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Bid on a shopping center. Need Help!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mwalz, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. twomancrew

    twomancrew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 940

    I get tired of all these idiots saying they gross 100K+++ and then they come to this thread and toss out the most ridiculously stupid lowball prices I have seen on LS in awhile.

    Explain to me how this works cause I am lost. I think most of you are full of it and wouldn't know where to start on a simple job like this.

    The price is higher than a 2.5 acre job because it is so spread out across the property. That property is HUGE. You would need a half hour just to walk the boundary. Those small boulevards I spot between the 3 lawns will kill your labor. Should I go on... some of us really do this work for a living! We look right past the lawn areas and focus on what takes time.

    At least the OP had the good sense to ask for help and openly say "I am lost here, but I wanna do this". Good for you OP, go get em!!

    So like I said, a 36" WB is a fine and dandy machine for this job. It isn't the mowing I am concerned with anyway. Jeez.
  2. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,133

    You are right. I know people in this town who would bid this at 125.

    The commercial properties are easier to compete for when you have multiple crews to keep busy. When you are solo, or just one crew it is easier to make more money doing residential.
  3. mwalz

    mwalz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,178

    Well the more i think i will probably be charging around $130-$140 for this job. I am going to have a friend help me the first time, and see if it is really worth my time to pay him. Like all you guys said there is not much trimming to do, just grass to cut. The job will take close to 2.25 hours to do providing i can cut it at full speed on the mower. I have a sulky so unless the ground is extremely bumpy i shouldn't have much problem doing it at full speed. There will probably be about 30mins - 45 mins of trimming and blowing off, and my friend will be standing around for an hour. If i pay him $30, that leaves me about $100 before expenses. Will cost about $10 in gas for the mower/handhelds/truck providing i can cut it at 1 acre per hour avg. Throw in an extra 10 for other expenses, an that leaves me with $80 i have made on the property.

    On the back side, there is a small area where trees are that you can only get a trimmer back there to cut it. And that is about 185ft. I might be able to fit a push mower back there but it would be a tight fit.

    Once again thanks for all the help guys
  4. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,763

    This is why prices remain in the cellar, guys charging $30 an hour for maintenance..........
    Posted via Mobile Device

    THORNTON SERVICES LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    If I was you I would probally pass on this job to keep your reputation in tact , when doing these shopping centers insurance appropriate licenses and help that is legal is important factors to have in place before bidding on these accounts. Also you need to have an idea yourself on what to charge because your costs are not going to be the same as all these other people on here , your price should reflect all of your numbers factored in , with a small walk behind if the ground is rough wich a lot of times these type of places have very rough turf , you will put a big dent in the life of the machine , considering you yet do not have enough money to buy a new machine means this account could kill your business , you have a 36 walk build around that once you have plenty of accounts for that equipment then buy bigger better whatever you want and build around that , just my opinion you will be happier mowing stuff within your means and doing so will get you the experience needed to possibly tackle larger jobs , just my line of thinking.
  6. AdvLandscapeLLC

    AdvLandscapeLLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 568

    I dont chime in alot on pricing threads but here we go,

    Everyone is jumping on this company but they are failing to ask him a few questions and pointing out a few things he has said to give advice on rather than just saying he's crazy for $100.00.

    First things first:
    1. What does your company need to gross per hour to remain within your set profit margin?
    Factoring in the following:
    >Maintenance\Replacement Account
    ETC. this is your over head without your profit margin factored in. This is calculated based on the total cost per year but to simplify it start with by the month costs, divide that by the hours worked in the month, that will give you a rough hourly rate, now you need to add your profit of what you want to make for your business. What i'm getting at here is everyone knows roughly how long a job will take them to complete so with that known you make it simple for yourself, you take what you have calculated as your hourly rate needed factor that into your knowledge of how long it will take for you to complete and bam theres your rate to mow the property for the most part.

    2. You say it is 15 miles away, diesel here is $4.39 per gallon my truck and trailer gets 12mpg loaded and running so for me I will be burning lets say $5.00 in fuel each way for the job so theres $10.00. If this place is out of your normal route this needs to be added on the cost if its within your route you can factor it into your regular hourly overhead costs.

    3. Now based off my business, we run 2 60" lazers and a 48" hydro wb both exmarks. Mowing we need to make $85 hour to stay profitable, We can do this lawn in a quicker amount of time than a 36" mower can but we are going to pickup the trash on the lawn because with our lettered trucks I as the business owner will not settle for having a lawn look ehhhh after where done. How long does it really take to have a guy pick up some trash while working. If its a trashy property build it into the price, mark up your rate for the place to account for this and move on. The last thing these commercial properties want is people hassling them about trash etc, if its on the lawn pick it up.

