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283 acres of municipal mowing. 103 properties. Covering my a#&

Discussion in 'Sports Field Maintenance' started by qualitylandscaping, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. qualitylandscaping

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,580

    Let me start by saying I'm not here to start an argument, or get responses from joe blow with a tiny company. We all started somewhere, but those responses will not help me.

    I'm working on a bid package for a city municipality. Mow-Trim-Blow-Litter Cleanup only. No bed work, shrub trimming, fert, etc.

    GROUP 1: 24.15 acres, 54 properties, all under 1 acre each.
    GROUP 2: 258.03 acres, 49 properties, all over 1 acre each. Largest is 28 acres.

    These properties include: schools, ball fields, parks, playgrounds, youth recreation centers, street malls, city owned buildings, etc.

    To include all expenses and take in a net profit of 20%, our hourly rate is based at $52.13 per laborer and up.

    Properties are all within the borders of the city. From a center point, no more than 10 miles in any given direction. Most properties are within .5-1 mile on the road from each other.

    Trimming is comparable to a normal subdivision residential on group 1.
    (say maybe 600-1200 linear feet of trimming to be done on each property).

    Trimming is comparable to a standard commercial lot on group 2.
    (a few buildings, sidewalks, trees, etc. (2000-3000 linear feet on each)

    Equipment: 66" Dixie X Caliber's, 74" Dixie X Caliber, 72" Dixie Xtreme's, JD 757's, 777's, 797, Lesco 60's. Whatever we have can be used, if we don't have enough, I'll buy more. Won't consider a batwing, however, as these properties are not suitable for one.

    My guys are good. Everybody knows how to safely and efficiently operate the equipment they are assigned to.

    Looking for a reference point per cut? Group 1 and Group 2 seperate. Keep in mind parking isn't simple. Travel from our closest shop to center point in the city is 20 miles. I have a number on paper, just want to see some other view points.

    My numbers (without giving away exacts):

    Group 1: $1500-3500 per cut
    Group 2: $8000-11000 per cut
  2. Swampy

    Swampy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,433

    In group 2 I would seriously look at getting a multi winged machine, I'm a little biased but you can find a older Toro 455D for around $10K. Something at least in the 10ft range. How far apart are properties in Group 2? If they are close enough bolt on a slow moving triangle and rearveiw mirror and drive it between properties.

    A few WAM's Brands
    Rumor has it Kubota is going to be releasing a mulit winged machine.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
  3. nosparkplugs

    nosparkplugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,442

    Sounds like you got it under control, like you said you can always purchase more equipment if needed. I would start the season with the equipment you got, and go from their. Congrats on the contract
  4. OP

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,580

    I too would love to sign a property where a WAM would be my mower of choice. I had eliminated them from my options for a few reasons:

    1. They are bulky and take up alot of space on the trailer.
    2. I'm going to send out a 28' enclosed trailer (so everything can be locked when out of sight, and a WAM won't fit in an enclosed.
    3. Our Dixie Choppers have consistently cut 6-8acres per hour in wide open areas, the JD 1600 w/ 11' cut we demoed a few years ago only did 8 acres, so I really have a hard time justifying a "specialty" machine, when our regular fleet handles just the same. Its tough to swallow a payment on a machine the size of a 1600, only to not sign the contract again next year, sure we have other places it can be used, but we don't have productivity problems with our other mowers.
    4. Litter cleanup is part of the gig. Keeping a 5 gallon bucket and a pick on a ZTR isn't too hard. Stopping that WAM to pickup trash, would be eating away at my profit margin.

    I have always considered buying a WAM, as we have several properties this size (25 acres +), but when I consider the cost of buying one it's not justifiable. We can pickup 4+ new ZTR's for the same cost, that will cut 90% of what the WAM will in an hour.

    Trust me, I've gone back and forth a hundred times on a purchase of one.:drinkup:
  5. EagleLandscape

    EagleLandscape LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Garland, Texas
    Messages: 4,352

    Steve, I think your group 1 price amount is a little steep. Group 2 looks extremely competitive. Here in TX we can get a good amount for work, higher than the rest of the country i think. We get between 45-low 50$ per acre.

    If this is municipality, fill out an open records request. by law, they are required to divuldge all information pertaining to previous scope of work, and any contract amounts previously signed. this can help put in perspective what they have spent in the past.

    also, ask if they have an "engineers estimate." sometimes the cities can produce their estimated cost. however, try to ask these questions and get this information in private if you can. that way to dont help your competition out on where to start their bid from.

    www.bidsync.com might have it listed. you can also check and see what other companies have viewed the request for propsal / bid.

    let me know if this helps at all.
  6. OP

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,580

    Hey John-

    I too was alittle concerned with where my group 1 price ended up. I'm at roughly $84.00/acre on those properties right now. After I factored in time, driving, finding a place to park a 50' rig downtown on mostly one way streets, litter cleanup, etc. I had also factored in an allowance for some stolen 2cycle equipment, as its been happening alot lately (even with locks).

    I'm very comfortable with my group 2 bid. We specialize in bigger properties, and being the biggest mowing company in the area, I can put the sheer volume of the project to my advantage. These properties are bigger, so there is less drive time involved and most of them are parks/schools with parking lots, so finding a place to put the rig isn't as much of a hassle; thus the lower pricing structure.

    I am very active in municipal bidding, and am familiar with the FOIL (Freedom of Information Act) you mentioned. Normally, I bid on these projects every year and attend the bid opening, making note of competitors bids. However, this is the first year this project has been put out to bid; and I know they aren't smart enough to draft a "rough estimate" on what they expect it to go for.

    This is a whopper of an account, and one that 99% of the companies in this area couldn't handle. The project requires: 100% Performance Surety Bonding, 5% Bid Bond, 5 million in liability insurance, comparable references, lengthy equipment list, etc.. Something of this scale is far out of reach for most, so I'm not too worried about competition.

    I looked briefly at the bidsync website. All you need to do is contact a municipality and ask to be placed on a bid list. They will mail you the documents/specifications when a new bid request is made. I can't see paying $300+ a year for something that can be done for the cost of a few phone calls, thanks though!
  7. EagleLandscape

    EagleLandscape LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Garland, Texas
    Messages: 4,352

    Steve, there are about 40-50 municipalities that we look at for bids. You can sign up and get notifications for free actually. I do subscribe, and for 300 bucks its worth it though. but I think you are in a smaller town than Dallas I would assume.

    Let me know how the bid comes out.
  8. OP

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,580

    I looked through the listing for NY. There are maybe 2-3 agencines/municipalities listed that we would consider bidding projects for.

    Must be TX has alot of listings, NY doesn't seem to.
  9. OP

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,580


    I just heard back on the bid opening.

    Group 1:
    My bid $20,400 season ($77.25 per acre)
    Low bid $5,047.35 season ($18.96 per acre!!!!!)

    Group 2:
    My bid $88,000 season ($31.00 per acre)
    Low bid $42,900 season ($15.12 per acre!!!!)

    Now our rates may be alittle on the high side, but the low bids are down right disturbing. ;);)

    So much for bidding city projects ever again.. Not worth the time.
  10. skennedy04

    skennedy04 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 249

    Unfortunately i think we are going to see more of this....What a huge difference..Sorry it didnt work out for you.

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