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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jklawn, Jun 23, 2005.
Give some advice on dealing with apartment complexes.
Unless its privately owned run and run fast. Most want cheap pricing and don't care about quality. Junk every where unless its older people living there, one big head ache.
Well I've only looked at one so far and it was a smaller one.
The guy who asked me for the price is a regular customer of mine so I know where he lives, and that helps a LOT because FTS of giving a price to some real-estate management team's secretary or whatever.
Here's what I did:
First I tried to walk the entire thing but gave up real quick and got back in my car, then DROVE around the entire thing one time while taking notes. Mainly I was adding up pieces of lawn time-wise.
Then I drove all around a second time, adding up pieces of lawn money-wise. It wasn't that much area, maybe 3/4 acre total, but it was all in little pieces and rows and columns of grass and a LOT of curbs so TONS of weed-eating and also a lot of curb-jumping with the WB.
Then I drove around a third, and a fourth time, adding it all up again, and again. I added it up several times per money, and several times per time, then I took all 4 totals and compared and drove around a final time to see if I had it close enough to be right.
At that point I felt confident I had the price I wanted, and since they asked me peak-of-season, I quoted $45/hour and since I figured 2-3 hours, the estimate came to $90 - to - $135 (yes it was a LOT of little itty bitty pieces of grass all along the sidewalks and rows and columns all over, nevermind the fence surrounding the entire thing).
I never got the job, but I think that's been covered: They're all looking for the cheapest guy and this is one fast way to let them know: I am NOT cheap. But commercial properties like that make me nervous, not so much because the size is hard to estimate, but because I wonder WHO will be ultimately responsible if I don't get paid...
See here's the thing: Someone's tail HAS to be ultimately responsible.
Just because the manager swears on the bible that I will get paid, that is not good enough. You see, my bank isn't stupid either: On my Business VISA, even thou the card is in the business' name, IF the balance doesn't get paid, the bank comes after ME because guess who's signature had to guarantee the card would get paid? Yes, so I want the same guarantee from any apartment complex / commercial property and tyvm.
Like someone else said: If it's privately owned, you should be ok.
We bidded on a property this year on a pretty good piece. We walked it and measure it and walk it some more. We figure what we thought was a valid price for the amount of area and time it would take us. Then we used that amount and compared to what we do on a normal route. It came roughly to 2 days route time but....we then took out window time and we felt that we could do weekly maintenance in a single day once we got to know the property and got in the grove. Then we took into consideration the "EXTRAS" we could make off the property such as tree work, irrigation, shrub replacement....etc. This made us go down a little in price b/c we knew that the extras would make up for the discount. To make a long story short we priced the property at what we felt we could make about 20% after overhead etc. And we overpriced the bid by 1500 a month. So we said thanks and call us when you need something else. Apartments down here seem to a big company only deal. I think it that the company who won the bid was doing it free. I just dont know how they could do that and come out ahead. We have had much better results with strip malls and churches.
Get everything in writing, and make sure it's signed by the person in charge.
I get everything in writing, and then I bill around the 20th. If I do not have payment buy the 10th the next month service stops and I add late charges! Private owned properties work good for me. I want to know the owner personally. Alot of these places get tired of the lowballer and the big crew outfits who go around and tear everything up.
I have no problems my work is hands on. The trick is to getting good properties is to submit alot of bids. then it will get to the point to where you can pick and choose what you want.
You can double your profits real fast by being real careful what kind of accounts you will take. I turn most of the work down. If I do not get my 50$ an hour I won't do it.
The reason I like them is that most of the time they have a real positive cash flow, if you can tap into it.
Something else I found was on the last one I picked up, I have it setup to where the maintenace people on the property pick up all trash and debris before I come out. They save money because they pay them 14$ an hour rather than my 50. I give them a good break on price to do that, it works Good!