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View Full Version : Proving to commercials accounts they need a change


DixieFerris
02-08-2006, 02:31 PM
Last year we targeted a few large commercial accounts as places we would really like to get our hands on for the future. A big company from our area has had them now for a few years and quite frankly done them average at best. In June we took digital photos of their work on the grounds and lack of work in the flower beds with weeding. Took some more in July, noting length between cuttings (10 days, should have been 6-7) and burnt grass tips for dull blades. Finally in November we took a couple shots of the beds not being cleaned out and the lawn being left WAY too long. We submitted these photos along with our proposal on how we would change these horrible procedures for our bidding price, which believe it or not was actually $2,000 less for the 7 buildings (owned by a health care provider). Just spoke with the contact there and she couldn't believe how much thought and care we put into this bid and said she feels we will win based on this effort. Anyone else using these tactics to win business with success? I hope we land this one!payup

Mike Fronczak
02-08-2006, 05:34 PM
I personally would never "attack" another companies work as it sounds you have.
Commercial accounts in general are funny in the way that they work, & if you are $ 2000. cheaper you better know why (what are their insurance requiring, etc.) Furthermore just because they are your "contact", doesn't mean they make the decisions. For all you know the big co.'s manager could be someone high ups brother, etc? Believe me it happens.
If they find out you were attacking their work or being that aggresive the can & will put you out of business by lowballing all your properties, it happens all the time. How do you think they got to be that big co.'s. Big co's ussually have big money to back them up.

riches139
02-08-2006, 05:56 PM
Also could be they're late payers or a real pain in the as$.

nobagger
02-08-2006, 06:24 PM
I personally would never "attack" another companies work as it sounds you have.
Commercial accounts in general are funny in the way that they work, & if you are $ 2000. cheaper you better know why (what are their insurance requiring, etc.) Furthermore just because they are your "contact", doesn't mean they make the decisions. For all you know the big co.'s manager could be someone high ups brother, etc? Believe me it happens.
If they find out you were attacking their work or being that aggresive the can & will put you out of business by lowballing all your properties, it happens all the time. How do you think they got to be that big co.'s. Big co's ussually have big money to back them up.
I agree about "attacking" another company's reputation but I'm sick and tired of some of these bigger companies that claim to be "the best " in any given area and the reality is they do an average to below average job and getting big bucks to do so. In their defense, It has to be very difficult to manage and micro manage crews that are probably only making $7.00-$9.00 per hr. (around here) Thats why I think only running a crew or two is the way to go.

Crabtree
02-08-2006, 07:46 PM
why would you offer them better service cheaper?
They may go with you for the price, and then not even appreciate your work.

CutInEdge Lawn Care
02-08-2006, 08:37 PM
Shame on YOU!!!!! Not only was that worse than lowballing but you left $2000 on the table. For you to make that $2000 back you will have to work that property for eight yrs with the normal cost of living increases to be at the same level of income as today. We hope the favor is returned 10 fold.

nobagger
02-08-2006, 08:51 PM
Shame on YOU!!!!! Not only was that worse than lowballing but you left $2000 on the table. For you to make that $2000 back you will have to work that property for eight yrs with the normal cost of living increases to be at the same level of income as today. We hope the favor is returned 10 fold.
Like Crabbtree said and Cutting Edge, If you can back it up (better service) then why do it cheaper?:confused: And if you knew what they were paying why would you leave that much on the table? I could see a couple hundred bucks to seal the deal but 2k? thats too much, imo.

meets1
02-08-2006, 09:20 PM
Bad move! 2k is one thing and so going around with camera but to submit something like that to another company to secure the job - thats not cool.

2nd - what if that happens to you? Like some of the others said - you could catch ya and if it does - its going to hurt.

