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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gents,

I have been asked to bid on a 500 unit apartment complex covering over 40 acres in east Louisiana. It is a "luxury" property and less than 3 years old. I have never been asked to bid on anything this large, but as this is where I want my business to go, I want to bid on it in such a way that I'm not going out so far on a limb....either I'm making good money, or I lose the bid all together. I don't want to just barely squeeze by for this big of a challenge.

It has a myriad of small strips and islands surrounded by curbs. It has a 3-4 acre walking track.

Can anyone with apartment experience in the southeast give me some ball park figures for monthly (mowing only) maintenance? I will be bidding on the landscape maintenance too, but that will be a separate bid.

Thanks in advance for the help and time.

Adam
 

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I do not do any properties like that, but you will get much better (more accurate) responses if you post some pictures and actual dimensions.

Good luck.
 

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I don't do anything that big either, but post pics, and tell us how many people you have in a crew. it may be worth hiring more people so that you can get it done in a day and not have to go there twice. if you do have to go there twice, it should be included in your bid.

you have to watch out that this account does not become more than 20% of your revenue. if it is any bigger than that, that account will control you, and you will not have the option of getting out later because you will NEED that account to stay in business.

i
 

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We have found that one way to check our nunmbers is to watch the present crew that does the property. Just ask the complex mgt. when they have the property mowed and plan to be on site that day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks,

I will try to take some digital pictures and re-post in a few days. I've always wanted to get into the apartment maint. market. This account, should I win the bid, would definitely be more than 20% of my business. However, the manager (who manages multiple properties) told me that they'd be willing to sign a 2-3 year contract after a 6 month trial period. That would give me a little more security.

As far as crew size goes, I think that I could get it done in one full day with a 3-man crew.

I forgot to mention in my earlier post that they currently pay a full-time maintenance guy a salary of $25K to keep it up. The property owner provides all equipment, fuel, and materials. However, he does a crappy job.

THanks for the advice.
 

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If they pay a guy $25K/yr, thats about $480/week.

I assume he has other duties beyond this?? Does he do raking/mulching etc....?

Are they looking to replace him because of the crappy job or are they trying to save money??

With a 3 man crew for 8 hours, thats like $20/hr if they want to spend the same $480/wk. Of course, now you supply the equip and gas.
 

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25K is only the salary. Plus 30% for taxes brings you to $32,500 Plus $5 per hour in operation costs (low estimate) $10,000 so you are now at $42,500 for current expense to the complex. Plus materials expenses if they do mulching or the like.

So as a rough check that is getting you $1000 per cut.

Obviously not the best way to estimate a bid but gives you an idea of what they might be paying now.
 

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Precision said:
25K is only the salary. Plus 30% for taxes brings you to $32,500 Plus $5 per hour in operation costs (low estimate) $10,000 so you are now at $42,500 for current expense to the complex. Plus materials expenses if they do mulching or the like.

So as a rough check that is getting you $1000 per cut.

Obviously not the best way to estimate a bid but gives you an idea of what they might be paying now.
1,000 per cut would seem low....apt complex's can have lots of trimming which will kill your time on the job and lot's of people to work around.....I have heard that apt.'s are slow payers also...drag in out to 60-90 days...keep that in mind when bidding.
 

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qps said:
1,000 per cut would seem low....apt complex's can have lots of trimming which will kill your time on the job and lot's of people to work around.....I have heard that apt.'s are slow payers also...drag in out to 60-90 days...keep that in mind when bidding.
agreed, I am just saying that $1000 is a ballpark on what their expenses are now. Obviously, if they are getting crappy work done they may have figured out that they need to pay more. And you can always play up the fact that they are no longer liable for workers comp, You have a crew that can do more stuff, be more responsive, whatever sales pitch you need to justify the increased expense. "you know better looking landscape will bring better paying renters".

I would get the contract set up so you are net 30 on payments or they pay a 2% penalty. Additional 2% penalty at net 60 or something. Dis incentive them about late paying.

I would also set up my contract to have 12 equal billings not a per cut system. I would build in yearly price increases of 2-4%.
 

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Precision said:
agreed, I am just saying that $1000 is a ballpark on what their expenses are now. Obviously, if they are getting crappy work done they may have figured out that they need to pay more. And you can always play up the fact that they are no longer liable for workers comp, You have a crew that can do more stuff, be more responsive, whatever sales pitch you need to justify the increased expense. "you know better looking landscape will bring better paying renters".

I would get the contract set up so you are net 30 on payments or they pay a 2% penalty. Additional 2% penalty at net 60 or something. Dis incentive them about late paying.

I would also set up my contract to have 12 equal billings not a per cut system. I would build in yearly price increases of 2-4%.
Your right....hopefully one can sell the "crappy work" deal..only thing is when you show how much it would take to maintain the grounds properly.....heart attack...... ;)
 

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Those prices are super low, i'm in MI. and i'm getting $500 per wk. for 9.4 acres at a church. There is a complex around here that is 24 acres and the guy is cutting it for $1200 per wk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You fellas give some good advice. I especially like the bit about the 2% fee for late payment. That's the problem with commercial clients, it's such a huge bureaucracy to get a simple check cut....

The apartment complex is getting bad service now. I don't know what they are charging per tenant, but I'd bet it's about $1K/month. It's supposed to be a "luxury" place.

Can anyone give me any recommendations on equipment needed and how many employees to hire for this? The owner of this place is a guy who lives in my small town, and he owns literally thousands of units of apartments. I'd love to get into this.

Thanks
 

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Don't take this the wrong way .... but are you ready fore such a job .... I have seen this ssoooo many times .... growing too big ....too fast

If you are great .... if you don't have the equipment .... don't buy it just fore this job .... if you get the job than lose it a year later you'll have all the equipment but no work to pay fore it

30 days net is common on larger commercial work

If you get it good luck
 

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AdamCByrd said:
As far as crew size goes, I think that I could get it done in one full day with a 3-man crew.
Sounds like it will take longer IMO...a boatload of trimming and blowing off on those kinds of projects. Been there, done that.
 

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Fantasy Lawns said:
Don't take this the wrong way .... but are you ready fore such a job .... I have seen this ssoooo many times .... growing too big ....too fast

If you are great .... if you don't have the equipment .... don't buy it just fore this job .... if you get the job than lose it a year later you'll have all the equipment but no work to pay fore it

30 days net is common on larger commercial work

If you get it good luck
This is some good advice....to many times people jump in over there heads and set themselves up to fail....do you have work for your crew the rest of the week....are you ready to start paying all the extra expense's that come with employees??? just think before you leap....big accounts aren't always the way to go....
 

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qps said:
This is some good advice....to many times people jump in over there heads and set themselves up to fail....do you have work for your crew the rest of the week....are you ready to start paying all the extra expense's that come with employees??? just think before you leap....big accounts aren't always the way to go....
I agree.

When I used to work for another LCO we did a property a Z lot neighborhood of 138 houses on 13.5 acres. Only front yards. It took a crew of 5 (in peak season) 6 hours to complete. 2 guys on 52" standers, 2 guys edging, one guy wacking, When the guys on the mowers got done they helped wack, when the guys edging finished they started blowing, when the wackers finished then everyone on blowers.

You are talking triple the acreage. So you may be looking at 60+ man hours per cut in peak season. Now if there is a lot of open field then it will probably be less.

I have no idea what the boss charged, but I do know he made his money on the extras like fert and spring and fall clean up.
 
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