Help on bid in FL

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by oak1787, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. oak1787

    oak1787 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    Hey guys just wanted to get some help on bidding this commerical job..and maybe some ideas.. its for a house development.I looked over it mowing looks like 25 to 30 hours to mow. you guys charge by the hour or?? plus weeding beds(not alot of them).. all shrubs and hedges need trimmed.mulching is separate bid.. for 6 months they want mowed weekly other 6 they want bi-weekly.. any help would be great guys..thanks:)
  2. oak1787

    oak1787 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

  3. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    I did work in orlando....I cut 36-38 times each year. the whole sixmoth every week, and the other 6 months every other week. Is great in theory....I love how HOA want to schedule their cuts a year in advance. I had a 200 unit town house complex I did. I took us a day and a half with a three man crew.

    There are two ways to gow about this. you can either beon the site when the the other landscaper shows up, see whathe is doing and how long it takes him.... Or get the measuring wheel out and measure your turf area and then estimate how long it takes to cut, bases on terrain, obstacles, and equipment you run. You will need to estimate how long it takes to edge X feet per hour Average walking pace is two miles per hour.... you will need to edge proably 24 times...Don't forget edging flower beds.

    Parking lot space. how big is the parking lot. can you get buy with backpack blowers or is a push blower needed. Evert time you mow you blow.

    String tri9mming. lots of signs, and trees to string trim around. home owner install landscape lights form home depot(you know the cheap ones) how many gutter down spouts. is is vinyl siding down to the grass, or is it stucco...

    Fences???? Does it have an irrigation system. Will they give you access such that you an program the irriation system around yoru visits. IE make sure the irrigation is on a few days before or after your visit rather than the morning you arrive. Dry grass is easier to cut.

    Shrubs. figure out how long it takes to properly prune 20-30 feet of a shrub. then clean up the mess and thing figure out how long it will take to prune. Most likley the shrubs have been sheared as its easier, but its not always proper. Do they expect to you to trim the crepe myrtles or palm trees....Plan on working on shrub 2-4 times per year.

    Weeds. round-up....of course if your don't have the Lic, get out the scuffle hoe. Planon cheking weeds at least twice per month. Don't forget Crack weeds.

    once you figure out your total yearly cost, then divide by 12 and thats youre monthly payment.

    I would also figure out your mulch and add that as a separate line item. include that into montly payment as well.

    Let them make payments to you for the mulch.....Most HOA's don't like havingto shell out lump sums of money. i

    What about annual color rotations? 4 times per year. thats easy money as well.

    Just becasue they only ask for mowing does not mean they only want mowing. givfe them your prices on everything, you do not want them to contract another landscaper for other services.

    Also, with the HOA, find out who writes the checks. is the the President of the HOA or the Propertymanager. Get ONE POINT OF CONTACT.....the last thing you need is one person you telling one thing and the other person contradicting the other....

    give them prices on regular irrigation inspections 6 times a year. IE turn on each zone and check for broken heads, ect. Again , easy money once ot twice inthe sinter time and 4 times in the summer.

    Important question to ask. "do they want the property cut in one day?" if theyw ant the prop cut in one day, then you need to plan your labor accordingly. if they don't mind having it cut over a couple days then it may be less of a headache for you.

    based on your estimated mow times,. @ 50 bucks an hour 1250 per cut. 45K per year 3750 per month.

    Cut schedule, depends on amountof irrigation and fertility.... you may cut less than 36 times if the weather if in your favor. What kind of grass. are you cutting. bahia, St Agustine?
    Jan 2
    Feb 2
    Mar 2-3
    April 3-4
    May 4
    June 4
    July 4
    Aug 4
    Sep 3-4
    Oct 2-3
    Nov 2
    Dec 2

    Shrubs in March May July Oct.

    remeber not all shurb need to be prunned at the same time IE azaleas only prune once after they bloom. shrub like Illiagnus and Pittosporum need to be prunned 3-4 times per year to keep them from getting out of control. Planon doing some shrub work on days where you don't edge.

