i bid an 8 unit apartment complex at 90 usd
They didn't accept? Are you sure they only went on the lowest price? Some people, myself included, get a couple bids, and go with the middle one, as I feel that one is probably industry accurate.
If the bids are very close together, I base it on how the company presented themselves when we met.
There are threads here of companies getting jobs even after the customer explained that they are more expensive. $90/mo for ANY account is way low. Even if the place has no more grass and shrubs and gardens area then a typical home, that's still too low.
I don't know how prices work in your area though, so maybe I'm just full of it. But if I got a bid for just basic lawn service at my own house that was that low I would turn in down because it would be a low-ball bid in my area.
As for the apartment complex from the OP. A half-acre for me (I just use 21-inch mowers still, no awesome ZTR's, or 32's here
), plus trimming, would take 2 hours per week. Not including blowing.
For an apartment of only 10 doors, would probably take around 20-30 extra min. Without seeing, I'm just guessing.
So it sounds to me like 2.5 hours. But if you even had a simple riding mower (or decent 32-inch walk behind), you would cut your mowing/trimming time down to 1 hour, as you said. Plus the blowing.
And don't forget that driving 20 miles for 1 job is costing you around 3 gallons in gas.
You also mentioned only bi-weekly visits? Does the grass just grow that slow? In the PNW we need to mow weekly.