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underbidding is no fun!!!

fitzg2md

LawnSite Member
Location
Virginia
So I bid a property this spring. It is an "apartment complex". Its really like ~60 small single story brick houses spread out over 15 acres. One step up from a trailer park basically. 15 acres of weeds that just need to be mowed (weekly) and trimmed. The owners of the complex didnt want anything fancy...just clean it up every week. Using a lazer Z, I just fly around as fast as I can, race-tracking the whole thing and not worrying about skidding the tires or anything. They could CARE LESS if the tires tore up the dirt/weed patch! I figured that I could do the entire thing by myself in a single day (8 man hours) using my 60" Lazer Z. Alot of it is pretty open mowing, minus a few trees and ditches etc.

Ok, heres the question...I bid the job out at 487.00 per cut. Low and behold...it takes alot longer than I thought! Mowing takes about 7 hours straight. Problem is there is alot more trimming than I thought! Trimming the whole thing (including the loooong ditch) takes about 4.5-5 hours! Makes for a reallly long single day. Where does everyone think i fall on the pricing? I realize you cant see it...but how much money did I leave on the table? I wont change the price on them since I quoted them a certian amount...we signed a contract, etc. Next year though is a different question! Am I even in the ballpark here or what? How would you approach the price hike next year?
 

howardsells2000

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Maryland
You will probably get faster at cutting and trimming. It seems to me the first and second cuts always take longer. Once you get everything trimmed and squared away, it will be easier and faster to maintain. Maybe you should hire yourself a helper for that day.
 
OP
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fitzg2md

LawnSite Member
Location
Virginia
Yeah, the first couple time I cut it, it took a tad longer since I was getting to know the grounds and cleaning up the trim areas from lack of upkeep. however, i just cut it today for the 4th time and was hauling a*& and still took me 12 hours (4 longer than expected). Not happy about it, but lesson learned I guess.....:rolleyes:
 

lawnspecialties

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Garner, NC
Since they don't care too much, could you bite the bullet one day and spray glyphosphate in a lot of trim areas that wouldn't look too bad? That would save you quite a bit of trim time for at least a month or so.:)
 
OP
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fitzg2md

LawnSite Member
Location
Virginia
thats a darn good idea actually...i have noticed alot of elementry schools in this area that must be on a tight budget do that around flagpoles, and such.
 

fiveoboy01

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Southern WI
Eh, 40.58/hr... Not bad, but not good either.

Suck it up and try to raise your price next year. Since you stated they don't give a damn about the property, they'll find someone cheaper next year anyhow.

I wouldn't recommend spraying glysophate without an applicator's license, unless you like hefty fines.
 

dwlah

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Argo Al
Since they don't care too much, could you bite the bullet one day and spray glyphosphate in a lot of trim areas that wouldn't look too bad? That would save you quite a bit of trim time for at least a month or so.
I use it three ways
long wide and continuous
 

Albemarle Lawn

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
VIRGINIA
Ya I know it makes the money situation even worse but it if it gets the job down to 7-8 hours you won't regret it.

Also, I second the glyphosphate. Check your state law, you may only need to be licensed if you charge for it. Who's checking, anyways?
 

fiveoboy01

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Southern WI
I can't believe there are 2 guys here, both with 1K plus posts who have obviously been on this site a lot and probably in the business a while, advocating applying pesticides without a license, REGARDLESS of whether or not the customer is being charged.

Licensing is required for a reason. Not just to be able to do it for hire, but to have a basic understanding of how to apply safely without hurting yourself or the environment.
 
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