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GSPHUNTER
02-26-2008, 04:10 PM
I've been writing letters to property managers lately, and got my first call today. This is going to be my first experience with dealing with the commercial side. I feel like I've learned alot from this site, and it's time to take the knowledge into the real world.

From everyone's experiences with management co's, will they let you pick and choose which places on their list you want to service. Being solo, there is no way I can tackle a 20 acre town house development alone, but I may want some of their other business. Is there any way to go about this.

Any other tips with dealing with management companies. I have an initial meeting with a guy tomorrow to go over 5 or 6 properties they want serviced.

Thanks

touhey33
02-26-2008, 04:18 PM
Let me know how it goes, Im solo and would like to get into the commercial market. Would you mind telling me what you wrote in the letter that got you the call.

Thanks,
Tim
Green Envy Mowing

Chill "Cuts" Lawn Care
02-26-2008, 04:45 PM
touhey33,

How do you like your Quick 36 Samurai? I have a 36" JD fixed deck that I bought to get into fences, but the height adjustment is minimal while in the field. I just found out about the Better products and have heard good things. Just wondering how you've liked yours?

Thanks,

Jimmy

touhey33
02-26-2008, 05:08 PM
touhey33,

How do you like your Quick 36 Samurai? I have a 36" JD fixed deck that I bought to get into fences, but the height adjustment is minimal while in the field. I just found out about the Better products and have heard good things. Just wondering how you've liked yours?

Thanks,

Jimmy

ITs been great so far. I've only used it one season, but theres really no learning curve to use it. I don't have a sulky for it though, I just use it for gated and really small yards. Its pretty easy to change the height well in field, just change the spacers and loosen two bolts, takes about two minutes i that.

Chill "Cuts" Lawn Care
02-26-2008, 05:17 PM
Thanks a lot for your reply. I think I'm gonna get one for sure. Everything I've heard has been good and I don't think you can beat it for the price. I just need something to get into gates with. Here in NC, I can be cutting Bermuda or Centipede at one house and Fescue at the house right next to it. I've got to have something that I can change the cut height relatively easily in the field. Sounds like this is the machine for me. Thanks again for the "Quick" reply!

DA Quality Lawn & YS
02-26-2008, 05:52 PM
GSP - I am one of those just getting into a little bit of commercial business this coming season. With the list that the Prop Mgr provides you, you will just need to do some cherry picking to find properties that suit your operations. This may mean getting in the car and driving to a lot of properties until you find ones you want to bid. OR asking the Mgr about lot sizes/property types. Then just prepare your bids for the properties individually and submit along with a copy of your GL Cert.

touhey33
02-26-2008, 05:59 PM
GSP - I am one of those just getting into a little bit of commercial business this coming season. With the list that the Prop Mgr provides you, you will just need to do some cherry picking to find properties that suit your operations. This may mean getting in the car and driving to a lot of properties until you find ones you want to bid. OR asking the Mgr about lot sizes/property types. Then just prepare your bids for the properties individually and submit along with a copy of your GL Cert.

What is a GL Cert? Sorry if this is a dumb question.

American_Lawn
02-26-2008, 06:07 PM
I just went and gave flyers to all the property mgmt. companies. They gave me a list and I went and bid each one. If they just want a one time service, I gave them and estimate based on the size. $35 for 100X100, house included. This is just mow, trim, and go.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
02-26-2008, 06:21 PM
Sorry to be vague...GL cert is General Liability Insurance Certificate

kleankutslawn
02-26-2008, 06:37 PM
how did you find the property managers

touhey33
02-26-2008, 07:21 PM
Sorry to be vague...GL cert is General Liability Insurance Certificate

Ok. I have General Liability insurance, just had a brain fart. Is this all you need to do commercial lawns, I don't do fert, would I have to sub this out?

GSPHUNTER
02-26-2008, 09:58 PM
Thanks DA and American. That's what I was hoping. I got on the companies website, and they had all kinds of properties for sale and ones they managed. Some were 30+ town house developments, which I would love, but definitely wouldn't be able to service. Other properties were office complexes with landscaping and minimal turf, which is more what I'm after.

I talked to a mowing buddy of mine, and he just told me to go in there and be honest with the guy. Let him know I'm new to the commercial side, but do excellent work with my current residentials. That way he knows where I am coming from and we can take things from there.

merrimacmill
02-26-2008, 11:33 PM
Being a PM, I'd have to say that going in and being honest with him/her is the best way to go.

