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Apartment Cleanup - It's Very Bad

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  • Apartment Cleanup - It's Very Bad

    So I get a call from the manager of an apartment complex this morning, and she wants me to take a look at her place. It's not big, only a double tri-plex (6 units total).

    The two buildings face a large courtyard/garden area. She explained that it was very overgrown, and needs some dire help. Saying she is concerned about safety. My first inclination that something isn't right...you know it's a safety hazard now...why did you wait SO long?

    When I arrived I was blown away. The try and sum it up...the courtyard is a disaster. It, alone, is 2,000 sq-ft...of weeds. Sure there are a couple of bushes, but it's just weeds. One tenant came out while I was there to tell me that they have been complaining about it for a while now.

    The two buildings are surrounded by a weed-bed (like a flower bed only, well, weeds). Followed by a sidewalk that surrounds the place, followed by a small bed (under arborvitaes). Then the back has a retaining wall which that area it retains is...you guessed it...WEEDS.

    The entire place equates to 6,800 sq-ft of beds. With 80-100 small bushes and trees.

    So...sometimes I take pictures to show you guys, and ask what you think...not this time. This time we did a video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eTW...e_gdata_player

    It's only a 3:15 minute video, so if you want to watch it, it will help you understand the seriousness of this place.

    Okay...so here it is. While talking to the manager on the phone she said she would like grass put into the courtyard (just seed it, as sod would be too much). She said her budget for the cleanup (and seed) was $800. I almost hung up on her then, but I was polite and told her I would see what I can do.

    She wanted a bid for the cleanup, and a bid for trimming the trees/bushes separate. Her idea is that she can cut the cost down by having some trimming done later in the year.

    I've actually found my newest cleanup bids to be very accurate when using the member "hotwired":
    http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=9774

    Basing this job like my others, I would price it at $1,890-$3774. With a price around $2,800 to be pretty good. (63 man hours at $45 per hour). And I was thinking of charging an extra $630 for the 80-100 bushes and trees.

    I guess I just have to say...what do you all think? What price is good. I might be able to cleanup the courtyard for $800, but I don't want the job if it's only that. There are 6 tenants there that will see me NOT doing a complete job.

    Ideas?

  • #2
    Its funny how the most neglected yards have the smallest budgets and rental income of $4000-$6000 a month. You gotta love these cheap bastards. If they would just pay for basic maintenance this wouldnt happen.

    To do it right would be $2500-$3000. I suppose for a grand you can clean it up a bit but it would be doing 1/3 of the job. Even if they agreed to a partial clean up. You would get calls about what wasnt done.

    Comment


    • #3
      Heh. I wonder how much she's looking at in FINES right now.

      That's probably the only reason she's calling you now.

      Comment


      • #4
        If they would just pay for basic maintenance this wouldnt happen.
        It's funny, because she tried to lie about it on the phone. The tenant who talked to me said that the owner (not sure if it's really an owner) comes to collect the monies from the laundry room daily, and so they see what's happening. She also said that when the manager did finally show up (she doesn't live on site) nearly everyone swarmed from their apartment to ask about this problem.

        But the manager told me that they had someone maintaining it all as a garden, and he just walked off the job, and she didn't know about it. Yea right, lady!

        Oh, I should also mention, I'm about two weeks out for this kind of work, and she wants it done by next week...no problems, extra money to put off another cleanup though.

        I wonder how much she's looking at in FINES right now.
        I could see that as another reason she is looking to get this done ASAP. Fines from the city, and tenants leavings.

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        • #5

          I could see that as another reason she is looking to get this done ASAP. Fines from the city, and tenants leavings.
          I just did a house with ft high grass because the city was going to fine the homeowner. It had to be done in a week, coincidence?

          Comment


          • #6
            This would be a pass for me unless I really needed the $$$. It's clear this is a one time deal, at-least until it gets that bad again. I would also be very concerned about getting paid even if I did take it on.
            Don't Keep Replacing Lawn Sprinkler Heads
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            • #7
              That is a lot of work. I would bid higher as your going to have issues getting more out of them of it comes to a longer time. I always add a few hours into my bid but have never seen anything that bad esp from a commercial / apartment complex. I would tell her you need a large deposit say 1000-1500 for you to book the day. I would pass but that's me. I wonder if you will get it if the budget truely is 800. Keep us posted and get a signed contract detailing the sope of work and PAYMENTS before starting if they agree. That's my 2 cents
              Liberty Landscaping LLC
              www.libertylndscpng.com
              Woodbridge, NJ

              Comment


              • #8
                Her expectations as far as time and budget are nowhere near reasonable and she is trying to bait you with more work later(trimming trees & shrubs) if you do the clean up now. Probably best to pass.
                Evansville Lawn Mowing
                Newburgh Lawn Care

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would bid higher
                  I always add 10% to my cleaup bids. So this bid would probably end up (with trimming) at $3,800.

