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need help fast on bidding on huge commercial property

QualityLawnCare4u

LawnSite Gold Member
Hello, newby here with a question I need a quick answer to. Ive been doing lawns (residental) for 5 years and I have stayed just above the poverty level. I got a call this morning from a govt. agency that was taking bids of 5 properties. I went to get the specs and look at the propertys and the first one was a HUGE apartment complex. It has several hundred large srubs that would need trimming about 4 time a year and I figured the mowing and weedeting would take me at least 3 days on just this one property. Also wanted included in bid fertilizing lawn and srubs when needed and hauling off debris. The other 2 apartment complex was in a town 40 milesa away and one was 45 miles away. I have not even looked at them yet but if they are anything like the one locally there is no way Icould do them being Im a one man show.They had a lco in each one of the distant towns but wanted to combine all of them into one. I would really like to get a few good commercial accounts and dump these &^&%&&^ residental nightmares that I have now but am scared of biting off more tan I can handle. I believe they are going to have trouble getting a local LCO to drive this far for thses distant one. The one I looked at today would keep a 3 man crew busy from daylite till dark just mowing and edging, not counting the srubs. It would take me 5 days to do all the srubs by myself not counting hauling off clippings to landfill 10 miles away in my 11 mpg truck. How would you guys that have more expertise than me bid this. I really have no idea on biddibg on this and I have hurt myself badly on underbidding in the past and have never done a job of this magnitude. The worst yard I have would not even be 5% of the size of this one, not counting the other 4 I still have not looked at. I also will have to get license for the roundup and other chemicals that I dont have. Also what is the best fertilizer for shrubs? I hate to sound dumb but my expertise has been limited to mowing, weedetg, srub trimming and some fertilizig. I really hate to turn down work as broke as I am now but Im good at what I dont want to hurt my reputation but am really scared of this one. BTW where I live we are saturated with LCO and many will do a 35 yard for 15 dollars, have lost several to these folks. (Im in Waycross, Georgia). Any advice much appreciated.

Danny
Quaity Lawn Care
 

dkeisala

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Vancouver, WA
Wish I could offer you more help than sympathy. You sound very dedicated and would like the fruits of your labor to start paying off. I do mainly residential and had an opportunity to bid of a 92 acre light industrial complex currently serviced by Tru-Green. At first all I could see where dollar signs but the more I looked around the place, red flags started popping up all over the place. No longer have a desire to bid on the job although the $6,000 a month would have been nice.

Just make sure this is really a project you want to take on and that you are confident in your ability to handle it otherwise you end up more miserable than you are now.

Keep up the good work. Sounds to me that your time is going to come regardless of this project becomes your or not.
 
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QualityLawnCare4u

LawnSite Gold Member
Thanks for the input. Right now I really dont feel good about it even though it would mean a lot more money, but Im going to think/pray about it. Have to give them bid by this friay morning. I would really like to have just the 2 here locally but now the other 3 distant ones.
 

Gordons Landscape

LawnSite Member
Location
olathe, KS
I do many apartment complexs and love them. Great money! Lots of work. The trick is to over bid them. If you think its going to take 20 man hours to mow then charge them like its going to take you 25. Don't be afraid to charge them for drive time, the fact its going to be harder on your equipent, etc.

Remember you don't do all this work and put up with all this crap to be broke. You do it for the money. OVER CHARGE THEM. Where your at least making $35 per man hour.

Also you might want to brake down the property to what your used to. Example: If your used to a house lawn deside how many houses you could fit on there property and bid acordingly.

Also what does LCO MEAN??????????????
 

Lombardi

LawnSite Senior Member
You can try to overcharge them, but since it is a gov't agency, the lowest bidder will win which most of the times means the profit margin is very low.
Also , the requirements for insurance, W/C, financial stability, employees, references, equipment, etc. will be quite stringent. But, if you are a minority owned business who has the lowest bid, you have a very good chance of getting the contract.
 
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QualityLawnCare4u

LawnSite Gold Member
Thanks for the replys. I have decided to pass up this bid because I dont think I could handle the distant ones. I would be driving about 500 miles a week and and there specs were more than I could do being a one man show. I talked tonight with the biggest lawn service in our area and he had already been contacted to bid also on property.He said it took him just few seconds to say no and told the client that he would have a problem finding someone to drive that far away to do a large complex and it would be cheaper to get a local lco to do the work in each town. Something else that concerned me was when I went a looked at one property it was well landscaped. I then found out who was doing it and he had a falling out with this client. I know the lco and he does good work and if he cant please them after seeing his work, I dont know if I could. Here are the specs:
mow weedeat yard
put new straw in all flower beds and haul off old straw
put out fertilizer twice a year
pull grass out sidewalk cracks
checks sprinkler system
turn on sprinkler everday for 30 minutes on all property
plant blooming flowers in summer and fall in all beds
spray roundup where needed
trim all srubs (a LOT of srubs) and haul off debris to landfill
blow off entire parking lot
edge all sidewalks
spray for mole crickets and all diseases on grass and srubs

The person that was doing this property and one more small halfway house was getting 500 a month (250 every 2 weeks) for this. I dont think I could touch this. I estimate I could do the apartment in maybe 16 hours if I bust my taill and thats not counting the srubs and hauling off debris or anything else other than basic mowing and weedeatng. The halfway house I could do in about 1.5 hours. Anyway I just did not feel good about it.

BTW Gordon lco stands for lawn care operator or I think thats the way Ive seen it posted here.
Danny
 

dkeisala

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Vancouver, WA
I think you made a VERY wise decision, let someone else lose money on this. By freeing yourself up, you are opening yourself up the the next great opportunity that is bound to come your way!!!
 
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QualityLawnCare4u

LawnSite Gold Member
I have the equipment, all paid for except the commercial ztr (had to bite the bullet on that one) and I still have good credit, well for right now anyway! I just did not think I could do the far away ones without spreading myself to thin and I really did not have a good feeling about the contract.
Danny
 
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QualityLawnCare4u

LawnSite Gold Member
Followup:
I just got off the phone with the man I had been dealing with and I told him I just could not do the ones out of town, and he told me they had to change that becausee not one lco would take the package deal either. I was told I could just bid on the 2 local ones I was told (unofficialy) that the one doing it now was getting 250. I was figuring at least 400 and am going to go look at it real good again. Im not scared of the 2 local ones but nooo way on the 3 out of town. Thanks for the replys from you folks who have a lot more years/experience than me.

Danny
Quality lawn care
 
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