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  • Im Going Broke Bidding

    im the new guy to the to the biz & im running into a problem there are 2 huge companies in my area they have 80% of all businesses around here it is hard to get any commercial work so when i get a chance to bid on a job i try to make money and to bid high enuf to where it is fair so im not low balling any 1. i have bid hotels and never heard any thing back from them i know the price was lower then the big companies why am i not getting the jobs ?

    Yes i am licensed and insured
    Yes i have uniforms / shirts, hats, hoodies with logo so i look like a pro


    also how do you know where to bid or how to place a bid for places like stores, wall mart , kmart, dr offices any thing of that nature ? i have called and emailed and no one will tell me any thing " people dont like change around here" PLEASE HELP this is my 1st year in biz i dont want it to be the last

    How do you get new clients if your starting from scratch i have flyered and emailed and had only a few calls is it to early to be tring to get clients


    PLEASE HELP !!!!!!!!

  • #2
    im the new guy to the to the biz & im running into a problem there are 2 huge companies in my area they have 80% of all businesses around here it is hard to get any commercial work so when i get a chance to bid on a job i try to make money and to bid high enuf to where it is fair so im not low balling any 1. i have bid hotels and never heard any thing back from them i know the price was lower then the big companies why am i not getting the jobs ?

    Yes i am licensed and insured
    Yes i have uniforms / shirts, hats, hoodies with logo so i look like a pro


    also how do you know where to bid or how to place a bid for places like stores, wall mart , kmart, dr offices any thing of that nature ? i have called and emailed and no one will tell me any thing " people dont like change around here" PLEASE HELP this is my 1st year in biz i dont want it to be the last

    How do you get new clients if your starting from scratch i have flyered and emailed and had only a few calls is it to early to be tring to get clients


    PLEASE HELP !!!!!!!!

    As far as it being too early, that depends on where you are in the country really. The advice I have to offer is this:
    • You know what you need to bid on a job to make a profit. Stick to this. Don't fall into the trap of wanting to land a large commercial account so bad that you loose money (or not make enough to make it worth your while)

    • Keep a positive attitude (and image) and keep hanging those doorhangers, fliers, etc. The calls will come.


    What do your fliers look like? Could you post a copy for us to look at?

    You are right that some people/companies don't like change. If the larger lawn care provider has been servicing them for years and are doing a good job, these properties will be hard to land. Instead of worrying about competing with the big guys, concentrate on the smaller accounts and build your reputation. I know there is more money involved with larger accounts but in the mean time, you can feed your family and keep your head above water doing more smaller accounts.

    Do you have a website? You may consider using the strategy I suggest it.

    What marketing efforts have you made so far? How many fliers/door hangers have you distributed? Sometimes I see people getting scared when they have handed out 100 fliers or so and haven't landed many accounts. This isn't a large enough sample size to really see a pattern.

    I hope this helps. Keep the questions coming! The people around here are very knowledgeable and more than willing to help!

    Comment


    • #3
      Great question.

      First off, to learn more about getting commercial lawn care customers, read this link. I have a lot of articles in there that will really help you.

      Second off, you can't go head to head with two well established and better funded businesses and expect to survive. You need to instead focus on what they are not doing or what they don't do. You need to let your smallness and newness be your asset. You need to play that up in your marketing.

      Why go after commercial customers now when it appears they have the market locked up, when instead you could go after homeowners that want that personalized lawn care experience. Where they know they are dealing with an owner operator and that is what you have to offer!

      What's your take on all that?
      - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
      Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

      Comment


      • #4
        One angle you may want to try is offer a month long agreement to get to see how your work will look if they decide to go with you after the 4 weeks. Once you prove to them that your service will be top notch, may be enough to get a commitment for the rest of the year.
        http://www.lunchesruslawncare.com

        Comment


        • #5
          im the new guy to the to the biz & im running into a problem there are 2 huge companies in my area they have 80% of all businesses around here it is hard to get any commercial work so when i get a chance to bid on a job i try to make money and to bid high enuf to where it is fair so im not low balling any 1. i have bid hotels and never heard any thing back from them i know the price was lower then the big companies why am i not getting the jobs ?

          Yes i am licensed and insured
          Yes i have uniforms / shirts, hats, hoodies with logo so i look like a pro


          also how do you know where to bid or how to place a bid for places like stores, wall mart , kmart, dr offices any thing of that nature ? i have called and emailed and no one will tell me any thing " people dont like change around here" PLEASE HELP this is my 1st year in biz i dont want it to be the last

          How do you get new clients if your starting from scratch i have flyered and emailed and had only a few calls is it to early to be tring to get clients


          PLEASE HELP !!!!!!!!
          Few observations.

          Like the others have said you cant compete with the big guys yet. They have stability, name and price working to their advantage. Commercial accounts in my area aren't even worth bidding for my company. The competition is so fierce that prices have dropped through the floor. I stick with residential. If I get a call for a bid on commercial, I will submit one, but I dont market to them.

