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How do you guys bid on apartment complex's?

Discussion in 'Commercial Tree Care and Climbing' started by Tree94, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. Tree94

    Tree94 ArboristSite Operative

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    Every now and then I get approached by an apartment complex asking to receive a bid on some "tree work".
    Every time I go and its the same thing, an employee of the complex who vaguely describes that they need "these trees" and "those trees", "trimmed a little bit".
    Sometimes its over 100 trees of all different sizes and types..

    So I go, and spend like half an hour or more, counting all the trees and adding them up individually to come to a good safe price.
    1 out of 5 I don't even get the job, so all that time was just wasted.

    I've been considering pitching them with a day rate, for example, "6 hours of tree work = $780".
    dump and travel included.
    hedges and small trees will get a reduced rate to remain competitive.
    no contract, so if they feel we did not meet their expectations, they pay for that day only and we part separate ways.

    what I'm trying to do is make it easier for business's to purchase tree services, and easier for us to provide estimates/sell work.

    I realize they may be skeptical of what they'll receive, so I want to make this into like a flyer that highlights everything we'll do, how we'll do it, etc.. to try and justify price.

    What do you guys think?
    How do you guys bid big apartment complex's?

    Thanks in advance, I appreciate ANY feed back.
     
    Benjamin S Pendleton likes this.
  2. Tree94

    Tree94 ArboristSite Operative

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    P.S.
    The $780 will get them a 2 man crew for 6 hours.
    We have a chipper, but do not have a bucket truck.
    We climb everything besides some ladder work.
     
    farmer steve likes this.
  3. Groundman One

    Groundman One Star Gazer

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    We spend a day or two every year at condo complex for rich retired people. Maybe 40+ units. But we deal with "Monsieur Le President", as we call him, the condo association president. He gets the estimate and the bill. And after a few years you get to know each other and the estimates and billing get easier. We always do contract price. Hourly is a pain in the ass. We like to do the job at our own pace.

    One thing for sure on jobs like that, you have to be super specific about the details. When you do a job that takes place in a dozen areas, over hundreds of yards in this case, a poor understanding of the details can lead to annoying unpaid extra work.

    Nothing wrong with a nice flyer with some cool pictures that make you look awesome. :cool: Gives the customer something to look at while you're pricing, and makes for a colourful business card.
     
  4. Zale

    Zale Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Get to know the property management company representative. Sell them a tree management plan for the property with budget numbers. You need to meet the decision makers.
     
  5. no tree to big

    no tree to big Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Don't do hourly set a price we spend hours and hours doing estimates for jobs we never get that's just the way it is. Make sure you set very clear specs in your proposal. example provide 8 feet of clearance above grade over grass and sidewalks 10 to 12 feet over parking areas and 3 to 5 or 5 to 8 feet clearance from the buildings (depending what they are looking for and what the trees will allow with out butchering) do they want deadwood removed? A general trim? A lot we work for don't care they only want the buildings clear. We just did an estimate for a property management company for two giant properties took 3 hours to walk both properties. Will we get it? Probably not why you ask? Because we are a tree service and their landscaper gave a price too... but if we do get it it's 4 days of work with 4 guys just to clear the buildings and a possible 5th to do a few removals.

    This is for a high end apartment complex 1100 for a 1 bed 1400 to 1600 for a 2 bed and 3200 for a 3 bed they have about 150 units in each complex so you do the math on their income but the 10 grand for us to do the work properly vs the landscapers hacking at it for say 6k will cost us the job even though we bring more to the table with proper tree care.

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
     
  6. BC WetCoast

    BC WetCoast Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Hourly will just set you up for problems later, like your guys showed up at 8 (who cares about travel and traffic), why are you charging me from 7?

    Our sales guys walk the property, make specific recommendations on a certain number of trees, not the whole property. Either that or due an inventory with prescriptions with a priority of work required. I think the key is don't make the proposal stupidly expensive (even if all the work is required) or the condo assoc will balk at the price.
     
