Help bidding first large apartment complex

deanslawnservice09

LawnSite Member
Location
Andover,MA
So I have been been doing landscaping since 2007, but never really have been given a shot at any larger commercial type jobs and I could really use a little help with bidding. I will attempt to provide as much information as possible to help anyone willing to give me any pointers:

There are 7 circles off of a main stretch. 230 units total. 100 yards of mulch (which I do know how to estimate) Each circle is probably an acre of grass, but it isn't just one big field there are small areas of grass all over the place, the overall quality of the place is on the poor side, the parking lots and walks have to be blown off and all lines and edges trimmed. They also expect all shrubs to be trimmed 3 times a year (one with spring cleaning, 2nd in august, and third in the fall) there are probably 20-40 shrubs of less than great quality at each building (mostly in the 2-5 foot range) The whole place has a lot of trees (so not enough sunlight (which is why the grass is on the crappy side). I know this is confusing but if anyone has any ideas on where I should start, it would be greatly appreciated.
 

McCord L & I

LawnSite Member
Location
Folsom, Ca.
First thing first....

Have you read 'How to bid commercial accounts for real' by PROCUT1 in the Business Management section? Must read!

Next, you say that the property is in bad shape?
Is it because:

Current Landscape provider is not doing his job?

Property Management co/Apartment Manager not doing or caring about the job being done?

Current Landscape provider bid it too low, and didn't want to put in the time that it does take?

Property manager does not pay their bills?

If you know the current provider or can find out info about how they work or how the PM works, then that could save you some headaches! It is no fun having to sue someone and then ride it out in court and wait for your money for 1 1/2 years.........ask me how I know:wall
 
OP
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deanslawnservice09

LawnSite Member
Location
Andover,MA
The complex is low income, so I am guessing the job isn't done well because they take the first decent company with the lowest bid. I do know the property manager which I believe will work in my favor. (She was my property management teacher at a community college around here) I dropped that course, but at least had a good contact out of the deal.

I'm guessing the mower portion of this account will take somewhere in the 7-8 hour range with lets say 3 guys.

I am interested in hearing what happened to you though?
 

McCord L & I

LawnSite Member
Location
Folsom, Ca.
Definitely read PROCUT1's thread on how you think you should price it.

As far as me, I started my business 17 years ago, worked for my Dad's Landscape co. for many years before that. We started out as getting the residential's that my Dad didn't want (because he was all commercial,) and built from there. It took me a good 6-7 years to break into the apartment accounts, I took everything that came my way with these.....During the last 10 years of this kind of maintenance, I have learned to look for a few things like what I asked you. I lost money on the first few due to bad PM companies or bad Apartment managers that did not communicate at all! In 10 years, I have had to take 3 different PM companies to court, I have won all 3 due to them signing contracts, but never was able to collect in under 1 year.

I know where you are coming from here, first big account, you want to make the number right to get it, but take all into consideration when bidding.

The condition of the place:
The respectability of the PM company:
How big and professional is the current Landscape provider.
 

McCord L & I

LawnSite Member
Location
Folsom, Ca.
Low income.......take theft and vandalism and threat! into account as well. Make sure that you are giving them a hourly and service call rate for irrigation (or however you do it out there) Alot of things will come up missing and/or broke in between your service calls, and they may expect you to fix it pro bono if you don't add it to you service outline.

Also make sure your equipment is locked up, or it will get expensive every week:laugh:
 
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deanslawnservice09

LawnSite Member
Location
Andover,MA
I did read procut1's thread and it was helpful to an extent. I still find it hard to measure how long everything will take. And in response to the theft, I highly doubt that would happen, because it is low income, but in a high income town, so the people there generally unthreatening. There is a bordering city which is one of the worst in the state, so I will keep that in mind as a possibilty.
 

andyslawncare

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Palmetto, GA
I do some a neighborhood with 10 buildings, weed control/fert, core aeration 1/year, lots of shrubs pruned more than 3 times per year, 40,000 sq. ft. turf, and around 45 homes. Takes 3 hours a week year round just about with 3 men. Pays $1,400/month always on time with payment. Use goilawn software to measure the turf, then figure out how much turf can be maintained in 1 hour, then add on how many hours of pruning and pain in the a$$, should give you an idea of where you need to be. Also, check your mulch amount with goilawn software.
 

andyslawncare

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Palmetto, GA
I would also have a 50-100% additional charge for the first month to get everything straightened up so you can handle from there....many of my clients receive an initial service charge along with the monthly payment when we start.
 

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