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Getting small accounts can be easier than you think


Starting a lawn care business.

How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:45 AM
Robc Robc is offline
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Default Getting small accounts can be easier than you think

Just wanted to let some of the new guys know that want to get small commercial accounts how easy it can be to encourage you to go out there and talk to businesses.
I was mowing a property and noticed a business kitty corner from where I was at that needed some maintenance. So I told my partner and we stopped in there. We asked who we would talk to about the maintenance and they sent him out. We asked and he said yeah he would like a estimate. He also said if we actually showed up he would be impressed and if the price was reasonable we could have the job. The point is all you have to do is have confidence to go out there and talk to businesses and sell service.
When I started I was to nervous to do it. Now for smaller properties that I can know I can handle I dont have any problem walking in and asking. The worst they can do is not at this time.
His main thing was that we actually show up and work. He said you dont know how many times landscapers have come in here and bid on this place and never show up again. I will be real suprised if you even show up....

But at the same time I have a question. While we were walking around taking measurements for the cleanup and maintenance he came out and asked if we had any idea for the price. We told him for maintenance about $120 per month. He only wants bi weekly cuttings. He was like well thats a reasonable price. Ive had guys come in here with prices that are way out there.
So my question if you have the same square footage for a commercial and residential property how does the commercial property cost 3 times what the residential of the same sq ft. cost?
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:56 AM
robgee05 robgee05 is offline
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Default Commercial Prices

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Well Im sure if your doing Commercial accounts your Lic and Insured. So I think the problem in pricing on Smaller Commercial accounts comes in when the person your giving the bid has a low baller doing their home for $20 a cut, and the comparable commercial property is bid at $60 because you actually have overhead. Not to mention a lot of larger Landscapers wont even drop their equipment for less $100 once they start dealing with all commercial accounts.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robgee05 View Post
Well Im sure if your doing Commercial accounts your Lic and Insured. So I think the problem in pricing on Smaller Commercial accounts comes in when the person your giving the bid has a low baller doing their home for $20 a cut, and the comparable commercial property is bid at $60 because you actually have overhead. Not to mention a lot of larger Landscapers wont even drop their equipment for less $100 once they start dealing with all commercial accounts.
I can see what your saying. - Larger landscapers probably arent out bidding on commercial properties that take 45 min to maintain either because its almost a waste of their time i would guess. Thats ok though because thats the ones i can do as i learn and work my way up.
I cant remember how many feet it is but if you are doing only maintenance related landscaping insurance is pretty cheap even for $1 mil coverage because you arent going to deep in the ground if you do dig. When you cross into construction related jobs.
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:56 PM
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One commercial job I bid on this year was at a busy intersection. This company required 2mil in general liability which many of the other LCO's didn't seem to have. I don't typically charge anymore for commercial maintenance until you factor in that I wasn't pushed to compromise my price because the homeowner is talking about the teen that will cut their yard for half the cost. Even then I will bring up overhead and liability and of course quality. I do see that trimming and edging curbs and sidewalks take a little longer on commercial properties when their parking lots are full and the street out front is busy, these can become obstacles. I look to pick up the bed and shrub maintenance though which helps to offset that little extra time
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:20 PM
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I wonder why people dont understand that if you are running a licensed and insured business and performing quality work that it costs more than what the teenager next door is maintaining it for and yet they expect it to be so cheap.
But then if you call someone to come out and do some maintenance work on any other part of your property or house; having them charge $75/hr is really no big deal or same for fixing their car...
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Old 05-18-2011, 08:56 PM
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I think the problem is that most people have the mentality that "it's just cutting grass" but as any true landscape maintenance professional knows it is far more than that.
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:18 AM
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Quote:
So my question if you have the same square footage for a commercial and residential property how does the commercial property cost 3 times what the residential of the same sq ft. cost?
Have you found that to be the case in your area that commercial tends to be 3 times the price of residential or were you just using it as a guesstimated figure in your question?
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Old 05-20-2011, 10:18 AM
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Have you found that to be the case in your area that commercial tends to be 3 times the price of residential or were you just using it as a guesstimated figure in your question?
I know of a few times this happened to me. Twice with a couple of HOA's and at least once with a business owner at his business. So I'm guessing that this must be the case probably more than half of the time.
OR maybe we could be under bidding unintentionally??? This is when I was working with my partner and he was doing the bidding.
Im not sure. but i was also at a home owners house the other day doing a cleanup which took 7 hours with 3 guys working and cost him $530. Me and 2 employees.
The customer came out and told me that last year 2 guys did the same thing for 750 and it took them 6 hours. He felt he didnt get a good value for his money spent from them but they did a good job.
He told me we were more thorough than them but they also did some trimming. He was extremely happy with what we did.
The point is I felt that job we did was a little under bidded. The previous landscapers charged about 200 more and did it in less time with 1 less guy but we did a better job. Maybe we could be under bidding slightly unintentionally.,
Maybe this is why but we seem to be pretty much right on with residential customers.
Im not sure. it still seems to me like if its a commercial property the price automatically goes up...
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Old 05-23-2011, 03:52 AM
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Do you think part of it is that it seems easier to ask a commercial property for more money than a single home owner because no matter what you quote the home owner, you always worry that it's going to be too much for a single home owner to handle?
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
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Do you think part of it is that it seems easier to ask a commercial property for more money than a single home owner because no matter what you quote the home owner, you always worry that it's going to be too much for a single home owner to handle?
I think your right steve. It seems like you always stress a little that its going to be to much with a residential.
But i finally had some time to do some reading on here. I think it doesnt matter to much what others are charging. I think what i need to do is sit down and try to figure out my operating costs and what i want to make and go off that. And as long as i am within some kind of margin of a "standard" in my area (not way to low and not way to high) then thats what i need to worry about. I know my operating costs arent that much so I should be in a fair to average rate.

There is some really good info about how to figure out operating costs. its just sitting down and actually doing it...just like some one else said its kind of like taxes...
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