How to bid lawn mowing at a camp ground.

It can be tough enough trying to estimate what to charge to mow an average sized yard, but what should you do when you are called in to estimate a 15 acre camp ground? That is what this one business owner was called to do and he asked for help on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. As you will see from the discussion below, quite a few elements are involved in creating a price you can make a profit on and the customer will accept.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I am looking at bidding a mowing job at a campground. The site has a whole lot of trees, tables, cottages, and a perimeter fence. The site is about 15 acres total minus buildings and pavement. Can anyone give me some ideas on how to quote this job? Should I charge by the hour or by the acre? How much per / hr and or per / acre should I charge to cover my time, travel, and equipment?

I will be providing lawn mowing and trimming services only. I will be using two lawn tractors with 60″ mowing decks, a 21″ push mower for close cutting and line trimmers.”

A second lawn care business owner said “with a 60″ mowing deck, you should be able to mow 4 acres per hour. Knowing that, I would round the total area up to 16 acres and call it 4 labor/machine hours to cover the other 15 minutes of weed eating and charge about $180-$240. Subtract $10 for the trip there, $20 for the insurance(s), and another $70 to pay taxes and you’ve made $80-$140. Not bad for 4 hours work.

Be careful though when estimating properties like this. Your mower rating that I looked up is used to sell mowers, so manufacturers tend to over estimate how much area a lawn mower can mow in an hour. Hopefully you can estimate the time on this one a little on the high side. This job is too large to underbid it.

Have you measured mowing and trimming areas? That would be the best start and then using the lawn mowing calculator/estimator above.

I would be afraid that only 1/3 of a campground could be mowed and the rest would have to be laboriously line trimmed.

I have and can actually mow over 4 acres per hour with our 61″ inch mowers. The trick to doing it was the land was completely flat. I mowed in a spiral so I never had to make any turns and no trees or other obstacles were in the way. I also had just mowed it two days before and came back to do the second cut that it needed to clean it up a bit. The first time I mowed it did take 2hrs and about 25 mins. Which was closer to 2 acres per hour.”

A third added “if it was me, I would go with an hourly figure and not by the acre. I can mow 3 acres in an hour in the right conditions on my 29hp/61″ mower but that rarely happens. Without knowing where you are located, what the layout of the property is, and how often you are cutting, I am going to guess a bid price of somewhere between $400 & $650 a cut.

The properties we mow range between $35 and $60 an acre. 16 acres in 1 stop without having to move would probably come out in a lower range per acre than that.”

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