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Right of Way Mowing

destinsb

LawnSite Member
Location
Destin, Florida
Hey guys, new to the site. I have some questions that hopefully you guys can help with. A little background first, I am a contractor and with the economy being what it is I am looking to diversify. I have an opportunity to bid on some commercial mowing contracts for the DOT (actually for a sub of the DOT)
Most of these ROW's are in rural counties here in Florida. Is this work profitable?
I am getting mixed messages from Tractor dealerships on whether this is work I should pursue or not.
What kind of rates per acre are some of you seeing for this type of work. I have an idea of what I think it can be done for but some input would be helpful.
What are the most economical tractors/mowers in your opinion?
How many acres a day can I expect from a 20' batwing?
Thanks in advance for your responses!
 

MikeKle

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
Northern KY
There was another post like this recently. I knew a guy who had the Covington to Louisville, KY mowing account, it is around 90 miles and he did the median and entrance and exit ramps, the one thing to remember about these accounts is anyone can come along and underbid you at anytime! and to handle these accounts, you must have a lot of equipment and will be in debt for years, if you loose the account after a year or so, it will ruin you probably. He was making $75K per mowing and did it only 3x a year
 

Heavyduty1

LawnSite Member
Location
Eastern USA
There was another post like this recently. I knew a guy who had the Covington to Louisville, KY mowing account, it is around 90 miles and he did the median and entrance and exit ramps, the one thing to remember about these accounts is anyone can come along and underbid you at anytime! and to handle these accounts, you must have a lot of equipment and will be in debt for years, if you loose the account after a year or so, it will ruin you probably. He was making $75K per mowing and did it only 3x a year
Yeap, you just about summed it up. The fed and state don't care how long you been doing the mowing once someone underbids you. No loyalty at all.:nono: Good luck.
 

howierd3866

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Fort Pierce Fl
First welcome to the site..To start off with hope you already have equipment because this type of work is cheap very cheap.First my .02 a 20 footer is too big to get around the rural areas but good on the interstates 95 and turnpike. They are bidding about $15 acre and most of time subs are getting $50 ph/ $500 daily.
 

Heavyduty1

LawnSite Member
Location
Eastern USA
See what you can find out about the last person? If a old timmer is getting out, you may be good. If the last two guys only lasted a year or so, you gotta wonder if you will be like the rest. :usflag:
 

yardguy28

LawnSite Platinum Member
There was another post like this recently. I knew a guy who had the Covington to Louisville, KY mowing account, it is around 90 miles and he did the median and entrance and exit ramps, the one thing to remember about these accounts is anyone can come along and underbid you at anytime! and to handle these accounts, you must have a lot of equipment and will be in debt for years, if you loose the account after a year or so, it will ruin you probably. He was making $75K per mowing and did it only 3x a year
define A LOT of equipment??? depending on the size your doing you might only need a tractor or 2 with a couple pull behind mowers. especially if your only mowing everything 3 times a season you would have all season to mow everything. 5 to 6 days a week.

i live in IN and i'm thinking about interstate 69 and whoever knocks that grass down only has 3 tractors with rotary pull behind mowers. i don't call that a lot of equipment.
 

howierd3866

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Fort Pierce Fl
Most likely it just getting low bids thats the only way the state works here. They dont care how good you were just the price.The contract is for one year with up to 2 one year addition and only renew each year if both party agree.
 

johnnybravo8802

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Ga.
I looked into this also about 5 yrs ago and decided really quick I didn't want to do it. I was looking into 500 miles of roadside for Hart county. They will more than likely want you to have a boom tractor like they wanted me to-mow around guard rails and usually 16' up de-limbing trees overhanging roads. You also have to weedeat around obstacles and do tons of trash pickup-You have to have some manpower for this. I knew a guy with a U.S. Lawns franchise who got the bid on 2-3 interstates-He had to buy over $300,000 of tractors, boom tractor, batwings, trucks to pick up trash, trimmers, etc, + hire 25 guys to do the work. He mowed one area of I-95, had it inspected by the engineer and found out he didn't mow it low enough. He had to do it all over again before the big boss saw it(He got screwed). I spoke to the tractor dealer who catered to him(Where I bought my tractor) and the salesman said his guys were tearing up stuff faster than they could get paid. Finally, he had the contract less than a year, lost his tail, and had to sell all his equipment. The same stretches of highway he mowed dropped from mowing twice a year to mowing once/yr. because of the economy-I-85, I-95, Hwy 78. Can you imagine having all that equipment sitting around and only using it once per yr!!!????? My suggestion.......Don't do it!!!!!!!:nono::nono:This isn't ZTR's were talking about-it's big money.
 

Heavyduty1

LawnSite Member
Location
Eastern USA
define A LOT of equipment??? depending on the size your doing you might only need a tractor or 2 with a couple pull behind mowers. especially if your only mowing everything 3 times a season you would have all season to mow everything. 5 to 6 days a week.

i live in IN and i'm thinking about interstate 69 and whoever knocks that grass down only has 3 tractors with rotary pull behind mowers. i don't call that a lot of equipment.
Don't forget the 1-2 mil in insurance, $3/gal fuel, trucks/trailer to move the heavy equipment, maint/fuel trucks, flat tires etc. Can you afford to spend 150k plus expenses before you get the first paycheck? :weightlifter:
 

howierd3866

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Fort Pierce Fl
I could..I would and I have...but yes they are right for one up north they only mow the rightaway maybe 3 times a year ouch....hard to break down and my money. But down here we can mow about 10 months of the year so we are lucky there..OH wait if the gov angency doesn't run out of money or the next year someone don't unbid u
 
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