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Estimating/Bidding Formulas!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Green-Cuts, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. Green-Cuts

    Green-Cuts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 154


    I have done searches on the site because I know some one had a good formula on bidding but can not seem to find it again. I was wondering if anyone had a good way to do bids?

    Brandon Jolley
  2. J Hisch

    J Hisch LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 952

    The average 2 man crew can produce 2-2.5 acres of finsished production using most mid mount mowers. Finished production meaning, mowing, trimming, blowing. in about 1 hr. less production if more trimmining is invloved. From there you need to determine your hourly rate. I feel most are estimating on time. Using something simple like so much per sqft. only works on similar properties, that formula isnt good for maintenance like it is for Lawn care apps.
  3. RyanD

    RyanD LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178

    You won't be able to do a good job bidding until you know your costs. The formula one person uses to bid their jobs would not put the same amount of money in your pocket unless you had the exact same experience level, truck payment, mower, insurance, changed your oil on the same intervals for the same price, and were saving for the same priced replacement mower, etc. You will have to come up with your own formula based on how much would want to net.
    This is the way I do it. I have a sheet that I carry with me that show my expenses either by yard or by hour (which ever is applicable). For example, I know that if I run my mower for one hour, I will use $6 in fuel, will have to pay for 1/100th of what it cost to change my oil (I change it every 100 hours) which is less than $.10 but I include it, and an additional amount for repairs or less frequent maintenance (belts, etc). I know that it costs me approximately $7/hr to run my mower (this should by no means be a figure that you use unless it costs you the same to operate yours). I do this for all the equipment I run.
    You also have expenses that you pay monthly or yearly (license, payments on equipment, po box expenses, insurance, advertising, etc). For me, I try to estimate how many lawns I will cut in a season. If it is 500 lawns for instance, I would charge $.58 per cut for insurance (my insurance is $291/yr. $291/500=$.58). You can either charge these per cut or per hour (per hour may be a little more fair to the customer).
    So, when I bid a job, I figure the cost for operating my equipment plus the cost for the monthly or annual expenses plus what I want to make per hour, plus what I think I will have to pay in taxes.
    Example: I just bid a job that will take an hour to do. My cost were $36 to arrive and operate my equipment and pay for those annual expenses. I charged $50/hr for the labor (because I want to take home around $40/hr after taxes) and the total came to $86.
    Sorry this post is so long, but I thought it was worth it. This is probably the biggest problem are for the beginner is bidding (just a guess).
  4. STLlawnboy

    STLlawnboy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 97

    How big of a yard are u cutting for $86 most of my yards i do for $30 and they take me about 20 minutes. Your formula cost more just to show up than i charge for most of my yards and that doesn't even include the labor? I am confused
  5. RyanD

    RyanD LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178

    There are some variables in my situation that cause me to charge a little more right now. I don't have many yards right now (just starting) so my monthly and yearly expenses have to be divided up between those yards. As I have more yards, I can spread those costs out and charge everybody a little less. Also this is a commercial job, which I charge a little more for per hour. Finally, it is a little further from my house than my others. I charge for drive time also. And to answer your question, there is a little less than an acre.

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