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Out of my league or great opportunity?

Discussion in 'Bidding, Estimating and Pricing' started by HighClassGrass, Mar 30, 2020.

  1. HighClassGrass

    HighClassGrass LawnSite Member
    from Omaha
    Messages: 22

    Hey guys and gals,

    I recently was able to get a bid in on mowing for a retirement home facility. I'm a 1 man army at the moment but the property is ~3.5 acres with ~1.5 miles of trimming. I think I can get the property done in 5 hours conservatively. My bid is at $485 for a weekly mow or $727.50 for biweekly. If I win the bid it is a subcontract so the other party will handle all the landscape maintenance, fertilization, aeration and overseeding. I have a 36" Wright stander because all of my customers up until now have a gated property. Does this seem like a good price? Good opportunity?

    I should also include the fact that if I get this account, in addition to my current 18 weekly mow accounts and my 10 fertilize accounts, I will quit my current full time job as an arborist (which I absolutely HATE). Any and all opinions welcome and appreciated. Thanks!
  2. Andrew H

    Andrew H LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,206

    Couldn’t tell you if that’s a good price or not, I do not offer bi weekly cutting though.

    If it's wide open mowing, that price would be exceptionally high around here. If I was in your position, I would not take on the property until you have a backup plan, (back up mower, person. trimmer, blower, etc.) Also, one guy mowing and a guy trimming would be much more efficient, or even two guys mowing and two guys trimming.
    Cam15 and 1620cwj like this.
  3. OP

    HighClassGrass LawnSite Member
    from Omaha
    Messages: 22

    I do not usually offer biweekly mows either, but I've heard it is a possibility on this property. I figure, for biweekly I'll have to mow twice and since trimming will account for half my time spent I will charge at least an additional 50% more. Maybe someone else with similar experience will chime in. I should also add that the majority of the 3.5 acres is in two main section, but a good amount is a fairly steep hill which will slow me down.

    Thanks for the time you took to respond and for the help or advice anyone else may share with me!
  4. FitzRightMowingService

    FitzRightMowingService LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 506

    I have no input I am a residential solo guy. I'm in Bellevue so I just wanted to say hi since we are both in Nebraska.
  5. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,644

    When you’re dealing with subbing
    You don’t win bids
    You negotiate

    unlike a city or hoa or hospital etc that have responsibility and duty to seek the lowest price and bid confidentially

    a contractor is free to accept or reject whatever they want
    There is no abstract fairness expected here
    No one can contest a bidding process
    theyre just looking for someone else to handle what they don’t want to.

    so 1) it’s too big for you, you’re solo look elsewhere
    But 2) simply talk to the guy and say “tell me what price you’re comfortable with
    No need to be secretive

    he might say “I need it cut for $800” and you might say “no way I can’t do it that cheap , I need at least $900”
    It’s more like a haggle/negotiation than a traditional bid
  6. MowDaddy

    MowDaddy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,745

    We also do a large senior center. 7.14 acres of turf. We have 6.25 man hrs into it. mow,trim,blow.
    Your price looks pretty high, I would say mostly due to the fact of using a small mower.
    We use 2- 52" and 1-72"
    The mowing runs almost exactly 3 man hrs. Trim and blow 3.25.
    We also have ridiculously steep hills on about 2 acres.
    You should consider a larger mower if you are going to start bidding larger properties. You need to increase your efficiency.

    JLSLLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 20,304

    I am solo, and I would pass on that. Now if I had 2 good guys, that’s a different story.
    Cam15 likes this.
  8. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,426

    The bid will likely go to someone at such a low price it will leave you scratching your head. Walk away with your dignity in tact.

    I've bid against other companies on similar size properties in which the bid went for $135 per week to mow 5 acres. For me it would have taken around 1.5-2hrs to do the job. The company that got the bid was able to complete the job in 45 minutes. They were setup to mow schools locally.
  9. DLL LLC

    DLL LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

    Run away from it! Commercial accounts expect no excuses, so you are solo, what if you are sick or god forbid injured. Or your mower breaks. And if you did consider it there is a huge red flag with another company feterlizing and you possibly mowing every two weeks will be a nightmare. You could be looking at 6" tp 8" tall grass.....double cut? probably have to bag (OMG!) And as TPendagast said, negotiate let them give you a price and you go from there. Good luck and keep us posted
  10. hedgehog_MI

    hedgehog_MI LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    Do you have benefits from your current F/T job? Can you be covered by your S/O benefit package if you quit? Do you have health insurance coverage if you quit F/T job? I am trying to stress the importance of your F/T job. Do you enjoy mowing your current accounts or do they become a PITA during busy growth periods? Are you always lacking spare time to do other things besides work? Do you need extra cash or are you just trying to grow your business so you can quit F/T job? Is F/T job secure — and can it become something else as you gain experience in that field that you may really enjoy? Would adding 2-3 extra jobs onto your current schedule in the neighborhoods you are now servicing be a smarter business decision than taking on something that will most likely become a chore to fit into your lifestyle? Something to chew on. I'll have more tomorrow. ;-)
    BTW, these questions are for you to mull over, no reply is necessary.
    HighClassGrass likes this.

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