What can I be doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by McNeal Lawn, Mar 22, 2002.

  1. McNeal Lawn

    McNeal Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 61

    This is my 7th year of operation, my first few years were not that profitable, the start of my 3rd year I landed a major oil company contract for 30 stations, and was successful in numerous commercial properties, this success lasted for 2 years. Then I lost the gas stations and was under bid on the commercial properties. Since that time I have not secured a commercial bid, what a dry spell! I know my operating costs (wages, equipment, insurance) and only figure a 25% profit margin. Which makes my per manhour cost around $29.00. After recieving a RFP, I visit the property manager, to gain an insight on thier concerns, on what tasks or services were not met by the present landscape company, as well as getting the PM to tour the site with me, so they can piont out the concerns, and note the property lines.
    After this tour I measure turf areas for mowing and trimming, estimate pruning time, and trash pick up time. Can my pricing be that far out of line????
    The RFP's only call for mowing, trimming, blow down, pruning, weed control in beds/drives and trash pick up. Is it possible that my estimates of the time to complete the tasks of the RFP's are inflated? Or is it the property managers taking the lowest bid and hoping that they will get the services as stated in the RFP?
    Any help you can give will be appreciated.
  2. George777

    George777 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 305

    Well you know what it costs for you to operate your business. I cant tell you if your price is out of line. A lowballer is somone who has no prior knowlege about the bid, but a cut throater is someone who knows someone that has prior knowlege of the price.

    I would try to explain your quality of work that your team performs. It seems that once the lowballers and cut throaters get a job the owners expect not to go back up on the price. It really hurts this business. think about it year after year lowballers, cut throaters, wonder why the price I bid is to high?

    Some will cut corners in order to get the bid. i.e. they will only focus on high impact areas. and slack on the rest.

    If you do the math and know what you need for profit I would not come off the price. Once you get the bid let the customer set the standards ( to a resonable degree). After all we are selling time and the quicker we can get on the the next site the better.

    1. Quality (most important)
    2. Price
    3. Realationships
  3. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    I know I'm slow at the switch sometimes and i guess this is one of them..what's a RFP?
  4. leeslawncare

    leeslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 649

    well. if your town is like mine ,,they are more "scrubs" than pro's ( Pro's meaning liget , taxes paid an are leget biz's ) i know we all hafta start some where but .....guys with cheap ass mower in the trunk of their cars are gonna kill us!!! my .02 good luck!
  5. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    RFP = request for proposal
    RFI = request for information

    corporate america fancy words for "give me a bid...here are my requirements"...
  6. McNeal Lawn

    McNeal Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 61

    The requesting Property Management company will not allow you to submit a proposal unless you are on thier vendor's list, for which you must submit proof of insurance. So, I don't feel that lowballers/scrubs can submit a bid. Now I am wondering if I am reading too much into the RFP or giving TOO much service for what they are asking. Or it could be that other landscapers have information I don't, i.e., what the property manager will let slide without complaining, as someone said cutting corners. I don't want to submit a bid, knowing that I have to cut corners every service visit to make a buck. I feel whatever is on the RFP will be done as specified, doing business any other way is too confusing.
    Thanks to all who have replied.
  7. jrblawncare

    jrblawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 445

    I'am still new at all this bid stuff on larger commercial jobs...I do know everyone must be on the same page. I lost a good size mulch job last year at three locations....I did all the math and gave them a fair price , my bid was 250.00 to 300.00 higher for each location !! I was thinking how is this guy doing it ? I found out later...he gave them 1 inch coverage...I was going to give 3 inches.

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