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Need info on how to bid Apartment complex

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Derrick Roberts, Jul 28, 2002.

  1. Derrick Roberts

    Derrick Roberts LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    I am wanting to bid a 188 unit Apartment complex locally. My customer make up includes Banks, Churches, car lots ,motels, and nieghborhood entrances. I have been looking to grow, here is my chance. I usually measure my properties using the Bill Phagen method. It has worked well for me . A friend told me I should charge $9.00 per door for my per cut price. Seems high, but this is a big property with lots of shrub trimming. Any thoughts on how I should handel this would be appreciated.


  2. yardboyltd

    yardboyltd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 323

    Break it down. What I do for complexes is how much would I charge for each building or area and add it up and take some off, b.c ur not going to have to move jobsite to jobsite, rather just move the mower to the next building.. Thats all I can tell you. The door method is bad....
  3. First why change?

    Second if you can't figues out how to bid this then you are not ready to do it.
  4. 1stclasslawns

    1stclasslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 565

    Yardboy is right. I do 13 complexes and thats what I have done.

    Watch out though managers can be a pain, they look at the bottomline and don't know squat about a lawn.

  5. JasperStorm

    JasperStorm LawnSite Member
    from WA
    Posts: 71

    "Per door price" is meaningless. It is a figure used by accountants at the propert mangement company.

    Do you bid your churches by the number of doors? Do you count the fire exits or the access door to the roof? Didn't think so.

    Apartments tend to be cheapskates, yet they want a high level of service. "I know you guys were out here pruning last week and you did a great job, but we have the owners coming through this Thursday, and I was wondering if you could rake through all the beds again, just to make it look extra nice. Also, do you guys blow leaves off the top of carports? Our maintenance man hurt his ankle and can't climb a ladder."

    Bid as you would any other property, but make sure that everyone is on the same page, otherwise you'll end up with all parties dissatified.

    Good luck.
  6. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 372

    Well, Derrick, as they say: " you gotta start somewhere."

    I'm really interested to know how this goes. Keep us apprised and if you get the bid, let me know if you feel like you're coming out on it.

  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    First of all, Bill Phagen's method of operation in this case is ludicrous. It is just merely a VERY generalized breakdown of simplistic formulas that are ALL so generic, they are a joke. Look at this example. 9 bucks per door. If you think that an apartment complex this size is going to pay nearly $1700.00 per cut, you're PROBably barking up the wrong tree. Also, what if you have a small building(s) sitting on some acreage? Are you going to charge 56 dollars to cut 5 or 6 acres? What if there are 20 units sitting on a small lot of about an acre? Are they going to pay $180. for the mowing? I don't think so. Furthermore, if you are doing the types of places you have been, I'd SURELY stick to that. It's been discussed here before, several times, and everyone agrees that apartment complexes are the WORST accounts to take on. There is NO LOYALTY!!! There will seel you out in a New York minute to save 20 bucks a month. It happens all the time. I don't care, you can have a complex for 6 or 7 years, and before you know it, they either want you to come down in price, or they just give the contract out to someone else the next year without even letting you know about it, and not giving you a chance to counterbid. (There's a strategic reason they do this). Also, many of times these places switch management groups, (ongoing thing) and as soon as they do, guess what the new company has to do. You guessed it,- cut costs. Well, guess where THAT starts at. They will ALWAYS find someone to do it cheaper. I can drive around all day and inquire at offices of complexes that I have done and find that the service they are currently using is doing it way less than I did it years ago! It's a joke. Good luck with it, and don't put too many eggs in one basket.;)
  8. Russo

    Russo LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 287

    Dead on Runner. But the per door gives you monthly price not price for each cut. So it would be $1700 / month and include full service maintenance. It's not a good way to price. It will, however tell you if you are way way off as a double check, and $9 a door is a very low double checker! More like $10 - $13.

    Apartment complexes are a great way to make almost no money. My advise would be to bid high. If they take it, you're happy to work there and they're happy to have you. Don't forget...complexes have tons of curb lines to edge, sidewalks and porches to blow off, and all the other B.S. mentioned above. Growing is nice, but you want to grow profitably. Size means nothing if you're operating on a 5% net.

    Good Luck. Let us know how it goes.

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