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tropical breeze
10-03-2009, 01:45 PM
How do I get contact info on bank owned homes ? I live in SW Fl and there are tons of them and the yards are a mess. I am just starting the business and I think this would be a great place to get a few accounts. Any ideas

jhawk60
10-03-2009, 04:20 PM
Make sure you have a $1,000,000.00 general liability policy, a digital camera, and don't mind waiting for your money. Then go to the banks and talk to whoever is in charge of the REOs.

david shumaker
10-03-2009, 07:51 PM
I would concentrate on getting quality full service accounts. I've found that rental properties, real estate forclosesures, house flippers, etc. are a pain and I try to stay away from them. My experiance has been that they want to pay for "just having the grass cut" when the property needs a complete cleanup.

shane mapes
10-04-2009, 12:40 AM
I two would like this type of work to fill in on open days. I work with one Realtor right now & the best way I have found is get in with one Realtor & get to were you are doing all their stuff & then ask them to give your cards out around the office & go as soon as they call for bids & let them know when you can start & if the time frame changes keep them in the loop. I started doing this a few months ago. Pretty good so far. Just know that it is only temp work. good luck...

SangerLawn
10-04-2009, 08:00 AM
I recommend not getting into something like this when starting out. the lawns are in horrible condition so it is hell on your mowers, crap laying everywhere to tear up a mower, the pay sucks, it takes forever to get your money, and above all……you will never be able to make the lawns look good so you will have horrible advertising.

couillion
10-04-2009, 08:43 AM
How do I get contact info on bank owned homes ? I live in SW Fl and there are tons of them and the yards are a mess. I am just starting the business and I think this would be a great place to get a few accounts. Any ideas

I chased that rabbit for many years, doing up to 200 - 250 houses a year, now I only do a few a year for local investors. The yards are a mess because they only want to stay zoning legal, not sellable or presentable. Be prepared to do more than "just cut the grass". Most companies that own these properties want ONE crew to do everything. Change locks, clean out and haul off debris, board windows, janitorial, winterizing, tarp roofs, yard clean up and then grass cutting. All of this work must be done on their schedule, which never makes sense and isn't convenient to you. Be ready to carry an inventory of new locksets, plywood, 2x4's, carriage bolts, trash cans/trash bags, air compressor, generator, power tools, etc. On top of all of that, be prepared to work cheap, wait for your money, take pictures of everything you do and complete lots of paperwork. The business was good until a few years ago when the government backed mortgage companies let the local realtors farm out the work to their own contractors. Now most mortgage companies sub the work out to large national REO/Property Preservation service companies that want to take as much as 30% (or more) to send you out to do all of the dirty work, and they set the rates. So unless you are big enough to service the entire state, maybe build your business on something stable, and include this service after you understand the business. Look for the crews that are doing the work in your area and see where they come from, most cover a huge territory, and that is all they do. Otherwise, stick with doing what you can for the local realtors. If you still want into that game, do a search on property preservation services.

dodgegrass
10-04-2009, 03:13 PM
I do it and have been doing it for years, but it is only a small percent of our business. We have around 250 homes that we mow every ten days from April 15 till October 30th. I say that to say that I would not recommend this for a new person just getting started in mowing. We have seperate machines for the foreclosure work, it will kill your equipment when you get new properties. The ones that you have on a schedule are not bad mow trim and split. You will have to wait to get paid. We are 30 to 45 days. We do get checks once a week after you get into the season. Some require pictures but we get another 10 a yard to send the pictures in. Local realtors are ok, but there is a lot that are just getting into it and do not have a clue. I know of a new company that has not been paid by the realtor all year and they are repo his equipment and looking for his truck. Regional companies are good but you have to saw no to work that you do not want from the begginning or they will run all over you. It is ok not to want to mow a lawn that is 50 miles away. Get some maintenance contracts for teh next 3-5years and then do some reos

tropical breeze
10-04-2009, 06:30 PM
Thanks Guys for the info. I will look in to regular homes first. Didnt think of wear and tear of machines great feedback this site is great for new people like me. Talked to 3 people today and got 3 accounts they will be my first ones. Thinking of doing a neighborhood special next to my house.

