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Condo and apartment quotes

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by John at JDH Select, Feb 16, 2003.

  1. John at JDH Select

    John at JDH Select LawnSite Member
    from Indy
    Messages: 66

    Hi folks...

    I wonder if I could get some input regarding large job quoting. Obviously, the larger accounts seem very attractive and I have been presented with quoting opportunities on several large condominium complexes and apartment communities.

    I use both WB and ZTR's, but is seems as though most of our clients prefer the higher quality cut of the WB's. Given their preference, I try to estimate based WB hourly acreage. It appears to be on the high side due to a lack of response from my bid packages. My questions are as follows:

    (1) Based on the insurance, overhead, employees, building and maintenance, etc. etc. etc., is $40 to high of an hourly rate for an experienced company?
    (2) How do you compete against the guys with a ford ranger and Dad's craftsman tractor that will mow for $160.00? In this economy, how do I convince my client value added is worth the difference?
    (3) Should I not be quoting WB performance rates and calculate by using the Dixie / Gravely ZTR acres per hour?
  2. MSYardman

    MSYardman LawnSite Member
    from MS & LA
    Messages: 62

    Our method is to use the production rate of whatever the largest equipment we can use on the property. We only bid on Class A apartment complexes and office parks.

    I agree that there is no a whole lot of money to be made on the maintenance of these buildings, but the extras we perform more than make the properties profitable.

    Just my 2 cents.
  3. grshppr

    grshppr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    I think $40 an hour is quite fine. I usually try for 60/hr.

    Sell the following factors:
    You have liability insurance........as he doesn't.
    Proffesional job with proffesional equipment....... vs craftsman
    Reliability..........but the kid won't show up beause mom won't give him his allowance to buy a new blade of his mower.
    You're in business to feed your family......he's in it to get cash for Friday nights, and probably won't be around for for that a summer.

    As for your 3rd question, I would base your price on the walk behinds, and if you happen to be able to do it twice as quick with the ZTR's then thats money in your pocket. That is why we buy more efficient machines, not to give people better deals, but to keep more $$$ in our pockets.
  4. Lawn277

    Lawn277 LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 74

    I go 60.00, make sure you quote for everything.
    X-dollars for mow & trim
    X-dollars for edging
    x-dollars for tree and shrub trimming and/or replacement
    and so on
    Condo people like it all spelled out,
    Also if you havnt done condos befor, Make sure you have one contact person that you deal with, or else you will have 10 bosses!
    I found that you also need to plan extra time for them because there is always extra jobs they want done

  5. mklawnman

    mklawnman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    Hey now don't be mockin the guy who drives a Ford Ranger around, I own one, but dont pull around my dad's crapsman. :p
    Anyways when I did a purposal for an apartment complex, usually we included the spring and fall clean ups, then listed what we do for lawn mowing, and also tally up how much it would be for a monthly payment and total for the year. Then at the end we put in "certificate of insurance upon request" if they want to be sure.
    Then we also put in what our hourly rate is for any other work done and markup percentage on materials and such.
    I'd have to agree they usually want it all writen out to see.
  6. LandworksEnterprises

    LandworksEnterprises LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Hey there,
    With Apts. and Condos, I always give them my "full-package" pricing. This includes everything from A-Z, winter overseeding to aeration. Fertilization five times a year, etc. I always include in the proposal package that there are items that can be removed to lower pricing, and if bad comes to worse, i drop my hourly rate and do it myself, cash in my pocket.... 40 or so an hour is low to me, I generally charge about 65-70, but then again I do bid everything all together and then break it up into a more digestable figure. They seem more at peace when you divide the 3 grand a month into 20 different things, even if it's aeration, break it down into 10 or 12 months, that makes it seem more affordable to the customer. Just my little input into the large world of the green industry...

    Nick Holbrook
    Landworks Enterprises
    Cleveland/Chattanooga, TN
    (423) 728-0635
  7. crazygator

    crazygator LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,048

    Remember too, most of the large places are being bid by the large national LCO's as well. They underbid a lot around here. It helps their bottom line, plus it can get rid of competition (if there isnt anyone else that can get that type of complex due to low bids), and it keeps all their employees busy too.

    But as the others say, quote YOUR hourly rates or prices, not what THEY want. If you dont get it, it could always be more of a blessing than a curse.

    And dont be afraid to explain your prices. I did this on a small condo unit I have, and they love me. Just resigned for this year mainly because when bidding I explained everything out, no gray areas where they felt I might could cheat them. It has worked out really good for me. Just an idea for you! I hope you get one, and I am sure you will.
  8. John at JDH Select

    John at JDH Select LawnSite Member
    from Indy
    Messages: 66

    Thanks for everyone's input. It appears that the overwhelming response is to pick an hourly rate we're comfortable with, then roll with it. I can't blame them for trying to talk down the pricing...that's just good business. I must agree that the front-to-back service approach is the best package for presentation to the apartments / condos. I'm already quoting in this manner.

    As for anyone driving a ford ranger, I apologize if I offended you. I should have included S-10's.

    Just kidding...

    Thanks again,


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