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  • Breaking into commercial accounts

    Any suggestions?

    I plan to be fully insured by first of the year and although I do some work for a couple Realtors now, I plan to hit that market hard in the Spring then begin shifting to Commercial towards mid-season. I'll have my last two mowers bought by then (36" WB and 54/60" ZT) and will hopefully have a ft employee, if not two.

    My 2nd yr/3rd season has been strong and I'm finally beginning to make a name for myself. But full time residential is dampening my spirits.

    People just plain suck lol!

  • #2
    Any suggestions?

    I plan to be fully insured by first of the year and although I do some work for a couple Realtors now, I plan to hit that market hard in the Spring then begin shifting to Commercial towards mid-season. I'll have my last two mowers bought by then (36" WB and 54/60" ZT) and will hopefully have a ft employee, if not two.

    My 2nd yr/3rd season has been strong and I'm finally beginning to make a name for myself. But full time residential is dampening my spirits.

    People just plain suck lol!
    In the same position, looking for guidance. I am in my 4th season, still a solo operation, but by choice. I mostly maintain 30 residential customers, and 3 equine. I had a couple commercial in the past, but they were low end and not worth the time, so I dropped them.

    My biggest thing is how do I get commercial accounts? DO you simply start calling places and asking to place a bid? Is there a better way? Most guys in my area that do commercial have been around for 5+ years, with the largest being 100+ years old. They get commercial because of their name, but their quality sucks. How do I break into commercial by selling my quality rather than a family name that everyone knows?

    Comment


    • #3
      acrajchel,
      If your plan is to stay solo why on earth would you ever do anything except residential? If you have the quality, you have them by the balls. In December raise 5 of your customers $5. Get them to commit. If they do.... raise another 5 customers $5. And so on.

      And when they want you to do extra's.... don't give them a cheap price. Take the price you would have given them last June and add $10/$20/$50.

      You could do this every year until you see the customers won't go for it anymore. Push them to their limits and then you know the magic price.

      Being solo YOU are in control of everything in residential. Or I can tell you how to get those commercial accounts.... be the first guy at the bottom of the price list.

      Even SGL1 could do the above and still make it work. As for the people who suck, here is a true story about what I used to do when I dealt with them. If they were chronic complainers I'd say something like.... now you don't want me to have to add a $10 PITA tax do you? And they would ask, what's a PITA tax? And I'd say, well, you're always a pain in the (*) so from now on if it continues I will need to charge an extra $10 for a PITA tax. They would either get the message and straighten up or stop service. At that point you are usually fine either way. Funny thing is, most of mine always straightened up because they knew they were being a PITA.

      Comment


      • #4
        acrajchel,
        If your plan is to stay solo why on earth would you ever do anything except residential? If you have the quality, you have them by the balls. In December raise 5 of your customers $5. Get them to commit. If they do.... raise another 5 customers $5. And so on.

        And when they want you to do extra's.... don't give them a cheap price. Take the price you would have given them last June and add $10/$20/$50.

        You could do this every year until you see the customers won't go for it anymore. Push them to their limits and then you know the magic price.

        Being solo YOU are in control of everything in residential. Or I can tell you how to get those commercial accounts.... be the first guy at the bottom of the price list.

        Even SGL1 could do the above and still make it work. As for the people who suck, here is a true story about what I used to do when I dealt with them. If they were chronic complainers I'd say something like.... now you don't want me to have to add a $10 PITA tax do you? And they would ask, what's a PITA tax? And I'd say, well, you're always a pain in the (*) so from now on if it continues I will need to charge an extra $10 for a PITA tax. They would either get the message and straighten up or stop service. At that point you are usually fine either way. Funny thing is, most of mine always straightened up because they knew they were being a PITA.
        I am currently a solo operation, but don't want to be for much longer. The problem with being in residential, is that lawn care and landscaping is an option for most people. How many property managers are going to go mow their own commercial space when the economy goes down? None.

        I do agree with you that residential has higher profit margins, and I'm not going to forget about that. But I do want to diversify my client base to be more sustainable.

        I might have a different outlook if I was able to get high-end residential customers. The kind that don't worry about things like economic depression and want a full package care of their house. The problem is, that every nice neighborhood around here doesn't allow soliciting in there. I have gotten a couple homes in these areas through online lead services, referrals, etc., but not enough. Another thing is what to do in the winter? I only have 2 or 3 residential customers who would be interested in snow removal. Commercial will almost always want it.

        So, SC93, I do agree with you that residential is a good place to be working at, but I think it is time to go to the next level.