          Have you followed up with these companies on your bids. What did you include in your bid package? You are probably not getting the jobs for a few reasons. One could be a incomplete bid package, or they are happy with the company they have and are just accepting bids to pressure them lower. It could also be your bid was to high or low... A good property manager knows the time and money it will take to maintain his property. As a new company they may be worried about your reliablity. They may wonder if you will show up in mid-August when it is 100 degrees out. Also they may be looking for a company to provide complete property maintenance and you may not offer the services that they need. These are just a few possiblities.

          I would start by following up. Call your contacts and find out. In addition you have to sell your work. You dont just want to send a email with a few word docs and call it good.

          I would start with residential, the money is better, there is less competition and you have a better chance of getting the work. It is still going to take work and time, but it isnt unreasonable to get 15-20 residential accounts your first year. However it typically takes the season to amass this and depending on your marketing tactics say @$2000-$2500 in marketing costs. These are just ball park figures. I have seen guys start on a shoe string and get more clients and we have all seen the posts from guys who spent twice as much and were out of business before the end of the season.

          Let us know what you find.

          Comment


          • #6
            Target the smaller businesses. Word of mouth and being seen will get you into the larger stuff over time.
            Evansville Lawn Mowing
            Newburgh Lawn Care

            Comment


            • #7
              Bid package ??

              Few observations.

              Like the others have said you cant compete with the big guys yet. They have stability, name and price working to their advantage. Commercial accounts in my area aren't even worth bidding for my company. The competition is so fierce that prices have dropped through the floor. I stick with residential. If I get a call for a bid on commercial, I will submit one, but I dont market to them.

              Have you followed up with these companies on your bids. What did you include in your bid package? You are probably not getting the jobs for a few reasons. One could be a incomplete bid package, or they are happy with the company they have and are just accepting bids to pressure them lower. It could also be your bid was to high or low... A good property manager knows the time and money it will take to maintain his property. As a new company they may be worried about your reliablity. They may wonder if you will show up in mid-August when it is 100 degrees out. Also they may be looking for a company to provide complete property maintenance and you may not offer the services that they need. These are just a few possiblities.

              I would start by following up. Call your contacts and find out. In addition you have to sell your work. You dont just want to send a email with a few word docs and call it good.

              I would start with residential, the money is better, there is less competition and you have a better chance of getting the work. It is still going to take work and time, but it isnt unreasonable to get 15-20 residential accounts your first year. However it typically takes the season to amass this and depending on your marketing tactics say @$2000-$2500 in marketing costs. These are just ball park figures. I have seen guys start on a shoe string and get more clients and we have all seen the posts from guys who spent twice as much and were out of business before the end of the season.

              Let us know what you find.


              Im not sure what you mean by a "Bid package" i got a job estimate off here modifide to and made it look nice i all so included biz cards and a coupon or two other that is what i am submiting i will post a estimate if you guys see any thing wrong with it please let me know

              THANKS TO ALL THAT REPLY
              Attached Files

              Comment


              • #8
                as a new guy,stick to residential untill you learn the business .Screwing up a residential bid is nothing compared to screwing up a huge comercial bid .The larger work will come in time .

                Comment


                • #9
                  Few points:

                  Did you ask them if they wanted weekly or bi-weekly services? Can you find out what they have been receiving prior to this season as far as weekly or bi-weekly?

                  I submitted a very similar bid package last year and the response I got was "your bid was incomplete" come to find out they wanted a monthly cost figured out as well as a seasonal total.

                  Dont expect to land your first few commercial bids, think of them more as learning experiences. For example, I submitted a bid package for a local school district, I doubt I will land the contract, however, I WILL be at the bid opening meeting tomorrow afternoon, by doing this I will get a chance to hear other bids, compare prices, costs, and services. Also, I will attend the meeting at which the school board will decide which bid to accept and which company they will be going with. I am expecting to learn from thjis process more than I expect to land the contract, dont get me wrong I'm optimistic, however, I must also be realistic. This is my second year (on my own) and competing with other local companies is tough.

                  Keep your chin up, and GOOD LUCK!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Im not sure what you mean by a "Bid package" i got a job estimate off here modifide to and made it look nice i all so included biz cards and a coupon or two other that is what i am submiting i will post a estimate if you guys see any thing wrong with it please let me know

                    THANKS TO ALL THAT REPLY
                    Boog,

                    What I mean is what did you include with the bid when you submitted it?

                    Typical bid package of mine might include a color folder, inside the folder would be my bid/estimate, a letter to the property manager/contact, probably a copy of my contract, brochure, basic information on my business, business cards, copy of my insurance and any licensing documents and a copy of my satisfaction guarantee.

                    I dont give coupons to commercial bids. I may offer a discount wording in the bid, but coupons are reserved for residentials.

