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First set of commercial bids (multiple properties)

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Thirdpete, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. Thirdpete

    Thirdpete LawnSite Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 236

    OK, some basic information...

    I'm nineteen years old, a sophomore at Lewis University just south of Chicago. I have a few bids that were requested for this week. I sent out 200 letters to property management companies and the requests are coming in, so I hope to get close on the first few so that I can figure out the rest in an accurate manner.

    First Property:
    Apartment complex
    roughly 20k square feet of turf, 740 linear feet of edging
    fertilizer program
    weed-free paved areas

    the price I am going to quote is 185/month before the fertilizer. I figured 50/visit, times 26 visits, for a total of 1300 for the season. divided by seven months, and i get 185/month. the trimming won't be so bad, but the turf is spread out in a 400x20 foot parkway (roughly), and a few other sections of about 3k sqare feet apiece. he wants the areas spotless though they are not in great condition now, so every inch of paved area is to be blown off and kept weed free, the edges have to be perfect, and so forth.

    he would also like a fertilizer program. i'm not sure how to price this since I am not licensed yet, however, I am scheduled to take the test this winter and am almost done studying to get licensed in turf and ornamentals.

    second property:
    apartment building
    7k square feet of turf
    430 feet of edging
    5 bushes between 24" and 36" apiece that need to be trimmed once a year
    fertilizer program
    weed-free paved areas

    145/month, pre-fertilizer

    third property:
    apartment building
    5,430 square feet of turf roughly
    710 linear feet of edging
    weed-free paved areas

    125/month pre fertilizer

    Any comments or suggestions? I have a meeting with the gentlemen on the 7th of november. i'm fully insured and use commercial equipemnt, so that's not an issue.

    thanks a lot
  2. grassyfras

    grassyfras LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,475

    "I figured 50/visit, times 26 visits, for a total of 1300 for the season. divided by seven months, and i get 185/month."

    I really don't understand how your billing but I can figure it out by going yearly if your doing it out of 7 months. First property I would say is low. He seems really particular and probbly going to have to edge every week. I would probbly do it between 1500-1800 per season. Only do it if hes doing fertilizer. I could probbly fertilize it for 55-60 bucks for 6 applications. Try to do 7. I think this property is aobut $1300 per year.

    Second property. Probbly alittle low. Up it a couple hundred for the year. Your right around a $1000 per year. For me thats a thridy dollar lawn with spraying some weeds in cracks and a small small bed. I have no idea how big those bushes are but if it takes more then an hour you'll be way to low. Bid to trim them twice per year and trim the twice. Keep them looking good. $40 for fert probbly.

    Third property- this propert is under $800 without fert. It sounds like a loser. Tons of edging too. I would make your self a minimum like 1200 per year for an account depending on your numbers. Fert treatment is probbly going to be your minimum maybe 35-40 bucks. I dont know how far these properties are from eachother. Chicago has tons of traffic so I hope there close.
  3. Thirdpete

    Thirdpete LawnSite Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 236

    sorry I neglected to mention:

    the second and third properties are around the corner from each other. move the truck just to keep it in view, otherwise it would be in walking distance easily. I also have three accounts in this area, so it would make 5 accounts within walking distance with the mower (2-3 houses away each).

    the first property is in an area i do not service currently, but its a 30 minute drive in traffic which isn't too bad. maybe 5-7 miles away. it is also an area i will be targeting in 07, so I don't think getting an account in this area will be a hinderance.

    second property and third properties, i might try and bid together. they are super close so it would make sense for him and me, i would hope.
    if so:
    second prop:
    30cut*26weeks = 780, plus 200-240 for fert, 930-970, plus 150 for the bushes, 1080-1120. bidding at 165 a month. this comes to 1155 which is slightly higher, but will allow me some of the pickyness i know will come with these properties. i know that atleast once or twice, ill have to pick up excessive trash, little stuff like that.

    so, bidding both of these properties together at 2200 is probably what i'll do. does that sound about correct, including bushes and fert for both?
  4. grassyfras

    grassyfras LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,475

    Ah with no drive time that would really help.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Apt. = lots of cars and stuff to mow around.
    He has crap now and wants you to make it right?
    Grass in a high traffic area always takes a beating.

