Turnaround time on bids?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Precision Lawns, Dec 14, 2004.

  1. Precision Lawns

    Precision Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    My partner and I are gearing up to start our business this (2005) season. We're planning on doing a mix of commercial and residential. Our goal is to be full-time ASAP - not sure if it will happen or not, but we sure are motivated! We plan on bidding several apartment complexes is January (season is March-December), and were wondering on the average time an apartment will take to consider a bid? In other words, if we submit our bids mid-January, when is a reasonable time for us to know if we have the account?

    Also, it seems that we're most likely to land accounts if we bid a bunch of them, but we can only do so many in a week (no employees, just us). Is it considered "bad form" if we bid more than we're able to do, and then retract the bids that are still up in the air if we actually land enough of the accounts to fill up our week? Or do apartments generally not care and will just go to the lowest bidder?

    This site has been really helpful, and it seems we're on the right track so far, but any advice from those of you who have been there, done that would be great. Thanks.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    When you give the bid ask who is responsible for the decision. Who are you giving the bid to. You want to be as high up the ladder when you give the bid and than you ask them what the time frame is. If they say they need to talk to a group or committee try to get in front of the group. Tell them you will help present the bid and that it will be good if you are there to answer any questions.
    I wish you all the luck but I don't think you will have the problem of too many jobs. If you do than you will go broke because you bid to low.
    One last thing-- Do you know how long the jobs will take and how to bid?.
    If you are not sure, go slow at first so you don't make too many big mistakes. Again good luck.
  3. mastercare

    mastercare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 289

    Just my little advice:

    Don't take on too many commercial accounts. Start with a few smaller ones, like restaurants, machine shops, banks, etc. You don't want to be doing apartment complexes and get stuck with them. They almost always go to low bidders, and like someone else said,,,,if you get that much work, you're probably losing your tail!

    Try to get about 3 small-medium commercials in your first year. Fill the rest of your schedule with resis. In my opinion residentials may be more time consuming, but much better for a few reasons:

    1. More $ per square foot
    2. 1 Decision maker who buys YOU, not the lowest bid.
    3. They place more value (more money) for quality work
    4. Diversified customer base - if you lose one residential account, you can replace it. If you lose 1 huge commercial account, you'll probably be losing a big % of your income
    5. Resis will give you referrals, and neighbors will come over asking for a quote.
    6. If you ever get stiffed on a bill....it will be much smaller.

    I just personally don't like competing to be the lowest bidder. I want a customer who will pay me for quality....and not have to rely on 1 customer for a big chunk of income.

    Hope it helps
  4. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    With no previous accounts or a reference list, don't plan on getting too many complexes. If you get more than you can handle, if any, it's because you were the cheapest and now probably have a full schedule of loosing jobs.

    Just take it slow and see what happens. Just don't get discouraged when you don't get as much work as you think you might be getting.

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