28 Acres...no clue where to start!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by HPI_Savage25, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. orangemower

    orangemower LawnSite Silver Member
    from pa
    Messages: 2,768

    This is a huge misconception that seems to happen often. You must have plenty of money to be able to do that?
  2. grasscutter24

    grasscutter24 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 148

    Pricing really depends on where you live to be honest. $1,250/ cut for 28 acres would be on the high end where I live, unfortunately. The land from the map view looks pretty flat, which means if you have a couple of ZTR's you can run full throttle while mowing and save significant time(One ZTR should be able to cut an OPEN acre in 20min). The biggest question is how much weed whacking and blowing off sidewalks/ driveways are you going to have to do. That can be very time consuming. It looks like there is a good amount of fence that would need to be weed whacked. ( Better off spraying round-up along the fence line and only having to hit it with a trimmer 1x month). Very important to figure that part out as well. If I were you I wouldn't be scared to put a bid on it. There are enough dealers out there that you can probably find 0% financing. You are going to need at least 2 ZTRs 60" to get the job done. Realistically 3, but if I were you I wouldn't buy 3 until you get bigger. This is a job that could help pay off your equipment and get you off to a great start! Worse case scenario you can sell one of the Z's and live another day. Good luck
  3. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,764

    I can admire someone with stones to gamble in business, but leveraging yourself to the hilt for 25k? Good luck offloading that mower when the bottom falls out and you need the moeny to pay off all of the debt you accrued.... for one contract.
  4. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    If you should land this job, I see no reason not to go with a 72" mower. By the looks of it, a extra ft of cut will save you quite a bit of time. If you've got areas where you will need a smaller mower, put that 54" deck on the Walker for a bit. Pay the new mower off and then buy another 72" or a 60" down the road. Maybe the second year.
  5. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    The inherent problem with aerial pictures is the fact they don't show enough detail to determine exactly how much ground work is involved. On a job this large, how much trimming and or edging is required is a huge part of the equation. Will you have to edge or trim along each drive? Trim around every tree, every time? The fence along the front, is it stone? Can you use herbicide along it, or will they require trimming? What about the right away along the road? Is it easy to mow, or a deep ditch?

    Here is my advice, for what it is worth, and how I would approach this. I would look at the job as three separate properties, as it appears in the photos to be basically divided that way anyway. Pretend there are three different owners, and you are being asked bid on only one at a time. The section with what I assume to be the main house (irrigated lawn?), is likely to require more detail work. The north end has what appears to be a wide open field which should mow quickly. It is easier to determine the time required on each section, than it is to look at the property as a whole.

    As for the actual servicing of the property, I see a couple of options. One option, if you choose to do this with one helper, is to mow it as 3 properties. Start on one end, one person mowing, the other trimming. When the guy mowing gets done, hop on, as needed, another trimmer or edger or blower, and finish up, then head to the next portion, trading places every time. A couple of advantages to this are less boredom and the fact if you get rained out, etc, it won't look nearly as bad as if you have partially mowed the whole tract. That is one problem with larger jobs. You can always play catch-up on small places, but if you get behind on a large one, it is difficult to get enough time ahead to finish all of it at once.

    If you have two helpers, you could utilize the Walker for what it does best. Let one guy mow the areas around the improvements with the Walker while another trims the outlying areas, and the third person starts covering ground with the faster Z. When the guy on the Walker gets done mowing around each home, he could then trim and do the detail work required in the localized area he just mowed, then move to the next area of improvements. If he gets done first, which he probably would, then he could assist with the rest of the trimming.

    To me, the key to this deal is how long it will take. I can see the possibility of the actual mowing time as being as little as 8 or 9 hours. I can also see it taking as long as 14 or 15 hours, depending upon how rough the ground is, and how quickly the grass grows, if this is going to be an EOW mow. Everyone tends to talk about how quickly they can mow. I have 60 inch Gravely's, and, as nearly as I can determine, my AVERAGE time to cut an acre is 30 to 40 minutes. The number of properties I can mow flat out (approximately 13 mph) and get a decent cut is practically non-existant. In the real world, 6 to 10 mph mowing speed is more common, but I'm also more often dealing with northern grasses, predominantly fescue. If they aren't particulary concerned with the quality of cut on the open areas, and the ground is smooth, you might be able to cut full throttle. If you can't, it is going to significantly increase the time required to mow this large a property.
  6. kawasaki guy

    kawasaki guy LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from USA
    Messages: 16,925

    Have a few guys with trimmers and ZRTs running at the same time!
    Good luck!:):):)
  7. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,281

    2 guys, 2 60 inch ztrs and 5hrs. Don't do bi weekly, you will kill yourself and gas is way to expensive with that big of lot. I'd do it for $600 and profit about $500 of that all said and done. If its mostly open.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    boy this thread is really getting deep.
  9. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,756

    people put a lot of emphasis in "what if" scenarios don't they....
  10. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    I might agree with that, if there was no trimming, edging, or blowing required. Well, at least part of it, and not the part about profiting $500.

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