Woody82986
02-08-2006, 10:20 PM
I feel that trying to nudge your way into a situation by using tactics like that will get you on the bad side of quite a few people really quick once word gets out on how you do business. When there is a place I might want to service that is currently being serviced by another company, I just send them letters from time to time just to keep me in their minds. If they should ever want me to come and talk to them that would be great. But I am far from pushy and far from a bridge burner with other LCO's.

parttimer
02-08-2006, 11:00 PM
Those cheaper prices are great you work your butt off all summer long and then your wondering where all the money has gone . :nono: :nono:

DixieFerris
02-09-2006, 10:54 AM
the other company bags everything, which is not required by the owners of the buildings. We only bag next to the building unless it's really long. We have ran all of the scenrios and it will take us 1 day to do all of the buildings with 3 guys (10+ day). The other company took 4 guys, and it took them a day and a half. Per hour we are working at a higher rate. I'm disappointed I left a little money on the table too, didn't know the exact rate the other guys were charging there, but per hour we should be $30+ on the better side and not wasting our time working until noon the following day trying to finish up. We are sending pizzas for lunch over to the maintenance staff of this hospital to say thanks and seperate ourselves from the others even more. I just don't get some of you in here at times...all you do is ***** about the "Big Boys" and then someone like us comes along and strategically puts ourselves into the ring with them, and you complain about that too. You have to remember, in a perfect world this kind of stuff wouldn't happen. But many of you really think the world and this market place can be made perfect. FYI---it can't, it's business, and you better attack it sometimes. My goal is not to be working until I'm 75 in this, I'm 28 now, and my age 40, I want to be mostly in the office and in the truck. I want to be a pretty large company, not the biggest, but substantial. I am not patient, and I make things happen instead of sitting around waiting for things to fall in my lap if they ever do.

MGM69
02-09-2006, 08:21 PM
Thats just bad bussiness. Just my opinion, hope you don't regret the 2 Grand later on down the road.
Good luck anyway

AintNoFun
02-09-2006, 08:38 PM
i do think its bad business and good business at the same time.. nothing comes easy or is handed to you if you want to run a large company. you guys that are saying its really bad business live a sheltered life i guess, it happens every day in every industry, its a dog eat dog world... on another note i would def. brace yourself for reprecussions.

crzymow
02-10-2006, 01:12 AM
Rather then attack someone else by taking pictures of their work, why not take pictures of some of your work and send in with you proposal? Talk yourself up, not others down, it will come back to haunt u in the long run

Fantasy Lawns
02-10-2006, 02:20 AM
Not too Pi$$ on anyone's parade ... but I've been dealing with these PM's n HOA's fore a while .... they are very crafty ...

How do you know you were $2k less ???

They said that ....n if so ....who cares ....did you see a cancel check

Say ....just fore Sh&ts n Giggles .... the previous LCO was only .... say $200 over your price .... the illusion is .... given the previous "present" type of work .... you have a huge gap you can make up ... heck the other ones did the same job at $2k more ... you may feel ....as if too do more ....why ??? the other was doing the say job at much greater price ....

Do you see how this is going ... I may be wrong ...but I learned long time ago ... not to ask or even care what the other guy was doing it fore

ALL I ever cared then ....n I still do now ... is how much I have to charge to cover my cost n make a profit .... if your price is such as that .... than .... all the power too you

Good Luck with the contract this year ;-)

geogunn
02-10-2006, 09:51 AM
DIXIE--hey man...you write a great essay and you are obviously a go getter.

but I think it is absurd to for you to pat yourself on the back for a great selling job when you underbid your competition by $2000. JMO.

GEO :)

CutInEdge Lawn Care
02-10-2006, 09:57 AM
That is the point I am trying to make. You bid 2k less. Next year you are going to need to bid a % higher for materials and the such. However, someone else wanting that same job is going to try and come in at a lower bid in order to say hey look I got the job. Now this particular job will never see anything much higher $ than where your bid is. If anything the price is going to keep going down, if statisitics and the voice of many on here say it just keeps getting cheaper on the commercial side. Good Luck with the job!!

instyle
02-10-2006, 10:23 AM
If the property owner never realized that the other LCO was doing a bad job....they are not going to realize you are doing a good job. They may look at you as being observant, but they may also look at you and think you are undermining. You are practicing poor buisness, the proerty owner is also in business, and they wouldn't want someone to do that type of attack on them.

