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need advice on bidding a job..

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JPexclusive, Dec 3, 2000.

  1. JPexclusive

    JPexclusive LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Posts: 5

    hello everyone, I am looking for some advice on a job I am getting ready to bid on. This is my first big commercial job and it is going to take an estimated 30 hours a week with a 3 man crew. Should I charge by the hour, and if so how much an hour. What would some of you guys charge for a job this big?
  2. Barkleymut

    Barkleymut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,117

    "it is going to take an estimated 30 hours a week with a 3 man crew" So 90 man hours? Where do you live? What type of equipment? I can outperform many 3 man crews by myself so I hope your not bidding against me because I will bid lower and get the contract. I guess I'm just saying you need to provide more info.
  3. jkinchla

    jkinchla LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Posts: 74

    I recommend that you buy RS Means Lanscape Estimating book and learn how to use it. Not sure if they cover mowing, but they do cover plantings, seeding, site work, mulching, etc. Good reference and good tool to use as a check on your costs of servicing commercial accounts.

    Also, if you are insured and pay worker's comp, etc. make sure to emphasize that and provide the limits of your coverage to the account manager. Commercial customers really appreciate that kind of thing because it shows that you are on the ball and have taken the necessary business steps to service that kind of account.

    Above all, be as detailed as possible in your estimate. I would not reveal the hourly rate to them, rather bid the job as a whole. However, that could depend a bit on the type of job. Best thing is to make sure your costs are covered, don't worry about what the other guy is bidding!
  4. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    30 hours a week seems like a very time consuming project. Is it going to interfere with your other work? I used to think bigger was better but found out the smaller properties have more profit potential. Be careful, bid it high enough to absorb what you might have to give when your unable to get to it. Another point: Is this a one year contact? If so I'm sure they are looking for the low bidder, would you be better of picking up smaller, more long term properties?

    Just be careful. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

  5. Greenkeepers

    Greenkeepers LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE Ohio
    Posts: 695

    I agree with Homer on this one. Make sure to get at least a 3 year deal on this. That way you can justify buying more equipment and you can hire the manpower necessary to keep this and your other properties up. What are some more details?
  6. Ssouth

    Ssouth LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 437

    Just recieved a bid contract that's comperable to the one you are asking about. I normally bid on $40/hr. After doing all the paperwork my price was way too high. I went back and figured on $30/hr and was 3K under the next lowest bidder. I could justify this because I'm a one man show and the other company's bidding have several crews.
    My point is, try to figure the bid several different ways. Some ways will delete themselves after you see the numbers. Never bid low just to get the job. Be sure you are still going to make a good profit after all cost are figured in.

    Good Luck
  7. tazman

    tazman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 81

    Not sure if you mean 30 man hours or 3 men at 10 hours each. But just for conversation, we just one a bid for 22 properties. I bid based on 2 man hours at $35/ea for $70/hr. Some of the properties can be done by 1 man though so I created a buffer. I went against a large national, but because my overhead is less, I can quote more agressive. Am I losing money??? NO. This will double my business with the same amount of help I had this season. I guess what I am saying is quote so you make money, but don't get greedy. When I qoute I try to put myself in my competition's place and think what he is going to need to make money. Then I decide if I can do better and still make money. If not, I walk away. Its not rocket science, but it works. Good luck with your bid.
  8. Ssouth

    Ssouth LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 437

    That's what I was try to say, but you put it in better words.
  9. JPexclusive

    JPexclusive LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Posts: 5

    thanks for some of your advice guys. The job is a small city that will take 30 hrs. (10 hrs. per crew member). My equipment is a 62" ztr and a 48" wb. I estimated around $70 per hour, but that just seems a little high to me. But like I said, I'm new to the game (commercial). This is a yearly contract.
  10. JPexclusive

    JPexclusive LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Posts: 5

    I'm sorry I meant to say 30hrs per crew member..
    Thanks for all the advice.

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