bidding commercial accounts

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Harris LCO, Jul 25, 2001.

  1. Harris LCO

    Harris LCO LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I have been in the lawn care business for a couple of years, mostly residential service. My company is beginning to grow and I am starting to bid commercial accounts, My question is how do you bid commercial accounts. Can anybody tell me the price per foot for mowing, trimming and edgeing, or is there another way to bid these accounts. How much do you charge for cleaning flower beds and trimming hedges on larger accounts. :confused:
  2. EJK2352

    EJK2352 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,150

    Harris LCO,
    What is so different w/ the commercials compared to your current residentials?? Why can't you use your current pricing on commercial work?? You should know how much you are going to have to charge to be profitable, since you have been in the business for a while.;) ED
  3. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    telling you like it is! Your price is YOUR price, not what I tell you you should charge your customers.

    If I have a crew of 100 guys out there cleaning a flower bed out and it takes them an hour (its a realllly big flower bed :) ) I have to charge about $1,000 for that job.

    Now, if you clean it out and its just you and another guy, it will obviously take you a lot longer and it will be a different cost for you than it was for me.

    I may have a huge mower that can cut this account in 10 minutes. If I tell you $30 is good, and you use a craftsman 22" mower and take 1 hour to do the job, you should have different price.

    You smell what I'm stepping in??

    You need to figure out your own pricing system.

    Figure out every machine, how much it costs you to run per hour over its life expectancy.

    Figure out how fast you can use them

    Figure out your overhead.

    Once you have that down, pay yourself, add a profit and you have your price.

    Its more difficult than it sounds, I know, but once you have a system down, its cake!

    Hope this helps!
  4. Fallguy

    Fallguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 95

    How can we help you when we dont even know what kind of equipment you run....are you the owner of quality merchandice or are you one of those wanna be lawn co. that is running an el cheapo deluxo mower like a crapsman and daily has to convince himself that he belongs in the business when he cant even afford insurance ? Im not trying to be rude but it just sounds as if you havent the slightest clue as what to charge per hour which leads some people to believe that your just a potential lowballer in the making - Here is help -if you can not concievably charge between $35 - $55 per hour for work performed - you quite possibly need to search the want ads.
  5. Harris LCO

    Harris LCO LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Not the friendliest guys in the world HUH. To answer your question Fallguy, I started with craftsman equipment the first year and worked my way up To Commercial equipment, I use a Cub Cadet mower, model G1436 and plan to purchase another one next year, if the business keeps growing. I guess I started out as a wanna be lawn company (DOSENT EVERYBODY) but that is not the case now. I can estimate a residential lawn based on past experience and the going rate for my area, which is $20 to $45 per service dependent on size. I generally bid $1 per minute,
    I use 1 helper and occasionally hire 1 additional person when I get behind. I have very little experience with commercial accounts other than convience stores', I am planning on bidding a bank that is considerably larger than what I am use to. I am seeking information on how to bid by the foot, which is what I have been told is the way to bid this type of account. Now if you have any information on how to bid by the foot I would appreciate it if you pass it on.
  6. Ssouth

    Ssouth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 436

    Harris, I have no info on bidding by sq. ft. for mowing or linear feet for edging. By the end of this year I will have this info for my area. Last fall I bid on a large commercial contract and got it. What I did was: figure the total mowing, trimming, edging, and cleanup work and then multiply be my hourly rate. If you have not done any larger areas this might be hard so bid on the high side. If you get it, great. But if you bid to low and get it you'll be kicking yourself for the lenth of the contract. A lot of estimating is knowing how efficient you are with your equipment. If it's a large area and your not sure, just find a large area and agree to cut it for a nominal fee just to see how long it takes. I hope this makes sence. I think what others are trying to say is that , you and only you know how much you times is worth. Whether it's commercial or residential decide on a hourly rate and stick to your guns.

    Good luck in the commercial bidding.

  7. LoneStarLawn

    LoneStarLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,415

  8. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943


    The only thing that you should be "Bidding-by-the-foot" is sod, fertilizer, and walls and walks. You have to be able to look at a property and "estimate" how long it will take to mow it. If you cant do that on a large scale "commercial" property, break up the property into lets say 1 acre pieces. Then, add them all up. Remember that for a commercial lot you are required to have at least 1 mil. liability insurance, but since you run "commercial equipment" and aren't a "wanna-be" company, you already have this covered.....right?!

    BTW, Cub Cadet only makes one style of "COMMERCIAL" equipment. That would be their "TANK" ZTR (some even question that). So, Unless its something brand new, that G1436 is just a homeowners lawn tractor.

    Let the professionals have the commercials, and stick with the homeowners until you have figured out the answers to all your questions by yourself.
  9. Harris LCO

    Harris LCO LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    guido and Ssouth thanks for the advice, LoneStar the threads answered my questions, thanks for your help.

    dixie1, My Cub Cadet has COMMERCIAL written all over it in big black and yellow letters. What could I have been thinking? I guess the dealer lied to me.;)
  10. no your Cub has Lesco written all over it
    if it is a TANK

    it would be a Lesco Viper or in that case a MTD

    they are made buy a co. for Lesco and MTD and CUB

    but if it not a ZTR then it is not a comercial mower

    dont get me wrong Cub's are good tractors, but key word TRACTOR

    not mower

    any ways you need to look at the other theads

    or get an accountant sounds like you realy need one

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