Condominium lawn care bid discussion.

When you are called to present an estimate for lawn care on a commercial property, there are a few tips that will help you improve your accuracy. As we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, knowing the previous bid price can be helpful. Breaking down the job into more easily biddable sizes can also help as well. To further illustrate this topic let’s look at how some business owners handle commercial lawn care bidding.

One business owner wrote “I need help on bidding for the lawn care of a local condominium complex. In total, it has 135 condo units. When I went to look at it yesterday, it appears to be in very bad shape. I have never had a big lawn care job like this before so I am kind of nervous about bidding it.

Here are some of the specifics of the property.

It has about 70,885 sq ft of grass to cut.

60,885 feet of sidewalk / curb that I have to trim and or edge.

I am estimating the job will take me about 8 man hrs.

My hourly rate is $75 hour

I am thinking 70 percent of the work at this property is bush trimming.

If someone could please give me some pointers I would truly appreciate it.”

Condo lawn care bid example.

Condo lawn care bid example.

A second lawn care business owner said “I take care of several apartments / condos in my area. Two are as large as this one. From my point of view, 8 hours does not seem to be enough time. I think you are underestimating how long such a sized property will take you to maintain.

I learned a long time ago if you think it will take 8 man hours to perform the job, bid it at 16. There are several variables in this type of bid that you may not be seeing. For instance, tree trimming and hauling. The mowing itself will not be that bad. Weed eating and edging will take a lot of time. You are also going to have to blow around all of the cars, and you will have to deal with items left on the lawn (toys, trash,etc…)

These larger lawn care properties just take longer than one would think. With the commercial lawn care customers I deal with, I charge them an equal monthly fee for their annual lawn care contract. So it comes out to 12 monthly payments, of a little over $2,000 dollars a month.

When I was making the jump from residential lawn care customers to commercial lawn care customers, I did something that most other business owners are afraid to do. When I was estimating larger properties like this, I would ask the customer what they were previously paying for lawn care. From there, I would break down the bid and see if those numbers would work for me or not.

When I first started I underbid a lot of trimming, edging, and tree trimming. It is hard lessons to learn but valuable as well. I also do not pick up trash in the parking lots, only where I need to cut. If there is a lot of trash consistently at the same apartment I report it to the manager and they talk to the renter and fix the problem. Picking up trash can add a lot of unexpected time to your job. The time to move or mow around toys and lawn furniture also has to be accounted for as well.

Before I begin my mowing season, I give the lawn care customer a mowing schedule that is normally 37 cuts. In the winter months I scale back to 1 or 2 cuts a month. They pay the same amount every month. In the summer months they pay less than they would otherwise but I make up for it in the winter when I am not cutting as often. This works well for them as they get a lower monthly cost and it works for me as I get paid through the off season.

Make sure you don’t cut yourself short. Know your costs.”

A third lawn care business owner shared “I agree, there are a lot of variables in this type of commercial property. I also find in hard to bid based on the square footage alone. For example you are looking at almost 2 acres of grass, but it will take longer than say an estate that is a flat and open 2 acres. This property is broken up a lot more with many obstacles.

Sometimes when I present a mowing bid on such commercial properties, I find it easier to charge by the unit. Say their are 20 units or buildings that have a similar amount of landscaping around them, I develop a price for a few of these units and come up with an average. Then I multiply this number by how many units are on the property. For example let’s say you measure 3 units.

Unit 1 = $65, Unit 2 = $80, Unit 3 = $70 = Avg. $71.66

$71.66 per unit x 20 units = $1,433

If you are new to apartments and condo associations this may help IF THE LANDSCAPE IS SIMILAR around all the buildings. You are basically breaking it down into a property size you are comfortable bidding on. Breaking down mowing bids is the key to being accurate with them.”

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