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Online Lawn Care Estimator - Help me bid this job
If you need help coming up with a bid for a lawn care, landscaping, tree cutting or irrigation job, post the specifics here and pictures of the job site. If you are looking to learn about bidding, review the jobs posted here.

Bidding a 16 acre job


Online Lawn Care Estimator - Help me bid this job

If you need help coming up with a bid for a lawn care, landscaping, tree cutting or irrigation job, post the specifics here and pictures of the job site. If you are looking to learn about bidding, review the jobs posted here.
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  #11  
Old 10-08-2009, 08:51 PM
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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.
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  #12  
Old 10-08-2009, 09:02 PM
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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  
Old 10-08-2009, 09:30 PM
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@ 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  
Old 10-08-2009, 09:32 PM
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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.
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Last edited by picframer; 10-08-2009 at 09:39 PM.
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  #15  
Old 10-08-2009, 11:00 PM
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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.

Quote:
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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  #16  
Old 10-08-2009, 11:19 PM
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Depending how I get along with the people in charge, it will probably go up next year. If I have a good relationship with a client then it usually stays the same for years, but if things do not work out smooth,then I would go up or not bid again.

If I had it all to do over again I would have bid higher.One thing I would like to see is the percentage payout on labor from other people .I will start another post for this.
Paul
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  #17  
Old 10-09-2009, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
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.



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?
I was close, you see I had two issues a brand new machine that no one around here has, this X749 is Deere's highest end garden tractor, four wheel drive, all wheel steer, it will go around a telephone pole mowing without tearing up the lawn, I had to go with a 48" deck, there are a lot of exposed granite rocks and other things, in my mind for these properties I thought 4.5 hours, the guys came in at 6.5, however this was a first time so in my proposal I went with 5.75 hours as my time with three operators, I will however use four ongoing, two mowers and two trimmers/blowers so that everyone finishes at about the same time.

It wasn't so much being a higher end property it was the size and things the guys had to drive around, the trimming, every property within this gated area is different, one has amazing turf however he has a green thumb and did things the lawn care provider should have, and man the shrubs this fellow has......time...

I simply don't like surprises nor does a client, so to me it was a great learning experience and a small price to pay for a three year deal.
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  #18  
Old 10-09-2009, 07:26 AM
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Do you think by going through this, you have improved on your abilities to eye-ball such jobs now when creating a bid or do you feel it is still safer in the long run to do a free run through for the first time?
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