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Bidding a job

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by grasshawg, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. grasshawg

    grasshawg LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Is there a certain "standard" for bidding a contract? I know it probably depends on what area of the country you're in, so this may be for my East Texas com padres.
    A certain rate per acre? Length of time to complete the job? Difficulty completing the job? Obstacles? Haul away clippings or not? (would need a bagger)
    Per hour? Week? Month?
    I'm just staring out and could use all the help I can get.
    Looking at Exmark mower, Shindiawa trimmers, blowers, edgers, and hedge trimmers. Chain saw and pruner/pole saw be a good investment right now?
  2. oatka

    oatka LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    i've only "bid" on 1 account. i really underbid because in the end i didn't make as much per hour as i wanted. i've seen great advice on here to "know your costs". basically you need to know how much it costs you to run each peice of equipment you will be using.

    the other day i worked on a job with a buddy of mine and i put it to him this way. he was paying me...i said he had to consider how much he pays me as the employee, and consider all the tools and machines as employees and how much they get per hour too. seemed like a nice way to think of it. of course, you are an employee too and you want some profit. so know your cost for all your "employees" per hour and try to guess how many hours it will take you.

    i hope that helps.
    ps, i hate trying to figure the cost. but i guess i'll have to figure it out if i start the business.
  3. thill

    thill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 245


    When we started we bought a cheap stop watch and timed every operation we could dream of in our own back yard.

    We then established preliminary standards for the time it would take to do each one.

    We tried to extrapolate these standards to each bid and got a few and lost a few jobs. After the first few months we had pretty good time standards but did not know our costs.

    I will point out that we never went solo. We started with workers coming out of the shoot (and lost our butts for most of the first year

    Getting payroll cost with taxes, workers comp, liability insurance, etc. were the easy to track. Finding the cost to operate equipment, fuel, travel, and overhead (rent, phones, etc) were a lot harder.

    I suggest you start tracking everything you can.........

    After the second year we had pretty good cost data and were able properly estimate the time required for MOST jobs.

    An example: at the end of year one, were were sure our costs to operate averaged about 22.50 per man hour. We bid most jobs a $35 per man hour.

    At the end of the second year our costs per hour were actually closer to $28.00 and we bid most jobs at $40.00

    We now bid at $45.00 and our costs very near $30

    I hope this helps some but you have to do the legwork to determine your costs and then add how much you need to make.

    Good luck
  4. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    Just try to think of how much time and expence you have....

    Belive Me you will underbid from time to time....

    But there's nothing wrong with telling a customer that you just cant do it for the same price as you did last time.

    as long as your NOT under a contract
  5. thenewone

    thenewone LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I read in a book to charge $1.00 per 1000 square feet. So an acre of grass would cost about $44.00. Than figure your rate to trim, blow, and (possibly) edge.
  6. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    that really isnt a good idea, so your saying a 5000 sqft lot you do for 5 dollars........15000 for 15 dollars, not a good idea at all, if you do a search on that on this forum you will find it haas been discussd many times,
  7. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    trimming, blowing is included in the mowing price....so is edging once the initial edge is established
  8. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    that sounds way to low to me too

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    You need to answer these questions-

    How much do I pay labor each hour with taxes, (answer this even if you are the labor)

    How much does it cost the company to be open each hour (this is overhead)

    How much is the direct cost of doing the work. (mowers-truck-gas-ect.)

    What percent of profit does my company get.

    Add this all up and that is what you charge per hour.
    Thats the easy part. Now you have to figure how long everything takes you to do.

    "I suggest you start tracking everything you can........." Thill said it best

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