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help Bidding a large apt community against the big boys

justcamman

LawnSite Member
Location
louisville, KY
I have always been in on new developments doing the mowing only. I have an opprotunity to bid a 200 apt complex. The bid must be seperated. Lawn mowing. snow removal. mulching and scrub trimming. Ok US Lawns, truegreen, and the local guy me. Any advice? The manager is a friend of mine and if I am close I am told I will get it....any pointers or advice would help when competing agst the big boys
 

BCL Services

LawnSite Member
Location
central florida
Truegreen will be impossible to beat, if they bid like they do down here. But the service they provide will leave alot to be desired. I mean the bids they are presenting are simply jaw droppingly low.
 

ed2hess

LawnSite Fanatic
It sounds like you might as well save your time on putting together a bid and just tell your friend that you will match Tru Greens bid. The bids in our area
range about $25 to $30 per hour. Stuff like mulch, tree triming, irrigation repair are extra. The fertilize and weed control included.
 

AzLawnMan

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Glendale, Az
Question is, how bad do you want it? If you really want the property and you havent had the experiance bidding these types of jobs then you have some work in front of you. Even if you dont get the job you will learn how to bid it. First, figure out how many man hours its gonna take you to mow the lawn. Put that together on a monthly basis and on a yearly basis. Then do the same with the rest of the things they want you to bid on. Walk the property and measure how much multch your gonna need, and include how many sqft that has to be multched. The more info you put for them to digest is the thing they look for. Put your prices for sprinkler heads, minor pipe repairs, etc. If they are able to know what there annual landscape budget will be its easier for them to decide. You may not get this bid, but they will remember how you presented yourself. Hand deliver the bid. And just because you have a friend telling you that you may get it, dont get your hopes up. Its business. Let me know how its going.
 

cbegap

LawnSite Member
Location
White Plains, MD
I guess he's not a good enough friend to tell you where you need to be? I know that is a hard one, but it sure is nice when it happens. I have found bidding very difficult because you never know what corner the other guy is willing to cut, or how little money he is willing to work for. Mulch seems to be a big bidding problem for me because I bid it based on square foot and whatever depth the contract requests. Then you go out and look at the guy that won the bid and he put down what made sense and not some arbitrary 4" number. What do you do? Next time bid the mulch like he did? With my luck they contract holder would force me to put down the amount of mulch the contracts states and I would loose out.
 

CircleC

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
NW
Have that dude give you the budget or better yet a number you need to hit. You know...off the record....friend to friend. If CrapGreen and Brickman are bidding you know its dirt a$$ low. I have seen them bid mowing in the $20 range.
 

USFGUY

LawnSite Member
Location
Tampa, FL
Low bidding is the name of the game for bigger companies.. I have a condo complex that should be $4000+ a month that I do for $2000... Lost money all year.. explained to condo board that this is at least a $3800/month what they want done. They voted to raise the monthly rate $200. I put in a bid next door for a smaller property that was looking to pay in the $4200 range.. and down the street same size property with less work(no sprinkler maint) but is a HIGH end condo set their monthly goal as $8200 a month down from $9500 a month last year.

Anyways...The $2000/month condo I do the board almost weekly gets bids from $1500-3500 a month from joe blows to big companies... One bid from a guy was $500/month for the property...Condo board asked me if i could match it... that was a fun conversation trying to convince them that there is NO way a guy can mow/trim/blow/hedge/edge 18 acres 4 times a month for $500 let alone trim trees/palms and maintain the sprinkler system. Gas alone in the summer was running me $100 a week(mower/trimmer/edger/hedger).


Just bid what you think is RIGHT for the property. DO NOT work for FREE! DO NOT bid to LOSE money! be very exact what you will do and what will cost what.. things like dont just say mowing once a week from here to here then once every 2 weeks... for those once every 2 weeks state you will only be on site every 2 weeks.. Property I am at now condo board wants onsite every week no matter what and my contract isnt specific enough!

I will not be keeping this contract. I lost money all year long because I keep my word... It was a learning mistake and I will not bid so cheap ever again.

good luck! :)
 

AzLawnMan

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Glendale, Az
Anyways...The $2000/month condo I do the board almost weekly gets bids from $1500-3500 a month from joe blows to big companies... :)
Why dont you have a clause in your contract saying that if they ever go to outside companies for a bid on the services you already provide they must inform you first of their actions and you have the option to match or decline first? I figured that was standard. Otherwise, at any given time they can tell you to :walking:
 
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