Is it worthwhile submitting a lawn care bid for cemeteries?

Cemeteries may seem like the perfect customer to perform lawn care services on. They tend to be big areas that don’t have a homeowner looking out the window nagging you about all the little spots you missed. But on the flip side, there are a lot of reasons why you may not want to submit a lawn care bid to a cemetery as we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I am submitting a lawn care bid to my local city cemetery along with some other city properties and need to know how in the world to bid on cemetery.

The property is large and has been there for some while so there is a great deal of plots to mow around. It is not watered so it all depends on rain on how much I need to mow it. I looked over sections at a time and can use my mower between rows of headstones but boy is there a lot of weed eating to be done.

From what I can tell it will take three to four days with 4 guys going. Doing this I have the chance of getting behind on other jobs. Has anyone submitted a cemetery lawn care bid before? Is it not a good idea to bid this out?

I took my wife by to see it and she about had a fit. I got two weeks to look at this and as it stands right now I am more about not doing it than moving forward. My sister got upset last year and called the city a number of times because my fathers grave was not cut the last few months that she had gone by. So that might be a good sign for me to stick to yards and the few small commercial jobs I have.”

Cemetery Lawn Care Bid

Cemetery Lawn Care Bid

A second lawn care business owner said “I work for a cemetery full time and trust me I know, it’s not a job worth bidding for. You will regret it even though the check you can get for doing the job can be large. The time and stress of going through the whole property to cut, trim, blow, and do whatever else you need to do sucks.

Where I work the cemetery property is about 70 acres of land. With two guys we start on Monday morning around 9 and mow and trim all week until about Thursday afternoon. Then Monday morning it starts all over again. If I were me, I would decide against bidding on the job. But that’s just my two cents.

In total, the job is about 50 to 60 man hours to mow the grass and then I would say about another 15 to 20 more hours to trim. That does not include the blowing or anything  else, just the basic. In my view when people bid on cemeteries they don’t consider the extra hours it takes to trim around all of the head stones, foot stones, and marker stones. Another point is the maintenance it requires after working on such a property. Their is a lot of wear and tear on mowers and such due to all of the stop and go situations.

We bought 2 diesel commercial lawn mowers 3 years ago. One is a 60 inch mower with 1,400 hours on it already and the 72 inch had 800 hours on it. You go through equipment very quickly and that also needs to be factored into your decision. Those two mowers we bought 3 years ago cost us around $22,000 dollars and that is on state contract so it costs a lot of money.

If I were to bid the cemetery I currently work on with my own lawn care business, I would have to bid at least 60 man hours (2 men at 30 hours) for mowing and then 30 man hours (2 men at 15 hours) to trim everything.”

A third added “I use to be a superintendent  at a 60 acre cemetery. We bid out the cemetery lawn care each year and I know those who won the bid at $62k lost money! It took 7-8 men mowing 12-14 hours. Trimming usually took 9-12 men 12-14 hrs. Another thing to consider is each one of those markers cost thousands! If you hit one you have to replace it. And believe me, they were hit. Also, if there are funerals the day you mow, you have to shut it down, which makes it harder to do on a tight schedule. Trust me there are so many other ways to make money, this way is not worth it.”

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