estate bid

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by grasscutt, Apr 11, 2002.

  1. grasscutt

    grasscutt LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    i'm going to bid on an estate that needs a spring cleanup. This place is huge and has not been touched since last fall. It will take 3 guys at least 3 full days to clean up the property. She has arranged for all the debri to be removed from the property. I have been given a designated place to put all the debri. do you think 1800.00 dollars is out of line. We will use mowers where possible but much of it is covered with limbs, pine cones and loads of leaves. I really need some input.
  2. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    work it out to the hour.

    say 8 hr days, 24 man hours times three days is 72 hours. then multiply by your hourly rate.

    1800 divided by 72 is about $25/hr i think, doing it in my head
  3. jimsmowin

    jimsmowin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 79

    i would not do it for under 25/ man hr. maybe you get lucky and get done at 65 hrs. or bid at 1875.00
  4. Foz

    Foz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 143

    sounds reasonable, but we would bid @ $30/Hr = $2,160.00
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    $25 an hour seems kind of cheap to me. If this place hasn't been touched sincle last Fall and the owners really want the place shaped up and looking like an "estate" again, $35/hour/man would be my very bare minimum.

    If you get into using mowers, vacuums, leaf and backpack blowers, etc., charge "accordingly" .
  6. Premo Services

    Premo Services LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,516

    I agree with the rest of them 25.00 is kinda low. You will be working yourselves and your equiptment to the max. You would be suprised to see how much leaves can pack and become like a sort of mud. I did one of these for someone last spring and told her hourly rate(35 per man hour) and figured about 8 hours. We did good until we hit the tennis court. The gardner blew the leaves off the court and let them set there. The owner asked if I would do it also. It took 2 men 4 hours of back breaking work to get them piled, wet mud like leaves away from the tennis court.The job took 12 hrs total and she did fire the gardner:D . Last fall all the leaves were cleaned in the fall and it was a lot easier for me. Next time I get to bid on something like this the rate will be a lot higher.:eek:
  7. Big G

    Big G LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    Our industry is one of the few that is expected to give a bid and stick to it. That is one of the best/worst part of our profession. We stand to make out well if we are accurate or pad a little and still get the job. On the other hand, if we don't bid carefully and end up bidding too low, then we have to eat it to keep our reputation in good order.

    Try getting the plumber or car repair to diagnose a problem and give you an estimate and stick to it. They will tell you what they think it will cost, but it's almost never that. They will tell you whats going on, but they will charge you whatever.

    We should be able to give accurate bids/cost estimates to clients since there is not normally alot that could go unseen if you walk the property properly and measure. Rushing or taking shortcuts on estimating jobs is a formula for disappointment.

    Take another walk around the property and make sure you measured thoroughly and think it through again. Tell the client that you wanted to take one more look at it to make sure you are giving them as fair a price as possible, they should perceive that as professional.

    Good luck!
  8. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    You might give an "estimate" and not a bid. Tell the customer it's going to be between 65 and 80 man hours (or whatever spread you want).

    This might then be for leaf, sticks and debris clean up. Depending on the level of detail that she wants, will determine how much time you have to take. Ground cover beds will really slow you down.

    Are you thatching/verti-cutting with the clean up? This is extra.

    Are you doing any dormant pruning? If so, how detailed will you be. Simply getting the 3 D's (dead, diseased and damaged) wood is one thing. If you get into structural pruning or rejuvenating pruning, this adds more time.

    Are you weeding any beds? If so, how detailed? Do you have to edge the beds? Mulching?

    Bottom line is that you can ask these questions to find out what level of perfection the customer is seeking. Let them set the budget for you. Tell 'em it could be $2,000, or it could be $3,500 or whatever. The customer will most likely give you an indication of their budget, tell them what you can do for their budget (figuring the number of man hours in your head), and work to that end if it's a contract number. If it's T & M, ask them for how many hours their budget will cap you at, and work up until that point.

    Their budget then may limit you accordingly. You may then only clean out the ground cover beds at 30% or 40% instead of 60%, and the secondary or tertiary beds may not get the same attention as the high profile beds. All depends on what they want to spend. No two clean up bids will the same unless she gave you a spec sheet, so just comparing price will be deceiving as the quality and time spent on the job will vary.

    LAWNS AND MOWER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,129

    Grasscutt- Are you going to get the mowing account for this crib?? Sometimes that can come into play when pricing a cleanup.

  10. Commander

    Commander Banned
    Messages: 116

    I would suggest that you do NOT price this by the hour. I have, and still do work on several estates. The owners get PISSED when I tell them by the hour. Give the people a flat rate so that both parties will be happy. If you do run into a problem you can always go to the owner and tell them you need more money... that works, sometimes (they don't like hearing that more than once though). Also keep in mind, that people at these types of places know ALL of the plants and trees that they have on the property. If you don't know what a certain type of tree or plant is... don't pretend that you do, because they will catch you. You will find that these people will have a lot of strange plants on their properties. IF IN DOUBT, LEAVE IT! If you have a new person coming to work for you, this is not the place to bring them unless they will be digging a ditch or something like that. Don't get me wrong, I love working on estates. But there are certain guidelines you have to keep in mind.

    One other thing; Do NOT put down any form of pesticides at these places without talking about it with the customer. A lot of the places I have worked at; they are willing to pay the money for methods of pest control other than chemical.

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