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G'day. I have been working with a national, and they are having their second year (my first) of a pricing competition among contractors to secure the bulk of the grass cuts in their areas. How low will they go?? Is the national going to invoice their client by HUD specs, take their 20% and pocket the rest? Or will they too, offer their clients a wide ranging price scale on a national level saying $60 in Orlando, $40 in Oshkosh and only $30 in Oakland. LOL, I doubt it. They also stated the bids must be less than HUD pricing (of course). I did not want to participate, but I will; going $1 less than HUD pricing. If the lowballers go broke when gas hits $5, then I might get some grass cuts and be paid what we should be getting paid.
 
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Discussion Starter #2
Signing up to see how low you can drop your prices?? Am I reading that right?

If so, why not separate yourself from the pack and go right to zero? Be the first one there.

Good Luck
Dave
 
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HUD sets the prices for initial grass cuts and re-cuts. If we as contractors are to be paid $85 for a grass cut, and the national takes their 20%, all is as it is supposed to be. If I were working on a 20% comission basis, I would like to charge the most I can for a service. I doubt the national company is going to offer their clients reduced rates for the grass cuts! They will probably invoice them the set HUD price. Then they will pay the grass cut contractor their approved bid price AND get their 20% as well. I told them to be like me, the little guy...get more clients, take your 20% and your profits will rise. If this continues in our industry, we will be competing with people who will cut grass for $15 and provide $15 worth of work. I have seen it and I'm sure others have too. In the long run, the national will lose due to the diluted pools of sub-par contractors.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Are you talking about getting the contracts to mow foreclosed homes?
I'm not familiar with dealing with HUD.

I try to mow only for people who CAN afford to keep and maintain their homes.
It's a unique concept, I know, but it's working for me.
 
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LOL. Yes this is for vacant and forclosed properties. I provide all property preservation services. I am a preservation vendor with this national and asked about becoming a grass cut vendor as well. They said "how low can you go?" in an industry with set pricing. Has anyone else experienced this?
 
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I don't mow lawns and I think I'm still confused about what you're saying. I did at one time take care of vacant properties for the VA. In that case I simply billed them direct and they paid me, eventually. It was a good opportunity because I got to mow it once and figure out how long it took, bill them based on my hourly rate and that set the cost for additional cuts on the same property.

I also don't understand how these bidding companies are sprouting up after the $300 screwdriver deal. We are bidding on flagstands for the Army. We exceeded their limit that doesn't require approval and now have to bid through an agency that will tack on a commission and another fee and submit it for us. This is taxpayer money in action.

Good Luck
Dave
 
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Very familiar with who you are talking about. The bid is for your price after discount. Make sure you check HUD Mortgagee Letter 2010-18 for the current pricing schedule, the days of $85 for an initial cut are over unless you want to mow an entire block. You really have to look at what you need to have, to make a profit after your overhead, to see if it is even worth it.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Wow! Those prices are outa there! $30 per site, to trim shrubs?
 
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Are you saying that price is high or low? The company we get the work from takes a 20% commission on that 30. So I can cut a lawn and trim shrubs (1X per season) and pocket about $75. In reality, its not a bad gig. But they have been lowering their prices a bit.
 
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I usually get $75 for initial cut. $125 for oversized lawns. Then $45 for re-cuts.

I bid on extras like trimming shrubs and usually get it if I keep it under $200
 
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I'm finding this thread to be fascinating. Do you guys really go flat fee for everything? Using the HUD example, you mow a lawn and charge $68. Does it matter if there is nothing to mow around or 6 trees and and a swing set? On the level or sloped? I've heard around here that the lawn business is a cutthroat business. Maybe this is why. I'm having trouble figuring how any entity or person can just say lawn cutting pays $68 and that's it.

Good Luck
Dave
 
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SimonOhio said:
Are you saying that price is high or low? The company we get the work from takes a 20% commission on that 30. So I can cut a lawn and trim shrubs (1X per season) and pocket about $75. In reality, its not a bad gig. But they have been lowering their prices a bit.
30 bucks, minus 30%...that's 21 bucks! You don't have to worry about me stealing your jobs.

I'm saying it's low, very low.
 
