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Government contracts

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by daleintx, Jan 31, 2002.

  1. daleintx

    daleintx LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Anyone have any experience getting state or city or county jobs. I really don't know where to look for these jobs or how to bid for them. Anyone know where to find out where these jobs are listed?
  2. Federal and City.
    Had a contract with Farmers Home Administration, and the city of Wilmington. They were without equal the worse jobs I have ever had. Always some bureaucratic A-hole who thinks it his mission to give you grief.

    Things like quality workmanship, dependability, and a fair price mean nothing to bureaucrats. They have their own secret agenda. To prey upon over eager LCOs'.
    If you try them once, you'll never do it again.

  3. YLC1

    YLC1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    Several years ago I had a 2 year contract with the US postal service.I had 5 different stations.This was some of the easiest money I ever made.The only downside was that the unions filed a grievance against the postal service not to hire any outside contractors to mow.So the work was taken in house.As far as doing work for the city here,you have to contact the purchasing person for each individual department(water,parks and rec,etc.)In NC the state's web site lists alot of contracts that are up for bid.Hope this helps.Richard
  4. lawnboyil

    lawnboyil LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

  5. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    I'm not sure I can say it any better than this. I had a hud contract in 2000. It was the worst situation I could have gotten myself into. The red tape was amazing. They do want the cheapest prices and then cause the most problems. They were 30% of my business that year, and 90% of my headache. STAY AWAY FROM THIS IF YOU WANT TO MAKE MONEY!
  6. PAPS

    PAPS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    Bid on (2) town maintenance contracts last season and let me tell you it was a serious waste of time. Spent a lot of hours calculating good bids for nothing. One contract we placed a bid for something like $45,000 for the season. Two other bigger outfits like ours bid in that $45,000. ball park. The bid was awarded for $17,000 !!! to some other joke of a company. i couldnt believe it. The Second bid, we bid at $875.00 a week for a few properties. Another Co. bid $850.00, the bid was awarded for $450.00 a week !!!! Again, what a joke. Since these contracts are public knowledge, anyone has the right to see what the contract was the year before, etc. So, the problem is that the bids are constantly going down every year. its a waste of time.
  7. eslawns

    eslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 712

    I have a contract with our city. We have an ordinance here that requires property owners to keep the height of grass/weeds under 10" The contract also call for us to remove debris, board doors and windows on some properties, and remove graffiti.

    Some of this is really nasty work, and usually in the most dangerous parts of the city, but it is very profitable. Last year I averaged over $45 per man-hour in work other than from the city. By comparison, I averaged a little over $165 per man-hour doing the city work.

    The downside for me is that when there are mistakes, they can be hard to correct. Some of the small jobs (especially boarding vacant buildings) are more trouble than they are worth, and occasionally I lose money. I have been approached by criminals and drug dealers. The work is also sporadic. We have a work order system, and you may get 1 W/O this week, and 20 the next, invariably during the week when it rained 3 days straight.

    I have also gotten referrals from this. When property owners get a citation, they usually call the city employee who issued it. I have a good rapport with them, and they refer work to me. If the owner doesn't get somebody to cut it in the time frame given, I end up with a work order for it sometimes anyway.

    I have had bad experiences and good, but overall it has been a very good way to make money. BTW, I have 2 mowers for very high grass (less than $2500 invested in both) and use my Husky 232L for trimming. IMO, you just need to make sure you and the agency you work for are on the same sheet of music so feelings are not hurt, and make sure the contract spells out everything. Get in touch with somebody who already had the job if you can, to see what to watch out for. This work is not for everybody, definitely not for the faint of heart.

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