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First commercial estimate

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  • First commercial estimate

    Hey guys!

    I am doing a commercial estimate for a Mazda dealership.

    The director of operations walked on my residential job site and asked for an estimate.

    I checked it out today, he's looking for biweekly maintenance including some tree trimming and what not.

    Also has about 1000 square feet that needs to be re-sodded.

    I have no issue doing this estimate but I'd like to ask if you guys generally increase the estimate due to it being a commercial property.

    For instance,

    I'm thinking of quoting him at 300$ biweekly for lawn cutting, trimming, leaf cleanup, trimming any trees and so on. It will take me roughly 2 hours per visit.

    Sod I will probably charge 2 - 2.50$ per square foot.

    He wants a quote for next season as well, 7 months. No winter landscaping.

    600 per month x 7 months = 4200$ for the season. Is this way out of line?

    Any ideas?

  • #2
    I am sure it changes by area, but I just put in a bid on a restaurant at $455/month, but this is a complete maintenance package, literally everything but snow. I am talking irrigation, maintaing about 17 trees, 60 shrubs, 20 yds of mulch per year, mowing, fertilizing, weed control, aeration, thatching, insect control, fungicide, etc.

    So your price seems high to me, but it depends on how big the car lot is. I've mowed car lots int he past and some have a lot of green space, and some have two stripes along the roadway and that is it. Also, you are charging $300 per visit at 2 hours a visit, so $150/hour. That is 4-5 times more than the going rate for commercial around me. I charge between $50-$60/hour on residential and equine, but can only get between $30-$35 for commercial. I think generally you charge less for commercial, not more.

    Another thing though, make sure you have awesome insurance and and ready for a lot of headaches. When you blow grass or shoot a rock onto a brand new shiny $45,000 car, you better believe the manager is going to be pissed. I used to mow a car lot for another company, and every time we mowed we got chewed out for blowing grass on the cars, and this was us blowing it away from them, but the wind would pick up a couple pieces of grass and blow it on them. We had to blow off every car on the lot when we were done, even if it wasn't close to a green space.


    • #3
      In general, what do you charge to service your average size property and how long does it take you to perform the job.
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      • #4
        Perhaps it would be better to focus on residential properties?

        I am backed up with residential properties, doing well, making cash. Looking for workers.

        Perhaps I should rethink commerical properties as they may be out of my range?

        I definitely don't need any extra headaches.

        All my current customers are residential properties - I am currently making about 2,000$ a week take home. Won't last forever though.

        I also don't have insurance as of yet. What does that typically cost?
        Last edited by WarriorLandscapingCAN; 09-20-2016, 06:47 PM.


        • #5
          The reason I was asking about your residential pricing is this.

          If you go and bid a commercial property higher than you would normally charge per hour for a residential property, there is a very good chance that a competitor will come in and underbid you.

          A second reason why you may want to stick with your hourly pricing that you use on residential properties is that you will be on this job site longer than your residential properties. By being on the job site longer, you won't be wasting time driving to one location, unloading, then loading up again, and then driving to another location.

          You are maximizing your work hours and your profit by traveling less.

          Does that make sense?

          So by bidding your commercial jobs at your residential hour rate, you are potentially making more money on one commercial job than you would if you spent the same time servicing three or more residential properties.

          As far as the insurance pricing goes, talk to your auto or home insurance agent and see if they can give you a price. It will vary.
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          • #6
            Each type of customer has it's benefits and downsides. Here is how I see each:

            -Higher profit margin
            -Less demanding in terms of quality (I am not saying to skip on quality, but you aren't going to get fired for not pulling one weed, like you might on commercial)

            -More drive time
            -Less revenue per customer
            -Less likely to want to snow work

            -Lots of revenue per customer ($500/month per customer vs. $100-$200 per month on residential)
            -Chance to showcase your work (can be viewed by public easier)
            -Usually will want a complete maintenance package, rather than just mow every 2 weeks (more money, more upsell opportunities)
            -Snow removal work in the winter

            -Demanding - if the property looks bad, it could be costing them money
            -Lower profit margins
            -Liability - customers walking around you as your work

            This being said, I am getting into Commercial work to pick up snow accounts and to increase my revenue. I will not be ditching my residential customers like a lot of places do when they get into commercial. I think a healthy company that is able to absorb bumps in the road like losing customers, economic downfall, etc. would have a healthy mix of both. My plan is 50% residential, 30% commercial, and 20% equine. If you are in an area that has equine, I would recommend getting into that. It is hard to do, since you can't really walk into the place and say "I'd like to bid on your property" like you can commercial. Also, they are almost always gated, so you can't walk up and knock on the door like you can residential.

            As far as insurance, it varies greatly. Mine is coming in at $2000/year for liability, commercial auto, and equipment.

            As far as you not having it now, even though you are only doing residential, you still need it. You really shouldn't be firing up a mower without it. If you throw a rock and strike someone in the head, you are screwed. Also, if you have employees, you need Worker's Comp too.

            Good luck


            • #7
              Can you tell us a little about what the equine work is?
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              • #8
                Can you tell us a little about what the equine work is?
                So the equine work I do is still just maintenance, mostly mowing. The difference is that they expect absolute perfection, but pay for it. I have one account that I charge $100/hour on, but they want advanced striping patterns, no clumps of grass, no scalping, etc.

                I have worked for other companies that do equine work that charge $150/hour. They also did full maintenance. Weed control, fertilizer, tree work, landscaping, pest control, etc. and this was on a 1300 acre property. Granted the paddocks and pastures didn't get full treatment, just mowing. But the drive lanes, around houses, barns, dressage rings, polo fields, race tracks, etc. were picture perfect all the time.

                Equine can have the benefits of commercial and residential in one. Higher profit, higher margin, less drive time, less time doing billing, etc.


                • #9
                  Liked how you broke down different customer acrajchel. Im setting up my own buisness this summer and didnt think about commercial subscription based income. Good stuff. How did it go for you?


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