    At 50 a week I feel you are low.
    You go to Lewis. where is this job, Romeoville--Joliet?? I know that these are not the highest priced areas but that still seems low.
    Curb hopping and fighting car bumpers is not fun. I do homes that have 6000 foot lawns for 200 a month.

    Bushes will need to be trimmed more than once a year

    Not trying to bust a bubble but you are in school. Put all your efforts towards that and do small jobs that you can handle easy and that you know about. This is a great way to make extra money but doing jobs that pay little profit and are a lot of time and work can wear you down. This seems like one of those jobs.
  6. Thirdpete

    Thirdpete LawnSite Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 236

    these jobs are in addison, actually. i have a 3.7/4.0 gpa while still doing this so i think i'm doin alright.

    actually, the parking lots for these two spots in question, locations 2 and three, are in the back of the building. it would be like mowing a large house. they're both corner lots as well, so there's no backc-yard mowing, just two sides.

    i go back every weekend to cut grass, and my schedule next semester will allow me 3-4 full days of work each week.

    trimming these bushes twice a year will be sufficient, these aren't burning bushes or other fast-growing shrubs that should be trimmed a couple times each season.

    a 6k lawn around here for 200 a month.... never happen. people are doing lawns for 60-70 a month, not that size but not that much smaller, maybe 2-4k each.

    thanks for the advice thus far. is there something i should be looking for going into this meeting with the manager of these properties?
  7. Thirdpete

    Thirdpete LawnSite Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 236

    woops double post. edited, sorry.
  8. But are these people insured and how long have they been around.

    Area # 1 I would get $120/visit or $435 per month for mow, trim, blow paved areas and edge.

    Area # 2 and 3 $50/ visit or $190 per month for same as above, this price also includes the hedges once per year. #3 price does not include hedges but since the edging has doubled price remains the same.

    I live in an economically depressed area of the country and have no problem getting these rates. For the prices you want to quote you might as well be working for free. If they want you to work for free you shouldn't be working for them any way. There are plenty of good paying accounts out there so go get them.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Addison? They can pay.

    Start reading 6'7 330's posts, He is down south of you but still in an area that is close in pay scale. He is not cutting for 60 a month.

    Just a little sales training ( something I am big on as you will find out if you follow this site). What does the manager need? Find that out and sell to that.
    It has nothing to do with grass cutting. He does not care about grass and would rather not have to cut it. He would be happy if it all went away.
    What does he care about?????
    Making money off his investment property. And that is all. So do not try to sell him grass cutting. He does not want that and will not pay for it. Sell him higher profits. Sell him faster rentals. sell him higher rents. Sell him happy tenants that will pay on time. Can a good looking property give those things to him?? YES.
    I read about a lot of guys on this site that have PITAs and unhappy customers and that fight to get paid. It's because they sell grass cutting. 99% of people hate having to cut grass. They hate getting up on Sat. and cutting grass. So why do we think they will be happy paying for it? So stop selling it. Start selling what people want.
    All of my customers are happy to see me and very happy to pay me. Most feel that they are not paying enough. They tell me to just do the work and charge what you need to make profit. They want me to succeed and to come back. This is because I do not sell grass cutting.
    I sell leisure time, I sell pride in the ownership of property. I sell increased rents, I sell increased nets at time of closing of home sales, and I sell increased value of their home. This people will pay for as they all want that. Selling is finding out what people want and than finding the answer to their needs. It's getting them what they want for a value that feels right to them.
    Find out what the apt. owners want and meet those needs. This is selling 101 and something that you will learn in school.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    It's a bit off-thread but invest in chains and padlocks so:
    a) You don't have to start the truck needlessly, which wastes time and fuel. Park it where you can see it MOST of the time, because:
    b) You can NOT keep a truck in sight, always. Even if you do, it comes around the corner of your eye so by the time you react, the thief grabbed whatever 2-cycler and is putting it in their car... They're halfway up the block before you turn the ignition key and it is REAL hard keeping up in a 3/4-ton with trailer, they will lose you eventually even IF you got a high-performance v-8 under the hood AND you might lose MORE equipment in the chase as well lol, not to mention the danger.
    c) *I* think chains and padlocks keeps a good percent of comedy away, those guys like to walk up in parking lots and bs away for no reason, most of them leave at once when they see the lock-up situation (as do would-be thieves).

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