What you did was take a huge risk. Either way...yes they now recognize your name....but you only stand a 50% chance of the name recognition being a positive one.

You would be better off, making your proposal in the form of what you would offer and pics of your other properties. You could do things like say......"we never leave a property knowing there are still weeds standing", then it would be up to them to realize what you have to offer.

What you did was almost stalker'ish.:nono:

DeereHauler
02-10-2006, 10:46 AM
the way you approached it may have not been the right , or moral thing. but at least you have enough concern to want to do a better job. i keep reading about the $2000 thing, but unless they showed you that price before you bid, how else would you know?? if you feel you're making enough $, thats really for you to decide. the only downer i can see is that they never corrected the bad work before, who says they will care what you do, next time they bid lowest price will get it, you may do the best work, but in this situation go getters and hard workers don't always win, the lowest price usually does....but there are exceptions, so i've been told. i look for the commercial accounts that strive for the best looking sites, and i find out when they bid, or if they even do. lowest price usually doesn't matter, but i try to present some of my properties to them, either pictures, or whatever.....just so they know i'm not a half-ass LCO. the properties that look crappy, and always do, they don't care about anything but $$, and you usually loose you ass on those places.

but yeah, proving yourself is the hardest thing to do. i guess thats why if you mow a residential, you usually mow their neighbors, because one is proof for the other.

good luck with the bid, pizza thing was kind of corny, but hey if it works go for it.

DixieFerris
02-10-2006, 11:05 AM
thanks for the tips and info guys. Yeah how was I supposed to know before hand what the price was? we came in 2k less and I just tried to show you why, but to me, we are making more per hour then the other guys. If I had known what the price was, I would have bid $100 less or the same or $100 more. I think we are going to nail this baby. And sorry for not including pictures of our work were put into this proposal, pics of our equipments, and a reference page of 5 people

Flex-Deck
02-10-2006, 12:47 PM
Rather then attack someone else by taking pictures of their work, why not take pictures of some of your work and send in with you proposal? Talk yourself up, not others down, it will come back to haunt u in the long run

Amen. crzymow - you have said very consisely exactly what I do. I like to stress our quality. We submit pictures of properties we do that show the curb trimming, straight lines, and level deck manicuring of lawns. Any bid I submit to a commercial property business manager has a cover letter that states "If your present LCO is doing the job to your satisfaction, keep him, but if in the event he retires, quits or does not do satisfactory work, we would like have this bid considered in your search for your lawn care needs in the future." "This bid will remain in effect for 3 years"

The reason for the 3 year deal is that I think they may tend to file the proposal in a file drawer instead of file 13. Also, I like to work on three and four year agreements, that lock prices in. They like it, and I like it.

cantoo
02-10-2006, 08:31 PM
I took pictures of a commercial property a few years ago. The lawn was a mess it looked like one tire was flat on the mower and it was scalped everywhere. There were windrows of grass dirt and roots in some spots. It was hard to believe what a mess the guy had made. We had been considering bidding this place for a few years and I thought the pictures would be the perfect thing to put us over the top. I made up the bid then I thought about what would happen if we got the job because of the pictures and someday when another LCO was driving by I hit something or some other stupid little thing and bang there goes my good job. I changed my mind and never submitted the job. We did the property across the road and two years later we were asked to bid the job but by then we had too many customers and weren't interested in it. They have another company do it and they make just as big a mess as the old one. One guy spends most of the week there cutting when he's done it's time to start over again and it's still a hay field.

LwnmwrMan22
02-10-2006, 09:01 PM
thanks for the tips and info guys. Yeah how was I supposed to know before hand what the price was? we came in 2k less and I just tried to show you why, but to me, we are making more per hour then the other guys. If I had known what the price was, I would have bid $100 less or the same or $100 more. I think we are going to nail this baby. And sorry for not including pictures of our work were put into this proposal, pics of our equipments, and a reference page of 5 people

Okay.... you say you're getting paid $2k less, but are making more money.