I was getting a quote from a roofer on some repairs the other day and he came right out and told me, "well we don't do to much heavy commercial work, so comming up with the quote is going to take me a couple days and I have to talk to a couple guys." And personally I was impressed that he wasn't trying come off as if he was Mr. commercial roofer when he really wasn't. Cause then theres no surprises thrown in when I find out he isn't. And I'm more willing to be patient and work with him better though the process.

When bidding to a PM its nice to know if he/she owns the properties or just manages them. Where we own the property, we're not as concerned with bottom line like most PM's are. If we're spending on a service we'll spend the extra money for quality work because since we own the building we'll have to be the ones that live with that work on our investment.

I don't have any experience bidding lawns, only snow plowing. I'm looking at getting our company into grounds maintenance though. But I'm just saying all this from a PM's point of view.

Good Luck!

nosparkplugs
02-26-2008, 11:48 PM
I have to disagree about PM's who own the property your bidding on, I just cancelled a contract with a Apartment Complex, who the PM's were the owners, and I lasted almost 2 seasons, I had a written contract, and the PM's were always wanting extra work done for free, that was not in the contract. I was constantly on the phone, "if you would check your contract". Make sure you include everything possible you will do, and will not do. The contract is your best friend if things go sour.

merrimacmill
02-26-2008, 11:53 PM
Mmmmm, well I guess all PM's are different. I was just giving our way of thinking as an example. But either way, good luck!:waving:

DuraCutter
02-27-2008, 12:02 AM
I've been writing letters to property managers lately, and got my first call today. This is going to be my first experience with dealing with the commercial side. I feel like I've learned alot from this site, and it's time to take the knowledge into the real world.

From everyone's experiences with management co's, will they let you pick and choose which places on their list you want to service. Being solo, there is no way I can tackle a 20 acre town house development alone, but I may want some of their other business. Is there any way to go about this.

Any other tips with dealing with management companies. I have an initial meeting with a guy tomorrow to go over 5 or 6 properties they want serviced.

Thanks

Congrats. A few words of caution also.

In the last 2 weeks, our company has declined to quote on about 45 condo complexes. Reason is those projects wanted mostly just cutting. If you cut lawns only, it's not allowing you to make maximum profit. So far, we'll be cutting 2 condo properties.

That's ok because we've diversified enough to depend very little on cutting, and with the addition of asphalt repairs this year, we should be able to make 7 times more profit per day fixing bad holes in parking lots!

All I can say, use the profits you get from cutting lawn and diversify or risk having very little money when you retire!

:)

Lawn Tech LLC
02-27-2008, 12:35 AM
I also work in the same St. Louis area. I have been doing only commercial properties since 1988. Their are several things to have in hand when you go into the meeting. Not only will you need GL insurance by most Management companies will not allow you to work for them unless you also have Workmans Comp. Most contracts for commercial work are signed by late October of the previous year so in most cases the work already been contracted out for this upcomming season. It is good to get in their and meet with them because there are always Lawn contractors that do not provide the service they were contracted for and will be fired in mid season, also the management companies also pick up new properties all the time so eather way getting your foot in the door is one of the biggest steps you will take. Once you get a property to take care of make sure you do high quality work and are dependable. In the management company if you do good work then the other property managers will give you a shot, but if your work is just average or you are not dependable that word also gets around and a bad reputation is had to get ride of. Sorry for being so long winded but commercial work is different from working with single homeowners. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Good luck with your meeting, just be yourself and it will work out.

LT

GSPHUNTER
02-27-2008, 12:29 PM
Thank you everyone that gave me advice. I think the meeting went well this morning for the most part. They were a little vague as far as property edges, but I think I'll be able to figure it out and just verify it with them before I submit the bid.

They gave me 7 properties to look at. They said to give them a per item charge and they would pick what they want. I know some wouldn't like this, but just starting out I can show them good work and get total maintenance in the future.

The other good thing about these properties, is that they are minimal mowing and more mulch, clean-ups, and bed edging. This should mean more green, than strictly mowing.