                    I looked at your bid sheet. I noticed at the top you have your name and city but no address, logo or other contact information. I would add that. I would also have someone proof-read your document. I think I noticed a few typos. You can get free logos on this site and others or find one online for a few bucks. I spent $50 for mine and it works great for me. I wont comment on the wording of the bid. Talk with your business advisors/attorney about those questions.

                    I might also suggest if you are emailing this document that you turn it into a PDF before you send it. That way the wording cant be easily changed by the recipient. Not to say they would, but you never know.

                    However I would probably start marketing to residentials by either making or having made some flyers or door hangers and start handing them out to subdivisions around where you live. I would highly recommend a website and online advertising. I have pretty good luck with adwords and my google local listing making the phone ring.

                    Some guys have had success with craigslist and other free online sites. I am not a fan. You can also check out servicemagic. I started with them this year and have been happy with the leads I am getting thus far... Direct mail for me has been hit or miss. Really depends on the offer and when you send it not to mention the list. Personally I am going to target new home buyers this year with some post cards and letters. Trial and error.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Boog,

                      What I mean is what did you include with the bid when you submitted it?

                      Typical bid package of mine might include a color folder, inside the folder would be my bid/estimate, a letter to the property manager/contact, probably a copy of my contract, brochure, basic information on my business, business cards, copy of my insurance and any licensing documents and a copy of my satisfaction guarantee.

                      I dont give coupons to commercial bids. I may offer a discount wording in the bid, but coupons are reserved for residentials.

                      I looked at your bid sheet. I noticed at the top you have your name and city but no address, logo or other contact information. I would add that. I would also have someone proof-read your document. I think I noticed a few typos. You can get free logos on this site and others or find one online for a few bucks. I spent $50 for mine and it works great for me. I wont comment on the wording of the bid. Talk with your business advisors/attorney about those questions.

                      I might also suggest if you are emailing this document that you turn it into a PDF before you send it. That way the wording cant be easily changed by the recipient. Not to say they would, but you never know.

                      However I would probably start marketing to residentials by either making or having made some flyers or door hangers and start handing them out to subdivisions around where you live. I would highly recommend a website and online advertising. I have pretty good luck with adwords and my google local listing making the phone ring.

                      Some guys have had success with craigslist and other free online sites. I am not a fan. You can also check out servicemagic. I started with them this year and have been happy with the leads I am getting thus far... Direct mail for me has been hit or miss. Really depends on the offer and when you send it not to mention the list. Personally I am going to target new home buyers this year with some post cards and letters. Trial and error.

                      The bid package sounds a whole lot better then just handing them a sheet of paper i will get to work on getting something like that together as for the estimate i removed all my contact info be for i posted it on here so i wouldnt be geting any strange emails or calls i just have to say thank you for your help!!

                      i got a call from a diffrent motel they want me to submit a bid for there mowing and pressure washing so i will get to work on geting a package together once agin thanks for the help

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Few points:

                        Did you ask them if they wanted weekly or bi-weekly services? Can you find out what they have been receiving prior to this season as far as weekly or bi-weekly?

                        I submitted a very similar bid package last year and the response I got was "your bid was incomplete" come to find out they wanted a monthly cost figured out as well as a seasonal total.

                        Dont expect to land your first few commercial bids, think of them more as learning experiences. For example, I submitted a bid package for a local school district, I doubt I will land the contract, however, I WILL be at the bid opening meeting tomorrow afternoon, by doing this I will get a chance to hear other bids, compare prices, costs, and services. Also, I will attend the meeting at which the school board will decide which bid to accept and which company they will be going with. I am expecting to learn from thjis process more than I expect to land the contract, dont get me wrong I'm optimistic, however, I must also be realistic. This is my second year (on my own) and competing with other local companies is tough.

                        Keep your chin up, and GOOD LUCK!
                        I did not ask about weekly / bi-weekly i didnt think about it i wrote it up the same way i do for residential customers its been working ok for them . your right this is a learning experience i never thought this much went into getting clients well if it was easy every one would be doing it GOOD LUCK ON YOUR MEETING let me know how it gos and thanks for the reply

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          your right this is a learning experience i never thought this much went into getting clients well if it was easy every one would be doing it
                          I was beginning to thank every one is doing it. I just looked at one of my ads that has been running for about three weeks now in one of the papers there were 7 other ads on the very same page. These as well as mine were all display ads. Anyone ever run the little line ads?

                          On the other hand I have and ad in another town where I am the only LCO in the whole paper.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Are you tracking your calls to see where new callers have initially heard of you from? Are you finding that you are getting enough calls to make the newspaper advertising worthwhile?
                            - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                            Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Are you tracking your calls to see where new callers have initially heard of you from? Are you finding that you are getting enough calls to make the newspaper advertising worthwhile?
                              Yes, I do track calls, and no it doesn't seem worthwhile just yet. I kinda hope the others will think so as well and start pulling their ads.

                              Comment

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