I just love how everyone knows exactly what the other company makes / job. :dizzy:

cleancutccl
02-10-2006, 09:26 PM
There is no problem with putting together a proposal with pictures of YOUR OWN WORK, but to sabotage another company is asking for it. It won't take too long before word gets around about the way you do business, and it will hurt you in the long run.

topsites
02-10-2006, 09:42 PM
Say I am this other company, and I accept your proof because I understand what you are saying.

So how about now, in order to prove to you that you need a change, I pay some money to a local newspaper to publish a nice half-page long story based on what just happened... you know... just for proof, no real harm done.

.................................
I had a guy a year or so ago, pulled up in his outfit right beside mine as I was working on a yard... I'm standing there watching him as he walks past me, to the front door of my customer's house, to go ahead and submit his bid or something... It is a good thing my customer simply pointed at me and said 'Thank you I already have someone' which was very nice, because the only thing going through my head was nowhere near as cool as to how my customer handled things.

It is for this reason I never stick my nose in another Lco's affairs, at least not directly, and I try real hard not to do it even by mistake.

Triple R
02-10-2006, 09:45 PM
Last year we targeted a few large commercial accounts as places we would really like to get our hands on for the future. A big company from our area has had them now for a few years and quite frankly done them average at best. In June we took digital photos of their work on the grounds and lack of work in the flower beds with weeding. Took some more in July, noting length between cuttings (10 days, should have been 6-7) and burnt grass tips for dull blades. Finally in November we took a couple shots of the beds not being cleaned out and the lawn being left WAY too long. We submitted these photos along with our proposal on how we would change these horrible procedures for our bidding price, which believe it or not was actually $2,000 less for the 7 buildings (owned by a health care provider). Just spoke with the contact there and she couldn't believe how much thought and care we put into this bid and said she feels we will win based on this effort. Anyone else using these tactics to win business with success? I hope we land this one!payup


It all comes down to money and not quality of work. After many years I have realized that most clients do not notice if you do above average work. Most commercial accounts only care about the bottom line, how much is it going to cost? I lost a commercial bid because I was $50/month higher than a guy without insurance in a POS truck. I did a written bid, showed up with my clean rig, while the other guy gave them a verbal price. I know the guy that got the account so I found out how much he got it for afterwards. I have also seen another guy pushing a mower and pulling a cart with the rest of his equipment doing a commercial property for convalesence, I doubt this guy has insurance since he doesn't even have a vehicle. Bottom line is that if you get the contract it will be because you were the lowest bid.

MJM
02-10-2006, 10:53 PM
AllI have to say is you people are amazing.Do you even read the post you respond to?And for that matter, do you remember anything you have said in the past?

Respectively yours,

Mark

GreenMonster
02-10-2006, 11:07 PM
Last year we targeted a few large commercial accounts as places we would really like to get our hands on for the future. A big company from our area has had them now for a few years and quite frankly done them average at best. In June we took digital photos of their work on the grounds and lack of work in the flower beds with weeding. Took some more in July, noting length between cuttings (10 days, should have been 6-7) and burnt grass tips for dull blades. Finally in November we took a couple shots of the beds not being cleaned out and the lawn being left WAY too long. We submitted these photos along with our proposal on how we would change these horrible procedures for our bidding price, which believe it or not was actually $2,000 less for the 7 buildings (owned by a health care provider). Just spoke with the contact there and she couldn't believe how much thought and care we put into this bid and said she feels we will win based on this effort. Anyone else using these tactics to win business with success? I hope we land this one!payup

Welcome Back, Chevyman! :waving:

K.Carothers
02-10-2006, 11:29 PM
Say I am this other company, and I accept your proof because I understand what you are saying.

So how about now, in order to prove to you that you need a change, I pay some money to a local newspaper to publish a nice half-page long story based on what just happened... you know... just for proof, no real harm done.