Thanks again

SchultzLawnCare
02-27-2008, 06:59 PM
Good luck on the bids

Atlantic Lawn
02-27-2008, 07:30 PM
We do over 20 HOA's and PM Co's. They usually don't contract with solo's because solo's generally don't have workman's comp, and if you get ill or injured they will be left searching for another contractor in mid season. If it's a large piece they usually it expect to be done in a single visit. Many Co's won't even give you a chance unless you can display some impressive references and a track record with other PM Co's. If these folks give you a chance, do your very best, build a working relationship and it could be the start of a very long career with them. Good Luck

TJLANDS
02-27-2008, 07:39 PM
I've been writing letters to property managers lately, and got my first call today. This is going to be my first experience with dealing with the commercial side. I feel like I've learned alot from this site, and it's time to take the knowledge into the real world.

From everyone's experiences with management co's, will they let you pick and choose which places on their list you want to service. Being solo, there is no way I can tackle a 20 acre town house development alone, but I may want some of their other business. Is there any way to go about this.

Any other tips with dealing with management companies. I have an initial meeting with a guy tomorrow to go over 5 or 6 properties they want serviced.

Thanks

Sorry I read this a day late.

I would take them all, seriously unless they are huge. I started my bus. the same way. Met with a Management company in March, they were looking for one company to handle all their properties in a certain area and I said no problem. At the time I had one truck and one walk behind. The properties were small to medium condo dev(4-10acres). and office buildings, 7 of them. I hustled up some help, partnered up with a friend that just lost his job and my business started.
Almost twenty years later I still do work for 5 of them.
Whatever you do Good Luck!

American_Lawn
02-27-2008, 08:24 PM
From what I have experienced this year, it is very, very easy to get into the doors. All I did was call every company that I want to do work with, ask if they were looking for lawn care vendors and you get a yes or no. I have done 15 bids for one company, and I got a list of 25 weekly cuts from another. Quality and doing the work on time will get you lots of more work. Easy way to fill a day of work.

DuraCutter
03-02-2008, 11:55 PM
From what I have experienced this year, it is very, very easy to get into the doors. All I did was call every company that I want to do work with, ask if they were looking for lawn care vendors and you get a yes or no. I have done 15 bids for one company, and I got a list of 25 weekly cuts from another. Quality and doing the work on time will get you lots of more work. Easy way to fill a day of work.

Also don't forget american, besides filling the day, it's way more important to fill it with "high profit work".

Not just filling the day is how you can bring more money home. Sometimes, the larger projects bring in less profit. Think about that !!

:)

barefeetny
03-03-2008, 01:00 AM
good topic

i'll throw out one thing that hasn't been discussed

i'm sure most of the experienced lcos and pms will agree on

AGREE ON A CONTACT PERSON... who is in charge... who pays.... who makes the desicions... who hears the complaints

i cannot stress this point enough

heres what usually happens...

I plow a small retirement comunity

i meet with everyone involved and then sign a contract with the management company

The company says plow the lot, sand the lot... the super will handle the sidewalks

the site manager says plow and sand the super will clear the sidewalks but you have to provide the sand and salt

the super says..... i'm not touching any of that.

every bit of work you do you will hear this story.....Trust me

Only do work dictated by your contract and the contact person.... everyone else can go pound sand or stroke otis...

Nate

GSPHUNTER
03-03-2008, 07:46 AM
It's kind of funny this thread got revived, because I am sitting here typing up proposals to the company. I know some said that they would take all of the props. they threw at me, but I really don't want to over extend myself. When you learn to swim, you don't just jump in, you wade in slowly. This is already going to be a big enough step for me and will take my biz. to a new level. I want to do good work at the 5 props. I'm giving bids on so they can at least see my work. I figure this is better than landing every job I can just to do crap work and only have them for a year. Hopefully I'll grow steadily this year and look for an employee next year or mid season this year.

Thanks again guys.

Atlantic Lawn
03-03-2008, 08:59 AM
Exactly ! We even have owners come out and ask that we trim a bit more of this shrub or something to that effect. Always be polite but firm.

GSPHUNTER
03-03-2008, 12:45 PM
Thanks to everyone again, I just got back from dropping off the proposals for 5 properties. The gross for all work on these five is a little over 24k. If I get these, I will be more than doubling what I grossed altogether last year when I include jobs I already have.

What a relieve it was dropping off those bids. I had been losing sleep over these things for the last few nights, and spending all my time putting them together. I guess all I can do now is wait a few days and then try calling them if I don't hear from them. I want to know how far off I am if I don't get it.

I'll be happy when this part of the business is just second nature.

yplllc
06-11-2009, 05:47 PM
GSPHUNTER did you end up getting the bids? Do you do plowing in the winter? What management company did you go through?