What is the best way to create a lawn care bid for an apartment or condo complex?

Here is a great question from Ryan that he posted on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. You can join in on the discussions too.
Ryan: “What is the best way to create a lawn care bid for an apartment or condo complex?”

Joel: “Thanks for your question Ryan. This question is one that many have as they get ready to break out of the residential market and into commercial/condos.

As you might have guessed there is no easy answer or magic formula that will produce a bid on larger multi-dwelling properties. Experience is key, which is why getting a year or two under your belt doing residential is advisable. After that, you should be very competent at bidding and doing residential jobs and the same principles will help you bid the bigger properties.

There are a couple of methods you can try as you bid on these properties. Both require breaking the job down into smaller, easy-to-handle portions.
condo complex

The first is to estimate the time it takes to do all the different jobs and then add up your time over the year. For example, if you think it will take 3 hours to cut and edge the lawn, then multiply this 3 hours by the number of times you expect to cut the lawn. Add on the time it takes to do other tasks such as trimming, pruning, bed care, fertilizing, general clean-up, blowing off and so on. Don’t forget anything! Create a worksheet you can use that lists all the jobs and figure out how long each will take. Once you have your total time for the year, you can multiply by your hourly rate. Don’t forget to add on materials and equipment overhead. As well, if your hourly rate does not include general overhead then you should add this on to the total as well. When you supply the quote show the cost as an annual fee and broken down. For example, after listing all the services you intend to supply say: The cost of this *year-round maintenance program will be $4685/year or $390.41/month over 12 months. (Or something like this)

Another method is to use formulas. This might require a little more experience because it is important that your formulas are accurate. Remember, your quote will only be as accurate as your formulas. However, if you are confident with your pricing you can create formulas like:

Cost per 1000 square feet to cut lawn
Cost per 1000 square feet to fertilize lawn
Cost per linear square foot to trim a hedge

You get the idea? You’ll have to measure everything accurately but once you get some good formulas the job gets pretty easy. Of course, you may need to make adjustments (the cost to cut a heavy slope would be more than a flat lawn) so you will have to use your judgment.

You may find that using a combination of both methods works for you.”

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