                  As far as payment, I would require it all up front. I've lost too much money from people not paying for cleanups to not ask for that.

                  Besides, she thinks $800 will cover it? She knows she can't do that.

                  When she had asked about grass, I told her sod is about 4x more expensive then doing sod (but without the instant gratification), and she said she knew that, she already got bid on it. The bid, I'm guessing, was to cleanup AND instal sod. She just being cheap.

                  Funny thing is, she said "in the laundry room we have a tiller. So you can use that instead of renting one to help on cost". Oh, ok lady, I'm going to use your little tiller instead of renting a nice one for $50...

                  I'll send her an email this afternoon with a price. I'll let you all know what she says.
                  Last edited by lxarth; 07-01-2012, 11:32 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I always add 10% to my cleaup bids. So this bid would probably end up (with trimming) at $3,800.

                    As far as payment, I would require it all up front. I've lost too much money from people not paying for cleanups to not ask for that.

                    Besides, she thinks $800 will cover it? She knows she can't do that.

                    When she had asked about grass, I told her sod is about 4x more expensive then doing sod (but without the instant gratification), and she said she knew that, she already got bid on it. The bid, I'm guessing, was to cleanup AND instal sod. She just being cheap.

                    Funny thing is, she said "in the laundry room we have a tiller. So you can use that instead of renting one to help on cost". Oh, ok lady, I'm going to use your little tiller instead of renting a nice one for $50...

                    I'll send her an email this afternoon with a price. I'll let you all know what she says.
                    NO!

                    Please take your camera and do it in person!

                    I want to see her pass out on Youtube!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Basing this job like my others, I would price it at $1,890-$3774. With a price around $2,800 to be pretty good. (63 man hours at $45 per hour). And I was thinking of charging an extra $630 for the 80-100 bushes and trees.
                      What was your thought process on how you came up with this price range and man hour total?
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                      • #12
                        clean up

                        You may want to pass up this one. If the owner, a responsible landlord, allowed the property to get to this leve, Lord knows what she may put you through.
                        Quick tip: I like my beer too but I can't see showing up for a bid on a job advertising it....get your business image on!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You may want to pass up this one. If the owner, a responsible landlord, allowed the property to get to this leve, Lord knows what she may put you through.
                          Quick tip: I like my beer too but I can't see showing up for a bid on a job advertising it....get your business image on!!
                          I can agree with that. I took on a few smaller yards that were not taking care of. I have had problems with payment on all of them. Now that the hard work is out of the way they can bring in anyone for pennies or let it sit a few months again.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well...the apartment manager replied to my email with:
                            "Thanks for your considertion. Unfortunately the amount that you mention is out of the budget.

                            If there is any way to break that down into components that can be accomplished over time, I'd be open to that however."



                            I wonder if she would allow a tenant to break up rent, or the security deposit?

                            What was your thought process on how you came up with this price range and man hour total?
                            In the starting post I linked to another thread that helps calculate the time to cleanup. On average, you can just take amount of bark you would lay down (at 1" deep) and multiply the time by 1-3 depending on the severity of the place.

                            So. Say you need to cleanup 1,000 sq-ft. Divide that by 12 (inches in a foot) and you get 83.3. You can then divide that by 27 (for number of yards of bark) and get 3.08. And that number is your man hours. You can then use that and multiply it by, say, 3 (say it's terribly overgrown) and you get 9.25. Now you have your actual man hours. Multiply that by your hourly rate and you have your cleanup price. Say at $45/hour, and now your bid should be $416. I always add 10% and round. So a final bid would be more like $460.

                            I use that for everything, including travel fees, dump fees, etc. One simple price is all the customer is looking for.

                            Lately I have been doing separate bids for the front yard and the backyard, and then giving the customer a discount if they do both at once. So far I get them hooked because they see a nice discount and want to get it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Lately I have been doing separate bids for the front yard and the backyard, and then giving the customer a discount if they do both at once. So far I get them hooked because they see a nice discount and want to get it.
                              Do you do this only if the yard is a real mess or do you do this for all yard cleanups?
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