DID do it every week in the heavier growth, it would probably be up to HIM to dictate when it needs it or not, (which these guys don't have a CLUE about this stuff) so you'd STILL end up cutting the thick stuff, and wearing on your mower.
     
  8. MJStrain

    MJStrain LawnSite Member
    Posts: 156

    I think I'd tell him that $50.00 an hour is lowballing it but that you'll take it if he's willing to cut every ten days and agree to a minimum 2 or 3 hours...
     
  9. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    it does seem risky...dealing with this guy could be trouble.

    but could be a "fair" risk. do you have the time and equipment? or will you need to invest?

    i would myself take this type of risk now, as we could take that work on with no prob. but i wouldn't take the job on if it meant jepardizing getting my existing cuts in, or buying new equip. or hiring...

    also i would set my price and be firm. the $ per hr you make is your business. if he doesn't like the price you say, run.

    and like everything else, push for a weekly service. but again if you really need the work do biweekly, but don't give him the schedule-you set it.

    i guess i think this is worthwhile to look into, but look carefully.
     
  10. Jimbo

    Jimbo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,093

    Heck, if they will pay you by the hour why not pussy foot around all day and charge him the $50.00 per hour. Its a fact that when people get paid by the hour they work slower. He is not very intelligent if he is telling you $50.00 per hour and not stipulating how many hours you have to get the job completed.

    Lets say you take his $50.00 per hour offer, and down the road you spend $10000.00 on a larger piece of equipment (to get done faster) will he still want to pay you $50.00 per hour based on the new time figure. How will you ever pay for your equipment.
    Another scenerio would be if you wanted to get a helper to get done faster. Would he still want to pay you $50.00 per hour based on the new "reduced" time. If so, you will lose your shirt!

    Base it on the job, and when you have that figure you can divide it by how many hours it takes and give him an idea of what it breaks down to per hour (the figure might even be $50.00).
    That way if you buy better equipment or hire a helper you will get paid the same amount but get done in less time (which will automatically equal more $ per hour).

    Price by the JOB!!!

    Jim
     

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