4.3mudder
10-04-2009, 08:16 PM
Hmm, I do around 50 now, I'm suprised that most of you had problems with first cuts. All I do are recuts, which sometimes the edging maybe a little overgrown, but other than that, someone does the intial cut before I do so it makes my job easier. Other than that, doin them keeps me busy. Average for me is about 20-25 minutes per yard including loading unloading, and taking pictures. WHich most of the homes are small to medium sized.

doitforjohnny
10-04-2009, 08:36 PM
Hello,

Just find a used mower that you can use for the reo's. I lucked out and found a commercial honda hrc215 for $100 and decided to use that for mowing reo's. It's still going strong!
95% of them will be dry and it will be nasty to mow. Wear masks!
I made an extra 60,000 last year from REO's. I charge about 100-150 a yard for Bi-weekly service. Most of the properties need what they call an initial service prior to regular service because they are overgrown. My minimum 1 hour rate for an initial is 150 and it can go up to higher amounts. I did one the other day for $850.00

My company advertises as a landscape company that specializes in REO's. I don't do the trash outs and other services. You will find agents who are smart enough to hire a specialist to take care of their lawns.
My first call to an agent landed me 42 properties at one time. That gave me around $4,300 extra income a month. Who wouldn't take that?
Most people have given you the negatives but there are some positives.

1.Some of these properties do not have irrigation installed and the banks/agents will not install them. This means that once you go out there initially it is pretty easy after that to maintain it since no grass grows there. There may be some weeds in the winter time but you will mostly drive by these and maybe pick up some trash. They still want you to maintain them. We call these "drive-by's" Good profits on these ones.
I do a lot of properties that have nothing but dirt in the front yard.

2.No one is home! lol

3.There is a lot of irrigation repair work on these too which leads me to another positive....

4.Pricing! :) It's really good!

5. We are going to see massive amounts of foreclosures hit the market very soon! There is a lot of money to be made here. Just stick to the landscaping or you will go nuts trying to do it all.

Make sure you use REO's as gravy income. My company does commercial maintenance and we do these on the side.

tropical breeze
10-04-2009, 09:13 PM
WOW thats is crazy. Maybe its not such a bad idea. i talked to a home inspector today and he said he always has people asking for lawn care services so I told him if he can get me 15 accounts I would do his yard for free. He then asked what I charge and then asked for business cards and said I will see you soon.

sehitchman
10-06-2009, 09:28 AM
I tend to agree with doitforjohnny. My son had three absent owner / Bank owned properties this year. He took cell phone photos and the money usually came in about 30 days. He used his oldest 26" snapper sometimes as a brush cutter just because they were so overgrown. I told him to look it over and double the price for the 1st cut and clean up. After that, since they were not watered and had more weeds than grass they were a quick cut. They were hard on mowing equipment because of the dirt and rock issues. If he had other yards to cut we would have dropped them. I picked up a bunch of handyman work from these properties. Plumbing repair, gutter and downspout repair and cleaning. Fence and gate repair, along with lock changes, painting, and trash hauling. The extras paid for the two quick 36 mowers I just picked up.

doitforjohnny
10-06-2009, 11:32 AM
I tend to agree with doitforjohnny. My son had three absent owner / Bank owned properties this year. He took cell phone photos and the money usually came in about 30 days. He used his oldest 26" snapper sometimes as a brush cutter just because they were so overgrown. I told him to look it over and double the price for the 1st cut and clean up. After that, since they were not watered and had more weeds than grass they were a quick cut. They were hard on mowing equipment because of the dirt and rock issues. If he had other yards to cut we would have dropped them. I picked up a bunch of handyman work from these properties. Plumbing repair, gutter and downspout repair and cleaning. Fence and gate repair, along with lock changes, painting, and trash hauling. The extras paid for the two quick 36 mowers I just picked up.

Yes your absolutely right! I forgot to mention that if you have the desire there is a lot of extra work. There is a lot of seeding and sod also. I charge 1.80 a square foot for sod to the banks. I have a guy who installs it for me for .75 a square foot with sod included. He does great work and all I have to do is take pictures! You do the math!
Why doesn't he just install the sod for the banks himself? He doesn't like waiting 30 days for payment. I pay him upfront.
The banks just want the job done and I make sure it happens.

