Most city contract cutters are lucky to break even. Think twice, bidders.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by RECESSION PROOF MOWING, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. RECESSION PROOF MOWING

    RECESSION PROOF MOWING LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 376

    I've got some inside info that i'm willing to pass on in hopes of setting the record straight on city/government mowing contracts. Most contractors aren't making money. Many cutters who lowballed KC boulevard and park contracts this year are in the tank and sucking air. That comes straight from the source and the management who pays them. Just had a big-timer tell me he gave back a huge and highly visible contract because he couldn't give high quality mows at the time frame they needed. And he confided, he was going to make peanuts off a huge gross sum even if everything went according to plan. And we all know it never does.

    Think long and hard about cutting 100 city right of way medians around a crime-infested, traffic-filled thoroughfare...for about $1900. Grass is usually about 3 ft. tall because you only get a once a month mow at best. Think long and hard, you newbies and lowball specialists out there. One contract went through three guys already...and we're not even half way through the season.

    You look at those cutters out there and think to yourself that because they have equipment and a truck with a sticker on the side that they are making money. They've got payments. They're making payroll if they're lucky. Look and see how many return next year or even at the next bidding table. Half return at best and they almost always bid more and lose the work to somebody stupid and brighteyed.

    Kansas City and most other major cities that bid out government city parks and boulevards will eventually change their system of taking the absolute worst bottom dollar bid. Inspectors don't have the resources or the time to keep running through a list of fools with big dreams and little skills to do the job.

    Called out the dogs on my local city lowball contractor last week and had his ass chewed for miserable trimming job. Here he was with his crew out today finetuning for the second or third time. He's losing his ass and everybody knows it...he won't last. Don't be this guy working for free or most likely...working for less than cost.

    So the next time you see a guy mowing a huge boulevard system with miles of curbing and hundreds of trees to trim...have pity on his soul. He's most likely drowning with no lifeguard on duty.
     
  2. Hell on Blades

    Hell on Blades LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 514

    2010 I bid the City of Blue Ash, OH. They provided the last 20 years winning bids in the bid packets. This year I went back just to see what last year's was. Mowing an acre and a half pool, bagged, for $40 and the open acre safety building for 25.

    I still go along and still bid every contract I can. I won't bid it to where I lose money.

    I agree with you that people are losing their ash trying to get these big contracts. I don't understand why they'll bid them at break even or a loss.
     
  3. AintNoFun

    AintNoFun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,807

    seems like a lot of bitterness in this post.. if they bid it cheap and then go outta business, thats a good thing....
     
  4. FLC2000

    FLC2000 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,832



    FYI, I like your use of the term lowballer but around here (KC) thats exactly what you are doing.



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  5. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 7,053

    It seems that RPM is in fact a hypocrite. You need to worry about YOURSELF and not others.
     
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,654

    To my understanding most companies who bid on government contracts are not looking to make great buck, they're not out
    to make a killing and those who bid these with any degree of success apparently have at least 20+ years experience.

    Now I'm not saying that's iron clad, it's just what I've gathered, what I do know is these contracts are usually a bit in ways like a tough cookie.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  7. flatlander42

    flatlander42 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,239

    That is probably the min price for service. Just to get the calls comming in. Like any other "sale"....something is always different and the sale price wouldn't apply to you!
     
  8. MOHUSTLER

    MOHUSTLER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,376

    OH FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD let it go. Bid them again next year and quit complaning to us about it. We got the message on your first 600 posts about it.
     
  9. kennc38

    kennc38 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 293

    Don't you realize he's not going to let it go until he get's his way? That's how hypocritical whiners operate. He complains about these low ballers doing a poor job and then turns around and talks about how he steals money from his own customers and dishonors his own contracts by doing "phantom cuts" when they don't pay on time.

    If someone is going to Sam's Club, can you pick up a carton of tissues? I've given all of mine to RPM. Make sure they have lotion in them 'cause it seems he chaffs easily.
     
  10. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 966

    This is funny.

    RPM is obviously bitter about getting dumped by the city.

    He drives around all day trying to take pictures of the parks and catch people leaving a single piece of grass.

    He essentially is selling 'lowballing' himself.

    Watch out though. He might do a phantom mow and only mow your front yard if you can't pay before he 'starts his engine'
     

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