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tntliska
12-22-2008, 03:34 PM
My husband and I are just starting our business. He is plowing now as a sub-contractor. I know we need to get going getting landscaping business for the spring, but we have no idea where to start. How do we go about getting commercial business? How do we know when they are accepting bids? Do we just call and ask? Or is there a certain time of year that everyone does it? I will be doing most of the lawn care, and he will be doing pruning, hardscapes, anything more difficult. He went to school for landscaping and has been doing it for almost 10 years. I went to school for business, so I'll be taking care of that end of it, but I love to be outside too!

Any advice is appreciated!

Also, any suggestions on marketing? We have very little money to start up, so I don't want to dump money into something that isn't going to give us a return.

Steve
12-23-2008, 04:23 AM
I was responding to a bunch of this in your other post but I do wonder why are you shooting for commercial clients first?

Also read this article. There are plenty others on my blog as well but this should get you started.

How to get commercial lawn care accounts, without commercial references. (http://lawnchat.com/?p=11)

cklandscapingorlando
12-23-2008, 05:52 PM
You can make more per man hour on res. vers com. work

4Alarm Lawn & Landscaping
01-03-2009, 02:15 PM
Hi I am Chris. I am the owner of 4Alarm Lawn & Landscaping LLC. I am new at this as well and i am trying to find out what the the going rates are for mowing edging blowing mulching ect. I am out of the northern Virgina area. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Chris Foreback
President
www.4alarmlawn.com

Steve
01-03-2009, 04:20 PM
Hi Chris,

Welcome to our forum!

Have you considered getting a few lawn care bids from other lawn care businesses for your property or for a local friend?

What got you to start your business?

StartALawnCareBusiness
01-06-2009, 06:17 PM
I'm with others on this. Getting your feet wet with residential clients is preferable for many lawn care businesses.

If you slightly misbid a residential customer or two you can easily recover. However a bad bid on a large scale commercial account can sink you before you even get out of the gate.

Start small and build gradually. Slow and steady wins the race.

As far as timing for getting clients; right now is the best time. Customers are already beginning to think about late winter clean up of their yards.

StartALawnCareBusiness
01-06-2009, 06:31 PM
Have you considered getting a few lawn care bids from other lawn care businesses for your property or for a local friend?



Steve:

Do you mind if I take you to task for this? ( hope not because I'm going to anyway... :D )

I personally feel this is a lousy method of determining what the going rate is.

First of all, you are wasting time and expense of others in the business. If you have no intention of giving them business don't make them come to your property to give an estimate...that's just wrong.

Secondly; how do you know what their costs are? If they are lowballers doing $20 lawns will you drop your price to $18 just to undercut them? This method gives a completely skewed idea of the profit potential of lawn care if you provide professional service and they are hacks.

Lastly; this is not a good way to make local friends in the business. How would you feel if you spent 30 minutes of your time driving to an estimate and speaking with the "customer" only to see him the next day with a lawn mower in his truck? It wouldn't make you feel good.

Thanks for the opportunity to discuss:

Steve
01-06-2009, 10:29 PM
Steve:

Do you mind if I take you to task for this? ( hope not because I'm going to anyway... )

I personally feel this is a lousy method of determining what the going rate is.

First of all, you are wasting time and expense of others in the business. If you have no intention of giving them business don't make them come to your property to give an estimate...that's just wrong.

Secondly; how do you know what their costs are? If they are lowballers doing $20 lawns will you drop your price to $18 just to undercut them? This method gives a completely skewed idea of the profit potential of lawn care if you provide professional service and they are hacks.

Lastly; this is not a good way to make local friends in the business. How would you feel if you spent 30 minutes of your time driving to an estimate and speaking with the "customer" only to see him the next day with a lawn mower in his truck? It wouldn't make you feel good.

Thanks for the opportunity to discuss:

I agree with you :)

SerranoLandscaping
01-27-2009, 07:52 PM
Hi there congrats on starting your own Landscaping Business. We are now in some hard times with the way the economy is and people holding back on landscape project or paying a lawn care company to mow their lawns. This is my 3rd year and so far this month im 15% behind budget. I lost about 10 customers due to the economy not my service but. In these kinds of situation we as Lawn Care or landscaping Co Owner have to try different ways to win a customer. Offering a better price or even offer discounts to get a new client. I've been working on formulas to improve productivity and and produce more revenue.

How much money are you looking to put down to get started?

Steve
01-28-2009, 12:14 AM
Offering a better price or even offer discounts to get a new client.

What kinds of discounts do you advise using?

SerranoLandscaping
01-29-2009, 10:26 PM
What kinds of discounts do you advise using?

You can offer discount and still make money in this business.

Small example:

New client.
Ask for price to mow the lawn every week.
You tell him is going to be $35/wk
That's $140.00/Month
Lets say you mow 30 weeks in a year
$1,050 for the year

The Discount:
Ask him if he wants to sign a contract for one year and he could save 10%
that's a savings of $105.00. You lock him in at $945.00

But then you can offer maybe a week later some pruning work , 5 application fert program or mulch. But charge him the 10% he saved on the mowing into his pruning, the fert application or the mulch job.

Make the customer feel like they are saving money.

Now is a good time to offer great prices to customers due to low fuel cost and bad economy. Also one thing I learned in my 3 years in business. If a person tells you " the other guy does it for $20.00 " and your price was $25.00 walk away from the person. Just keep going and keep knocking on doors. A Lot of Small business don't see any profit due to low balling.

My goal is to keep my prices at $100 per acre or $45 hr.

Steve
01-30-2009, 11:34 AM
But then you can offer maybe a week later some pruning work , 5 application fert program or mulch. But charge him the 10% he saved on the mowing into his pruning, the fert application or the mulch job.

Oh that is very interesting! Do you have advice on how best to approach the customer on the upsells? Which ways work best?