I know guys who are charging 2.50 a sq foot for sod. That is way too much!

doitforjohnny
10-06-2009, 11:38 AM
There is a lot of work and money to be made here in REO's. If it seems appealing to you then do what I did:

1.Drive around some nice areas in your target zone (30 mile radius of your shop or house).
2.When you see a foreclosure that looks "troubled" (overgrow etc.) take a pic and call the number on the sign.
3.Tell the agent that you "specialize in the Landscaping of REO's and when you see a "troubled" property you call to see if they need some help".
Your fishing here so sometimes you'll get a bite and sometimes not. If they say they have someone then you can tell them that "they need to call their Landscaper because this property is in need of a service". Then tell them "if they ever need ANYTHING, advice, questions to just call". This is the trick. Be kind and GIVING! When I do this agents that already have someone call me in a week after firing their current guy. You see when you called they didn't know that their property looked bad. They don't visit them all that much. Most landscapers drop the ball on them and start neglecting them. Sometimes they are willing to hire you on the spot and sometimes they don't even have anyone. If the property looks good don't call. Just call the "troubled" ones. It gives you some leverage! A troubled property in a "nice area" is even more leverage!
If you get a voice mail then do all this in just 30 seconds.
4. If you called the number and got a voice mail then you also should get on the internet and research the persons email address. Then you send them an email saying something similar to the above and attach the pics of their "troubled" yard.

Of course sometimes you just find them by referral or some other way!
They might ask you if you offer other services like trash outs, re-keys, board-ups, repairs etc. It's up to you if you want to do these other services. I would advice against it unless you like the way stress feels. I don't!

P.S. Remember to treat this as gravy money. Do not try and make a career out of this. It's easy to start thinking in this way because of all the work you can suddenly get and all the money you start making. But these accounts will not last. I repeat THESE WILL NOT LAST. Get the ball rolling and keep building your true business, whatever that is.

DIFJ

tropical breeze
10-07-2009, 11:19 AM
Great info thank you very much. This might help me stay moving during the slow months coming up. There are tons of empty houses in my area almost every other street there is one. Thanks again.

sancho_man_orlando
10-12-2009, 03:51 PM
I started seeking out this type of work.

In the past month I have more than doubled my business from the month prior.

Trash outs... I LOVE them... I get trailers full of household goods. From the new income stream I purchased a used dump trailer & have started "renting" this out for the day as well to local builders, roofers, etc. I drop it off in the morning and pick it up in the evening.

I have a pool in my home and have become good at keeping it crystal clear. So I'm not doing "initial cuts" for the banks on their lawns & picking up the recuts, pool maintenance & trash outs.

Whoever thinks it sucks working for banks... please send them MY way!

Big C
10-13-2009, 11:47 AM
I did some work on forclosures this summer for a property management/ real estate firm...everything was going great until the owner wanted me to give her a price on an office complex in which she owned...gave her the price and all of a sudden...WHAM...she stops sending me jobs...sent her a few text messeges letting her know that I am still available if needed.....her only reply is "OK".:confused::confused::confused:
IMO...these property management companies want you to tear up your equipment on these horrible yards....they want you to put them ahead of you regular customers when scheduling....and then when they find somebody cheaper.....or the property sells....they drop your azz like a brick!.....they are just good "filler" work.

gavin478
10-13-2009, 06:09 PM
I work with 4 other contractors to cover the Maryland Suburbs of DC, The money is great, especially on the larger properties. I also have some that are about 10 sq ft and I still get paid the 1/4 acre minimum. There are multiple downsides, I have to wait forever for the money, up to 2-3 months. Another interesting plus is all the actually useful and valuable stuff I find in the yards and sheds while I'm working. I've picked up ladders, trimmers, mowers, and more.

I only work lawn mowing, but there are other guys that do everything. My problem is that then you need to keep and haul around tons of stuff, ladders, mowers, air compressors, saws, wood, tools. I run my operation off the back of my truck (see my picture thread), but others need a 12' box truck to carry it all.

I highly advise you be clear about what jobs you want and what territory you want to cover. I do probably 12 properties within a mile from my house. However, be prepared to be assigned work 30 miles away and given short timelines (14 days for lawns, 3 days for most house work). In addition you will be expected to properly document your work, lawns are easy, everything else is pretty hard and specific, we need before/after/loaded/reciepts for everything.

Look online for REO vendors. The money is good if you've got the right equipment and can hustle. It is also a nice change to not deal with any customers and be less concerned about appearances. So long as it's cut and trimmed, I take my pics and race off to the next one.

deckman8887
10-14-2009, 06:25 AM
I work for 2 different agents,their cycles do not conflict with each other.im averaging around 400 cuts per month.If you walk the property first its less likely to tear up your equipment,some jobs you bid,some jobs need bush-hogging,I average 8-10,000 per month.Its AZZ-busting work but you do what you have to in this economy.Its great filler work for somebody starting out.

tropical breeze
10-14-2009, 12:06 PM
Thank you for your help and great info. This site is great for a new guy like me.