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Advice On Bidding Large Subdvision

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by gravedigger5, Sep 14, 2002.

  1. gravedigger5

    gravedigger5 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    I've been cruising along here now for about 2 years as a part time LCO, thinking about going full time, kinda hoping they would lay me off at my other job forcing me to do this all the time. I'm to the point I know about what it will take money wise for my family to get by and about what amount of work it will take to generate that kind of money. Well I got a chance to bid on mowing an entire subdivision in my area. Mostly duplexes, appx 60 yards. Haven't done any measuring or walk the grounds yet but did drive by this evening. Doesn't look too complicated, and the yards are not too big. Just rough figuring in my head this would be a $6000+ a month account. I am solo now, would need to hire aleast 1 maybe 2 employees. Myself and 2 helpers should be able to knock this out in 2 days appx. The guy from the assc told me they wanted it on a per cutting basis, want to be able to call ahead of time and cancel a cutting if they think it is too dry, but some of the home owners water the lawn and some don't. And some of the owners like their lawn cut higher or shorter than others. Kind of sounds like a PITA job and if I do bid on it that will be taken into account. Sorry this post is so long, but would apprieciate some advise (neg or positive) I was also wondering is this typical when bidding whole subdivisions. Thanks Marc
  2. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,544

    If so they will clobber your time on this job.

    I had a similar situation with 34 duplexes, total about 13 acres.

    We were at $500- $600/ cut for two years then were underbid.

    Tell us more. $6K/month sounds high, that's $100/ mo per home, or about $35 per cut. They would have to be quite large or have a lot of common area to justify that.

    Realistically, just make sure you get $15 per home ($30 per duplex) if they are under 1/3 acre each duplex, or about $25 for 1/4 acre, and the common areas are not too brutal.

    By the way, the account we lost to an underbid was on nasty hillsides with many 36" gates and brutal slopes that had to be trimmed.

  3. gravedigger5

    gravedigger5 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    Albemarle Lawn, there is around 102 units (mostly duplexes) guessing around 60 yards (buildings). they also need the road frontage maintained, appx the size of 4 of the yards there. Most the yards look to be .25 an acre or a little bigger. The terrain was nice, no hills, maybe some minor drainage, no fences that I saw, mostly decks and average landscaping. Probably can put the 62" ztr on most of it. It is a nicer, newer subdvision, but not the country club type. I was figureing about $25 a yard x 60yards x 4 cuttings a month = $6000. This is just guess work so far, the guy just called today. I will have to get with him to see exactly everything they want done. the way he made it sound on the phone, only mow trim and blow, any other maintainance would be up to the individual home owners. Thanks for your reply, and I will try to answer any other questions if I can. Marc
  4. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517

    Around here, the competition is high, and the money you get is low with these associations, at least in my experience. I can make much more per yard not mowing an association. It is nice having them all together that is for sure. I would be nervous if they can tell you not to cut a week. The watered lawns could really be brutal, and you will be the big looser there. Bet 3 guys could do something like that in one long day with the right equipment, but that is just me. I think I would stipulate that you use your judgement if they call you off, ie, mow the ones that are watered and growing, or something to protect yourself.


    ADLAWNCUTTERS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    nope i would tell them it's a flat monthly fee.you still have to pay ins.,equip, etc .every month .if you want to lower your price a little thats ok. tell them it is a fair deal for both of you. because they know how much they have to spend .so they can budget.and you know how much your making. if they don't agree on a flat monthly fee ,i would walk away . and invest your time and energy on customers that want to pay.not tire kickers.good luck
  6. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    b4 you spend anymore time on this I would find out why they want to change service providers...dig until you get an answer that you believe....that answer can often tell you if you really want to work for them...be careful....could be a headache in the making...good luck
  7. gravedigger5

    gravedigger5 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    I agree with you, landing one job this large (for me anyway) I would need some asurance that I am going to be able to pay my bills. Probably require me to go full time or hire someone.
    The gentleman told me on the phone, that one of the homeowners knew of someone willing to do it cheaper, and mow each yard at different heights, according to the individual owners( homeowner knew of someone... 1st PITA and different heights 2nd PITA) evidently the lawn care they have now underbid to get foot in the door then subsquently really jacked up the prices over the last several seasons. Also they preferred a local LCO, these guys are over an hour away. I do agree I need to do some more investigating, and will try to talk with some of the homeowners when I go to walk off the grounds there. Thanks Marc
  8. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    Re-read this response over and over again until it becomes imbedded into you. Then next time you talk with them you can tell them this.

    I agree with the above post, can you tell? ;)
  9. Dennis E.

    Dennis E. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 349

    If the guy said he wants a price on a per cut basis so they can cancel service if it does not need it I'd be careful with this one.
    The PITA factor would make me walk.
    Different heights for mowing? Not a big deal I guess if you are on a ZTR where you can easily change that.
    What happens if cutting too low destroys a resident's yard. Who answers to that. You will.
    You'll have a lot invested in this deal if you go ahead and bid and they accept.( Help,equipment,ins.,etc.)
    You need some protection too.
    Contract is the only way to go.
    Good luck.
  10. Currier

    Currier LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 564

    It seems to me that you might end up on the losing end with this "call and cancel" baloney. Remember they do not care about you, they care about holding onto the $$ as long as possible.

    People will see you cutting here and associate your work with the quality they see...then the cancel for this week call comes, then maybe they want to save some more money so they have you wait again the next week...now the lawn looks sick and you don't want to be associated with it, or it grows so much that it about kills you to mow it.

    In business there are two sides/relationships:
    win/win (good for them and you)
    lose/win (good for them but bad for you)
    win/lose (good for you but bad for them)

    Seems like they want to keep alot of power over you on this one.

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