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View Full Version : How can you compete with BRICKMAN


gslawncare
11-29-2005, 03:53 PM
customers seem to be so happy and are reluctant to recieve competitive bids. Do these guys blow the prop. mgrs, free plants, snow and ls care. What's there secret. I know the huge commercial lease properties are out of question at this point but somethings got to give. I live at one of there sites and they won't tell me prices and only said they were on a 3yr agreement, and have used there company for 12yrs. I'm sick of those ugly brown trucks

JB1
11-29-2005, 03:59 PM
I'm sick of those ugly brown trucks[/QUOTE]


Was in a lot the other day and saw a couple hundred more new trucks for them .

nobagger
11-29-2005, 04:01 PM
Who is Brickman?

gslawncare
11-29-2005, 04:29 PM
www.brickmangroup.com If you don't know brickman then you need to open your eyes to the fact they have more crews working everyday than all the LCO's on this site. They are a nation-wide full service landscape company and they don't even cut res. PA's got 2 branches, pittsburg and plymouth meeting.

rbriggs
11-29-2005, 04:38 PM
Just checked out there site. Are they a franchise or all company owned locations? They seem to be VERY big!

gslawncare
11-29-2005, 04:48 PM
private company, with region mgrs, branch mgrs, deadly organized.

mowmasteruk
11-29-2005, 04:57 PM
www.brickmangroup.com If you don't know brickman then you need to open your eyes to the fact they have more crews working everyday than all the LCO's on this site. .
I've looked at their site and all I can say is...wow, breathtaking!

dvmcmrhp52
11-29-2005, 06:11 PM
Why would you want to compete with Brickman?
Don't even try unless you're going to mexico this winter and bring back your new crews..........

mdb landscaping
11-29-2005, 06:22 PM
I interned for the company........You almost have to be an accountant to work for them. like said above, deadly organized and control a lot of nice accounts. you can compete with them though:D

AintNoFun
11-29-2005, 07:02 PM
you can compete with them though:D

i'd like to know how. i really don't think you can, unless you lowball them. 2 friends of mine got out of there own biz's and went to work for them. they both agree how well everything is managed.

climber
11-29-2005, 07:38 PM
You're just going to have to deal with it. Until you can get big enough to bid against them. Im in the tree business and somewhat of grass and landscaping. And in our business we have to bid against the local hacks (we are ISA certified) because we dont have the equipment nor the personel to go against Davey, Asplundh, Bartlett, etc. They've been in the business a hell of alot longer than you have, and they learned how to run it successfully (no offense). "So if you cant beet em' then why not join em'!" Anf btw I never heard of Brickman either.

Hope I helped,
Dan

Brianslawn
11-29-2005, 08:14 PM
i'd like to know how. i really don't think you can, unless you lowball them. 2 friends of mine got out of there own biz's and went to work for them. they both agree how well everything is managed.



consolidate. all you lawnboys need to give up your selfish ways and look at the big picture. thats why tgcl/service master/etc. is so big!

good post climber

The Cowboy
11-29-2005, 08:26 PM
Bid for cash payment, or paint your truck a better color.

AGLA
11-29-2005, 09:07 PM
Instead of looking at what they can do, look for what they can not do. You can't beat them if you choose to try to match what they do.

Competition is limited to to people who are offering the same thing you are and have a reasonable chance of beating you at it. If you work out of their realm, they are not competition.

AintNoFun
11-29-2005, 09:23 PM
consolidate. all you lawnboys need to give up your selfish ways and look at the big picture. thats why tgcl/service master/etc. is so big!

good post climber



look at what big picture, what selfish ways? great post.. and im no lawnboy...

AintNoFun
11-29-2005, 09:24 PM
You can't beat them if you choose to try to match what they do.


so what can you do that they don't do?? its apples to apples. your gonna put the same fert down, trim the same shrubs, weed the same beds. so what can you do?

AGLA
11-29-2005, 09:39 PM
Can you identify a type of client that is not interested in having a company like Brickman working for them? Maybe its a little old lady that needs a mow, blow, & go and you to reach a can of soup down from the top shelf in her pantry. Maybe it is a high end customer who wants the same guy designing it to be digging the holes.

