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  • Pine straw

    Hey guys I just signed my first big commercial account in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a 500 unit apt complex and they want 900 bales spread twice a year.

    The best price I have found is $2.65/bale for 9 inch slash straw delivered.

    For 900 bales of pine straw, how many guys should I hire to help put it out and how much should I pay them per bale? Right now it is just my partner and I taking care of the property. Can 4 guys put out 900 bales in a day?

    Any insight would be awesome... Thanks
    Matthew A. Crump
    Fire & Lawn Rescue | Owner
    Matt@FireandLawnRescue.com
    205-999-3970

  • #2
    i would get me some day labor and would pay 8 per hour per man I would figure it would take 2 to three days depending on how many men u have and how spread out it is I would figure on a job that size about 10 men two days

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    • #3
      i doubt 4 men could put out 900 bales in a day but try it the first day and see how many u get out and then u will no what it will take in labor

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      • #4
        Matt congratulations on landing the job!

        How did you do it? Do you have any advise for others looking to get into larger commercial accounts like that?
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        • #5
          Thanks for the advice! I'm not gunna lie guys I am in over my head with all of this. I am a people person so I simply used contacts I already have to pretty much sweet talk these property managers I already know into using my company. I won't undercut other companies and I wont try and talk anybody into using my services unless they are unhappy with current company and already looking.

          I really had no clue to how to bid a property that big so I sweet talked her into just letting me know what the last company did so I could look and see if I could match it or maybe do a little better.

          As far as the more advanced work I will hire help. I can easily cut the turf and edge and weed eat and blow myself and with my partner but as far as the color changes and the weed control and fertilization I am going to have to sub contract a friends company or at least get some help from someone who knows what they are doing more than me. I also don't want to get caught without the proper licensing for fertilizing.

          I am trying to learn as I go but it takes time so right now I am stressing the fact that I don't have a ton of accounts. I am not looking to grow into a huge company who will not cater to them. I am promising our full attention and guaranteeing that they will always be able to get ahold of us if there is ever any problem.

          I am brand new at all of this so I am just doing anything I can to try and build my business and make a little money for my fiance and I
          Matthew A. Crump
          Fire & Lawn Rescue | Owner
          Matt@FireandLawnRescue.com
          205-999-3970

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          • #6
            I really had no clue to how to bid a property that big so I sweet talked her into just letting me know what the last company did so I could look and see if I could match it or maybe do a little better.
            Not every lawn care business owners gets a chance to see a previous bid on a commercial property and then use it to create their bid. When they get a chance to get their hands on such information, it is great. However I was wondering, what is your advice as to how to reverse the bid and try to work backwards once you have a total figure?

            How do you figure out if you can truly meet or beat a bid price when you hear the total price another lawn care business was charging?
            - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
            Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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            • #7
              Not every lawn care business owners gets a chance to see a previous bid on a commercial property and then use it to create their bid. When they get a chance to get their hands on such information, it is great. However I was wondering, what is your advice as to how to reverse the bid and try to work backwards once you have a total figure?

              How do you figure out if you can truly meet or beat a bid price when you hear the total price another lawn care business was charging?

              Well, in my case I knew a girl in the office who had access to some of the numbers. Bidding on a bigger property, most of the time the company that was there before me will be a bigger company. More employees, more trucks, more equipment, MORE BILLS!!! In my case I am already a full time firefighter. I do not need to go out and make a million dollars spending every waking moment cutting grass. My business plan is simple. Stay small and only maintain a few very good accounts.

              When I saw the number for the yearly/monthly maintenance I was able to easily come down from $4300/month to $3900/month. $3900/month split two ways and broken up to go back into the company isn't horrible. Especially when we have the time to be there and focus our attention on them. Again, we already have full time jobs so all of this is extra.

              The pine straw bid was simple... the manager let me know how much pine straw it takes to cover the property. 1500 bales twice a year. All I had to do was find the best price for good 9inch slash and double it. Then I added $750 labor fee and ran the numbers to see what that would all equal per bale. It only came out to like $5.80/bale installed. The average around here is around $7/bale installed. I can hire 10 guys @ $10/hr to do this for me and still make close to double what I put in.

              The gutter bid was the same... 2 times a year for 29 units each time. I determined the pitch of the roofs and how easily or difficult it would be to get on top of them. They have a fairly flat pitch so we can easily get on them with the blowers and blow them out in a day or two. We actually made $6,000 between the 2 of us in our first month just doing residential gutter/fall cleanup jobs. The manager again told us what the last company charged. It was $3500 each time. We are bidding $3000. We can have that job done in no more than 2 days. It's an easy $3000 and this way they feel they are saving money by giving us a chance.

              The only issue now is trying to get the color change bid finished up. It's only for 5 beds around the office. Not a huge deal. Just trying to price spring plants is kind of hard right now. Especially since they have no idea what they want. We don't know what the other company charged for the color change so we are having to do a lot of work to try and figure out how to actually price it. Meeting with a local nursery in the morning for advice.

              Basically this has been a huge learning process. It is our first commercial bid and the property isn't exactly small. Even if it doesn't work out I am gaining confidence and knowledge and learning how to be more effective and more marketable thru this process.

              I think my partner and I are lucky because we don't HAVE to get the work. If it isn't going to benefit us then we won't even entertain the thought of wasting our time. We can afford to pick and choose who we want to approach for work since we are already employed. If someone wants us to do it cheaper than we want then we simply say sorry, have a nice day and move on. We have built a pretty decent little residential list by operating this way. All of the customers want all of the extras and they don't mind paying for them. We just stick with the demographic that doesn't want to worry about doing things them self. They just want to pay someone to do it all for them.
              Matthew A. Crump
              Fire & Lawn Rescue | Owner
              Matt@FireandLawnRescue.com
              205-999-3970

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              • #8
                Keep us posted on what you come up with on the color changing issue.

                When I saw the number for the yearly/monthly maintenance I was able to easily come down from $4300/month to $3900/month. $3900/month split two ways and broken up to go back into the company isn't horrible
                How did you ultimately figure a price for this? Did you measure out the sqft of lawn to be mowed and the linear ft of lawn to be trimmed and edged? Or was it more of a guesstimation on the amount of time you felt the job would take?

                Was it important to really break the bid down or were you just feeling good that you could probably land the job if you could come in with a lower price?

                Did you come up with a number for what you feel will be the total man hours needed to service this property for the full year?
                - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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