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Measurement / Production Ratios

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by g21, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. g21

    g21 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 326

    Wanted to see how many of you have a system in place where you measure all aspect of the property you are bidding on, then plug in production ratios to calculate the exact number of manhours needed for the job?
     
  2. Mowinforaliving

    Mowinforaliving LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,258

    If you're talking about high acreage commercial cutting, it just depends on what kind of equipment you have. If you have a 48" mower and you're bidding on a 10 acre job, I can undercut your price and still make good money if I have a 61" or 72" machine, because it will take me less time to do it. I'm not sure how to answer your question, but I can tell that you that I size up a property and have an idea in my head of how long it will take me to do with the machine that i'm currently running. I know how much ground I can cover on mine, just like you will know how much ground you can cover on your's. Some guys say $1 a minute. It just depends on how much trimming there is, etc. Hope it helps.
     
  3. g21

    g21 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 326

    Thanks for the replay. Even on large acrage mowing, in fact especially with large mowing, wouldn't you need to know how much square footage of turf or field you can mow per hour with each of your machines for you to accurately price out the job? I would think that the larger the area, the more difficult it would be to guess?
     
  4. Mowinforaliving

    Mowinforaliving LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,258

    Not with several years of high acreage mowing/bidding experience. I never measure square footage, unless i'm giving someone a price to spray or fertilize it. You have to do that for your records anyway, otherwise the Dept. of Ag. will be all over ya. As far as mowing, when you own a commercial machine, you know how many acres you can cut per hour with it. This is how you figure up the man hours, along with sizing up the trimming, edging, and clean-up. If you have multiple machines, you just do your math. I don't think there's a set formula though, if that's what you're asking. There is when it comes to applications, but not really mowing.
     
  5. IRRITECH

    IRRITECH LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 931

    Yeah, I do. I have an excel spread sheet that I have come up with over the years. I plug in the sq ft of the yard and it will calculate where my price should be. Don't really use it for residential stuff much because most of our res stuff is 4-10K sqft and that's relatively simple.

    You have to be careful using a one size fits all calculator. 50K sq ft of open turf with new plantings is totally different than the same size property 10 years old and cut up into little areas of turf.
     
  6. Mowinforaliving

    Mowinforaliving LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,258

    Every property is different, even if the sq. ft. is the same. I don't see how a formula could be made. A football field won't take as long to mow as a roadway will that's full of holes, bottles, sand drifts that change weekly, etc. If the sq. ft. is the same, other things can slow you down which will make the formula useless. This is the way I see it anyway. Either way, it's a good question.
     
  7. Mowinforaliving

    Mowinforaliving LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,258

    Just to note, I meant the sq. ft. of a football field and the sq. ft. of the roadway being the same, you couldn't use the formula and forsee the man hours being the same, because one property might have things that slow you down, whereas the other one doesn't.
     
  8. IRRITECH

    IRRITECH LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 931



    True, at that point you simply modify the sqft/ hr in the formula. i.e. property X = 15000/hr , Property Y = 12000/hr, etc. You know what your hourly costs are so based on experience, you can hit it very close. It also allows calculations for other things too, fert, mulch, roundup, etc.
     
  9. g21

    g21 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 326

    When establishing production ratios, you never want to use "perfect" conditions. I also know contactors who have scales of difficulty for different scenarios. Though every property is different, you can get pretty close...it's still better than guessing!
     
  10. Mowinforaliving

    Mowinforaliving LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,258

    Okay. I see what you're saying. I thought he was wanting to know if there was a set it stone formula for bidding a high acreage mowing job. I know that on a good day of fairly even ground with grass that's been cut within the previous 10 to 12 days and treated with pre and post-emergents regularly, my machine will mow around 6 to 6 and a half acres in an hour if I really hit it hard. This is providing that I don't stop to check voicemails, get a drink, smoke, etc. I can't use this formula on every bid though, because sometimes I might be bidding on a property that has fallen tree limbs, big mounds of dirt that gophers or moles have dug up, softball size rocks that have to be gently shoved out of the way with the side of the deck, etc. On ground like this it may slow my production down an acre or 2 per hour. Instead of getting 6 knocked out, I may only get 4, etc. In this case, I can see where a person could just use the same formula like you're saying, just use your slower production numbers if the job looks like it's going to be that description. You have a point, and I stand corrected.
     

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