I need help with this commercial lawn bid.

Judging how long it will take to mow a commercial property can be difficult. Unless you are used to bidding a certain sized property, you can easily underestimate it. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, one member is looking to find out if his estimated time is within the ball park of how long it would take others to mow a similar 4 acre property.

One lawn care business owner wrote “here is my situation. I was called by a general contracting company that wins different government bids and needs sub-contractors to service them. I looked the company up on their website and they seem legit but you never know.

After talking with them, I went and looked at the property they want me to give them a bid for mowing. It is an army reserve building. The total property is 172k sq feet with trimming that amounts to well over 2k linear feet!

On this property I would be using my 48 inch lawn mower, a 36″ mower, and a 21″ mower. I would also need to buy a 60 inch zero turn mower. Right now it is just me but I have a friend who is in the business and could help me out in doing the job. I figure that with the two of us it would probably take about 8-10 hours of mowing, trimming and blowing off the walks and parking lot.

I usually shoot for about $40 to $70 an hour when bidding. With this job needing 8 to 10 man hours it would be between $800 to $1,400 per mowing. The mowings would be weekly. They want a little bit of mulch too but I am not sure about that yet.

This property would probably take one full day to do. I’m judging this by another property that is a bit smaller but takes me all day to mow. This property is almost 4 acres and is my first big commercial job so I’m trying to cover myself if it does take longer than anticipated. Not to mention there are like 65 planters to trim around that are about 15 ft around. It’s insane!”

A second lawn care business owner said “I would say your lawn care bid is a tad bit high. The rate is fare, I just think your time is off. I haven’t seen the property you are working on though, so if you think it will take that long it might. I would just remember others will be bidding on this job too. If it does take 10 hours then $800 is not to bad. To do the job efficiently I would invest in a walk behind trimmer if your worried about the time it takes to trim. For comparison I mow a 20 acre campground that has 100 lots. Each one has 50 ft of trimming. The job takes 3 guys, 10 hours.

I have another commercial mowing account that is 3 acres and we do it in about 3 hours with two people without the ZTR. The first time we mowed, it did take longer but we constantly work on efficiency and have done it in as little as 2 hours. I had bid this property at 5 hours. It never took that long though.”

A third shared “that price does seem a little high but in your area it might be the going price to mow 3 acres. To mow it myself would take less than an hour if the area is open. Tight areas might make it take 1.5 hrs but no more then 2 hrs tops. Without seeing the job it would be to hard tell you what to charge plus I don’t know what your overhead costs are. If you are comfortable with your price then turn it in and see what they say. Working for a general contractor means they will be taking a piece of the pie too so they will want as cheap of a bid as possible. You will never make as much when working with a general contractor as you would by yourself.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.

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