Brickman is not in my back yard yet, so I can't identify what aspect of landscaping that some clients are going to be looking for that they can not deliver. But, there is no perfect method of operation that is going to satisfy everyone. You have to identify it and then fill the niche. Maybe it is water gardens, maybe it is crunchy earthy native stuff, maybe your crew is local people, ...

Don't look for what the general public likes about them, but what some potential clients do not like (even if it is ugly).

Don't be an apple, become an orange.

The Cowboy
11-29-2005, 09:42 PM
so what can you do that they don't do?? its apples to apples. your gonna put the same fert down, trim the same shrubs, weed the same beds. so what can you do?
Paint your truck a better color and wear clothes that look like landscapers rather than coal miners. John deere green is not nearly as depressing as Brown and Coffee. Your workers could have a better work ethic and attitude. Give your customer more of a hometown feeling. This Proffessional corporate stuff gets old, especially when they call and have to dial a gazzillion numbers just to reach a live person.

Metro Lawn
11-29-2005, 09:45 PM
Brickman show they have a couple locations near here. I have yet to see even 1 truck on the road. Are they using sub companiresor something?

The Cowboy
11-29-2005, 09:48 PM
maybe they are strictly commercial not residential in your area.

AintNoFun
11-29-2005, 10:11 PM
Can you identify a type of client that is not interested in having a company like Brickman working for them? Maybe its a little old lady that needs a mow, blow, & go and you to reach a can of soup down from the top shelf in her pantry. Maybe it is a high end customer who wants the same guy designing it to be digging the holes..

they don't bother with residential, i guess its not worth it to them.. i was talking about commercial/condo work etc. nothin for nothin you should have known they don't do residential before you posted...

AGLA
11-29-2005, 10:19 PM
There is your answer.

AintNoFun
11-29-2005, 10:26 PM
i reread my post, i apolgize if i came off rude. but its quit aggravating competing against this company and i don't see it being done. ive lost probably $80,000 of annual mowing work to this company in the past few years...

NNJLandman
11-29-2005, 11:29 PM
Listen Brickman is a well built solid company....what can you do they charge accordingly....they do a good job, its a good company. I mean yea they are competition, im not gonna support them and advertise them, but do you think they have all this equipment, all those employees and offices and charge next to nothing and do shotty work....no they are trained and they take this profession to the next level, they laid a solid foundation and have a good reputation. I mean some people can only put up with them so long and dont like their work but you get that with everyone, a buddy of mine jus got three of their accounts, the accounts looked fine to me but it wasnt what the manager wanted....

Jeff

hoskm01
11-30-2005, 02:24 AM
www.brickmangroup.com If you don't know brickman then you need to open your eyes to the fact they have more crews working everyday than all the LCO's on this site. They are a nation-wide full service landscape company and they don't even cut res. PA's got 2 branches, pittsburg and plymouth meeting.


They're not nationwide. Never heard or seen of them here in AZ and website shows they're only in 23 states. Hardly a huge company!:dizzy: Impressive growth, if thats what you want.

TScapes
11-30-2005, 12:08 PM
AintNoFun-

To compete with Brickman, ECI (Valley Crest)or TGLC you have to know what you are up against. Just like with any business, you need to know your competition. What services do they provide? Do you know their prices? What kind of equipment do they run? etc.....
Better yet, ask yourself "What is it that separates me from Brickman or anyone else? Why should someone buy my service or choose my service over everyone else?"
Simple...... personal. You can provide them a "personal" service b/c you are a small company that can alter your services to meet their individual needs. Don't bash the other company, just sell yourself above them!
Keep in mind though, with being Big..... you get Big contracts. Meaning that they may service multiple sites for the management company that runs your condo/apt complex. It may not be their in your immediate vicinity, but chances are somewhere in another state, they service one and have made that thier way "IN".

