Prices for Townhouses

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Yardworks, Oct 28, 2000.

  1. Yardworks

    Yardworks LawnSite Member
    Posts: 141

    This was my first summer of lawncare work. I was fortunate enough to get the lawncare for a good sized development in my area(78 townhomes- mostly 4 plex's, 24 townhomes-8 plex's,25 individual homes) The builder still has control of the associations and I worked with them this Spring to come up with prices. Because I was new to the business I didn't have a clue about prices. The V.P. of the builder was extremely helpful, showing me the bids of the last two companies to do the lawncare. Everything was going great until this fall. The builder is now turning over the associations to the people. In preparation for this the builder printed finacial records for everyone and said dues were going to be raised to meet the cost for snowremoval, lawncare, irrigation, asphalt maintance, ect. People aren't to happy about it. I have gotten to know quite a few people through out the Summer and they feel that bids for snowremoval and lawncare are outragous and that the builder has fabricated the numbers and is covering up money use for other things. Unfortunatly they are close. I'am thinking about lowing prices and making them retroactive for the Summer. Before I do I was wondering if anyone could give me some feedback on pricing townhomes. I am already about 45% less the the previous contractor. I just want to be priced fair for the people and fair to myself. If anyone could give me ideas,prices, or how you figure your prices for townhomes (by the hour,by the square footage,?????) I would really appreciate it.
     
  2. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,555

    You are now 45% lower than other bidders?This is way to much difference,I think you,ve cheated yourself or are cutting corners-i see no other way to beat a couple of bids by thar big a margin.My bids are usually within 10% of the highest bid-Ive been told Im a little high-but that way I know I am providing the best service I can,wihout rushung it or cutting corners.If i lose it-fine ill get it next year when the lowballer goes out of business-or cant afford to fix his mower becaue he's not making enough money.If I were you I would take the time it takes you-Xwhatever you need to make an HR,then add your equipment costs per hr to that+fuel-insurance etc...You have an advantage,you already do the job-so you know exactly how long it takes,and can bid knowing your not shorting yourself on labor time.You save travel time there,so that is in your favor.I dont know how else to bid that big a job,separately would be to complex.I personally like to average 60-80$ an hr mowing,including travel time,sometimes its a little less,but its high enough to make my payments and have some money when im done-which is why we do this -in addition to the gratification.
     
  3. Yardworks

    Yardworks LawnSite Member
    Posts: 141

    I think I have painted the wrong picture. I was 45% less then the last company. They were located at least one hour, one way from these townhomes. I am located 4 blocks from the site. They had a crew of 4-6 people to pay 2 hours of drive time. I have myself to pay. They were notorious for being extremely expensive. I was very comparible to the first company to do the mowing. I DO NOT CUT CORNERS. This winter will be the fourth year I've done this developments snow removal and one whole summer of lawn maintenance with zero complaints, knock on wood. The builder has received numerous compliments for the lawncare and snowremoval. I am extremely happy with the pay right now, but I want to be fair and I don't want to lose this account.
     
  4. Chances are when the builder turns the maint. over to the HOA you will be history. They will find somebody cheaper.
    They don't care about anything other than the bottom line.

    Why would you want to work for 78 people and get one check at low margin when you could work for 20 owners of single family homes at high margin.

    There is always safety in numbers.

    What HOAs do is mostly use and abuse young contractors who don't know any better. They have no loyality and should not be given the time of day IMHO.
     
  5. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    I would have to agree with Stone's reasoning. I gave up an apt. complex for the very same reason, prop. managers are looking for el-cheapo and thats the bottom line. If your happy with your money and they are happy with you then you need to send a letter out to all of them asking why there would be a problem with the current price. Explain to them that you have a vested interest in the complex since you have worked it for so long and hiring low ball Joe would be a big mistake. I might bend a little but I wouldn't break, theres money to be made elsewhere.

    Homer
     
  6. sunrise

    sunrise Banned
    Posts: 247

    stick with you bid they are looking for cheap bids Bid what it takes todo the job good
     
  7. helodude

    helodude LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    Ran into that problem this year. It's easy to say "stick to your price". It's not my bid, if you have already cut the property for one year, You know the cost and profit. If it's not profitable, leave it. If you are using the property as a billboard than keep the property. I have to agree with everyone prior to me.
     
  8. Yardworks

    Yardworks LawnSite Member
    Posts: 141

    Everyone is missing the point of my post. I just want to know what people get for mowing top of the line townhomes. I'm not cheap by any means. I just want to know what a fair price is. I'm a top of the line guy. I'm going to do the best job possible in town, but I'm also a fair person to deal with. If I'm high I'm going to make it right. So I'll ask again, what do people charge for townhouses?
     
  9. landscaper3

    landscaper3 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,354

    Yardworks - We also maintain Town Houses and Condo Associations and found that with the right communication they can be some of the best accounts you can have. We charge our Assoc, $75.00 per hour for our services due to we detail our work to be as nice as it can be. So each townhouse depending on size stay in the $50.00 range at 50 buildings thats $2,500.00 not a bad pay check. But remember through trial and error we found how important it is to communicate with the members on the assoc board. Check out our web site and look around, sorry pictures arent the best will correct them as soon as possible.
     
  10. helodude

    helodude LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    I treat a townhouse cut as a single cut if that's all I'm doing. 35-40 One job one price.
    If two or more in the same complex, I lower the price to 30-35.
    The lowest I go 20 per yard and that's if they are lined up.
    This is mow and blow, and three shrubs every 3rd week per townhouse. If they want shrubs done sooner than that I add or more than three I add.
    Now common areas-I measure that on acerage and difficult.
    ie.45-60 per hour. Maybe more depends on crew size and equipment requirements..
    Your four-plexs I would treat as two lawns to simplify the math.
    How many days does it take you to cut the property? What is the crew size? This is also a consideration, Your travel time to the job site is good. Are you also bidding on the upkeep of the site,plants and ground cover. Are you warranting the plants? Now do you pick up the litter in the streets?
    What i use to determine complex sites may or may not work for you.
    Lawns- no less than 20 per lettered owner,do not use if less than 10 lettered owners
    shrubs- allowed three per lettered owner, more than that extra
    leaf removal-flat 60 per hour figure approx.
    removal fee-broken into fiscal quarters, this helps year-round disposal charge.
    parking lot cleaning- sub-contract or hourly rate
    tree removal/storm damage-flat rate 60 and listed as a add-on
    new landscape and renovation-flat rated and listed as a add-on
    I warranty only the plants I install, once the contract is over, the warranty is over.
    HOA's are hard to work for. They general do not want to pay a fair price, you can try to be fair, but you need to spell all costs up front with them. Chances are the president will be the biggest pain in the neck that lives there.
     

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