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Please Help Me Bid Cemetary!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by retrodog, Dec 18, 2007.

  1. retrodog

    retrodog LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,421

    Hey guys, I'm trying to get a new cemetary this year, and I have very little experience in bidding. I mow 2 other smaller ones right now (17 and 22 acres), but they just told me what they paid and I took them. This cemetary is 100 acres with 59 acres actually fully developed. I can poison 3 inches around graves, they want me to pick up limbs, and trim hedges also. I know it is kinda vague, but if you guys could give me some good close ballpark figures to go by. I am planning on only being out there for one day, but I am buying 3 brand new Bad Boy Pups with 48in decks and a complete rig to do it (I have other contracts for the rig if your wondering why I'm going so big). They said that the last company that did it took 2 days, but they had huge front deck mowers, and had to weedeat and push mow alot. I have references and insurance etc., but need to bid just right. Don't wanna be to low, as I would'nt make any money, but don't want to be too high and price myself out. The contract will be for 2 years and starts in March. Please help and give me some feed back, as I am drawing blanks. I actually sit and talked with the people that accept the contracts twice, but could not get myself to ask how much as I felt like that would be unproffessional. Thanks for the help in advance, Kevin
  2. retrodog

    retrodog LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,421

    Hey, maybe a per acre average for something that big? Any kind of feedback would be very helpful. I average about $60 dollars an acre which takes me about 23 minutes with one mower and one trimmer(per cut) on the smaller cemetaries, but they are not as congested as this one. If I bid $60 an acre on this one, it would put me way out of ballpark range that everyone is bidding. The ballpark is between $40 and $50 an acre. Is that too low to make any money with 3 mowers and 3 trimmers? Don't want to shoot myself in the foot for the next couple of years.
  3. Sweet Tater

    Sweet Tater LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,123

    I am still pretty new to this also, just starting my 2nd year. But I just bid a small country cemetary. its only aout 1.5 acres and got it at 135 per mow. I personally wouldn' figure my price based on what I do a res lawn for. Theres lots more weed eating to do. It sounds like you know what the going price in your area is, so I would go with what you know, only you know your expences and how much you need to make a profit.
  4. bluetick

    bluetick LawnSite Member
    Posts: 30

    Is there actually 100 acres developed? In other words not with dead folk but pasture or what ever? How many acres will have to be mowed? If there is a lot of mowing with out tomb stones I could see $40 or $50 an acre for those acres, but where you have graves I would say $75 minimum Thats the only way I see you paying to run three mowers. I do a 7 acre cemetery for $100 an acre. No "round-up" but also no hedges or other stuff. Mow and weed eat only. It does have a lot of family plots though. Lots of weed eat'n

    If there are lots of fenced off, bricked off etc. family plots that will need a push mower or trimmer you have to bid accordingly.

    The only thing I know for sure about a cemetery is that every time I finish the one I do now I swear I'm gonna get cremated when I die so some poor sap ant gotta mow around me from now till the end of time.
  5. retrodog

    retrodog LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,421

    its roughly 59 acres developed that we have to mow, and the other 40 is just pasture that they brush hog. If I bid $75 an acre they would just laugh at my bid. If I mowed it 36 times next year give a few times for the trimming and the little extra they ask, that would be $159000 a year! Thats nearly double what they were used to paying. I guess what I am asking is Am I ******** for considering this for 45 an acre. That would be roughly 2500 a mow and around 7500 month. I am going to have family running the mowers to save on labor, and I am purchasing about $18000 worth of new equipment at 3.9% for 2 years that would put my equipment payment right at 780 month. The rig will also be used to maintain a couple of smaller contracts we got in the area, but I am basically getting it for the sole purpose of the cemetary.
  6. sikagrass

    sikagrass LawnSite Member
    Posts: 238

    "Am I ******** to bid this for 45 an acre?" I was doing one 26 acres for 1500 a cut, thought I would get rich. I quit after 6 months. I was making money but not enough. Its a fine line when you start talking profit margins.The land with no sleepers on it you will do ok but the majority of it should be worth 75 or more an acre. Bid higher than the 45 or I promise you this-end up just like I did,grossing a lot and making a dab.The guys on here warned me about how hard it would be but I didnt listen.You can make money if you bid enough and have the help to do it.I just ran money thru my hands and got a tax bill,by the way a lot of my labor was weedeating the stones, you said you could use roundup that would help a lot.Its better to bid too high and not get it than bid too low and be tied in for 2 years. Good luck and happy new year.
  7. retrodog

    retrodog LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,421

    It just sounds like a lot of money, hell and looks like alot of money on paper after expenses. The cemetary guys said that it took the last LCO 1 day running 3 mowers. Although they did damage quite a few headstones in the process..lol I would have to mow it either every 10 days, or just not let the grass exceed 3.5 inches high. I know they are prolly making it sound pretty sweet to get me to sign up, but $7500 a month average minus say $900 for equipment costs $400 for fuel and line chemicle etc. Taxes $1500 or so, That leaves $4700. Labor...lets see prolly 180 man hours month at $10/hour (worst case scenario) that is 1800. That would leave $2900 monthly to my bottom line for 6 days work and a little more paperwork give or take a little and thats after paying for a brand new rig. Am I pretty close? Never really backed up to look at something like that, usually I just say yep' I'll mow it and hope I make money...lol This is just the biggest thing I have looked at so far, and don't want to rush in and ruin everything like a few of these guys have on here. That is nearly $500 a day profit after everything if I figured right. If you are reading this and have been in a similiar spot please respond good or bad....I have to turn in the bid by the 15th. Not looking to be the lowest bidder, I have already let them know I won't even bother with a bid, but after hearing the (ballpark) range, noone has even bid over $100000. That would be right at $47 an acre.
  8. Happy Frog

    Happy Frog LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,224

    I would reconsider and spend the extra bucks to get the Lightning versions instead (better seat, engine, speed, etc...)
    You may need the mowers on other sites and wish you had those features :cry::rolleyes:
  9. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 25,390

    What ya need to do is lookat the ones you are already doing, are you making $ on them? If so do a breakdown to per acre and just refigure the new bid per acre
  10. mikecaldwell1204

    mikecaldwell1204 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 185

    At least $100 an acre or your not gonna be making anything. Don't let the big numbers fool you, this is going to be alot of work and you need to price accordingly.

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