Schools awarded - beyond ridiculous.....

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by edgewood, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. edgewood

    edgewood LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    So the local school board just posted the results of the tender for the next 2 years for grass cutting. I put in my bids on 12 schools, at what I figured to be minimum prices for driving a truck and trailer w/equipment to a site (most schools are 10 miles apart on average), cutting the grass (most schools average about 5 acres), and trimming. My quotes were approximately $20 - 25 an acre, which I thought seemed fair for a good quality job.

    Well the "winners" clearly have better equipment that they can run for next to free. The winners are averaging around $10 per acre. So the average school yard runs at about $50, some higher, some lower. Lowest one was $25, yes thats right, $25.00 (and thats Canadian dollars).

    So, I know I am pissed off and will naturally resent these dufuses, but come on, $10 an acre on 5 acre properties with trimming? Clearly my overhead must be too high or something (and its not). But heres what it works out to on 30 cuts (a good season):

    $50 average X 30 cuts = $1500 / yr X 22 properties = $33000. (thats around 5 schools per day, so say a 2 guy crew (with a really full day). So take that $33000 and take off gas (be conservative and say $7500 for truck and mower gas for the season) thats $25,500. Now take that and divide by 2, thats $12,750 per man for 7 months work. Doesn't sound too bad, but wait, we broke down 3 times, had to buy 40 mower blades, oil changes - ok we didnt do to bad. Oh man, forgot about that insurance bill, and the Workers comp bill (mandatory for this tender). Now, how am I going to make that truck payment.... maybe I'll go work nights at McDonalds....maybe daddy will buy me that new mower I need next year for this contract....

    I don't like to be a ranter, but come on, its no wonder some people look at lawn maintenance as somewhere between Janitorial and Prison workers. At least I know this summer that even though I might be sitting around a little more due to loosing out on this tender, at least I won't be losing my shirt. A lot of my residentials are the same price as these morons are charging for a school.
  2. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,857

    Sad to c it go so low. Have you done there work in the past? Your last statement says it good "morons". That is about it!
  3. edgewood

    edgewood LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    I have not done work for the board as of yet, but if this is the way it goes, looks like its not worth pricing in the future
  4. THC

    THC LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,020

    How long does it take to mow an acre with a 60" Z?
  5. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    15 -20 minutes.
  6. THC

    THC LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,020

    Wow. So the guy that won the bid needs a $14,000 CAD machine to make $30 an hour.:canadaflag:
  7. Total Grounds Maintenance

    Total Grounds Maintenance LawnSite Member
    Messages: 243

    First thing I learned about schools is they don't pay. Second, is they do not need or want quality.
  8. edgewood

    edgewood LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    Thats about what I figured - $30 an hour if they are using a Z. More if they are using something bigger, but bigger = more cost so you have to make more per hour....

    I figure I should come close to clearing $30 after raw costs on a Z. That $30 gets eaten up pretty quick with misc business costs....
  9. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,381

    If you want to be profitable and remain in not take government work.
  10. THC

    THC LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,020

    I guess I should have said "gross". Like the other poster said, they must not care about quality at all. Maybe trim around the sidewalks and doors and round up the rest. I can only imagine how long it would take to trim an average school's chain link fence.

    There is a guy around here (Winnipge) that I saw doing schools. Big truck, two Large Z's on a big trailer, 4 guys. I guess two mowing and two trimming (or maybe it was three guys) They seem to have done the job pretty fast, like 3-4 soccer fields worth of grass. He did look I don't know.

    My only experience with commercial bids (not lawn care) I spent days doing estimates and thinking, I was trying to trim off and low ball myself lol, but someone bid HALF what I bid. It was a City contract, I would hope that private companys are not so cheap but the same thing happens with residential. But when people have a bad experience with a bad outfit they seem to be willing to pay a bit more. But these city people are always on the cheap but if that other guy defaults they will be looking at the next lowest bid and so on. I would think that you would have to be super efficient to make money on a city contract.

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