.................................
I had a guy a year or so ago, pulled up in his outfit right beside mine as I was working on a yard... I'm standing there watching him as he walks past me, to the front door of my customer's house, to go ahead and submit his bid or something... It is a good thing my customer simply pointed at me and said 'Thank you I already have someone' which was very nice, because the only thing going through my head was nowhere near as cool as to how my customer handled things.

It is for this reason I never stick my nose in another Lco's affairs, at least not directly, and I try real hard not to do it even by mistake.


I keep to myself also. When I have a potential customer call for an estimate, I never talk bad about their current LCO. How do I know that this potential new customer just might be the biggest PITA and 3 months later shes talking trash on me. We owe it to each other to take the high road.

kc

firekilr2
02-11-2006, 01:15 AM
Someone just like you got me the other day. Lost a commercial job to someone else who told them all the things they could do for them I was not. I have to laugh because they have no idea how big of a favor they did for me. This account changes by the month of what they want do to turn over. First it is bid it without pulling weeds, then someone leaves and the next person wants to know why the weeds are not pulled etc, etc ... So my advice to anyone is be careful with what you think it is. Sometimes you my of did this guy a favor and you will find out why he was 2k more. Just my thoughts. Good luck and stay safe.

Flex-Deck
02-11-2006, 09:13 AM
AllI have to say is you people are amazing.Do you even read the post you respond to?And for that matter, do you remember anything you have said in the past?

Respectively yours,

Mark

Who are you talking to. Please be more specific.

Ground Effects NH
02-14-2006, 12:14 PM
Welcome Back, Chevyman! :waving:
BINGO.......

sgallaher
02-14-2006, 12:26 PM
Yeah, I do not agree with slamming another company. Show pictures of your own work, tell the potential client how you can improve their property, tell them all the good things about your company. If the other LCO is that bad then the client already knows and they will see the real difference after you start your work. I agree with some of the others, how are you performing higher quality work and charging less money. All that does is bring down the whole industry price/profit wise.
us flag

chuck bow
02-14-2006, 01:53 PM
I never step on any other LCO it will sooner or later come back to bite you in the butt , Some of the other LCO around my neck of the woods knows who does what and we wont bid against each other but on the other hand if the other LCO is a ass and does it to us you can bet we will bid that property if we are asked. i will not be caught on a a property taking pictures unless iam asked to submit a bid imho thats just asking for trouble because they dont have a clue who you are or what you are up to. What are you going to tell them what you are doing when they ask ?

TScapes
02-14-2006, 03:27 PM
I have to agree with the majority on this topic. First, it was very unprofessional to crack on and bad mouth a competitor. Second, you were not Asked nor given permission to be taking pictures on the site. This could have resulted and possibly still could result in a slander lawsuit. Third, how do you know that you were bidding "Apples to Apples"? Did you have access to or given a Scope of Services to bid on? See where I am going with this? That $2000 might be used for something else.

I have seen to many incidents where on a commercial property, someone could be doing something different to improve their quality. But in some of those cases, after talking with some of the lco's that have done it in the past or even the present contractor, there are many things that you have to take into account that are not necessarily known. Maybe they had problems paying their bills. Maybe they were cutting some of their services out. Maybe everything is a pay for service type of thing. Maybe the job is more labor intensive than it appears. You never really know. Maybe they get only one mulching, maybe 3. Maybe .......

I don't like the fact that some commercial props utilize the same vendors for years and years..... simply b/c I want the chance to do it. That is the selfish side of a salesman. You and I have that right. There are numerous properties I have been courting for years and have yet to be allowed to bid it. Personally, I feel that a property should be put out for bid every 3 years or more. It simply reflects the changes in the market. Now on the flip side of that, I don't want my properties to be bid out every year either. I want that "Security". However, I keep the communication channel open with all of my properties and strive to develop the type of relationship with them that they would not want to change, even to a cheaper lco. Educating my properties in the difference btwn a low baller and a higher end company is fairly easy. They understand that you get what you pay for and as long as the quality is there, they respect that.