Help with 1st commercial bid

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by tamo, May 3, 2007.

  1. tamo

    tamo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 213

    Went to look at a law office in a nice part of portland, or. They have to find new lawn guy because they need the work done by 9 am when clients show up and the current company keeps showing up after 9 to start. It seems like they're desperate and they can't find anyone else willing to finish before 9 am.

    This is my first year and I've picked up 30+ clients already, but while not low balling, I don't think I'm making as much as a can. My question is how much more can I charge for a commercial job like this as opposed to a residential.

    For the mowing I would typically charge about $70.00/cut. I'm thinking about pushing that to $100. I've never bid commerical, but assume that they would be willing to pay more.

    The other part of the job his a good amount of hedge trimming. I can't quantify for you how much exactly, but it would be a situation where I'd do it in increments since I'd need to be done by 9 am when working there. I'll figure out how long I think it would take me times an hourly rate. Right now I've been getting $40/hr. for stuff like this which I know is low. How high could I reasonably go commerical.

    I know its tough to judge this job for you guys based on my description. I'm just looking for your experiences with commerical accounts and how high you can usually push the price. I want to stop bidding lower than I need to.

  2. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    it's called an emergancy call.............they want this so they have to pay that.

    they dont run your business you do.....If they want something by a certain time CHARGE be honest, I dont think I would show up for 100.00
  3. Gilligan

    Gilligan LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 37

    Charge them the same rate per hour they would charge you!
  4. NELawnCare

    NELawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 175

    Now THAT is funny!

    I was in an Intellectual Property (copyright) dispute a few years back. My attorney in Dallas charged $800/hr.

    But seriously, I have residential rates and commercial rates. Obvioiusly there are many factors in constructing a bid (e.g. difficult terrain, size of property, etc). But in general, my base commercial rates are residential rate+70%.

    For example, if I charge $55/acre residential, then a commercial property would cost $55*70%=$93.50.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,652

    My experience has been that you can push the price up as high as you want or need to (but in this case want applies), because I suspect your current issue has to do with you attempting to meet what the customer is willing to pay. Once you break free of this hold the customer has on you, things should improve but in my case it took time.

    The reason this customer of yours is having a problem finding a reliable service is likely because with most operations, the customer only specifies what is to be done, not when or how.

    They still get me somedays, but it's becoming rare and nowadays just because I agree doesn't mean I'll show up, so technically speaking the customer would be better off not playing silly 'can you pretty please ben dover' games with me, but then that is their choice if they wish to take their chances.

    That having been said, I probably wouldn't touch that lot for less than $300, and I just might bid even higher just to make sure they say no, but in your case I'd at least double it to $200 if you need the work, 170 absolute minimum (which, oddly enough happens to meet a +70% estimating guide someone else suggested, odder still is how 300 is just about double 170, another interesting rule = double the price).
  6. Premo Services

    Premo Services LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,516

    For sure it will need to be higher. Because of the extra time it will take to do the job. You will need to figure in time to remove the litter from the lawn and landscape areas each visit. It is funny how many cutters do not pick the litter and just mow over it, the job looks disgusting when they are finished. I had a gas station for 2 years and it was starting to look good, because of all I did each visit. This year the manager went with someone 5 dollars cheaper. What a disaster, the small hills on the sides are torn up from mowers, trhey mow over the litter, just a real mess. There is a saying that YOU GET WHAT YOU ARE PAYING FOR and that place shows how true it is.
  7. tamo

    tamo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 213

    so for instance $170/cut would be $680.00 for the month just for the mowing. Like I said, i haven't bid commerical, from your experience is it realistic a law firm would pay that? Based on that type of pricing, I would need to charge another $1500/month for the hedges. Considering I'd have to come multiple times per month to get all of the hedges done to be out of there by 9 am is that realistic?

  8. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,690

    You got to know your commericial ours the going rate is $30/hr and is definitely less than residential in general. And the big companies will do a property much bigger than the one you describe for around $600/month. The fact that they want it done before 9:00 should be good for you since you could start at sun-up and then move to residential, that is why we have at least as much commericial as we do residential.
  9. Liquidfast

    Liquidfast LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 739

    Charge what you can get from them. Here are a few of MY examples...

    A few years ago, we were HURTING for biz. We worked a law office for $300 per month and a medical building for $350.

    Today, we get $625 from the law office and $750 from the medical building. We lost the med. building once in four years for 1 month...the guy that bid cheaper left them stranded during 2 winter storms and we were quickly re-hired (for a larger fee that they gladly paid).

    By the sounds of things, you are able to meet their demand for service prior to 9am. You will have them sold on you from that point on. Just make sure you show up and finish prior to 9am and charge them $550 per month and xtra for the hedges.
  10. tamo

    tamo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 213

    thanks for the input. that's actually exactly how I worked it. I bid $400 for the mowing, $160 for bed maintenance, and hedge trimming for $80/hr. I'm supposed to hear back Monday.

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