    Personally i'd take on the lawn with the 36" mower if you can still make what you want per hour, what is the difference if you mow two places in that hour or one place in the same time frame at your same hourly rate, if anything your saving money because your driving lawn to lawn for your other accounts rather than staying at one.

    Like what was said above bid it like you where using the 36" at your rate, then step up to a bigger faster mower at the same price now your cut your time in half, doubled your hourly output and are making money. Sorry for the long post but hope it helps, best of luck.

    Jump in and bid the job
  7. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,692

    Dude, Fun stuff.
    $85 an hour? WOOSH. that's BIG.

    55-65 seems to be average with most guys doing the dollar an hour thing (60)

    This just tickles me pink, because There was a guy on here last week ridiculing me for living in La La land were people are getting 55/hr for mowing :laugh:

    Efficiency! where you at. Read this guys post.

    15 miles away.

    I guess that would depend on traffic how long that takes.

    I figured in 10 minutes travel (assuming on route) 10 minutes is 1/6 of an hour.
    his average was at $42/hr (for my math) so it's recovering $7 for travel.

    Also note the kid is 16, and semi solo.
    Over head isn't going to look like yours…you're shop rent is probably why your rates need to be as high as they are.

    I was based in Easton CT, kept my stuff on a farm with my nursery stock, and lived there too….
    In Guilford you're probably not that lucky.

    Trash is one of those things you just can't hang a number on.
    could be three soda bottles and an empty pack of cigarettes.

    Could be three bags of trash.

    Lets look at what your numbers would probably be:

    2.5 acres
    im assuming a 60/40 split
    60" does 60% of the mowing
    60" will take 19 minutes to mow it's share
    48" will take 21 minutes to mow it's smaller share
    Lets say 15 minutes of travel (who knows it could be dense traffic area)
    Trim/blow/trash patrol 40 minutes? is that fair?

    95 minutes total
    thats 1.58 man hours
    That's $134.58

    But you're also charging $85/hr for a guy to pick up trash and run a weed whacker and travel.
    That seems awfully steep for the time.

    It seems to me you have one rate, period (which many do)

    But I ask you, what if you got a call and the customer wanted you to send a guy out to weed whack a hill and collect trash?
    Would you actually quote him $85/hr?

    at any rate…your price would likely be between $130-$150.00 AND you charge more per hour than anyone I've heard of on this board.
    Even if you think it's going to take you 2 man hours.
    that's $170…. not $200, Not $300.
    AND that's accounting for picking up trash, that I didn't account for in the kids pricing guess.

    I think if you told the guy "I'm going to charge you $35 to pick up trash every week" he'd say no. Im going to get someone else to do it.

    As long as you showed up at the same day every week, the guy could have it picked up for you… I mean, if there is even that much to pick up.

    Either way… mowing should be ONE price and trash should be another.
    No one quotes prices to mow, pick weeds, and haul brush in one single weekly price. Trash shouldn't be figured in there as the one price fits all.

    Because other companies like Brickman will come in, bid $100 and not care about trash.

    so at the very least, quote $100 for the cut and $35 for trash (or $120/$15 whatever it works out to), that way when Brickman slides in, the customer can compare apples to apples.

    Otherwise you've priced yourself out with unspoken principles.
    and the property manager probably didn't even know you were picking up trash at all.

    (this is why I like walkers so much…I just mow over most of the smaller trash and suck it up…only have to grab a pop can or two or a paper bag)
  8. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,685

    That is a nice open cut I could see myself doing it solo in about 1.25 hours. But I am using a 72 inch 38hp ztr that has a top speed of 11.5 mph. So for me its would be worth it at 125-150 per cut. For you with a 36 you would be better off doing it after you let your friend go home for the day the trimming and blow of is 20-25 mins so hes going to be sitting waiting on you for about 90 mins.
  9. AdvLandscapeLLC

    AdvLandscapeLLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 568

    We do $85 an hour mowing, we work efficient keep tight routes, it works and we get our hourly rate that we want and need. That's the thing with pricing its based on your local variables. We rent our garage and outdoor storage space, we pay taxes, have insurance etc we bid our jobs to fit our companies needs. The economy sucks for the consumers we cater but the cost of all landscape expenses continue to rise for the companies, mowers are overpriced along with fuel etc.. we have to match pricing to the rising costs as should everyone else. We are busy and have very steady growth every year. We are doing something right. We run a 3 man crew factor the labor in alone $55 an hour just doesn't make the bills.
  10. AdvLandscapeLLC

    AdvLandscapeLLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 568

    From the sound of your post we have very similiar pricing

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