Rookie Question!!!!

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by rcreech, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,131


    I have a VERY ROOKIE question and feel embarassed to ask but oh well..."they" say there is no such thing as a stupid question! Although I have heard many and probably asked just as many myself! :laugh:

    I am spreading my wings this year and trying to get away from the big farm lawns a little and getting farther from home this year where the "real money" is.

    The new area I am pursuing contains 2 nice sized home owner assoc. and I don't have a clue how to price them. I know what I want to do and what I think I should do but don't have any experience with them.

    The one I looked at yesterday has 22 homes with anywhere from 2-4K lawns.

    Do you price as a whole unit or individual homes?

    This will be very labor intensive task due to all the back pack spraying around each home and all their landscape and blowing off all the driveways, roads and sidewalks etc.

    I was going to just charge them by the individual home and take a few bucks off for the conveinance of not having to drive and load and unload ride-ons.

    Any thoughts/experience with these things would be greatly appreciated!


  2. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,650

    I had an account that was 10 townhouses. Parking lots, sidewalks and small patios. Because of the "difficulty", I priced them individually for myself, then combined them for a price to present to the Law firm that leased them. I figured, why not? I spent as much time on them as any individual homes in a tight neighborhood. Just my thinking...
  3. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    With HOA you are going against TG/CL price thinking. They want gold delivered for the price of lead. The only way you can bid it IMHO is cost plus by the sq ft. Do a total bid and do not point out that House A cost more than House B because they have more shrubs. They all pay the same maintenance fees. They will break your bid down as to how much each home owner pays for your service. But your Bid and paper work will be public information to all home owners and any competitor who wants to see it bad enough. If you have an in with any one home owner, they can show you last years Maintenance Report with all expenses listed.

    Taking the Temperature of a board member can also give you some insight to were they stand. These HOA waver back and forth from the sharp pencil accounting, To let us FIX the place up. Every year or two the board changes and so does the attitude. Knowing which attitude is current, helps you decide if you even want that job. I do Condos which have the same politics of a housing HOA. As long as the same board stays in power, I am good to go with up scale service. But with this economy a new board with a cheap attitude and I am gone. The first thing a New Board does is change every service provider for what ever reason.

    BTW Of Course you have to give a volume price with a little less margin and make up for it with the volume you are bidding on. But don't even think you can touch TG/CL or Valley Crest prices and make a profit. You must beat those guys on quality of service and not price.
  4. tlg

    tlg LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 651

    I would measure all the area to be treated and come up with a price based on sq ft and your fixed cost of just showing up. I would also figure a price based on what you would get if you treated each home as an individual account. I would then come up with a price somewhere in between. You will also half to figure in a level of difficulty here as it will take you just as long to treat these properties. You are eliminating drive time but you will still be moving a truck and equipment around the property to service them. And yes, if your blowing off drives and walks you need to consider that also. Getting these kind of accounts is often difficult as the big boys tend to low ball these properties . I once new a guy that worked for Orkin Lawn Care back in the 80's he told me they always quoted comercial properties and large developments low. Some crap about making up the margins on the residential work. Last time I checked Orkin wasn't in lawn care anymore.
  5. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,131


    As always...thanks for your input.

    If I can't make good money doing these, I guess I don't want to do them!

    I guess I will price it by the home, and then take 3-4 bucks off and hope for the best.

    I will never have to refill the ride on as I can actually do the whole thing once unloaded so that isn't an issue! Its just the cut up...and all the handwork that has thrown me off a little on pricing!

    I see this as being a possibly good account, but high amounts of manual labor will have to keep the price up!

    I have already talked to them and "sold them" on the quality of my program and service. Now's the hard part...selling them on my price! :hammerhead:

    They are not happy with their current applicator so that will help!

    Thanks again,
  6. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I believe I just lost # 3 to the economy. I haven't been to the post office to get my notice but my main Lawn guy I network with called yesterday to say he got his check with a nice letter dropping his service. We can only guess they dropped my Fert & Squirt also.

    My point being, while Two of the three were next door to two other customers making a one stop into a 3 banger. I am not hurt bad by losing these accounts. I have been lucky enough to of picked up more than I have lost. But had those three loses been 3 big condos I might not feel so lucky. While big accounts are nice, They are also a big hurt if you lose them.

    Now one other piece of advice when dealing with HOA. Make sure you have only one boss. Everyone wants you to do things different and each homeowner feels they can boss you. With Condo work it is easier to deal with than individual homes. You simply tell the condo owner everything must be the same and check with his board member. Homes are individual and each owner has their own problem.

    For years I have preached Cost plus bidding as a win - win. Even if you don't get the account you don't lose money on that job. If you don't make money then it is no longer fun, It becomes work.
  7. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,131

    Thanks Ric!

    I hear ya! That is one thing that has always scared me about doing large lawns. When a custmoer can be a $600-1000 customer. THAT HURTS BAD!

    That is one reason I would like to do smaller lawns...other then just more margin!

    Thanks for all your input!


Share This Page