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Small > Who bids by Sq. ft.? / Who bids by eye-balling?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mdvaden, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    A friend of mine does lawns.

    I think that he deals with too small of details when bidding. He's the kind of guy that suggested an extra worker so that I wouldn't wear my $2 tarp out dragging it on the ground while pruning; even though I get 6 weeks per tarp.

    At least in pruning, I bid by judging a yard within a 1/2 hr. On installation, I tally all the materials, add a few percent for error, and add my labor + profit margin.

    Now, I'm thinking of adding lawns in about 3 years or less, but after we move north again.

    When you folks bid small lawns and the shrub bed care - average planting within reason - do you visually "size-up" the yard and guestimate within, say, $10? Like walk through the yard and say "this one's a $150-a-monther"

    Or do you measure out the turf, measure out the beds, and go by formulas?

    How anal do you get?

    Have some measurements helped, but others been a waste of time?
  2. martinfan06

    martinfan06 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 631

    Eye balling everytime everything,even mulch and plants, count on 1 hand how many times been just a little off,IN 8 YRS. Its the way I was taught so never seen any reason to change,ain't broke dont fix it.
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    I have posted this so many times I think everyone knows it by now.

    Just in case someone has missed it I use a spreadsheet. I divide the property into areas down one side and the months across the top. Then I put in time for each area /task. This way I can include everything and if the bid is too high the client can choose to reduce the service level. On small jobs it would be a waste but most of my jobs are minimum 3 hours per visit.
  4. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 2,994

    Just eyeball it. It isn't hard to judge how long it will take or what all is involved.
  5. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    That sounds comparable to how I approach bigger installs - I divide the yard into regions. Hadn't thought about that for bigger yard maintenance.
  6. wowmowwow

    wowmowwow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 209

    ive learned to eyeball it in the DAYLIGHT...lol....anyone, besides me, gave a night estimate and get to the job and find a "wish i would have known this" surprise?
  7. Cut n Edge Lawncare

    Cut n Edge Lawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    eyeball it and calculate the mulch:dancing:
  8. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Messages: 0

    Today small residential jobs are figured visually from years of past experience but when I first started I measured everything and used a formula.
  9. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    This is sounding promising.

    Although I don't mow lawns now, I have the advantage of my own lawn, plus 7 years of golf courses as a basis for gauging.
  10. valawn

    valawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    How do any of you think you can grow your business by eyeballing? How can you train people to eyeball? You can't. What you see is not what someone else will see. I have my sales people measure every inch of a property from ln. ft. for edging and trimming to sq. ft. of lawn area for mowing, aeration and seeding and so on. They measure bed areas and count each shrub and tree for mulching, pruning and tree and shrub care programs. This is the only way to give a proper estimate using many sales people.

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