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Help With Large City Bid

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by sheltonimprovements, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. sheltonimprovements

    sheltonimprovements LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I have a small lawn service 40 or so accounts at this time. I have been approached by the city to bid on all their properties. Over 50 with a total of over 300 acres. I have no problem bidding the 1 to 5 or so acre properties but they have 4 parks over 30 acres one of which is over 50 acres. I was approached by the mayor as we currently service his home account. So I just want to be sure with this size as it will require additional equipment that I will pay for. I was trying to stay small and do most work by myself. I have just 1 full-timer now.
  2. bigw

    bigw LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,540

    Way out of your league unless you are prepared to spend a lot of money and hire a crew of guys
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  3. sheltonimprovements

    sheltonimprovements LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I plan on spending the money and hiring would not be hard. I just want to make sure that I am on the money on the larger projects. They are mainly open areas - soccer type complexes. There are a couple 72 inch Kubota's with less than 300 hrs I can get for about 15k I will buy if i get contract to take care of the larger areas.
  4. SuperiorService.110mb.com

    SuperiorService.110mb.com LawnSite Member
    Messages: 85

    Other than not haveing the equipment or labor which if you have the money you can get both, remember most big bids take 30 days to pay after they recieve an invoice which maybe at the end of the month, so you need to pay for equipment and labor and your other bill for about 2 months before you see a penny. Next being that small I don't think you know what it takes to to a job that size. On bids of that size they normally brake it up into sections, you should ask. I can tell you though from many years of expereance that the way the economy is right now their is not money to be made in gov. lawn service right now. I have bid gov. for years and since 2008 bids have been 20%-45% less than 2007, and the people in charge say they haven't ever seen prices this low. Thats not just in east TN but almost everywhere. My buddy in FL where we both did gov. contracts said a few weeks ago the same thing to me.
    Stay small and make good money and grow as you can, slowly!!!!
  5. sheltonimprovements

    sheltonimprovements LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    That is what I am going back and forth with. I know only way to make money is stay small or go big not get caught in the middle. I am fairly new to business 4 yrs in but have owned a commercial cleaning business for about 17 years. I just hate to give up the opportunity to grow but don't want to be stuck in the mid size range and not make money.
  6. sheltonimprovements

    sheltonimprovements LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    It is not a one company gets all contract so I thought about bidding on the smaller .5 to 5 acre areas. Plus it is the first time they have ever put out for contract and will require all insurances and bond so that may help.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653


    I'm sorry but it is kind of funny.

    That having been said, I don't think this would be the way to go about acquiring
    a bunch of new equipment and employees, I realize the opportunity sounds promising
    but I think you'd come out a bit sore?

    Anyhow, if it was just one or two of them .5 to 5 acre lots that I might see, but the entire city, parks and all?
    I think I'd politely decline, but personally speaking I think it's neat that you service the mayor's house and that
    they would be so inclined as to extend this offer to you, that says something about you, I'm certainly impressed.

    Ahhh yeah, you're going to need a lot more than that to tackle what you said were
    several parks consisting of 30-50 acres each...
    Yes I realize it's probably not ALL grass, but still...
    Dude... :p

    The winner of that bid is probably going to be someone along the lines of Brickman.
    Not necessarily quite that size of corporation, but someone with several trucks and trailers, I would think.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I mean, not to blow the idea away completely, but here's what I see happening
    on an HOA where I service a few residential customers of mine...

    Every time I go out there, which is maybe two to three times a month...
    What I see...

    Is a bunch of guys tackling the roadsides, evidently someone just drops them off with all the
    equipment, at least one Ztr and several guys trimming and a walker and a Wb and a push mower
    and trimmers and blowers and edgers...
    Roughly speaking, I'm really not taking exact inventory of what all they got out there.

    But a whole crew, for just one HOA, they're probably there all day, or most of it...
    That crew of dudes is there a LOT, I don't swing past there but so often but
    they're there at least often enough to catch my attention.

    How big that company is, I don't even know the name of it because I don't think I
    have ever seen the truck that drops them off and if I did, I didn't catch the name but...

    Which, that's just to give an idea as to their size, and I suppose it is possible, one truck and a trailer
    but then you'd run back and forth to the shop to pick up equipment and employees in the morning,
    ditto in the evening and you really can only count on getting at most 2-3 trips in...

    How about lunch?

    I would think it's more than just that one truck and trailer?
    I would think that's just one of their accounts, out of at least several others like it.
    That's just my theory now.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Here's more, if you did do it with just one truck and trailer...
    Have the first one loaded by 6am, take off and get a move on, I mean you got to be OUT of there by 6.
    Because it takes 1-2 hours to head out, drop everyone and everything off, and be back at the shop,
    load up the next entourage, tools and trimmers and mowers and water cooler and all, guys, too.
    You'd get 3 crews like that out and it's noon, almost time to start picking up the guys you dropped off at 6.

    Start picking those guys up around 2p and then it's a repeat of the morning, bringing it all back to the shop,
    1-2 hours a trip it will be 8p by the time you arrive with the last crew, then I might
    recommend doing maintenance, which if you got the guys they can probably tackle as much.

    Which, that probably can take care of ONE of those 30 acre parks, unfortunately you can't be spending
    the entire week servicing just one account, if that's all your company consists of that would be placing all
    your eggs in one basket so you still need more, a lot more.

    You ready for this?
  10. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,922

    I'm not going to question your skills, whether you have the money to get equipment and hire labor. With that being said here are a couple of things to think about.....

    What are pay terms?
    what is length of contract?
    Is this 1 bid or each park bidded individually(you could get 1 or all that way?)
    Insurance/worker's comp requirements?
    Will I be required to mow before special events, games, etc..could affect scheduleing?

    From there just figure your time. Open feilds will be pretty quick. Never hurts to put a bid in. Since you say your town is small might be few companies bidding, but it should be advertised so watch out for outside companies.

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