Finding commercial lawn care bids is not as difficult as you may think. Most times it comes down to picking up the phone and finding who to talk to or simply visiting the establishment and asking a few questions. That is what a member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum did when he found a fast food business who needed a lawn care bid for five of their properties.
He wrote “I am going to be bidding on 5 locations of a fast food chain. The work to be done is mowing, trimming and blowing off the parking lot and walkways of grass clippings, once per week. Each site is between 1.3 - 1.6 acres. I am estimating that each site will have about 30 min. of mowing.
To find this job, what I did was call up the restaurant, introduced myself, first name, and name of my business. Then I told them that I would like to put a bid in for their lawn care this season and asked who I could speak with about that. They gave me the name and number of their franchise owner and I gave him a call and left a similar message.
He called back that same day and said that he would be interested in getting quotes. An added bonus for me is that he said he owned four other locations and said he would like bids on those also.
Being new to commercial lawn care, this is how I have came to have the chance to submit all of my quotes. I literally drove around the areas that I was interested in. I wrote down information about the locations. When I got home later, I looked them up in the phone book or got the number off their signs. After that I started making calls. By doing that, I am now bidding on a church (6-7 acres), those 5 fast food locations, another fast food location, and a small hotel. I was nervous at first, but everyone has been very polite. If they do their own lawn care, I thank them for their time, leave my card and let them know if they are ever interested to please feel free to call.
For the fast food jobs, I figure it would take about 30 minutes of mowing for each site. Trimming, I am estimating about 10-15 minutes (most of the trees are mulched around). I think that by myself I could be in and out of there in about an hour. My payment terms are within 15 days of the invoice, billed the first of each month. I plan to stop mowing if payments are not received though. I learned a tough collection lesson last year and am still trying to collect $400 from a previous customer.
I measured the mulch beds and am quoting, they would need another 1″-2″ of mulch installed. I calculated the amount of mulch needed by figuring the total sq. ft. of each bed and dividing that by 165 to get how many yards I would need. Then I calculated how much to charge for this by doubling the price I pay for mulch to cover the time spent laying it.
As far as bush trimming I quote them per bush. Example: bushes knee high or less = $3.00 per bush. Knee to waist high = $5.00 per bush. Waist and higher = $10-$20 per bush. I am going with that method until I can get a better idea of how long it takes me to trim them.
So, all in all I will bid a price for mowing, trimming and blowing, then a price for bush trimming (each occurance) and another price for mulch. I did not ask about the trash removal from the parking, but I will see if they are interested in that service too. I would pick it up any trash if it were on the lawns. But I can already tell there will probably be a high occurrence of this so I need to account for the time to perform this in the bid as well. Here is an overhead picture of some of the properties.”
Another lawn care business owner suggested “your bid should include: mulching twice a year, bush trimming once a month, weeding twice a month, leaf pick up twice in the fall and litter clean-up every week. Make it a package deal, find out how much it would cost them for a full year and divide it by twelve and put them on a twelve month paying schedule so you get payed every month for a full year. Make sure you continue to do stuff like leaf clean up, litter pick up and stuff like that even through the winter months.”