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Bid per inch for tree removal

mek

Treehouser
Joined
Nov 1, 2005
Messages
58
Location
midwest
I have to bid a bigger job for a city contractor to remove trees. It has to be bid per inch for trees, no stumps. Do you guys find that you make more or less money bidding jobs like this? Personally I dont like bids like that but I will for work. I figured about how many hours it will take so I will divide that by the amount of inches per tree.
 

sotc

Dormant hero!!
Joined
Dec 6, 2005
Messages
21,784
Location
So. Oregon
yeah just figure what it will cost to do the tree and divide by the amount of inches. just be carefull they dont try and add on extra trees for your per inch price unless you see them first!
 
B

Blinky

Guest
I know stumps are bid that way sometimes but urban trees? How are you supposed to account for things like traffic control, rigging away from structure, lousy access, blablabla? Too many variables. You at least need the right to refuse a job if it's way off the typical spec.
 

Ax-Man

Don't make me chop you
Joined
Feb 4, 2006
Messages
705
Location
N.E. Illinois
Make sure you know how high the trees are being measured. Big difference between ground level and 2 feet above ground level.

I have done some state work in the past and the trees were awarded on a per inch basis. The trees were measured two feet above grade. If a tree had two or more stems above the two foot mark each stem was considered a seperate tree. Almost like getting paid double or triple.

Now this is the kicker. Below two feet high was considered the stump and they only had to be ground down to grass level. This is what the state called stump removal. Of course we cut the stump ALAP and then only had to surface grind the rest. They made the specs not me. They were happy.

We made out good on jobs like that but took forever to get paid. Was worth it when we finally did get paid.
 
F

Frans

Guest
thats a strange way of bidding work. I bet some pencil pusher thought that one up.
I knew a guy who billed according to how many cuts he made in the tree for pruning. He had a clicker and would use that for counting. oh and he would then paint every cut
 

MasterBlaster

Administrator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
97,613
Location
Louisiana!
On two different jobs I've done ROW trimming and we measured it all by the foot. From dripline to dripline, we would run a wheel measuring gizmo. It seemed to work out OK.
 
M

Mr. Sir

Guest
I did quite a few bids like that many years ago. Never landed a single job from them. I pretty much overbid them I guess. I think its a stupid system.
 
J

Jonseredbred

Guest
Just be carefull on them adding tree's on you. If the bid has (1) 48" DBH tree on it and you price it cheap to make your bid a winner, they will find every 48" tree in the city.

There is no formula to DBH bids, you still gotta look at every tree, figure your time and formulate a unit price so they can technically (thru unit prices) determine the best bid. Normally, those unit price bids are for contracts w/ extensions or add ons.
 

NickfromWI

King of Splices
Joined
Mar 30, 2005
Messages
4,996
Location
Snowless California
I know of people who deal with that. The concept (in the situations I've seen) is that these are "mostly" uniform trees along a street that has similar obstacles along most of the street. It makes sense for the city (because it is easy). It can work for the tree company when you are dealing with many trees. Where I've seen it fail is when a company establishes a "per inch" rate with the city, does a row of trees. Then a month later the city calls and says, hey- we got another tree, can you come do it for that same rate.

Or if it is a whole nother street of trees that has even MORE obstacles, say a parallel running power line or something like that.

But I agree, it is a stupid way. They should just tell you what trees they want work done in, then you go look at the trees and give the price.

love
nick
 
J

Jamin Mayer

Guest
I have to bid a bigger job for a city contractor to remove trees. It has to be bid per inch for trees, no stumps. Do you guys find that you make more or less money bidding jobs like this? Personally I dont like bids like that but I will for work. I figured about how many hours it will take so I will divide that by the amount of inches per tree.
I wouldn't jump through their hoops. I would try to inform them how bidding is done and let them know why. I understand work is work, but...:what:

Talk about ignorance on the side of the city.:|:
 

mek

Treehouser
Joined
Nov 1, 2005
Messages
58
Location
midwest
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12
The stumps stay for the contractor to take out. They are putting sewer lines in and sidewalks. These trees are all roadside. Thanks for the info guys. I wrote it up as only trees marked for removal on the map for this project. I put a bid in so we will see what happens.At least they gave me a map to see all the trees not like the city where I live they wanted bids per inch also and per tree trim no map. I did not bid that one.
 

