Small lawn care companies, at times, may come upon large bidding opportunities through social connections they have or have made. Such opportunities can be a blessing or a curse. If you improperly bid the jobs, you could lose money on them and end up paying to work. If you bid too high, you risk losing the work to another competitor who knows their numbers and can bid the job accurately. That is the situation one entrepreneur who asked for advice on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, finds himself in. He needed to know the best way to go about bidding these jobs.
One lawn care business owner wrote “I have a full time job now and I currently mow a few yards on the side. I have a chance to bid lawn mowing on a bunch of homes (up to 25) for one realtor I know. They are are all roughly 1/3 acre cut area. The weed eating will vary from home to home but say 15-20 minutes a piece, edging an additional 15-20 the first visit at least, flower beds will be 15-20 minutes, general upkeep like pruning or trimming will vary will be required too. I also do weed control and fertilize.
I have just been doing a few yards a week for extra money right now and have no idea how to bid this kind of work.. If you could please give me a general idea that would help a lot!!
Also there is a possibility that 17-25 number could grow into full time work for me and I would actually love that so should I factor that into the bid?
The homes are in a 20 mile radius, but numerous are very close to each other.
Equipment wise I have a Gravely Pro44, weed eaters, trimmers, edgers, blowers, etc.”
A second lawn care business owner said “these are the questions you need to ask yourself first. What is your hourly rate? How long will each yard take total?
I don’t drop my gate for under $30 regardless.
Give them a deal on yards that are fairly close to each other as I’m sure the Realtor has multiple bids coming in.
- Mulch: Come up with a profitable rate for each yard you spread
example: I charge $75 per 1 yard spread. That should take 1 guy an hr max to spread. Factor in your delivery/fuel costs.
- Fertilizer: Find your sq footage, what will the bag you bought cover? If the yards are in rough shape the first time arriving there, don’t be afraid to charge more. Work like beds upkeep / shrub trimming, make yourself a rate. Once the yards are under control, get them on a bi weekly schedule
example: Week 1- mow, Week 2- mow/ bed maintenance, Week 3- mow, Week 4- mow /bed maintenance / fert app. With this being said, I’m sure you’ll have accounts coming and going often, so I’d suggest coming up with a flat rate for each size yard regardless of what work was done. You will find a ton of help on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum along with multiple lawn care bid calculators that will help with bidding.
With multiple properties I would give a discount, at least on the properties that are next to each other. That is the key. If you can mow a couple of properties without having to unload, mow, and load up again, you are saving time and you can pass that savings onto the customer. Having 40-50 mowing accounts is a solid steady chunk of work. And you always have to remember that you are not the only bidder. There are other companies out there that are huge and have nothing but low wage workers, working for them.
Don’t spread yourself too thin, if you can’t handle the work then don’t take it on. I think 17 yards is a good amount to start with until you get a feel for scheduling / estimating etc. They’ll probably make you register with the state , get your EIN number and require a good bit of insurance coverage. You can do it though. Good luck!”
Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.ā€¯