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Yet another "how to bid this cemetary" thread.

PDQDL

LawnSite Member
Hi, I'm new to this site, but I am not new to this type of conversation. I did a search on this site for other "cemetery related" mowing quotes, but I didn't really find anything that discussed production rates, particularly for large old cemeteries.

I have a very large cemetery requesting a quote for mowing services. They think that they have 160 acres, but I have measured it at 143. They tell me that they have 87,000 burial sites, but not quite that many headstones. The whole thing is about 1/2 mile square.

I have a great deal of mowing experience, but I have never mowed a cemetery, and I do not have any idea what production rates I should anticipate. The spacing between headstones are pretty tight: ranging from 30 inches to 4 foot spacing, with each row approximately 9 feet apart on average. It is a much older cemetery, so many of the headstones are huge and ornate. Less than one fourth of the headstones are below mower height.

I know what my costs will be to run men and equipment. What I don't know is how many thousand square feet a crew of 8 to 10 men could be expected to know in a 10 hour day.

The property manager is expecting detailed string trimming and that all of the headstones be blown free of grass when completed. Mowing frequency right now I am expecting to be about 17 cuts per season. So far, I imagine that the best I could expect with all of the detailed work would be about 8K per man-hour completed., which translates to about $195 per acre.

With the property this huge, I imagine that they are expecting much better rates than that !

Any suggestions or useful tips would be helpful.
 

fiveoboy01

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Southern WI
It looks like you have a good handle on the numbers. You will need to decide how much it is worth to you to be able to park the equipment in one spot all day. $195/acre certainly won't fly as you already said, hell I'd bet you'd be lucky to get half that.

How do they want to be billed? Full season price divided by x number of months, or per cut?
 

T avery

LawnSite Member
Location
central MO
this describes the cemetery I mow to a T. except that mine is 15 acres with 1/5 of the area being completly open. I have mowed this for past two years of consistent rain. each mowing averaged 17 hrs on a 60 inch ztr and every other mowing we trim, which takes 20 man hours with really good equipement to do a nice job. we do not blow the grass off the stones (by agreement). hope this helps. T
 
OP
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PDQDL

LawnSite Member
They were not specific. They are unhappy with the current company for poor quality and allowing the grass to get too tall.

What I can't understand is that the property manager didn't know how many cuts he was getting per season.

This looks to be a HUGE contract. He claims that it takes 8-10 people full time to keep it mowed. And they weren't apparently keeping it mowed well enough.
 
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PDQDL

LawnSite Member
That helps a lot. Do you have any idea how many headstones you are tending?

How much are you charging them? Was it a competitive bid, or do they like you?

That's 38k per hr mowing, with 32K per manhour for the string trimming. That is MUCH faster than I was anticipating. That would translate to 7.5 headstones trimmed per minute on my project. All day long? Where do you get help that good?
 

T avery

LawnSite Member
Location
central MO
I do have good help on that, this is the only mowing contract I have and I hire one guy to do it and this is all he does for me. it looks like you and I are in the same state and I would be glad for you to visit me 2.5 hrs from KC and you can see the cemetery and I can show you exactly how many hours it took. the first year i lost a few dollars on it since I paid for all the equipement in one year, the past year i made it all back and am going to purchase a new exmark just for that job ( should go faster). this is a city cemetery and it was a competitive bid that i have at that price as long as I want it.they like what I do for them and I don't try to make it complicated for them. I mow and trim and they pay. i meet with the cemetery board each year to get decorating schedules and feedback and that's it. it is not highly profitable but worth while.
 
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