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We bidded low and still lost a large contract !

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Turf Dancer, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. Turf Dancer

    Turf Dancer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 681

    We just bid three properties for one company and found out that it is not a package deal but they are giving them out 1 by 1 ! We were beat out on one that was about 26,965 sq. ft of lawn and 4992 linear ft. of trimming per week as well as around 600 ft of hedges and shrubs twice per year to be trimmed and I would have to fertilize three times per year. My bid for the year was $11,700 and $3960 of that was to contract the weed control and pre-emergant to a friends Weed and Pest control company. So I guess for $ 7740 I was going to mow this 32 times and fertilize 3 times, as well as trim 600 ft of shrubs and hedges as well as keep beds free of weeds that grew through weed control efforts! I guess even bidding a little on the low side doesn't help at times ! The other two I think went to other companies who were lower than me ! This was the small one of the three! How low should a guy have to go ?
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    someone once told me on this site and I still remember it, but if you don't have about 1/4 to 1/2 of people complain or turn you away because of your price then you are not charging enough.
  3. trimmasters

    trimmasters LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 261

    With out seeing it (Off the price sheet)

    Mowing 27,000 Sq. Ft. $1600
    Hege Triming $1200
    Fert, Weed Control 6 Apps $546
    Bed weed control 3Apps $ 300

    TOTAL $3646

    $11,700 to care for 27,000 Sq. FT.?
    $4,000 For Apps?????
  4. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,939

    If you bid as low as you could, then be glad you didn't get the job.
    I've said it before, I'll say it again, If you don't get turned down now and then, you're working too cheap. There are plenty of cheapskates out there, let the lowballers work for them.
    I priced a lawn this summer, from a guy in the K-mart parking lot, that wasn't happy with his current lawn man. They told me the current guys, two guys on Scags, zoomed through the lawn in about 20 minutes. No trimming, wide areas around the edges undone...
    I said 50 bucks, to do a good job, as it was a pretty good sized yard, with some steep areas. They said they were paying 20 bucks, and fifty was too much. I told them that was why the guy was sloppy, thanked them for their time, and did not negotiate a new price.
  5. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Posts: 1,647

    Don't sweat it. Those contracts will be up for bid again
  6. Turf Dancer

    Turf Dancer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 681

    It still ticks me off! There are only about 8 properties that are that large or larger that are contracted out in the area 40 mile radius ! We put bids in on 3 and now this large company that uses cheep migrant labor ! Is in the town where these properties are which is 35 miles from where they are from and 30 miles from here ! They are bidding everything lower than anyone else ! I thought at first they were a new outfit of lowballers but it turns out that it is the mainenance division from a nursery chain 65 miles from here. I just found out that the other two properties were also awarded to other companies ! One was 10000 sq ft lawn areas and 350 more ft of trimming and also about 1500 linear ft of trimming on hedges and shrubs ! They got it for $800 a month ! Heck my Weed guy was going to charge me $440 a month ! I bid it 1250 a month
    Keep in mind of these two propeties there is only a about 1/3 of each that can be mowed with a ZTR or large WB the rest of the areas would have to be mowed with a 21" mower ! Some of he areas could maybe be mowed with a 32" ! I thought I was in line on my bids but I guess I was really high !

    I guess I will drop my rates to $25 to 30 per hour just to stay busy !
  7. PhrankW

    PhrankW LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    The smaller the property the more you make. The larger the property the less you make.

    Trimmaster - You said "Mowing 27,000 Sq. Ft. $1600"
    Question - Turf Dancer said he was going to mow this 32 times. By your figures $1600 divided by 32 mowings = $50 per mowing.
    Is this correct? You charge $50 for mowing over a half of an acre?

    I agree 100% with crawdad on this one. If you bid as low as you could go and you didn't get it then it's probably a good thing you didn't get it. Let the other guy work his rear off for peanuts while you work easy for the same profit. You win in the long run and you'll have less headaches too.
  8. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Posts: 4,205

    So your saying that 100.00 per acre isn't enough?
  9. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 976

    Going rate around here is between $80 and $90 per acre. Keep in mind that is on the properties above 3 acres. You can still pull $60/ half acre on smaller jobs like this one, and get away with it if there's a lot of trimming. The job Turf Dancer is/was bidding on is .7 acres.

    My bid would have been as follows:
    mowing-$60 X 32 = $1920
    fert. X 3-$3960 (his quote)
    hedge trimming twice-$1200
    weeding in beds-$400

    With a figure like this I would add $250 for any unforseen expenses bringing the total to $7730.

    Hate to say it, but you've been low balled again. Sorry!
  10. trimmasters

    trimmasters LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 261

    Well mowing price would definantly increase some since you stated you would need smaller mowers for most of it. 30 per man hour is the norm in commercial work, unless your runing a high production crew. With out seeing the exact specs the prices your chem applacator is quoting you seem insane! could you please explain that alittle more?

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