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Pricing a church property

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by fshrdan, Nov 25, 2001.

  1. fshrdan

    fshrdan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 142

    Hi, folks. My first time posting. I've searched previous threads and haven't found an answer, so here goes. I know many people don't like to see questions about bidding jobs, but I could use a little help. I mostly maintain 3k to 10k lawns, my average stop is about $45. I try to shoot for $1/minute curbside. (2 man crew)

    I'm bidding a church property over 4 ac in size. My equipment is:
    42" Walker GHS
    36" Toro WB w/ Velke
    44" Toro WB w/ Velke

    I don't have any properties this size, but I figure it'll take between 3-4 hrs. What are your thoughts? Minimal trimming/edging to do. I know what the market will bear for residential stuff, but when properties get this big, do people bid by time or by area?

    I want to submit a competative bid, because my father is a member of the church, and I don't want my bid to be higher than everyone else's. Anyone's input is appreciated.

    Thanks, Daniel
  2. Matthew Morgan

    Matthew Morgan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    It sounds like you know what your operating costs per hour are. If you can figure out real close just how long it will take you to mow this property, just do the math. Make sure you make a good profit. The glory of larger properties is that you are not traveling as much. You are working. I would rather work than drive!

  3. fshrdan

    fshrdan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 142

    Thanks, Matthew. That's just the problem though. I'm not confident in my estimated time. With my typical jobs, more time is spent on trimming, edging, detail work, etc. I pay no attention to ground speed of my mowers and that sort of thing, because it hasn't been that important historically. I know my Walker is the the most efficient mower for my properties, but I hesitate using it on the bumpy, rough field conditions of this church. I plan to just use the WB's for this prop.

    I was wondering if people have experience with my type of equipment on wide open spaces, how fast one can cut with my equipment, and also if companies normally bid lower in $/man hr terms when the properties are bigger. I could understand if people did this... decreased travel time, load unload time, etc. I just want to be competative. Many times I'll err to the high side for estimates, I don't want to do that with a church.

  4. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    Personnally I think the time is off. At least for the grass cutting portion. I don't know the amount of trimming and edging you will be doing. I have a 2 acre church that I cut with 1 exmark lazer HP 52". Takes 35-40 minutes to cut with 1 mower. Your Walker is not as fast or have the same amount of inches, but with 2 mowers (walker and toro) you should be ok. I cut while my helper does the trimming.

    If your experience will help with estimated time for trimming and edging with the equipment you have you can decide the best production way to attack the property.

    Is the entire property 4 acres? Did you subtract out the parking lots and buildings? Did you measure to verify?
  5. fshrdan

    fshrdan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 142

    65hoss, I know that your exmark is quite a bit faster than Walkers on the wide open, by how much I don't know. I put a wheel on the turf and there's a little over 4 acres. The parking lots, etc are another 2 acres but won't usually need to be blown off. Time spent off the mower will be negligable. So you're thinking that I'd spend less than 2 hrs there with 2 mowers going?

  6. Matthew Morgan

    Matthew Morgan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    Don't cut your profit margins because you are on a larger property. There are only so many hours in a day/week/month. Get as much for each our as you can.

  7. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Since your father is a member and it is a church why not mow it for free once and figure out how long it takes? Then if you don't get the bid at least you have done a nice thing for someone. Your father will be proud and some of the other members will perhaps ask you for bids at their home due to your "good will".

    This good will serves two purposes don't you think?
  8. conepile

    conepile LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    Kind of off the main question, but now that it came up, if donating service to a church or other non-profit organization, what is deductable for tax oruposes? Is it the fair market value, or the cost for labor and overhead? For that matter, if providing a "freebie" as a promotional tool (ie: for referrals) is this deductable as advertising/promotion, and again, fair market value or labor and overhead?
  9. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Unless there are CPA's on here, my guess is the answers are going to vary. I would consult my CPA. That being said.......
  10. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I try and make my customers my friends. But I do not make my Friends my customers. Remember with a group that large someone will not like your work or price or something. This can reflect back on your dad and your self. If you do, do it, then take sprinkler guys advise and do it for free. Someone will still be unhappy but the price is right and the word of mounth might, just might work out. For the last 10 years I have done some of my church's property for free. From a business stand point this has not been a winner. From sleep at night and look in the mirrior stand point It has been a winner. This is my .02 and I am sure some one some where will not like it. The same as some in your church will not like what ever you do.

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