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  • Bidding a 16 acre job

    Hi all ,Ive been in the lawn maintenance business for a while and seem to do good at bidding regular lawns,but lately have been getting acreage jobs. One called me with a 16 acre complex.It would be just straight edge and mow (no hedges)weekly in the spring and summer ,then bi weekly in the winter fall.I figure it will take about 34 mowings. I have a 48 inch exmark.
    Glad to have found this site and look forward to spend more time here. I have used some of the great banners on my website.
    Thanks Paul

    www.prosperie.com

  • #2
    Welcome to our site!

    How long would you think it would take to mow and edge the property?
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    • #3
      by myself it would take at least7 to 9 hours to do.Just the mowing would take 5 1/2 to 6 hours.

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      • #4
        How about 9 x $45 = $405?
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        • #5
          That sounds about right.I went 412. We will see. Paul

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          • #6
            I hope you get the job! Keep us posted!
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            • #7
              Awarded contract

              Well I was awarded the contract. Dont know yet if this is a good thing or bad thing yet. We wil see in the coming weeks. They told me 2 days before the contract began.I dont really like dealing with incompetence. Paul

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              • #8
                Congratulations!

                They told me 2 days before the contract began.I dont really like dealing with incompetence.
                Why did they do it in such a rush like that? When you say incompetence, do you mean this group just doesn't know what they are doing or how to handle such situations?
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                • #9
                  Well I was awarded the contract. Dont know yet if this is a good thing or bad thing yet. We wil see in the coming weeks. They told me 2 days before the contract began.I dont really like dealing with incompetence. Paul
                  Congradulations!!!!

                  Here is what we have done a few times when I wasn't sure how to bid and I did it twice recently, I offer one free service, complete mow, trim and blow so I can time it properly, I tell the client we would appreciate their business and we would but that is not really the goal, they always say yes, this way I know I am not loosing, I only do this on very large jobs, the private communities we have been picking up.

                  Andy
                  Andy
                  Halifax, Nova Scotia

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                  • #10
                    Here is what we have done a few times when I wasn't sure how to bid and I did it twice recently, I offer one free service, complete mow, trim and blow so I can time it properly, I tell the client we would appreciate their business and we would but that is not really the goal, they always say yes, this way I know I am not loosing, I only do this on very large jobs, the private communities we have been picking up.
                    Andy,

                    This is really fascinating because a lot of business owners bid on jobs they have no idea how long will take them and many times they get burned.

                    When you look at a property, what elements must that property have in order for you to be concerned about the quote where you will offer a free service? Do you feel that this helps you in the long run eyeball bids better or is this something that should always be done on larger properties?

                    Have any of these jobs turned you down after the free first time cut?
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                    • #11
                      Andy,

                      This is really fascinating because a lot of business owners bid on jobs they have no idea how long will take them and many times they get burned.

                      When you look at a property, what elements must that property have in order for you to be concerned about the quote where you will offer a free service? Do you feel that this helps you in the long run eyeball bids better or is this something that should always be done on larger properties?

                      Have any of these jobs turned you down after the free first time cut?
                      The standard residential lawns a lot of us have are easy after we have been in this a while, I used to measure the property just to do spray quotes, I don't anymore and haven't for some time, I give an on the spot quote, we shake hands and we get the job done, we get 98% and according to my financials we are turning a 36% net profit, that is really good.

                      The first gated community I looked at was 7 homes about 5 acres, no two lots were the same and a lot of work, they wanted a quote for a grub problem, that was easy and on the spot and we got it however they wanted to explore total property care, that concerned me, the XTR deck was too big for this site, it would have scalped the lawns, there were a lot of trees, shrubs, exposed rocks, I called Deere and they came out, suggested a X749 all wheel steer with a 48" deck.

                      I asked the president if he would mine if we offered a free total mow, trim blow, this way you can see the quality of our work and I can ensure I have the right gear here to provide an accurate quote as we never go back, he said sure, we did our thing and I knew my cost.

                      It helped me with the second bid which I did in the truck because it was the same type of terrain just 2 acres more, I factored that in and we one the bid.

                      When it comes to excavation I will give a rough time estimate, what we do is send an invoice at the end of every day, I tell the homeowner I do this as we do not want any surprises and I am sure you do not either, works every time, they can tell us to stop should they run out of cash, has never happened yet, more often than not they have us do more work as I always overbid time by at least 15%, this way they feel they got a deal when I quote 15 hours and it takes 12, I already knew we could do it in 10 if we pushed it.....just takes time and experience.