AintNoFun
11-30-2005, 04:45 PM
What services do they provide? Do you know their prices? What kind of equipment do they run? etc.....
Better yet, ask yourself "What is it that separates me from Brickman or anyone else? Why should someone buy my service or choose my service over everyone else?"
Simple...... personal. You can provide them a "personal" service b/c you are a small company that can alter your services to meet their individual needs. Don't bash the other company, just sell yourself above them!

i keep hearing the same stuff from you guys. you say what services do they provide. they provide services to commercial clients that everyone else offers, what can i offer them that someone else wont? daily weeding/trimming/mowing? its all the same services we that everyone offers whether it be me, brickman, or another lco. theres not many services you can or can't offer that someone else does. we can all trim shrubs, mulch beds, fertilizer, cut grass, etc. what equipment do they run, what does that have to do with anything, they use scag i use hustler and scag, and thats gonna get me the job over them, yea okkk... you say personal service, they might even have more personal service with me. instead of me running MY WHOLE company (recievables,payables,workers, estimates,etc.) the foreman brickman just put in charge of the job has maybe 15 condos to worry about. thats it he sole job it to satisfy those 15 condos. all his time is to those jobs thats it. so they got me beat there.. what other ideas can you throw at me???

TWUllc
11-30-2005, 05:02 PM
Brickman isn't ALL THAT.:D Well, atleast when it comes to the division or branch that does maintenance for my father's facility. (He is a Nursing Home Administrator) Hes had problems upon problems with Brickman, but with how cheap the price is, compared to what any of us could charge, it keeps my father's Regional Boss resigning Brickman back every year. What can ya do right?:waving:

sanfordandsonfan
11-30-2005, 05:23 PM
When a company like this once to expand in a market, they do one thing. Find two to three large lawncare / landscape firms and buy them out. This gives them immediate exposure, tons of work and usually three to four new employees because the old owners just joined their organization. By them joining on after the buyout, the contacts remain intact and the building process begins. In St. Louis where I live, they are everywhere. Not only do they control most markets, they are also buying real estate. Where ever there office / shop is, they usually buy several apartment complexes to house the employees. Now the paycheck comes straight back in the form of rent. I would not be suprised if someday, a company like this trades on the stock exchange.

EliteImpressions
11-30-2005, 05:33 PM
I think most of us COULD be capable of doing what brickman does, except most of us havent mastered how to run a business. It doesnt matter how great you can make a lawn look, but if you cant master the buisness aspect, you have no shot to make it big. Most everyone here goes back and takes courses for agriculture, pesticides, etc. But I do not hear anyone say they are going back to school for a business degree or some accounting classes. Instead of getting those shiny new trucks, we could invest that into some education.

AintNoFun
11-30-2005, 06:23 PM
Brickman isn't ALL THAT.:D

there not cutting mrs. smiths lawn for $20 up the street so there not going to be all that to you...


When a company like this once to expand in a market, they do one thing. Find two to three large lawncare / landscape firms and buy them out. This gives them immediate exposure, tons of work and usually three to four new employees because the old owners just joined their organization.


thats exactly what they did in my area a few years ago. like you said about the new employees know they have guys who have had great and succesful business's behind them even helping more. im not badmouthing them at all i think they have a Great business and done what apparently no one else can do.



I think most of us COULD be capable of doing what brickman does, except most of us havent mastered how to run a business. It doesnt matter how great you can make a lawn look,

your living a dream my friend. they have been my toughest competition for 4 or 5 years now. if i had friggin doctorate hanging on my wall, how will it help me out? the property manager is gonna sign me because it... don't think so..

Brianslawn
11-30-2005, 07:01 PM
When a company like this once to expand in a market, they do one thing. Find two to three large lawncare / landscape firms and buy them out. This gives them immediate exposure, tons of work and usually three to four new employees because the old owners just joined their organization. By them joining on after the buyout, the contacts remain intact and the building process begins. In St. Louis where I live, they are everywhere. Not only do they control most markets, they are also buying real estate. Where ever there office / shop is, they usually buy several apartment complexes to house the employees. Now the paycheck comes straight back in the form of rent. I would not be suprised if someday, a company like this trades on the stock exchange.



and the previous owners that stay on are realizing the big picture.