    Tree94 and Groundman One like this.
  7. CUCV

    CUCV ArboristSite Guru

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    It gets easier as you get to know the property managers and start to win some bids. Ultimately this leads to repeat work. My biggest recommendation is to find out what they have for a budget. Most often they know what they are willing to spend. If I know I can't meet their budget, I prioritize the work and tell them what I can do within their budget and what should be pushed to a later date.
     
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  8. Groundman One

    Groundman One Star Gazer

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    Yep, hourly sucks. Then you have to set the pace of the job to what you think it might take in hours to make it worth the money, and the customer tends to watch you more critically. Screw that.

    Contract! It takes as long as it takes and that's that, and you set your pace to how you feel. I find it a much more comfortable and natural way to work.
     
    Tree94 likes this.
  9. Tree94

    Tree94 ArboristSite Operative

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    Do any of you guys charge an estimate fee for larger jobs like this?
     
  10. Groundman One

    Groundman One Star Gazer

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    Never!

    Just add in a few bucks on the estimate to cover gas and coffee for the time you spent doing the estimate. If you get the job, that's your bonus.
     
    TreeBot, Jed1124 and Tree94 like this.
  11. no tree to big

    no tree to big Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Nope if you are estimating work you'll get laughed at. if you are providing a tree inventory or doing a consultation with recommended treatment that's a different animal. If they say how much to cut back 10 feet from the building and nothing more you gotta do your estimate.

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
     
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  12. Tree94

    Tree94 ArboristSite Operative

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    Honestly, Id rather just do residential work.
    Commercial work, especially apartment complex's are such a hassle!
    They always get multiple quotes, they always take a bit longer to pay and they are always a pain in the ass!

    Do any of you intentionally pass up on large jobs like apartment complex's??
     
  13. Groundman One

    Groundman One Star Gazer

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    If you're Joe Businessman, in your truck at 7 every morning making calls, ready to handle all the business BS and wait times for invoices, then that's who you are. If you're more low key, start a little later after your coffee, and you like to keep things simple and stress free, that's another road.

    We're the low key side of things. We consciously made that decision years ago. Low overhead & low stress. Too old for the BS. Even that rich people retirement complex I mentioned before is pretty mellow. We deal with one guy, he knows us and lets us work as we see fit, and there are no surprises on either end.
     
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  14. no tree to big

    no tree to big Addicted to ArboristSite

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    We love big jobs we don't require immediate payment we always have work billed. when we are bizzy it's not abnormal to have 100k+ billed out. I'd much rather have a big fat check in the mail then no check at all...

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  15. Groundman One

    Groundman One Star Gazer

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    That's some serious tree business! :)
     
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  16. tidy

    tidy ArboristSite Operative

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    I reserve time based rates for bids where the scope is difficult to put onto paper, like many, many small items or uncertain clients and most recently all hedge trimming once its more than half a day. A property management company can throw a lot of work at you once you get on board but the managers themselves will vary in professionalism etc. I have one that i have worked for for some years now and Id be severely pissed off if I lost them.
     
  17. CanopyGorilla

    CanopyGorilla climber....sawyer

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    I never intentionally pass them up, but I will give a fairly high price. If I get the job I know it's going to be worth my time.
     
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  18. Benjamin S Pendleton

    Benjamin S Pendleton ArboristSite Lurker

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    Apartments suck. And as mentioned they always go with the cheap hackers. They say they want it done right but don't want to pay for it. It's hard to get it through people's heads that if it's done right it will require less maintenance therefore cost less in the long run.
     
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  19. tidy

    tidy ArboristSite Operative

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    Did one last week for a large complex and told the manager it will be a time based rate next time. Was a pain in the ass, cars parked under trees throughout, some aggressive/uncooperative residents & some requests for special details etc not in the scope which burned a lot of time on something already underbid
    That being said much of it came down to the site itself which was sprawling with numerous small trees and overgrown hedges. Usually we are removing or trimming significantly larger trees and its hassle free.
     
    ChipChomper likes this.
  20. no tree to big

    no tree to big Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Just gotta know your game. We deal with it all the time no parking signs and tow bills get their attention! If you can't read you get towed.

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