need advice on bidding school grounds

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jwc1031, Sep 26, 2003.

  1. jwc1031

    jwc1031 LawnSite Member
    from TX
    Posts: 3

    The local school in my area currently has two of there maintenance men doing the grounds on 3 campuses and the administrative building. In the fall of 2004 there will be another campus to do as well. The grounds ALWAYS look bad and are overgrown. I would like to pitch to the administrative board that it would be better to contract out than to have staff do it!

    Does anyone have any advice on putting together a marketing package to sell this idea?
     
  2. Lawnalternatives

    Lawnalternatives LawnSite Member
    Posts: 117

    Say something like...

    "We'll cut the grass, you teach the class!"

    or

    "If the grass looks good then maybe the kids won't want to smoke it behind the gymnasium!"

    or

    "The kids will have more school spirit if the lawn looks more presentable."

    I need to stop. This could just keep going.
     
  3. procare57

    procare57 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Schools are a hard market to get into. Most times from my experience the schools budget includes these employees salary so in most cases they add grounds maintenance to there job list because they have to pay them to do something. Janitorial work doesn't take all day so it occupies the rest of their work day. Better to have them do that then sit on their butt all day.
     
  4. TRex

    TRex LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW ,TX
    Posts: 487

    You will need to have a $1mil insurance policy to do any sub work for a school in Texas. I don't know much more than that, but a lot LCO's only care 1/2 or 1/4 mil policys. Just to let you know before you get your hopes to high.
     
  5. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,144

    Every surrounding school district around me has there own grounds maintnance employees and there own machines. Yes they do a terrible job but I highly doubt a school district is going to fire employees, sell machines and find what to do with there existing garages (storage and work spaces) because a local LCO wants the job.
     
  6. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    Not only that, but since it's union, there are certain issues as well. For instance, someone else comes in and does some work, grievances are filed. I do quite a bit of work for a local school system, but it is all in agreement with what the maintenance guys DON'T want to or can't do. I DO know of someone local who does the mowing for an entire school system, but that was a long planned outsource.
     
  7. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    I used to maintain 5 Elementary Schools in my town. I was the first one to get in there because they had added classrooms and the janitorial staff needed to spend more time inside rather than outside. I went in and gave them a reaaaaaaaalllllly good price, year round of course, but wound up regretting my decision. I underpriced them terribly and when I sent letters to all of them (after 2 years of doing it cheap) they weren't very receptive to the increase I needed. I no longer service any schools........I learned a lesson.......they got others to do the work actually cheaper than I was. That says a lot about my competitors but also tells me they're just like anybody else. They want something for nothing.

    If and when you do this........take a good hard look at what it will take time wise and equipment...........and labor............then submit a professional bid detailing all the services you will provide for them and set your price correctly.........if you get it at your price you can probably forget ever trying to raise it.
     
  8. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    Schools are part of the local government, they will ALWAYS take the cheapest bid with the contractor that meets the criteria. In our community, they HAVE to pick the lowest bid. Do you want to be that guy?
     
  9. mower_babe

    mower_babe LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 790

    we have taken care of a school district for 2 years now. Never had a lick of problem with them. Before us they had hs kids working off their tuition (private school) and obviously this was not much of a motivation and the grounds looked awful. We offered to clean up everything for free (over 20 hours worth of free labor) and get everything looking good then offered a per mowing price. They took it. This past winter they talked about bidding it out - and decided not to b/c they were happy. It may seem insane to offer free clean-up, but i knew that would be the hook if i could just mow for them once. I also kind of feel like I am giving back since it is a Christian school - so it all works out. I will increase my prices ever so slightly this year - I didnt last year for them. Good luck.

    (keep in mind that this is a private school, so your experience may be completely different)
     

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