    Planon bididng for any palm tree work in the winter. Think about extras like Pointsettas...Keep a log book. note your times...also take notes of what you notice when you are there. IE possible ching bugs, sooty molds, dry areas..stuff that the Prop Manager woudl like to know about such that if you are not the contractor for all this tuff, this lets them know that you are keeping an eye on their property. This will get you more work. You hope to do a good enough job that the property manager wants to use you on other properties. Also, find the local car wash and buy a book of freebie car washes. So when you inadvertently hose down the car with grass clippings you can give the person the coupon for the freebie. make a note of it and let the Prop manager know.....

    This kind of property can make or break your....

    I know I went on and bounced around a bit. but This can be a huge break for you.

    if you have high speed internet. take alook at this link. this is one of the HOA's I did in orlando

    Also if you get in a bind, PM me. My father lives in Homossassa and has been out of the business for several years now, but he may be able to help you estimate for a small consult fee....
  4. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,808

    dont forget, you dont want to keep all your eggs in one basket. they drop you, you go out of business quick. i like to see $80/hr min for the first mower and $40+ for each other. my cost of running my bussiness is over $40/hr before paying myself or employees. that is for fuel, mower payments, truck payment, insurance, maintanence, supplys, etc. so the $50/hr by marcsmith might be a bit low if you are trying to make more than a grocery store bagger unless your costs are lower. but even if they are, you should still be able to charge the same.
  5. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157


    I disagree a bit.....If your costs are lower, one way to get your foot in the door is to have lower prices, Not saying lowball the job just to get it. If his truck is paid for and his mower is paid for, he's willing to have higher insurance deductibless to keep his premiums lower, has lower emnployee wages such that his workers comp is lower, ect. all of these can contribute to lower prices.

    Yes he can charge the same amount as everybody and make more per hour after his costs have been taken out...but if his bid is the same as everyone elses, there maybe notheirng else to distinguish him from the rest. In which case the HOA should then look at other comparable jobs the companies are doing, and if he's new and has no larger jobs, then he's not getting the job, unless he knows someone at the HOA.

    Alot of Hoa's award contracts on price, fact of life. If his costs are lower and he can still turn a good profit buy cutting his hourly wage, then why not pass that cost onto the customer and get noticed.... I depends on how hungry he is for the work. If he has not done any large HOA's before, the HOA may be willing to overlook his lack of experience and give him a shot based on the lower price. We all had to start somewhere....

    If I was hungry for work...and it was a slow period. I'd do installs at low GP numbers, if nothing more than to help make payroll and keep the employee's working, and keep the trucks rolling. If my net was only 10%, 10% of 50K is still better than 0% of 50K.

    Id sooner cut my hourly rate for a 20-30 hour a week maintenace job than I would for a small commercial or large residential property. Think of how much windshield time he is saving by not having to visit 20-30 seperate properties.

    If he gets the basic maintenace job, then he can recoup some of the lower wages on mulch installs, flowers, and other extra's..

    But being that Oak seems failry new, he needs to figure all of the stuff we both mentioned. his costs for doing work, what he wants to take home, and how much time is needed to maintain the property.
  6. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,808

    your absolutely right, i just meant he does not need to cut himself shorter than he needs to. getting his foot in the door is very important. hope all goes well
  7. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    Keep inmind was daricek said about putting all your eggsin one basket....

    if you get this job, you need to build up as much of a coustomer base to keep the machien going if you ever loose this account.

    so you can't rest, if anything it will make you have ot work that much harder...
  8. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157


    I would consider some sort of OCDC for whatever mower you use. it will come in handy around cars and walks and cut your blowing time by a significant amount.
  9. oak1787

    oak1787 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    wow marcsmith I cant think u enough for the reply..thanks for taking the time to write that out like that for me..I came up with like 48 a year and was like they will never pay that..but I really wont the job.they just sent me the grounds maintenance agreement so I am going to look over it tonight..they do want me to look over the irrigation..:clapping: :clapping:

    thanks daricek for the reply too :)
  10. oak1787

    oak1787 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    but I will say that the people that are mowing right now. they are not doing half of what they are asking is a really bad job that they are doing..the nice thing about it is that i live in no drive time lol... when i talked to them they sent this agreement to me really fast.. have like 6 weeks before they start taking bids.. but i really want this :)..

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