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Check my quote please

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Fine Gardens Landscaping, May 24, 2012.

  1. Fine Gardens Landscaping

    Fine Gardens Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 135

    I've been having mediocre landing jobs. I only get a couple of quote requests per month. Then I rarely get those jobs that I quote. So I'm really going to sharpen my pencil on this one and hopefully land the job.

    The job is weekly maintenance on an apartment complex in Alameda, CA. The two big negatives about the job is that it requires a lot of topiary pruning, additionally the beds have rock in them with no weed block. So it's going to require spraying round up to control weeds, and then it's going to be a hassle cleaning shrub clippings out of the rock when I prune.

    I included a picture of the complex below. It goes from the driveway all the way to the corner, then it bends around has some frontage on the water side as well. It's basically twice as big as what you can see in the google maps.


    The job is all shrubs and ornamental trees. Lawn mowing, weed control in lawn, beds, etc., blowing, fertilizing lawn and shrubs, programming clock and monitoring irrigation system. Once a year lawn aeration.

    Extras: Sprinkler repair, trees over 20', landscape improvements.

    My estimate for services on a monthly basis:

    4 man hours a week for general maintenace (includes materials): $880
    1 hour a month for irrigation checks:$50
    Hauling: $45
    Annual lawn aeration broken down into monthly: $25

    Total: $1,000 a month

    That's how much I'd like to get for the job, however if I knew their magic number I'd be willing to fudge with the price. Getting a job at a reduced price would be better than not getting it at all. However, I'd hate to be doing it for $850 a month if they would have said yes to $1,000 a month.

    Anyway, what do you think about my estimate/pricing?

    Do you have any suggestion for me on how I can feel client out on pricing before I submit the bid? I'm considering just calling the property manager telling him my quote verbally and how he thinks that will go over with the owner.

    Thanks for any help on this!
  2. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,474

    I like to give them a weird number like $998.00. Then they might think that it is the cost instead of a rounded up number.

    I couldn't give you an idea of what to charge, as you know your business costs.

    Telling the manager any-thing about your price could be a bad move. You don't know who's side he is on.

    You will have to expect to do some hand weeding, as well as use glyphosate. Why not look into using a pre-emergent? I don't know what you can legally use down there.

    Also, the topiary may take longer to prune than you think. And one slight wrong move and you can chop off some-thing you want to keep on the shrub. Hard work on the arms and shoulders. More so than a normal hedge.

    How about buying some-thing like, an Echo blower/Vacuum? That will help with the clean-up in the rocks.
  3. Fine Gardens Landscaping

    Fine Gardens Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 135

    Yeah I was wondering about rounding it down to a precise number, I'll probability do that.

    I will use a pre-emergent coupled with glyphosate in the bed areas. I didn't mention that in my first post, but I was planning on doing that.

    I don't think there's much chance of me damaging the shrubs. They're just shaped into balls. I could try the blower vac. I generally use burlaps and tarps to cover the rocks. It takes time to set up, but it really speeds up the clean-up.
  4. OK

    Use sureguard herbicide in all rock areas. You will get around 4-6 months of coverage. That will severely limit the amount of roundup needed and hand-pulling. You could lower your bid that way and save a lot of time. I think your bid is about right considering how detailed the pruning is. I wouldn't give too much info to the property manager. I would def. give a typed out bid detailing exactly what you will be doing. It will look more professional, and explain why your price is what it is. Good luck.
  5. Fine Gardens Landscaping

    Fine Gardens Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 135

    Thanks for the tip about the sureguard, I'll definitely use that.
  6. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    Personally I would say your quite high on that job. Since its CA, im assuming about 42 cuts or so per year? 4 hours per week seems a little high, especially in the slow time of the year. Id say your looking at about 2-3 hours per week and that includes mowing and your weeding etc. depending on the time of the year. IF you prune twice per year, thats probably about 16-20 hours of work right there. If your not getting a lot of your jobs, my guess is your rate is probably a little high, maintenance is usually right about $40-$45 per hour, construction is a hair higher, probably around $54-$60/hour. Everyone on here alway says $60, $75, $100 to cut grass, but I stongly doubt that. With that you can probably plan on about 120-130 hours per season for the site, which will get you about $5600, plus probably about $250 for aeration, another $500-600 for fertilizer. Should be about a $6500 per year account, or about $540-550 per month (based on 12 month payment plan)
  7. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    I did not take off the site either. I am on board with the odd numbers. I do not even like 998, I would rather go $978.00

    I also do as mentioned above.

    Say 44 visits @ $x = ?/12 for a monthly.

    Can you apply Cutless to the shrubs?

    Only use a pre-em in the rock beds if you can water it in.

    You have to develop your system for bidding and then also trust your gut. Hopefully the two match or are close.
  8. Mikegyver

    Mikegyver LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,803

    Are you talking about the place on the corner with the white roof or the whole block? If it was the whole block there's no way i would do it for that much per month :dizzy:
  9. I doubt that these plants are only 2x/year pruning. CA, much like Fl, has a year-round growing season in which plants always need to be maintained. That's what most guys in all the other states don't get. I could be wrong as I don't know the plant species in the pics, but I would bet that they need more pruning than 2x/year. Since it is all formal, it will be time consuming. I think your bid is right on personally. I do all detailed landscapes and I can tell you the time adds up quick. It is easy to mow and go on a property, but to keep a place top-notch in every aspect takes time. I would much rather bid a little high and not get it than bid too low and dread going to the property every week.
  10. Fine Gardens Landscaping

    Fine Gardens Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 135

    Hey guys thanks for the responses and here's the answers to the questions posed:

    I bid the site for 52 visits a year, mowing will be skipped if the lawn is at all soggy like during the winter. They will still receive a visit though. Also, shrubs will likely need to be trimmed 5-6x a year and it does include those juniper trees you see in the picture. The shrubs will be time consuming because of the sculpted style they've been trained into.

    I bid this particular job at $50 a man hour. I've been bidding most residential at $45 a man hour and most commercial at $50 a man hour. I don't know if $50 is pushing it, and something I will need to determine as I continue to give quotes and receive feedback.

    @ mcc lawn care, it is the cream colored apartment buildings with the red trim btw. Keep in mind that the picture only shows half of what there actually is to maintain because the property stretches around the block. You seem to be shocked at my price but I have no idea if you think it's too high or too low. What would you charge for it?

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