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HomeBlogA Contractor's Response To The SEAS RFQ

A Contractor’s Response To The SEAS RFQ

FULL DISCLOSURE: I own the LinkedIn Property Preservation Consortium.

We obtained permission from Mr. Caldwell to republish his opinion from the Property Preservation Consortium on LinkedIn.

Lonnie Caldwell

Owner – Gypsos Enterprises, Inc.

My 2 cents…

They are asking for companies to show how they are qualified to handle massive coverage areas. The size of the coverage areas are simply too monumental for the average P&P contractor to consider. I can produce all of the qualifications they are asking for. However, I would need to have my head examined if I thought for one second I could cover any of these zones.

I have looked into partnerships in the past with other P&P companies to cover larger areas. The problem is that it rapidly becomes an administrative nightmare because the customer doesn’t want to deal with multiple companies covering multiple areas. So you would have to form a partnership and either go the LLC or Inc. route. This usually breaks down at the planning stage because everyone wants to be the CEO and no one wants to be the grunt in the field.

I believe the size of the zones will simply create more order mills and perpetuate the cycle we have all been complaining about for years now.

Let’s take the zone I fall into, zone 2 in Florida. It is comprised of 21 counties totaling 17,994.28 square miles. It takes a little over four hours to drive from one end to the other according to MapQuest. In reality that trips takes between six and eight hours because of traffic. I am located near the middle so I should never be more than a 4 hour drive from my furthest property.

I have a friend who owns a large landscape and lawn maintenance company in Orlando. He has over 100 people working for him full time, about 60,000 square feet of office and warehouse space, a full time mechanic with a completely outfitted work shop and a field service truck to handle issues that pop up in the field. He owns pickup trucks, trailers, dump trucks, front end loaders, skid steers, bush hogs and has over 60 commercial zero turn mowers. With all that he does work in about four counties.

With that as a baseline, it is going to take a staff of 500 hundred workers in the field, a support staff of at least 20 administrative people in the office, over a dozen field supervisors and QC personnel, a maintenance shop with at least 6 people full time mechanics, a 100,000 SF building to house all the equipment, a few acres of parking and several million dollars worth of equipment.

The weekly payroll would be close to $400,000 and you would need to be able to float that for 8 weeks so you need to have $3,200,000 set aside just to cover payroll till the checks start coming in. Then there is rent and utilities which will run you another $100,000 plus per month. Add in insurances of all kinds, fuel and maintenance supply costs for $20,000 per week and you will need to have approximately $3,500,000 set aside before you mow the first lawn, clean the first toilet or haul off the first CY of debris.

The reality is you would need to have closer to $5,000,000 set aside before you start. That is after you spend the money to locate and open at least a half dozen offices throughout the zone, hire and train all the office staff, hire and train all of the field crews and acquire all of the equipment needed for each location and set up a full maintenance shop at each one. Because it not economically feasible to work from one location because them some of your crews are going to have a four hour drive time to their first job of the day.

We can barely get the nationals to pay enough to cover the small overhead that those of us working from our homes and out of our trucks have. There is no way they are going to pay the rates needed for a company with the kind of overhead to be able to step in and take care of an entire zone. The only way for this to be accomplished is by perpetuating the same system that is in place today whereby the contractor in the field gets a subsistence income and the order mills make bank to process pictures and create back charges.

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