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Discussion Starter #14
I have limited experience with Safeguard, but last year they gave vendors a choice, cut for $30 or $38 or lose your work. Landscape companies tried to take over the cuts. They got a good amount of them, but they do a bad job because no one is there to watch and they are not familiar with the photo process etc.

Cyprexx is more reasonable, but they only go so high on initials. Re-cuts are $45.
 
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Discussion Starter #15
There are HUD pricing allowances on everything. Lawns less than 5,000 sqft pay $50 for the first cut of the season, and $40 thereafter usually every 2 weeks. 10,000-15,000 sqft pays $100 and $85. Nationals usually discount your invoice by 20%, and the contractor gets the rest. As we all know, there are many vacant properties and if there is volume, there is $$ to be made. I used to cover almost 1/4 of the state of Ohio, but re-tooled my operation and have gone with 2 nationals and 2 large subcontractor groups who are like a middle man. I have also limited myself to 7-8 counties. I used to send out 3-5 trucks a day and we did a large volume of grass cuts as well as every type of preservation bid work. So I know volume pays. So I could send a truck out to do 15 lawns that are usually 5,000-10,000 sqft and the truck would net about $780 after their discount. Not a bad day really.
As far as the low price for the hedge trimming, that is NOT for overgrown hedges/bushes. I will submit a bid for those, and I usually get them back. Towns and cities are cracking down on the appearance of these vacant homes, and the mortgage companies do not like the fines or the rates municipalities charge to fix violations.
 

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SimonOhio said:
Towns and cities are cracking down on the appearance of these vacant homes, and the mortgage companies do not like the fines or the rates municipalities charge to fix violations.






My experience in my area is that the banks DO NOT care. Not even a tiny little shred.
Property going to violation..... doesn't even phase em.

I've had repeated cases of getting a grass cut, going to the property and its 3' to 5' tall. Property is also in violation with the deadline a few days away.
Turn in a bid............ month and a half goes by. I get a w/o.
RUSH to the property immediately, cure violation per bid.
Whats the point of rushing? The deadline was a month and a week ago.
I go.... and take trip photos because the grass/weeds has been cut.
 

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garyh35 said:
I have limited experience with Safeguard, but last year they gave vendors a choice, cut for $30 or $38 or lose your work. Landscape companies tried to take over the cuts. They got a good amount of them, but they do a bad job because no one is there to watch and they are not familiar with the photo process etc.



Thats not the price they told me for 2011.
$45 or $50 regardless of the lawn size up to one acre.


I was also supposed to get some materials emailed to me........ I got nothing.
Who knows if the price is right or not.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
BPWY said:
Thats not the price they told me for 2011.
$45 or $50 regardless of the lawn size up to one acre.

$50.00 for one acre? No thanks... I'm not near efficient enough to make any profit on cutting an acre for $50... Are most of you guys set up with 2-3 person crews with commercial zero turn mowers, etc? Can you cut, trim, blow off the side walks, etc, take before and after photos for $50 on an acre?...or even 1/2 acre?

It seems to me that you'd almost have to be set up like a full fledged lawn service, with a good crew, good and fast equipment, and lots of lawns to turn within relative close proximity to one another in order to turn a profit...

I'm relatively new at this, and my niche has been the larger properties with 3'-6' high weeds and grass that I mow with my skidsteer brush mower.. I can get about $600-$700 for an acre, which takes me maybe 1.5-2 hours to mow, trim with weedeater, etc. But, I'm driving 40-60 miles one way pulling 10,000 lbs....that's a lot of diesel...
 

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I don't see myself mowing even half an acre here.

In this area if its not irrigated its not growing.
This limits the size of the maintained turf areas.
20,000 is a huge residential yard, not some thing I'm going to run into a lot of.


Over 10'' (I think thats what they said) gets bid.
 
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Discussion Starter #20
Well I tell ya what.....
If anyone in the Mn area would like to mow approx 300 yards biweekly for $25/lawn (net) up to 10,000sf. $50 net for 10=15,000sf lawns let me know:whistling

After reading all these posts I must be overpaying and more than willing to pay the above amounts for any willing party. :eek:

:clap::laughing:
 
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