                      Top soil, sod, mulch are all easy, just measure.

                      Drains are easy, it's by the foot, I never bid by the hour as I would not make near per hour what we do.

                      Tree work is by the hour, total unknown there is no way at least here to look at a tree job and bid an exact number, I personally won't do it.
                      Andy
                      Halifax, Nova Scotia

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                      • #12
                        The first gated community I looked at was 7 homes about 5 acres, no two lots were the same and a lot of work, they wanted a quote for a grub problem, that was easy and on the spot and we got it however they wanted to explore total property care, that concerned me, the XTR deck was too big for this site, it would have scalped the lawns, there were a lot of trees, shrubs, exposed rocks, I called Deere and they came out, suggested a X749 all wheel steer with a 48" deck.
                        What did they consider to be total property care?

                        Also, what did you initially in your mind estimate the amount of time the job would take and how did that compare with the actual amount of time it took?
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                        • #13
                          @ Steve
                          I think the incompetence lies in the paperwork aspect of it.(And who is in charge of it.)
                          I work for 2 other entities exactly like them and have had no trouble with the setup and the work.
                          As you can see from first post here to the last, it has been over 5 months .I think what had happened is they put it of til the last minute.This really makes it hard to add to your weekly schedule when it is already full.
                          @Andy
                          I like your method and will keep that in mind when bidding on these types of properties.
                          Well I did get the mowing time right (which was 5 1/2 to 6 hours).But had 2 trimmers trimming for over 5 hours. I guess it would take me about 4 to 5 hours myself(Owners of the business usually work faster)

                          Just want to say really like this site and will be posting more.Been working long hours and havent had time to spend like I want to. thanks Paul

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                          • #14
                            What did they consider to be total property care?

                            Also, what did you initially in your mind estimate the amount of time the job would take and how did that compare with the actual amount of time it took?
                            Total property care is spraying, overseeding, weed control, mowing, leaf removal, no tree work that will be bid per homeowner or if it's the common area an estimate to the association as we or they notice work that needs to be done, snow removal which was easy as I sub that out to a neighbour and he stands by my quotes he is the fellow that I spoke of before, I financed him to get him going in Junk Removal trailers, trimming, and blowing. He drives for Coke for a day job....at least for now.

                            Things like moss in pavers, gutters etc.. it is clear in our contract that will be bid seperate.

                            My initial thought??? I had no friggin idea that was the problem, we don't have anything this large nor like it, I tried in my mind to do a per house estimate then come to a total which I was going to go with then I thought you know I put one of my best workers here and two of my.....let's just say slower workers and see how long it takes them. No one knew what I was up to as far as the employees were concerned, they were just there to do the job and I was not on site because when I am they go faster, I tracked the mower time with GPS and the trimmers I just checked their log hours for the site.

                            You see I don't mind paying a few dollars in salary/equipment costs because I too am in this to make money so a few bucks spent now will ensure I don't end up loosing in the future. Now I have a general idea of how to bid these big jobs, I know I am higher than the company we took over from, they told me that but I also explained we do not do that kind of work, quality costs, that is why most of you are driving Audi's, excellent choice and I too would love one, it's a quality car so do you want an Audi or a Ford Focus, the choice is yours......one has to be quick to draw pictures for potential clients, incorporate simple phrases like this, I am telling you I have been doing it for 25 years and it works like a charm if done properly.

                            I would post a sample contract but I can't, all my contracts over $5,000 are prepared by my lawyer, in turn he receives free lawn care for his business, home and summer home, we are also friends and co owners in two other companies.
                            Last edited by picframer; 10-08-2009, 08:39 PM.
                            Andy
                            Halifax, Nova Scotia

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                            • #15
                              After you performed the free mowing, were you shocked at all about the times needed to do the job? Or did it seem within a reasonable range?

                              I guess the more higher end the property, the more time that will have to be spent to keep it looking high end. There are probably many little things on such properties that can catch one off guard when bidding.

                              Well I did get the mowing time right (which was 5 1/2 to 6 hours).But had 2 trimmers trimming for over 5 hours. I guess it would take me about 4 to 5 hours myself(Owners of the business usually work faster)
                              How did this ultimately effect the bid for you? Will it change the way you bid jobs in the future at all? What do you think you learned from this bidding process?
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