Help on Bid for Apartment Complex


LawnSite Member
Wolcottville IN
Gentlemen I need some advice. I am working up a bid for my first "total grounds care" account. The property is a seven building complex on about 6 acres with parking lots and lots of curb.

The owners have broken down exacly what they want. Which is: mowing price per mowing (that I am confident I can do), fert with weed control (4 times), Mechanical edging (twice), Mulch installed around all buildings, clubhouse, flowerbeds, Spring flower planting, prunning of hedges(twice), total kill on sidewalks, curbs, dumpster areas(twice), Bed definition( 1 time), and weed control in beds and muched ares.

Questions are: I don't know how to calculate how many yards of mulch I will need, I haven't done this type of thing yet. In the past I have been strictly mowing and yard cleanup. Also how do I figure how many flats of flowers I need in the beds and what kindof mark up do I pass along. I admitt I am ignorant in this area and would like some pro's advice. Also is bed definition just cutting the bed path again of what. I don't know what this is. Also any of you guys use Lesco ferts. Are they good quality and are they resonable priced. Thanks Joe


LawnSite Senior Member
Good luck on your bid. First thing, are you a certified applicator, licensed and insured?? All of these are necessary.
Mulch is figured - square feet of bed divided by 100 = 1 cubic yard spread 3" thick. You will usually overestimate with this formula.
For the fert and weed control you have to know the area of turf and the application rate for the products you are using - LESCO will do fine.
As far as the flowers - I don't know. We buy mature color and install.
Again good luck..price high and hope for the best.
1 unit of mulch ( barkdust,compost) is 7.5 cubic yards.

That should cover about 1200 square feet 1.5 inches deep.

Do not include the price of mulch and application in your monthly contract fee. You end up carrying a huge cost all year long. It should be billed for at the time of application.

For flower planting I figure 1.7 4 inch pots per square foot. That's about nine inches on center or the distance between the tips of your thumb and little finger stretched out.

Double the price of all your materials.

Good Luck.


LawnSite Senior Member
northeast ,ohio
make sure you leave enough time for weeding in all those beds for if they have not been takrn care of before its a job to get them under control you may want to even sub out the weed control and fert its what i do about half of the time this way i do not need to invest into chemical spraying at this point


LawnSite Senior Member
Mulch @ 1" - 1 cubic yard = 324 sq ft
Mulch @ 2" - 1 cubic yard = 162 sq ft
Mulch @ 3" - 1 cubic yard = 108 sq ft

When figuring mulch, you need the sq footage of the beds. I figure mulch @ 2". Divide the total sq footage by 162 for the total of yards needed. Then I usually add 1 yard for every 9 needed. I charge $125.00 per yard. I also add on an additional $75.00 per load, which for me is 5-6 yards.

Flowers around here are bought for anywhere from $10.00 - $13.00 per flat. I usually get with a place here in the early spring that orders what I want and they knock off $2.00 per flat for over 10 flats. Bad thing is there is no standard for flat counts. They range from 12-72 plants per flat.

Figuring flowers, I go by most flowers recomendations of 6" spacings. So just need sq footage of area where you need flowers and mutiply by 6 and this gives you amount of plants at 6" intervals. I layout my beds in a stagerd position. I usually get 48 counts. I add 50% to the price of the flat, then charge $15.00 per flat for installation which includes a dose of Osmocote fertilizer under each cell.

I would say the bed difinition is just what it says. Keeping the exsisting beds difined. Alot of beds, rent a edger. A few beds get yourself a kick edger or sod cutter with a 6" blade from for $250.00. A rental place should be able to tell you what the average coverage an hour is with their edgers. Use that number and come up with a hourly time x your hourly rate, add a hour or two for cleanup of the cut sod and disposal if there is alot of growth or alot of beds.

You can always adjust the prices by what you would be happy with for doing the work as long as you know your costs ahead. I usually over estimate a little, but I never loose money on this type work.

Good Luck

[Edited by skookum on 11-11-2000 at 11:24 PM]