1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

City contract bid

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GreenAcresLC, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. GreenAcresLC

    GreenAcresLC LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Messages: 84

    I've been getting a bid ready for my city on a large mowing contract. The contract will cover 17 properties, totaling about 25 acres. One property alone is a neighborhood entry of about 1.5 miles, with sidewalks to be edged on both sides of street...totals about 10-11 acres of mowing.

    I've been toying with my bids, and have came up with nearly a $100 per acre bid. What I've been wondering is, is this too high for a city contract? I know that they are going to accept the lowest total bid, and I could really stand to get this contract. Also, I don't want to be the "lowballer" of the bid room, and look like an @$$.

    Any help or comments would be appreciated. Well, most, anyway...I know I'm new, but I don't need the comments I've had before, like: "if you need to ask this, this may be the wrong profession for you"...I'm here for help, not crap. Thanks guys!
  2. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,439

    sounds high to me. what city are you in that doesnt have its own workers to do the job?

    if you really needed the work, i believe you could make money off 60 per acre. goodluck.
  3. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    I have to agree with lawnwizards, $100 seems a bit too expensive. That $60 range should give you a better chance of getting this contract especially since you said that you need it.
  4. GreenAcresLC

    GreenAcresLC LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Messages: 84

    I think my 100 may be a little high if just for mowing, but the price is escalated greatly by the amount of edging involved...1.5 miles x 2 sidewalks x 2 curbs = 9 miles of edging. I think the price for this portion of the job is throwing my per acre avg off. Am I doing wrong by pricing high because of the edge? The bid covers 17 sites across the city of owensboro, not just one 25 acre plot, several being neighborhood entries and parks with excessive amounts of trimming and edging. This factor is what makes my price so high. Thanks for the input guys!
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    As a general rule, for government contracts it takes both a large Lco and a lean and mean one at that... I'm not trying to tell you what to do or how to do it but government bids have a tendency to be lower than the lowest you've ever heard or imagined of and somehow the companies that deal with them still find a way to squeeze out a profit.

    They're usually so far out there with these bids, I dare say an Lco such as that?
    At least 10 but really 20+ years into it, and trucks and trailers out the yin yang and no shortage of equipment but none of it brand new most of it looks like it's been through the wringer once or twice. Yes sir, the kind of folks you might see on "Ice Road Truckers" or some such thing lol, well almost!

    So likely I would skip on it, probably the winning bid will be like $25-$30 an acre or some such thing, and maybe I'm wrong because this isn't the type of job for that low a bid but then I've also heard of bids as low as $20 an acre and it's not even at all unusual.

    Because you might get it in there at $60 an acre but I do think only once we get into the $40's would it be even remotely competitive... And like I said maybe I'm wrong because of the edging or some such thing, but one thing you could do is perhaps keep up with it, not saying you shouldn't turn in a bid but if yours doesn't make it then find out what the winning bid was (IF that can be done, playing it clean)...

    Just my .02
  6. Horsepower Lawns

    Horsepower Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 213

    You need to find out what the City is/was paying.

    You also need to find out what the City has set aside to pay for the next year.
  7. Flex-Deck

    Flex-Deck LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,845

    I just landed a city contract, and bid it fairly for me and them. For the past twenty years, they have taken the low bid, and have not enforced trimming the curbs as needed to keep weeds from growing out into the street. There is probably about 20 miles worth of curbs, and they finally enforced the maintainance of curbs as part of the bid process. Needless to say, I suddenly became very competitive as I do not need a string trimmer for curbs. My mowers trim curbs as I mow. I lost out on the bid 6 years ago, 4 years ago and 2 years ago because it was comparing apples to oranges. I love bidding on projects where the people want quality, and have certain parameters that must be met - it weeds out the mow and go people.
  8. jsf343

    jsf343 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,786

    wow, at the 40-$60.00 range I would be tempted to pass on it. We are doing small resi. yards (4000 to 8000sq. feet) for $40.00. Maybe you could make more doing more resi.'s. I guess if you could make at the $60.00 it may work for you.
  9. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Messages: 1,956

    I bid on an air traffic control center last year. It was a 5-year contract for a 27-acre site. They wanted everything: weekly mowing/edging with clipping collection, chemicals, tree trimming, hedge trimming, mulch/annuals twice a year, etc. My bid was 60K a year for 5 years. I was beat by a bid of 49K a year for 5 years. In hind sight, I made the right move. I would be losing money right now had I bid lower. Heck, the 11K difference would have just made up the increase in materials/fuel overhead.
  10. GreenAcresLC

    GreenAcresLC LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Messages: 84

    Thanks for the replies. To help clear up a little confusion, the city currently does all of the maintenance on all of these properties. This is why I'm having such a problem coming up with a fair bid...for the both of us. There are several other LCO's bidding this, some of the multi-million dollar companies, and some of the other solo's like myself. The bids are to be read aloud in a conference where all LCO's are present, so finding out who wins, and by how much, won't be hard. The properties are: several large traffic islands in about seven locations; several city parks (smallest about 1 acre, one with a ballfield); a couple of city right-of-ways; and the 1.5 mile neighborhood entrance I described. For the most part, the price is well below 100/acre, but the few with large amounts of edging seem to raise the overall average to about 100, if that makes sense. Anyway, thanks for the replies, and I'll let everyone know who wins, after next Tuesday.

Share This Page