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Bidding on mowing

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Glenn55, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. Glenn55

    Glenn55 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Hi Everyone,
    I need your help. I am a small contractor in Maine and want to place a mowing bid for a town proposal. I am bidding agaist the biggest contractor in the area. One of his contracts is one million dollars a year to mow lawns and plow their snow.
    Do any of you use a , "cost per square foot to bid"? I would have to buy a big tractor if i win the bid but i'm not sure how to bid on something this big. They are baseball fields, parks etc but large areas.
    I think the best way is to ask you what you'd bid on a 50,000 sq ft open lawn just for an example then i can go from there.
    I can't wait for green grass. It's 10 below this morning in Maine.
    Thanks for your help.
    Glenn L. Reed
    I would ask you to send me an email to this address because i just signed up on this site and just learning how to use it.
    Thank you
  2. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    I dont know the vast extent of the parks you mention but a 52 Lazer Z can produce 2/acres per hour production times.

    My guess will be that they will ask for an insurance list of your arsenal and you wont meet the "needs" they feel are necessary for such a large project.

    If you have never bid anything of this size before, I suggest that you try some larger (1-3 acre) commercial sites first, get a feel for how much and how long it takes you to trim the walks and bed edges, blow off veh and ped pavements, cut an acre of grass when its wet/dry/morning/noon/spring/summer etc. etc. etc.
  3. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    I agree with kutnkru. Something this size will probably require more than just an estimate. They will want to know number of employees, insurance, equipment, etc.... If you have done commercial work before, you probably know that it's a different beast than residential. However, something of this is a different beast than 1-10 acre commercial work. There is a lot to consider.
  4. MJ

    MJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    Sean and Kutnkru, thanks for your comments. I haven't posted much lately (been on PlowSite, mostly) but I still try to get here now and then. I met Glenn the other day and have offered to help him work up a bid. I haven't seen the places yet, but I was suspecting the same. As in plowing snow, sometimes it's better to walk away from something that's just too much to take on. Especially if he's going to need to purchase equipment just for that job. However, my idea was to see if he is considering expanding into bigger markets to justify the purchase.

    I think one of the first things to look into is getting a ZTR.
  5. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,917

    Where I used to live when the awarded a contract right before it is signed...they would do a walk through your office/shop and look at all your equipment and trucks and see all the employees to make sure your not a waste of their time...after all a city cant afford to waste their time on a small smuck with a 48" gear drive walk behind when the last company had 7 batwing mowers. 12 72" Z's 14 61" Z's etc..... so they will most likely like to see all that you have. They usually come in the morning when all equipment and employees are there. But hey that might just be the last town I was in may be different for you.
  6. Mowing Freak

    Mowing Freak LawnSite Senior Member
    from S.E. Ks
    Messages: 459

    I have thought about this and if I should get a big job like this, and they ask about it, I would tell them that provided I get the contract I would add the extra equipment and help to my line up. I would also do a little research about insurance, equipment cost and anything else so if ask about it, you will know. I hope that a big contract in my area opens (they are talking about bidding it out) and I am surprised at the amount of cost involved running a large operation and the extra responsibility of having employees that I have found out so far. Just another idea.
  7. IBGreen

    IBGreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 726

    Don't way under bid or everyone will probably not like you too much.
  8. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    Heres a list of basic questions/qualifications that I often encounter when proposing to larger sites:

    1. Name of Bidder

    2. Permanent main office address.
    ....Length of time at this location under your present firm or trade name.

    3. If a corporation, where incorporated.

    4. How many years have you been engaged in lawn mowing under your present firm or trade name?
    ....How many years have you been engaged in chemical applications under your present firm or trade name?
    ....How many years have you been engaged in snow plowing under your present firm or trade name?

    5. General character of work performed by you.

    6. Contracts on hand.

    7. have you ever failed to complete or defaulted on awarded to you?
    ....If so, where and why?

    8. List experience in lawn mowing, chemical applications, and snow plowing work similar to proposed project.

    9. List your equipment available for this contract.

    Usually attached on a seperate sheet where they ask for the prices in words/figures they will ask you to submit proof of the following insurances:

    1. Workmens Compensation
    2. Comprehensive General Liability
    3. Contractual Liability
    4. Owners Protective Liability
    5. Automobile Liability and Property Damage (each veh. to be on site during the year)
    6. All-Risk

    As you can see the list of criteria is usually far more critical than just your basic commercial site where half the time they dont even ask to see a policy -- we drop it off before work commences bringing it to their attention!!
  9. nelbuts

    nelbuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW, FL
    Messages: 1,053

    Here is a little trick for you. Go to the records department and ask for a copy of the last bid and contract period. You have every right to do this as a taxpay and due to open records laws. Chances are they will have what all the bids were for the last contract period including the winner. Then compare your prices that you are about to submit. Are they close way low or high? And if they are then why? Also, you do not want to cheat yourself and this will give you a handle on the going rate in your area. Honestly, for anyone on this board, including me, to tell you how or what would be a good bid would be a disservice to you. Each area is different. Hope this helps.
  10. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    Find out how much the town has budgetted for the maintenance. After that determine how much less you are willing to do it for. Anyone that bids over the budgeted amount is immediately out of the competition. It all comes down to who comes off the most from the line item forecast. They are very upfront about this in TX. At the info meeting they simply say, this is how much we have on the line item, don't bother to submit if iyour bid is over that amount, the company that comes off the most from the line item will get the job. They also make you anity up a security deposit in the event of non performance of duties. Budgets are open records.

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