underbidding is no fun!!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by fitzg2md, May 17, 2007.

  1. fitzg2md

    fitzg2md LawnSite Member
    Posts: 156

    So I bid a property this spring. It is an "apartment complex". Its really like ~60 small single story brick houses spread out over 15 acres. One step up from a trailer park basically. 15 acres of weeds that just need to be mowed (weekly) and trimmed. The owners of the complex didnt want anything fancy...just clean it up every week. Using a lazer Z, I just fly around as fast as I can, race-tracking the whole thing and not worrying about skidding the tires or anything. They could CARE LESS if the tires tore up the dirt/weed patch! I figured that I could do the entire thing by myself in a single day (8 man hours) using my 60" Lazer Z. Alot of it is pretty open mowing, minus a few trees and ditches etc.

    Ok, heres the question...I bid the job out at 487.00 per cut. Low and behold...it takes alot longer than I thought! Mowing takes about 7 hours straight. Problem is there is alot more trimming than I thought! Trimming the whole thing (including the loooong ditch) takes about 4.5-5 hours! Makes for a reallly long single day. Where does everyone think i fall on the pricing? I realize you cant see it...but how much money did I leave on the table? I wont change the price on them since I quoted them a certian amount...we signed a contract, etc. Next year though is a different question! Am I even in the ballpark here or what? How would you approach the price hike next year?
     
  2. NittanyLawncare

    NittanyLawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 83

    I usually do $50 per single man hour, so about $600? I would probably do it for $500-$550 though since your only cutting every 7 days.
     
  3. howardsells2000

    howardsells2000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 355

    You will probably get faster at cutting and trimming. It seems to me the first and second cuts always take longer. Once you get everything trimmed and squared away, it will be easier and faster to maintain. Maybe you should hire yourself a helper for that day.
     
  4. fitzg2md

    fitzg2md LawnSite Member
    Posts: 156

    Yeah, the first couple time I cut it, it took a tad longer since I was getting to know the grounds and cleaning up the trim areas from lack of upkeep. however, i just cut it today for the 4th time and was hauling a*& and still took me 12 hours (4 longer than expected). Not happy about it, but lesson learned I guess.....:rolleyes:
     
  5. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,513

    Since they don't care too much, could you bite the bullet one day and spray glyphosphate in a lot of trim areas that wouldn't look too bad? That would save you quite a bit of trim time for at least a month or so.:)
     
  6. fitzg2md

    fitzg2md LawnSite Member
    Posts: 156

    thats a darn good idea actually...i have noticed alot of elementry schools in this area that must be on a tight budget do that around flagpoles, and such.
     
  7. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    Eh, 40.58/hr... Not bad, but not good either.

    Suck it up and try to raise your price next year. Since you stated they don't give a damn about the property, they'll find someone cheaper next year anyhow.

    I wouldn't recommend spraying glysophate without an applicator's license, unless you like hefty fines.
     
  8. dwlah

    dwlah LawnSite Senior Member
    from Argo Al
    Posts: 558

    I use it three ways
    long wide and continuous
     
  9. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,544

    Ya I know it makes the money situation even worse but it if it gets the job down to 7-8 hours you won't regret it.

    Also, I second the glyphosphate. Check your state law, you may only need to be licensed if you charge for it. Who's checking, anyways?
     
  10. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    I can't believe there are 2 guys here, both with 1K plus posts who have obviously been on this site a lot and probably in the business a while, advocating applying pesticides without a license, REGARDLESS of whether or not the customer is being charged.

    Licensing is required for a reason. Not just to be able to do it for hire, but to have a basic understanding of how to apply safely without hurting yourself or the environment.
     

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