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Considering switching to large areas, What's your thoughts

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by SpartanBill, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. SpartanBill

    SpartanBill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 91

    Next year I will most likely be partnering up with a guy I've known more than 15 years and whos been in Landscaping as long as I have. We are running through options for what type of properties we should focus on. Right now I thinking about chasing some larger municipal jobs, mostly 10-30 acre. I know we'll need to add some larger mowers, I just looking to hear some of the pros and cons.

    Thanks for your help,
  2. Meg-Mo

    Meg-Mo Inactive
    Messages: 1,020

    I have used the idea of 20 little areas better than one large area not that we have them all.
  3. SpartanBill

    SpartanBill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 91

    I'm still planning on some residential, but the marker:cry: /low ballers:nono: 'round here are ridiculus. We would be looking at needing 100-120 resi . There are crews in my area doin' 1/2 acre corner lots, brand new $600,000-800,000 homes for $25 a week, or the H/O wants bi-weekly.

    My thinking is this, if we(2) can knock out 3-4 ac/hr @ $30-40/ac,only have 1 or 2 sites a day instead of 20, less windsheild time, less invoicing, fewer H/O PITA, less fuel in the truck more in the mower.

    I'm hoping these #'s are a little low. I know it'll tear-up the equip a little quicker. And payment will be a little slow.
  4. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    Overall, you'll find that mowing lawns as a general rule is not very profitable. It's been discussed here at Lawnsite for years. Even the bigger jobs have their lowballers. And yes, you will need expensive equipment.

    Our company does all condos and we'll do 100 quotes to get 15 maybe... low rate of success, but what we do get, well we're making double the competition. It's a combination of getting lucky with a project that doesn't ask for too many quotes or better yet, asks for only 1 or 2 quotes. If we are lucky, the other guys is not serious and overbids like crazy.

    That's the only way we make it along with snow. If they don't give us snow, we don't want the property. Snow is way more profitable. We'll also do tree pruning, landscaping, cement, stucco etc... to the properties, and that's where the profit is like 15 times that of lawn mowing.

    Hope this helps.

  5. 4curbappeal

    4curbappeal LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 761

    Great post Dura-Cutter!!!!
  6. heather lawn sp

    heather lawn sp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    Around here those numbers would lose the bid.

    72" 997 Deere
    54" 655 Deere
    2-XT170 Deere

    25 acres per day cut and trimmed
    Are you thinking about WAM's when you say big mowers?
    Here we get paid in 18 days after the end of month
    We are on a first name basis with all the staff at the Deere dealership
    We will wear out parts of equipment they have never ordered parts for
    (did you know that there are 2 bearings below the clutch cup in the Deere trimmer, takes 20 minutes to pull them, and the bearings are in Milan, Georgia?)
  7. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    I've got some larger accounts.

    School districts, park systems.

    It depends on how you look at your numbers.

    I run a 72" Kubota ZD331 and a Kubota 4330 pulling a 15' Trideck. 2 guys can easily mow 40+ acres in 12 man hours. I'm talking about strictly mowing time, not transport, and just straight mowing, not trimming.

    The senior high that we mow, my dad (73) and I start at 9 am, mow until noon, take an hour lunch, and he heads home at 3 pm with the Kubota 4330, I leave at 5 pm having done all the small areas with the 72" Kubota.

    If I trim the school, it's another 8 man hours, but there's literally miles of fence line around all the football fields, soccer fields, baseball / softball fields.

    The parks system that we mow, we knock out 20 acres of parks in about 5 hours. This does include drive time of about 30-40 minutes. Also, this does include the trimming.

    The schools, usually I'll run a growth regulator along the fence lines so I can get by without trimming them for 1-2 months at a time.

    The school district doesn't mind them being slightly shaggy, since you cannot see 99% of the trimming anyways, since there's just so much turf to look at, except for along the fronts of the schools, right along the buildings.

    Now....... here's where it gets tricky.

    I get a fixed fee yearly to do these accounts. The school district is $39,300 for the year, the parks system is $6,500 for the year. Just a mow, trim when it needs it, go. They both have other companies that do the chemical apps. Basically Chem-Lawn comes in and does it cheaper than I can get the chemical for it, which, fine, whatever.

    Anyways, if you were to break it down by acreage, my per acre price is going to be very low compared to my small to mid sized commercial acreage price.

    However, a per man hour price is a little better, although it's still on the low end of my rate scale, as I also treat it somewhat like a community service account, if you understand what I mean. Next year the school rate is going up by 15%, so that'll get it closer to my commercial rate, but still not quite there.

    The only thing about both of these accounts, is neither is watered, and both we got paid for 'bout 6 weeks of no work on them, so you figure there's $7,500 +/- of income that I didn't have to do too much for.
  8. SpartanBill

    SpartanBill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 91

    Dura, well said and thanks for an idea of what to look for when bidding.

    Heather lawn, thanks for chiming in, I was hoping you would.
    Not looking to get into WAMs just yet, couple more years maybe. If we go this route we'll start off by adding a 66" or 72". Which # is the prob. $/ acre or acre/hr. Is 3-4ac/hr a good production# with 2 people including trimming?

    LwnmwrMan22, it's this kinda job i'm thinking about. There is a rural school dist. near me looking for some one. A family friend was on the school board for more than a decade and is looking into the #'s for me, just don't have enough details yet.

    I'm just trying to get an idea of some realistic production numbers, from there I can figure out if I can make it work with my overhead.

  9. T.E.

    T.E. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 799

    I have to disagree, with this as a blanket statement. Most of the time it probably is true, but not in some cases. The problem is in the running of the biz. If the biz. is run properly then it will be profitable. JMO
  10. Cooter

    Cooter LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE Iowa
    Messages: 510


    You must have quite a bit of seat time on the ZD331. What are your opinions on that mower? Does it leave a good cut and dispersion?

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