JCL
11-30-2005, 07:29 PM
Here is some information that i know of Brickman. You may not know that they are in your area yet because they are actaully working under different names. Like here for example the trucks that I see are Lakewood Landscaping or something like that but that is owned by Brickman. Also some companies/porperty management have a policy of using a national contractor for all of their buildings. This is why its hard to get the contracts. I know this because that is how my dad's company is set up. They don't do anything much different that any of us do. Next year my dad's company is switching property managers who do not use national contractors. I'm hoping to get their building thats about 2 miles away. This is whay I know but I am no expert.

RedWingsDet
11-30-2005, 07:48 PM
Brickman show they have a couple locations near here. I have yet to see even 1 truck on the road. Are they using sub companiresor something?

John, they have a couple trucks around here, however, they are blue, everyone is saying them have brown trucks, but they are the same color as Backer and Berns.

Hopefully they will stay small around our area.

cgland
11-30-2005, 09:11 PM
To answer your question, You can't compete with Brickman. Very few can. They have sooo many resources available to them which is why their prices are dirt cheap. They need as much business as possible "feeding the machine" I hear alot of people around my area say " I have the best mowing guy in the county, so I pay him $15/hr" Well, guess what Brickman has fifty guys better than him and they pay them $10/hr. Large companies tend to draw a better quality of applicant than smaller companies. I guess it's the stability and the opportunity for advancement through the company. Specialize in another market, like medium sized residentials. Brickman isn't really set up for that. They like the 10-20 acre complexes that they can send 10 guys to for half a day. Quantity not quality IMO.

Chris

TWUllc
11-30-2005, 10:10 PM
there not cutting mrs. smiths lawn for $20 up the street so there not going to be all that to you...

$20.00? Hmmm. Won't even touch that one. Who are you again?:sleeping: Gather some information on Brickman in your area, and it may be the same information as I, and many also see. Oh yeach, check the post below me. Brickman means nothing to me to be honest. Just stating the facts I know.

To answer your question, You can't compete with Brickman. Very few can. They have sooo many resources available to them which is why their prices are dirt cheap. They need as much business as possible "feeding the machine" I hear alot of people around my area say " I have the best mowing guy in the county, so I pay him $15/hr" Well, guess what Brickman has fifty guys better than him and they pay them $10/hr. Large companies tend to draw a better quality of applicant than smaller companies. I guess it's the stability and the opportunity for advancement through the company. Specialize in another market, like medium sized residentials. Brickman isn't really set up for that. They like the 10-20 acre complexes that they can send 10 guys to for half a day. <b>Quantity not quality IMO.</b>

Could not of said it better myself.

AGLA
12-01-2005, 06:38 AM
What gives them the edge? It is said that they have so much resources, yet it is also said that they pay less. Being big does not allow them to pay help less. Certainly they may have stronger buying power for products which is a help. But if most of what they are selling is service, that is only a small help. They are carrying more management personnel then most of you which adds over head for the service. It sounds like the advantage they have is in management.

I think it was EliteImpressions who said that they are more interested in running abusiness while many others are more worried about how the lawn looks. Their advantage must be how well they manage their help, their equipment, and their routes. A lot of people do not understand that a mower costs a lot less if it runs 40 hours a week than if it only runs 20 or 30.

People management is not something you read about and then do. Some people have it while some of us don't. You can learn to do it better, but we are all somewhat limited by our personality and persona.

AintNoFun
12-01-2005, 06:56 AM
$20.00? Hmmm. Won't even touch that one. Who are you again?:sleeping: Gather some information on Brickman in your area, and it may be the same information as I, and many also see. Oh yeach, check the post below me. Brickman means nothing to me to be honest. Just stating the facts I know.

what percent of your business is condo/hoas? i have plenty of info on brickman in my area. if you actually read this thread one of my first posts states 2 of my friends work for them so i get a lot of inside info. and what info is it that you and many see??? everyone is saying brickmans no competition for me, there not in my area yea your right cuz there not cutting mrs. smiths lawn for $20 because they don't do residential, anything else?

Lawnworks
12-01-2005, 08:40 AM
what percent of your business is condo/hoas? i have plenty of info on brickman in my area. if you actually read this thread one of my first posts states 2 of my friends work for them so i get a lot of inside info. and what info is it that you and many see??? everyone is saying brickmans no competition for me, there not in my area yea your right cuz there not cutting mrs. smiths lawn for $20 because they don't do residential, anything else?

