Pricing a job for a church..need a little help

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by BryantLandscape, Oct 20, 2004.

  1. BryantLandscape

    BryantLandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    Well I ran into some good luck today, went to a local church to talk about their landscaping and lawn service needs, talked to the full time maintenance guy and he thats funny you stopped by, we were just talking a few days ago about outsourcing our lawn cutting, evidently this guy has been doing it for awhile but is now too busy...the problem I have is this church is huge, biggest job I've ever taken on, I've got the time and I want the business. The parking lot is the size of a Wal-mart literally with the islands with grass spread all throughout, it would roughly take me all day to do this job.... estimating (one man show) so you have the parking lot, huge entry way, all along the goes on and on..not even sure how to bid a job like this, theres no hedge trimming or weeding just mowing trimming and blowing once a week, any help in how to tackle this would be great...
  2. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,332

    Walk through the entire property and get a feel for walking time for trimming / mowing. Figure the mower(s) you will use to mow with. Add in time and access for curb jumping with the mower, and a return walk through for blowing the lots off. I would use a mulching kit or an OCDC if there are lots of island beds in the parking areas.Less cleanup=more $$ in your pocket.
  3. BryantLandscape

    BryantLandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    I'm pretty new to bidding large jobs like this but if a job took you 10-12 hours is their a going rate for that or is it normally by size, i'm use to residential in and out in 20 minutes....
  4. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,547

    Figure how much money you would make doing residentials for 10-12 hours, and there is your price. By the way, they (churchs) are "non profit" so sometimes they are cheap. And every so often in march or feb when the weather here is absolutly beautiful one of the members will offer to do the lawn with his riding mower for free with some other volunteers. Doing it every 2 or 3 weeks this will last 6-9 weeks. The point being, they have no loyalty.
  5. fcl01

    fcl01 LawnSite Member
    from OHIO
    Messages: 249

    i have had zero luck with churches. on maitenance or installs. ive tried bidding low, high, middle and never get them. problem is, they want a deal cuz they're a church. just bid it so you are comfortable with the money. most of the time, the lawnsite avg. is around $60 per man hour. but an all day job, one drop of the gate, easy mowing could be done a lot cheaper.(depending on your equip.) hope this helps.

    good luck,

  6. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,332

    Unfotunately , there is no magic # system for pricing. 10-12 hours for you may only be 3-4 for me, and because of my equipment, I may even be cheaper than you.You need to know your costs( ins., taxes, mower pmts., equip. pmts.,fuel , truck ins., truck pmts, etc..) and apply that to an hourly figure to find your break even point. Then add a desired amount of profit to reach your hourly goal. Also, figure on being quicker at this account as time goes by, and possibly bigger and faster equipment down the road as well. Most churches of that size have sufficient funds for professional lawncare and maintenance, so don't sell yourself short to "get in the door", and be stuck in a low profit / no profit account. And as Dan said, don't really expect long term loyalty. I am a trustee on our church board, and believe me, those old farts would drop every service if they could save.50...
  7. BryantLandscape

    BryantLandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    Thanks for everyones advice, definitely a lot to think about, I am actually a member at the church so I'm sure they're expecting somewhat of a good price, but from what I know, they have always done the lawn in house and never out-sourced it, so the plan tomorrow is walking around the sight and figuring my time and everything else, would be nice to have this account but like you all say it needs to be profitable to even be worth it, with any job, I've got a mortgage to pay just like everyone else out there so I'll let everyone know what happens....
  8. Geezer

    Geezer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    I am recycling portions of a post I made earlier to a thread regarding a cutter mowing with a Wide Area Mower working for for $15.00 per acre. So here goes:

    As long as your aware of all your costs - Wages, payroll taxes, Licenses, business taxes, liability insurance, worker's comp, vehicle fuel, equipment cost (truck, trailer, mower, line trimmer, blower, etc.) equipment operating expense (oil, filters, belts, blades, grease, replacement parts, maintenance time do all of the above), vehicle operating expense ( insurance, tires, oil, service, etc.) travel time to and from the jobs, overhead ( facility rent, utilities, phone, advertising, sales expense, billing expense) debt service on your loans, etc., etc., etc. you can START to figure how to set your price.

    How is your cash flow? Can youpay your wages, gas bill, repairs, etc. while you WAIT on your money? Are you saving any money from your operation to pay cash for your next round of equipment purchases? If not, you'll just have to go back into debt to reload.

    Is mowing your main income? Are you generating enough revenue during your mowing season (? in your area...?) to make it through the off season ? Do you have insurance, vacation, retirement or any other sort of benefit ?

    What is your gross margin on this job ... what is it on your entire book of business? Are you aware of which of your jobs are under producing YTD? Have you analyzed them as to why they are losers? Do you know which jobs are the most profitable ...and why ... so you can repeat that elsewhere? Do you have accurate job records so you can compare production times to your job estimates to see if your estimating model is accurate?

    The point of my essay that there is alot more to this industry that many of people in it recognize. If you are a knowledgeable business person who has a more efficient operation and is kickin' my butt ...MORE POWER TO YOU !!!

    It is very distressing to those of us in the industry who have businesses that are providing careers to people, that the public's perception of the cost/value of our service is driven down by those who do not take the time and effort to educate themselves on how to run a profitable operation.

    There is always a segment of the consumer market who will opt for the cheapest thing out there and there is a never ending stream cutters that will try to supply them.

    Having said all of that you need to base your price based on your cost to produce the work and your desired profit margin. You MUST begin with being able to accurately estimate the LABOR HOURS to do the work. I have a production standard for everything...mowing, edging, line trimming, pruning etc. I MEASURE what is there and do the math.

    I am sure this is over kill for a one man operation...BUT ... how can an operator quote prices without any knowledge for what their product / service costs them to produce?

    You MUST BE PROFITABLE to survive. If your are breaking even you are going just takes along time. You have to do some research on your expenses and costs, prepare a job budget (of labor hours) and then MANAGE the work to hit your desired profit margins.

    I hope that some of this LONG post was helpful. I WANT you to get the work at a FAIR PRICE ...for you and the church.

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