        On the plus side, I sat down and googled property management companies in my area. Just started going down the list and calling. The last one on my list actually said she has 7 properties up for bid right now and she wants an immediate proposal for these. They aren't super nice properties, but they will provide a good revenue stream and she wants snow removal included. I also talked to another guy who said they just finished their round of bids, but definitely wants me to bid next time, so he will call me.

        I also started thinking about what kind of commercial properties I would prefer to do. The best thing I could think of is banks. I'm talking smaller home town banks or regional banks. These properties are small enough for me to handle and they would want full service contracts, including irrigation and snow removal. I also try to provide a superior quality of service compared to the big guys around here, and that philosophy fits in with the appearance a bank expects from their landscaping. So I am going to start calling every one I can find.

        Thanks!

        Comment


        • #5

          Being solo YOU are in control of everything in residential. Or I can tell you how to get those commercial accounts.... be the first guy at the bottom of the price list.

          Even SGL1 could do the above and still make it work. As for the people who suck, here is a true story about what I used to do when I dealt with them. If they were chronic complainers I'd say something like.... now you don't want me to have to add a $10 PITA tax do you? And they would ask, what's a PITA tax? And I'd say, well, you're always a pain in the (*) so from now on if it continues I will need to charge an extra $10 for a PITA tax. They would either get the message and straighten up or stop service. At that point you are usually fine either way. Funny thing is, most of mine always straightened up because they knew they were being a PITA.
          SC, I like you man I need to Fedex you a sixer!

          The first bit, I knew. I mean that goes without sayin' but good to hear from someone who knows. The 2nd bit is jus too damn funny.

          Firing mofos does get easier doesn't it? Even when they're cute, single moms that work that "But I'm so struggling" con as long as they can milk it.

          Comment


          • #6
            I am currently a solo operation, but don't want to be for much longer. The problem with being in residential, is that lawn care and landscaping is an option for most people. How many property managers are going to go mow their own commercial space when the economy goes down? None.

            I do agree with you that residential has higher profit margins, and I'm not going to forget about that. But I do want to diversify my client base to be more sustainable.

            I might have a different outlook if I was able to get high-end residential customers. The kind that don't worry about things like economic depression and want a full package care of their house. The problem is, that every nice neighborhood around here doesn't allow soliciting in there. I have gotten a couple homes in these areas through online lead services, referrals, etc., but not enough. Another thing is what to do in the winter? I only have 2 or 3 residential customers who would be interested in snow removal. Commercial will almost always want it.

            So, SC93, I do agree with you that residential is a good place to be working at, but I think it is time to go to the next level.

            On the plus side, I sat down and googled property management companies in my area. Just started going down the list and calling. The last one on my list actually said she has 7 properties up for bid right now and she wants an immediate proposal for these. They aren't super nice properties, but they will provide a good revenue stream and she wants snow removal included. I also talked to another guy who said they just finished their round of bids, but definitely wants me to bid next time, so he will call me.

            I also started thinking about what kind of commercial properties I would prefer to do. The best thing I could think of is banks. I'm talking smaller home town banks or regional banks. These properties are small enough for me to handle and they would want full service contracts, including irrigation and snow removal. I also try to provide a superior quality of service compared to the big guys around here, and that philosophy fits in with the appearance a bank expects from their landscaping. So I am going to start calling every one I can find.

            Thanks!
            Ya know, even though most of us are literally a dime a dz depending on our locations, we stand out by our knowledge and expertise. I was in the mortgage industry for 10 yrs and learned, to make people want to give you money, they gotta like you first and trust you second.

            I plan to just bombard businesses and Realtor offices and if I can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, I'll baffle 'em with bullchit. Oh yeah, and bring donuts.

            Comment


            • #7
              To break in to commercial work, you need:
              *$2M general liability insurance minimum
              *Workmans' Comp insurance
              *Copies of all related licensure (business, pesticide contractor, etc.)
              From here, you email every possible property manager and personally walk in to independent businesses to sell them your services.
              integritylawnpro.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Any suggestions?

                I plan to be fully insured by first of the year and although I do some work for a couple Realtors now, I plan to hit that market hard in the Spring then begin shifting to Commercial towards mid-season. I'll have my last two mowers bought by then (36" WB and 54/60" ZT) and will hopefully have a ft employee, if not two.

                My 2nd yr/3rd season has been strong and I'm finally beginning to make a name for myself. But full time residential is dampening my spirits.

                People just plain suck lol!
                How is it working through realtors? I've been considering that route but wasn't sure if it was worth it. I'm trying to get set up with insurance and taxes right now but I'm trying to see if theres enough business out there

                Comment

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