OTGBOSTON

punk in drublic
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
4,181
Location
Tha Dirty Bean...Boston Massachusetts
Talk about ignorance on the side of the city.:|:
I don't think its ignorance as much as it is a way to make it fair for everyone to bid. You guys are looking at it from the contractor perspective. I've got hundreds of thousand of trees to manage, I don't think you can appreciate the kind of paperwork that would be generated from getting bids on individual trees!

I base mine on 10in increments (0-9, 10-19, 20-29,etc) Then depending on my projected budget I can tweak the unit #'s. I also make it clear that the unit numbers that are bid are for bid purposes only, meaning if you put 40'' removals at $500. because there is only one listed on the bid sheet, I can give you as many 40'' as I want.........

I had a guy come in and wipe out $350,000. worth of work in about two months, not a bad little score imho. He based his prices on the theory that there aren't too many trees over 40'' in the city (he was VERY wrong) so I got a good low price for trees like that but at the same time he was getting $200. for 3'' trees. His secret was keeping the mid range trees high. I am definately on the wrong side of this biz when it comes to making $$$$$$$

Hope this makes sense. And please don't hack on the Cities. There are all kinds of rules and laws about buying goods and services that you probably just don't know about.
 
B

Bounce

Guest
In this biz, I've learned that you usually get what you pay for. If the city contracts are simply awarded to the lowest bidder, I wouldn't even bother bidding. It simply doesn't pay to be the lowest priced game in town. It's also bad marketing if you ask me. I charge higher prices than some guys (although still fair if you ask me), but I justify those higher prices by doing better work. Can you imagine the pressure put on a crew to start cutting corners on a big city contract if the boss started to realize he'd way underbid it 1 week into a 3 month job? The chances of people getting hurt or property damaged are sky high in this situation.
 

sotc

Dormant hero!!
Joined
Dec 6, 2005
Messages
21,784
Location
So. Oregon
I'll give you the entire breakdown: under 10''- $300.00, 10-19'' $530.00, 20-29'' $800.00, 30-39'' $975.00, over 40'' $800.00. He was basically banking on most of the trees being in the 20-39'' range, which they are......
im trying to wrap my mind around that, its kinda making sence in the back of my head. thanks
 
M

Mr. Sir

Guest
Ha, and then they throw in a bunch of 60+ inch trees just for grins. No thanks.
 
J

Jonseredbred

Guest
Its all about the law of averages when doing this type of contract work, somedays are big and some days are just ok.
 

OTGBOSTON

punk in drublic
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
4,181
Location
Tha Dirty Bean...Boston Massachusetts
Its all about the law of averages when doing this type of contract work, somedays are big and some days are just ok.

And some days you pay for a quarter of a million dollar log truck in two months.

I'm not saying the system is pefect, I'm also not taking responsibility for coming up with it.

It is all about VOLUME. You guys haven't even started bitching about prevailing wage or minority involvement yet............

I've got an idea, just for kicks, you guys tell me how it should be and I'll shoot holes in your theories.............:D
 
J

Jonseredbred

Guest
If the city contracts are simply awarded to the lowest bidder, I wouldn't even bother bidding. It simply doesn't pay to be the lowest priced game in town. It's also bad marketing if you ask me. I charge higher prices, but I justify those higher prices by doing better work.
In a contract situation and all the specifications are met why would it not go to the low bidder?? These City contracts are not let out to the average Joe Tree Service. There is bonding issue's, previous work history in like contracts, a number of things.

Up here we only get about $575.00 for a 25-35" tree, may seem low to some of you guys but we are equipped with the right equipment and know how that we can honestly do 4 or 5 of them a day with a 3 man crew. Am I working cheap ? Maybe by the unit price, but not by the day.
 

mek

Treehouser
Joined
Nov 1, 2005
Messages
58
Location
midwest
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #25
They opened the bids on this job and four were $12 an inch one was $13 an inch I was $20 an inch and one was $38.16 an inch. I could not believe the prices when I heard them. I do not know who they awarded the contract to.
 
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