I just read Joel B's query about bidding a 20 home association and rather than add more to it, I thought I might get up on my soapbox and start my own thread on this thing. I'm in my 12th year and I've dealt with a lot of HOAs. The faces may all be different, but they all do exactly the same thing, and that is they screw everything up ALL THE TIME! I think the analogy that best describes them is this: They are all nothing more than children squabbling in their little sandboxes. If there are 10 homes in a condo complex, for example, there will be 10 different opinions as to how everything should be done and if there are 20 homes then there are 20 opinions. You get the picture. They are all infested with sniveling, backbiting, gossiping busy bodies who simply don't have a life regardless of how much money they have or how nice the property is. The only, and I mean ONLY positive experience that I've had with these was when a property manager called me for a bid. I didn't go looking for it. When I got there, the entire complex was built up on the side of a hill. It looked like there should be roll bars installed on all the houses. It was going to be the yard from hell! Rather than give him my best estimate, I would cut the entire place for $200 and then I would have an accurate idea as to what the price really needed to be. To my surprise, the man agreed. When the day to mow it came, I sent everyone on my crew to another job and I did the whole thing myself. I knew that if I did it all myself, no time would be wasted and my bid would be dead on. Because of the difficulty of the steep terrain, I doubled my bid rate and then when I finished, I added another $150 for a fudge factor. Fudge factors are extremely important in this business. I knew that if I got the bid, it would be highway robbery but I just didn't care. I also knew that it would only be temporary because all condos are temporary. They never stick with anyone for very long. To my amazement, I got the call 2 weeks later and wound up cutting the place all summer long. I didn't lose one minute of sleep over guilt in charging too much. I really truly believe that when a lawncare professional reaches the point where he bids to make money and doesn't care if he doesn't get every bid, then he's finally in a position to make his business explode! But that really takes confidence (nads) and that type of confidence only comes with experience. It also comes from working so very hard all summer long and when winter arrives, there's no money. You either quit or you get mean and quitting is for losers. If a person will stick this business out long enough, and build up the experience and knowhow to handle it correctly, it will reach a point when he will not be able to hold it back! If you've read down this far, I wish you every success! Dave Grason The Mowerdudes Lawncare Co.