This was a very novel approach to estimating a commercial lawn care job. I don’t often see this happen but I guess it goes to show you, it never hurts to ask. This is especially true when you are talking to a new client that is switching lawn care service providers. If you take the time to ask them what they did or didn’t like about their previous lawn care company, you can learn what you should or shouldn’t be doing on site. If you are lucky, you might also be able to get a glimpse at how much they wer previously paying for lawn care. That’s what a member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum did.
He wrote “I need help putting together a bid on my first apartment complex. The total sq ft. is 65,545 divided into sections from 1,000 sq ft to 3,500 sq ft. I think it will take 2 guys around 4 hours. I have an idea what I should be charging but I am afraid I might be underbidding and should charge more. Also they want their side walks edged and beds edged. They also want flowers planted by their office.
I wasn’t sure what I should be charging so I asked the manger what their previous lawn care company was charging per cut and she told me $250.00. She said they were very unhappy with them. I am thinking I could underbid the previous business and go with $230.00 per cut. They should be happy with that price and they will will be very happy with my work.”
In such a situation, you could have a bunch of things working against you. First off, in such a situation, the manager could easily be lowballing you on the price and giving you a figure to see if you will take it. You need to know your costs so when you figure out how much time the job will take, you can plug in your hourly operating costs to come up with a acceptable price for your business to charge.
If you do have a figure in your head to charge and the manager’s figure is higher, why go lower? Why not offer the same price and then sell the manager on how much better your service will be?
But at the very least this discussion is great to point out the value of asking questions. Ask all the questions you need to come up with a proper estimate. Find out what will make the manager happier with you and this may well turn out to be a happy business relationship.