Here is a couple of ideas to get your prices down like they do:

-Hire illegals and pay your guys less(like Brickman does)
-Buy demo mowers that are just enough to get it done like 60" w/ 25hp
-Go head to head w/ their sales team
-Bribe the the property managers w/ restaurant gift certificates

TScapes
12-01-2005, 09:04 AM
i keep hearing the same stuff from you guys. you say what services do they provide. they provide services to commercial clients that everyone else offers, what can i offer them that someone else wont? daily weeding/trimming/mowing? its all the same services we that everyone offers whether it be me, brickman, or another lco. theres not many services you can or can't offer that someone else does. we can all trim shrubs, mulch beds, fertilizer, cut grass, etc. what equipment do they run, what does that have to do with anything, they use scag i use hustler and scag, and thats gonna get me the job over them, yea okkk... you say personal service, they might even have more personal service with me. instead of me running MY WHOLE company (recievables,payables,workers, estimates,etc.) the foreman brickman just put in charge of the job has maybe 15 condos to worry about. thats it he sole job it to satisfy those 15 condos. all his time is to those jobs thats it. so they got me beat there.. what other ideas can you throw at me???


First of all, let me say that you are taking this all to personal and literal. When I said that you need to find out what services your competition provides, it means .... are they offering "Full Service" such as everything possible or are they offering the basics and charging for other services by the job. Brickman, TGLC both do this. They can get in cheap b/c they lower their mowing prices only if they are guaranteed that they will recoop their costs in the markups for mulching or design/build, seasonal color, etc. You may think that they provide everything, and they may indeed, but it could also be that only certain services are part of the maintenance contract.

As for being "Personal", that is how I run my business. Yes, I answer the phones. I call the client back. I present the proposal. I make the sales pitch and do the cold calling. I also do the staffing and everything else that management personel do. With Brickman, they call into an office and an assistant answers. She passes along the message accordingly. Then it is given to the Production Manager, whose responsible for delegating it out or handling it themselves. This is where it gets lost in translation. It happens all the time, unless you have a good foreman on site that actually makes the time to be personal and be infront of the on-site management all the time. (This is rare, but with the right management staff and the right foreman.... is very vital to any company.)

Listen, I may be just talking to the wind here with you, but in order for you to compete you have to differentiate and separate yourself from Brickman. Sell your company and your personality! Don't harrass them, but be polite, honest and persistant. Eventually you will get in, unless the account is tied up nationally. Most property management firms that are worth anything, are always putting things out for bid every 2-3 years. It allows them to see what their market value is. However, if it is decided at a corporate level, then your local management has little imput in the decision process.

TScapes
12-01-2005, 09:07 AM
Listen, I have sold for TGLC in years past. So I have personally run up and bid against Brickman. I have friends that have and are currently running branches and regions within their organizations. I think that I have a little bit of personal experience running with the big boys. I have personally taken over $1million in sales from them over a 3 year period, when I was in the Atlanta market. It can be done!!!

The Cowboy
12-01-2005, 09:14 AM
Brickman and Walmart. If they don't both continue growing rapidly, they'll cave in. We are all in for a long ride before that happens. But I'll be the first in line to scarf up some of that $0.10 on the dollar equipment when it does happen. Meanwhile I will do my best to shut 'em down in my neck of the woods.

mowmasteruk
12-01-2005, 05:14 PM
Have a look at this site :-
www.goldratt.co.uk/succ/brickman.htm
It will give you an idea of how they train their management.

Metro Lawn
12-27-2005, 03:56 PM
John, they have a couple trucks around here, however, they are blue, everyone is saying them have brown trucks, but they are the same color as Backer and Berns.

Hopefully they will stay small around our area.

Mark, I still never saw one. The address they list as the same at Lakewood's yard in Troy. I didn't see anything there but the Lakewood trucks. I was thinking that they may have bought Lakewood out, but not sure. who knows, huh???? They don't bother me anyway. They want the real big jobs with multi locations all over God's creation. I'll play in my own backyard. lol

AssuredServicesCo
12-29-2005, 12:41 AM
Looks like they've probably busted *** for 66 years. It can be done...a day at a time, education and committment.

