THE bidding formula - attach

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by dutchhook, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. dutchhook

    dutchhook LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Most of us have bidding spreadsheets either based on square footage or hours. Everyone would benefit if some of us could attach simple spreadsheets they use for bidding lawn maintenance. With a bunch of examples, I'll try to combine into an excellent bid spreadsheet that all of us can use.
    You might also include shrub pruning, hard edging times, travel time recovery, etc...
    Let's see 'em. There aren't very many attachments in this forum, I'd like to change that for this thread as an example for the rest.

  2. dutchhook

    dutchhook LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    The administrator may allow you to use the attachment feature of this forum, which gives you the ability to attach files of certain types to your posts. This could be an image, a text document, a zip file etc. There will be a limit to the file size of any attachments you make.

    To attach a file to a new post, simply click the [Manage Attachments] button at the bottom of the post composition page, and locate the file that you want to attach from your local hard drive.

    After posting, the image attachments may display a thumbnail, depending on the forum settings. To view the contents of the attachment (if it is not already displayed) simply click the filename link that appears next to the attachment icon.
  3. AAXteriors

    AAXteriors LawnSite Member
    Messages: 158

    do you have one pr are you looking for one:confused:
  4. dutchhook

    dutchhook LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    I've got a couple which I'll post later in the week. Just gotta get clients' information off of it, but I'd really like to see 10 or more of these sheets, which are such a major factor in our profits each year, and I can't find where others have ventured on a project like this throughout the years on Lawn Site.
    Think it's time it was done for everyone's sake, it's the most important time of year right now
  5. speedy29

    speedy29 LawnSite Member
    from mpls,mn
    Messages: 18

    I've got one to but not sure i want to share. I've got a ton of time into it and consider it to be one of the things that sets me apart. the spreadsheet doesn't lie. if i give a price based on that and it is 35% higher than the comp(happened this week on a large apt complex, dutchook may know the one) I don't lower my price and then be forced to nickle and dime the cust or cut corners to make up for it.I stick to my price, we are selling man hours and professionalism, lower prices mean less man hours and quality. It may make for tougher sales but allows us to meet cut expectations and retain them for the long haul. So your spreadsheets accuracy depends on your service standards (stripe lawn or not, edge curbs weekly or not, hire English speaking workers or not, mow in the rain and trash the property or not, leave site free of debris or not, and so on) these are the things that set contractors apart, and effect price.
  6. dutchhook

    dutchhook LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Yeah, you don't want to share the production rates of each mower. Maybe over lunch, we'll have to get some people together this summer!

    I've got the best spreadsheet -(10 excel pages) probably ever done, and I'm not sharing that one, but I do have a simple one where you can just punch in an hourly rate, and estimate the number of hours, plan on 25 mowings, and give an idea of 15-17 plows for a 2" trigger. Some guys were only going to bid in 8-10 snowfalls on their monthlies this year because they were going on the past 5 seasons. Talk about ruining pricing!

    I'm doing one for a friend who is going to work for a very large company getting into lawn maintenance this month. you'd definitely know the company.

    Besides this company, I met a man from Bachmans at an MNLA committee meeting last week that said they're getting into lawn maintenance this year!

    I figure if I share a little bit to make sure that this multi million competitor and our competitors know HOW to bid, I've done my part to make Mpls-St.Paul a better market for everyone. Bachman's can figure out their own. They'll probably be a good competitor to have.

    With the thousands of posts, I'm just surprised that nobody has put something like this together.
    Still having a little trouble getting the spreadsheet loaded. Looks like they don't take excel sheets.

    Steve Hoogenakker
  7. big acres

    big acres LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    Speedy, I have a sneaking suspicion that I may have bid on the same complex. No worries though, my bid was right up there with yours and I subscribe to the same philosophy.

    When I handed over my proposal, I saw the sticker shock. Then the manager went on and on about the current vendor who splices hairs on trigger depth, opting to bill for a tenth of an inch below contract, charging super high per ton rates for salt AND truck charge on top of that, and if it rains on their “mowing day” –see ya’ next week, no credit and hope it doesn’t rain then too. So far, they have been hit an extra $400 per snowfall on so-called extras.

    Some of these bids of 20-30% lower come from sizable companies. I know they have to splice hairs on break-even-at-best contracts. They have to nickel and dime to have a remote chance of creating a profit. I would hate to be their sales rep after the billing goes out. Despite my attempt to educate, this manager will probably select from the same old group and receive more of the same bad service and over billing.

    WHY TIP YOUR HAND by sharing spreadsheets? I know we are all proud of the work we’ve done on them, but there are folks trolling, Bachman's included, who don’t need a better idea of where you or I are at on our bids. I have one that has been used for ten years and even has one formula with 16 operations. But it’s not how complex it is, so much as the fact that it puts me where I need to be to provide premium quality –and make a profit.

    Dutchook, have you ever bid landscape against Bachman’s commercial division? They are plenty high priced. No need to tip them off as to how little some of our “colleagues” are willing to work for, eh?
  8. dutchhook

    dutchhook LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Sorry to hear about that apartment complex. Would like to know who the contractor is sometime in the future in private.

    No, haven't bid against Bachmans, but I guessed that their overhead structure would keep their prices pretty good.
    That's why I said Bachman's can figure out their own.

    The company I am spending time to help is in a sister industry, has millions of bucks, and is getting into our industry. I'm just going to make sure they have the basics of proper bidding, and while I can't say their bidding hourly rate, it's well over $40 per hour.
    I'll take that competition over $22 any day. No secrets, no special procedures, no property manager lists.

    I don't know if anyone remembers Green masters, but they made quite a splash in the 80's and 90's. The new investor (not Charles) had millions to invest, was VP of the retailer LaBelle's. LaBelles had a gross margin of around 8%. When he heard lawn maintenance was billing 50% gross margin, he figured he could get Green Masters to 20 million dollars by bidding at 25% gross margin. Spent a million bucks and took the industry down for at least 5 years. Ask any old fart who was around, they'll tell you the same. Lawn and Landscape magazine ran a 4 page article about them and had 300% more angry mail from Minnesota contractors about that article than any previous article they had written.

    So, with my extreme past experience, I'm going to take out a little insurance and hope I help everyone out. There is also 2 large snow outfits starting maintenance this spring. I can't do anything about them, but you'll know who they are by mid-summer.

    I'll give up on the spreadsheet idea. Idealistic BS I guess!

    Heck, I'm not that bright, I've had a couple of big business disasters, I'll probably put 'em out of business anyway!!!!:weightlifter:

    Hope you have a great season!

  9. big acres

    big acres LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    I've heard about Reliable and I'm guessing the other is TN?
  10. dutchhook

    dutchhook LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Hi Big,

    That's a Bingo on Reliable, but don't know for sure about TN.
    Other co is a 6 mil snow local company.


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