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School and Athletic Fields

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Rwise10230, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. Rwise10230

    Rwise10230 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 75

    Alright guys....I really need your help here. I have the opportunity to bid a high school recently built. The current contractor is really doing a very poor job of maintaing the grounds and athletic fields......baseball, soccer, football, softball, track.....The whole deal. It's a situation where I can only look like a King even at my worst effort. But.....being interested in sports field turf management, I want to do only a top notch job.

    While I'm approaching this from the typical labor hrs, material and internal cost factors, I need any of you that may have some experience in this type of contracting to pass along any "in's and out's" that a poor old fella like me don't have.

    I have plenty of sports field fertilization and weed control knowledge and experience. But the rest of the typical experience in dealing with grounds this large and school systems have me concerned.

    Help me out here.....this contract can lead to another 20 schools in this area if i can prove myself.
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    my advice is to get in good with the school board
  3. C&J landscape

    C&J landscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31


    Are you just taking care of the grass or are you responsible for the infield grooming of the ball fields as well?
  4. Rwise10230

    Rwise10230 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 75

    I'll be responsible for all of it.......common areas and athletic fields with bermuda grass, chemicals....everything except game preparation. I care for nothing to do with marking the fields prior to each game.
  5. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    I was an employee of a school not a contractor so it will be from a different perspective. First, be careful about spraying chem. if possible use no tracer dye. Parents were always trying to sue because their kid sneezed wrong. Sub it and let some else's attorneys battle it out. Next schools run on tight budgets so they look for low bids and expect miracles. The kids at our facility were notorious for breaking rotor sprinkler heads off. Get a firm guideline on litter! We spent about 60% of our day just picking up trash and that was how we never lost our jobs to a sub, because they didn't want to pick up trash. I marked fields as well that was easy, convincing them that aerating the football field regularly was a challenge. See if they have an attorney on staff because if they do they will use him to hold you to things you may not realize you've agreed to. Been surfing the sight occosionally although I left groundskeeping to go back to college. Hope this helps you.
  6. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    Currently I mow 5 schools in the area.

    The senior high has 2 baseball fields, 2 softball fields, a soccer field, 2 football fields, plus the common areas.

    With me running a 60" deck and my dad mowing with a 12' tri-deck bush hog behind a 43 hp Kubota, it takes 8 hours JUST for the mowing. It'll take about another 8-10 hours for the trimming.

    KUBOTADAN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    I just looked at a high school yesterday to submit a bid. Don't think they will go for it. Around $2000 per month. (2 cuts) It will take at least 8 hrs ..
  8. Rwise10230

    Rwise10230 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 75

    Yep.....I bet they will balk at the price. But, I found out early on that people will let ya do something for nothing. My favorite saying to people is simply why should I do this for you for X dollars when I can use the time for someone else for X dollars.

    The company that currently has the contract is a major player in the area and they also own the grass seed company that distributes the seed you guys probably buy. (used to be Lofts Seeds) But, I know they won't give too much away either so I believe I'll have some profit in this...lol.

    Let's see at 8 hrs....thats only $480 per mow or rather 16 man hours......it suddenly becomes $960 per mow.....times one half that for mowing the athletic fields twice each week....that's $1,440 each week......dont think they will do that...
  9. pcnservices

    pcnservices LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 614

    Exactly!! They take the low bid - and you can only mow after 4pm after school is out.
    We did the schools last year. This year we submitted a bid again. Four of our contractors were in the ± $1 /1000 sqft range and out came this lowballer with 45 cents / 1000 sqft, his first year mowing and his 1st client / contract and they awarded him the bid.
    Currently he's messing it up so bad the school has taken him off one of the sportfields. He don't do directional mowing and start at the outside perimeter of the field and go around in circles towards the inside. Clippings gets thrown towards the middle of the field and he eventually had a fungus going so bad the entire field was infected. The school dont care as long as it gets mowed on schedule. We striped all our school properties. They did'nt care either.
    I dont want to do a contract if that is how they select a contractor and I am NOT going to compete against lowballers.

    What I am trying to tell you is: it's a wonderfull opportunity and contract if you have it but dont invest in it because it is short term. There's NO loyalty towards you from the school. Next year if you're not the low bid - you're out.
    I wanted to buy another mower last year to get through mowing the schools - Thank God I did not.

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