First commercial bid please help.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by radracer, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. radracer

    radracer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    Thank you in advance for reading this post, any and all help is welcome and appreciated. I have only been in business (full service lawn care without chemicals) for a few months most of my jobs so far have been yard cleanups tree work etc... I have been given the opportunity to bid for the lawn service contract at a medical center near Tampa, and I need help pricing a job of this size. It is not solid grass all the way around it is broke up and segregated with curbs in the parking lot sidewalk etc... There is also a retention pond and I will probably have to trim some of that. The area that I would have to trim is about 900' long. But I think that my 36" WB Husq will be able to do most of it. Here are the figures.

    27,249 sq feet of turf to be mowed
    1,295 feet to edge
    And of course it has to be trimmed and blown off.

    There is a total of 2,576 sq feet of existing pine bark mulch beds that they want me to keep full throughout the year

    There is about 120" of shrubs that need to be pruned throughout the year they are small shrubs like medium sized boxwoods. I estimate that it will take about three hours to prune them and clean up the mess.

    They also have 40 small (about 10')ornamental trees around the property and would like a separate quote for pruning the trees throughout the year.

    How much would you charge for these services? I don't have very many customers yet so I would really like to get this job. But I don't want to underbid and be a low-baller.

    Thanks for any and all replies
  2. radracer

    radracer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    Anyone? Any advice is appreciated.
  3. jackpoke

    jackpoke LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I am in your boat. I have never bid on a commercial job. This coming spring I plan on pounding the pavement in pursuit of commercial business. I will stock my working inventory accordingly. I believe at this point I am going to continue to work the net to find out about commercial bidding, as well as engaging local contractors whenever possible in conversation that leads to a discussion of potential bidding theories.

    good luck,
  4. Tn Lawn Man

    Tn Lawn Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479

    Here is some advice.

    This is not meant mean in any way. So please don't take it that way.

    Since you have been in business for such a short period of time I would advise you to look for more residentials right now. They are great for gaining experience. The more experience you have the better your bidding skills become.

    You definitely do NOT want to get into something like this in the wrong way. What I mean by that is:

    If you bid too low then word will spread that you are a "good deal" and other companies will expect bids in the same range. Meanwhile, you hate the job because you left money on the table.

    If you bid too high then word will get out that you are too expensive.

    The same can be said for the level of work you perform, word will spread.

    Now as for this particular bid.

    You have just over 27k sq ft to mow. This can be done with a decent Z in less than 1/2 and hour. But if it is broken up all over the place then it could take quite a bit longer.

    Get out and walk the area on foot. Estimate the time it will take to mow and trim.

    Then look at the terrain and see how much blowing off of clippings is needed. If there are alot of parking lots, walkways etc.. then it will take longer.

    When you come up with the time necessary (given the right equipment) then you multiply that by your hourly rate. Most people bid from $45 to $70 an hour.

    Next is your pine bark.

    You have to look at how full or depleted the beds are currently.

    Pine bark does not erode away as easily as mulch and other coverings. Decide how much you will need in terms of inches. Then convert your inches and square feet to cubic yards. Multiply that by how much you charge per yard to install it.

    If it is a simple throw and go then you go cheaper. If the beds are difficult to get to and prep work is necessary you charge more. Most LCOs charge between $35 to $75 a cubic yard installed. Installed means you buy it, you deliver it, you install it and then you clean up the mess.

    Next is the shrub trimming.

    It sounds like you have this down. Most people charge between $45 to $100 per hour.

    This is the same with tree trimming. However, I don't trim trees. I sub it out. They are much more labor, equipment and knowledge intensive than I care to deal with.

    Last is to determine how they want to be billed.

    Most of my commercial clients like 12 month billing in which the bill is always the same.

    So to do that you take all of your bid estimates, multiply it by the number of service visits (# of times you mow, prune etc... in one year) and then divide by 12.

    I hope this helps.

    Tn Lawn Man

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