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Falling into business


Introduce Yourself

Welcome all new forum members. Please introduce yourself and tell us about you. Tell us about your company. How did you get started? How long have you been in business? What do you do for fun? Don't be shy, say hello! It's fun and educational to interact on the forum!
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  #1  
Old 09-28-2014, 04:35 PM
stellarmowing stellarmowing is offline
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Default Falling into business

Hi Guys,
I started mowing lawns last summer while I was laid off and business began snowballing on me and now my wife and I have started a legitimate company to do both lawn maintenance and snow removal. I met a guy this summer who owns a property management company and after a three hour lunch one day he liked my work ethic and business philosophy enough to offer me his contract for a 240 town home complex (about 9-10 acres) and another 4 duplex properties Totalling another 1.5 acres. He also wants to know if I can do snow removal for all of these properties. My wife and I were thinking of only doing residential to start out with because most of the commercial business is already spoken for around here and it can be a tough market to crack. But this is an opportunity I think we would be foolish to pass up.

The town home complex is flat, no ponds, no gates, but miles of sidewalk and trimming... And a whole lot of grass! We're trying to figure how to do this without a lot of employees to start. Snow removal is coming first and if this winter is worse than last year as they're predicting we're going to be very busy. We're buying a plow (Snow Way 26R) and already have one snow blower (old 26" two stage) and plans for a second 24" two stage.

From crunching the numbers I'm looking at about $80-$90 an acre for the mowing (call it $850 a mow) and $100 hr for plowing up to 6". $125 for 6"-12" and $150hr for 12"+. But the amount of sidewalks leave me confounded in regards to snow removal. Does anyone have a per foot fee for standard 24" walks they use?

I was thinking maybe $.10 per foot for snow 1"-3". $.15 per foot for 4"-7". $.25 per foot for 8"-12" and $.30 a foot for 12"+. Does this sound reasonable?

They also want a bid to salt it too but I have no idea about the costs and equipment involved with that.

Thoughts?

Last edited by stellarmowing; 09-28-2014 at 04:39 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-29-2014, 06:32 AM
jrs.landscaping jrs.landscaping is online now
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A) you're prices seem high

B) from the sounds of it you don't have the appropriate equipment/manpower to handle these sites.

I may be wrong, pictures of the sites would help.
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Old 09-29-2014, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
The town home complex is flat, no ponds, no gates, but miles of sidewalk and trimming... And a whole lot of grass! We're trying to figure how to do this without a lot of employees to start.
What will you be using to mow this property?
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Old 09-30-2014, 07:52 AM
stellarmowing stellarmowing is offline
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60" ZTR (possibly Hustler X ONE or a used Super Z), 36" Toro walk behind.
We may also go with 2 cheaper Husqvarna 60" ZTR's to be able to divide and conquer the north and south sections and have a backup if one mower ever went down.


Basically everything green on the north and south sides of this block is to be mowed.
Snow removal is the two alley's at the top and bottom of the photo and all of the attached parking garage spaces and all sidewalks along streets and around the property.

The South side section does not include the business located to the west.

Last edited by stellarmowing; 09-30-2014 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 09-30-2014, 02:17 PM
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Ok so you have to purchase the equipment to perform the job. Will you need to purchase a larger trailer too or anything else like a larger storage facility?

Does your friend know this size property is a big step up for you? Would he potentially let you review his previous year's winning bid so you could see what was involved in the job and what the other company bid.

Even with that information, it may not make the job profitable for you, but at the very least you could see what another company thought the job was worth.
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:20 PM
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Ok guys, here's what I'm facing: 7,560' of 4' wide sidewalk not including front porch areas. I'm thinking $.10 per linear foot (4 square feet) of sidewalk for snow up to 6". $.15 per foot for 7-12". $.20 per foot 13-20".$.25 per foot 21-24". I've cross checked these numbers against an hourly rate of costs for equipment, fuel, labor, insurance and overhead and they seem about the same... until i get to the 2' mark. Anyone have any ideas for over 2 feet? Any of you Northern folks have a pricing plan for extreme snow level?

Front porches are ~50 sq. ft. in area. I'm thinking $1 per porch (120 of them) for every 6 inches of snow.

Going by the SIMA recommended average of 750 sq. ft per 50# bag, this is going to require a butt load of salt (40-50 bags per event). I've seen numbers all over the place for salt spreading; anywhere from charging $10-$35 a bag spread. At about a pallet per event I know one thing: Salt is heavy and it has to be transported onsite before you can spread it. It gets even heavier when the wind chill is -20 or more. I'm willing to work but not wanting to lose my *** on this. I'd really appreciate some of you all's wisdom on the matter.

As far as mowing, he did let me know what he spent on it last year based on 28 mows so that part is nailed down.

Thanks guys!
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Old 10-06-2014, 02:49 PM
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I'm surprised this isn't a seasonal bid. Also you never mentioned the roads, is another contractor taking care of those? Another thing, your salt figures are per app, not per event. You may have 2-3 apps per event.
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Old 10-06-2014, 03:53 PM
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he did let me know what he spent on it last year based on 28 mows so that part is nailed down.
For those looking to bid on apartments in their area, what did he say he had paid in the past for lawn care?
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Old 10-15-2014, 05:57 AM
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A 60" ZT should be mowing an acre per hour - So what is your worth per hour? $40, $50, $60 per hour?

Snow - Same
  • Shoveling - $25-$40/hr
  • Plowing - $60-$100/hr
  • Salting Lots - $150 Per Ton (depending on per ton you pay for)
  • Salting Walks - 3 times purchase price of bags

Town Homes
We usually just put a number per month on each unit $35-$50, multiply units & there is your price per month.
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