ChrisCoope
01-04-2006, 11:35 AM
I remember back in let me about 1980 when Brickman and Environmental Care were relatively small firms.. somewhere I have there entire operating system - and thats what it is a system.. they are professional and good at what they do, they are also well capitalized so they have deep pockets.. there is only one way to compete with quality companies.. do quality, be persistant get noticed.. I used to work in London, where I had 135 competitors within 20 miles, it didnt stop us from having an order book of over a years work almost all the time.. we made sure we did the best work, won the most awards (17 in 11 years) and were never the cheapest.
The secret to winning is find a niche and exploit it.. offer something they just cannot do.. and that doesnt mean giving away the shop.. one thing I remember is that both firms used to try and renegotiate about 3 months before the contract was due for renewal, and they also always quoted a figure to bring the site up to "their" standard before they took a contract on.. thats sort of front loading the charges if you think about it.
So in conclusion, have nice clean vehicles, well sign written, with clean tools and smart overalls.. first impression count.. so under promise and over deliver.
and as a final thought.. England where I worked for years is so far infront of the US on true landscaping ,you might take a peak at a few big names their like Brophy Plc, or Waterers, or have a look at the British Association of Landscape Industries web site.. might give you a big idea of what to do in your area.. good luck

Tony Clifton
01-04-2006, 12:17 PM
MetroLawn, I believe Lakewood is owned by Scott Brickman's brother, it is not part of the Brickman corporation,,,maybe they sub their work to him? I remember reading that when Scott took over the company and took on the investors to really try to grow the company that his brother wanted to stay small and run his own company. (By small I do not mean 1 or 2 guys,,I have no idea how large his company is but imagine it is a solid company much larger than most people here own).

GreenUtah
01-04-2006, 02:13 PM
so is the theme of all this that every property manager ever born will only choose a company with national presence? This is of course, not true. In fact, I encountered extreme resistance from managers in other states when we took over regional services in their areas. They wanted their own people, under their own control and pressure, not someone that answered to their corporate office. There's your first opening. Condo/ HOAs? Rarely done on widescale groupings, nine times out of ten managed by a local company or even by board members. No multimarket advantage there either. Some apartment groups and certainly branches of F500 companies all can be snagged through national marketing dragnets, but even in these groups, you have maveriks who will buck their way out. Want to do something that they're not doing? How about pairing with an actual property management firm or manager, marketing as one, pitching local expertise and control? These issues are exactly the same as those with landcare branches in their areas or the host of other medium sized companies competing in multipile markets. Your strength IS that you are small, you can adapt and change quickly, you can take advantage of weaknesses if you are looking for them. Large organizations of every flavor have a plan, they stick to their plan, they don't venture outside of their plan. If they want to, it's like turning an ocean liner. That's the nature of business. Be quick, keep your eyes and ears open, watch for openings and keep testing the wall, you'll find the loose bricks (pun intended) as you go.

alwaysgreener
01-04-2006, 03:41 PM
Brickman is very large...But you can compete against them. I have all there lawn care and snow removal pricing and it is very reasonable, they have the man power (army) to do tons of work but they do sacrifice quality. I deal with complaints about Brickman all the time.

alwaysgreener
01-04-2006, 04:03 PM
Last years sale.....:)

J&R Landscaping
01-04-2006, 06:26 PM
Brickman also has a yard in Langhorne Pa right by me! I don't even try to compete because the jobs they do are so big and the prices are redicullously cheap! They give stuff away so much but yet they always are getting new trucks and mowers.
I would tell you not to even bother because you will price yourself out. By the time you get competitive with their price, you will be losing way to much money!

lawnboy
01-07-2006, 10:15 PM
Lakewood was actually owned by Steve Brickman, a very nice guy I might add. He sold off the division by us to the Brickman group. I'm not sure if he sold his Detroit location. I will say they are cheap. I got a copy of one of there condos that they do here with nothing else in the area, and It was real low. I actually have a high school friend that works for them now, and they are getting into doing baseball fields for pro stadiums, and minor league. He does one in New York. Around here they are only really interested in the HUGE acounts, not my market. They do Whirlpool and i believe Fiezer.