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corey4671
12-08-2009, 12:06 AM
Last fall I bought a Little Wonder HPV for use on some commercial accounts I have where there's a lot of asphalt that needs to be cleaned up from time to time. I got to thinking about offering a service to smaller commercial accounts for parking lot maintenance. Nothing big like a Walmart but smaller lots like banks or small strip mall retail locations. Seems to me between the HPV and the BR600 I should be able to make quick work. Things like cigarette butts and general trash. What do you guys think? Anyone currently offering anything like this? Seems like it would be easy winter money. Get up early before most of these accounts open for business and get done for the day. Before you say it, SNOW IS NOT AN OPTION HERE FOR WINTER MONEY :waving:

unkownfl
12-08-2009, 12:09 AM
I thing you could make a ton of money.

1993lx172
12-08-2009, 12:25 AM
I would see about buying/renting/leasing a skid loader with a pick-up broom. I think that the dealer on 9th street should be able to give you a good deal. Last time I was there I saw a Toro Dingo with a pick up broom out front that was taken in on trade from what I was told I would look into something like that as well.
You have to do something with all that trash once you get it to the other end of the lot, so I would look into a dump insert as well.

I know of one guy in the area that offered lot sweeping but I think he is out of it now. He sold off both his Dodge 3500's (he lives in the same subdivision that I have a few yards in) which he used to tow his goose-neck trailer with his skid and attachments around. He used to have the trailer in front of his house at least once week but I haven't seen it since last fall. I think he is only doing remodeling now (The guy re-did one of my client's kitchen and bathrooms). I think that you have a good shot at exploiting an untapped niche in the area.

corey4671
12-08-2009, 12:52 AM
I would see about buying/renting/leasing a skid loader with a pick-up broom. I think that the dealer on 9th street should be able to give you a good deal. Last time I was there I saw a Toro Dingo with a pick up broom out front that was taken in on trade from what I was told I would look into something like that as well.
You have to do something with all that trash once you get it to the other end of the lot, so I would look into a dump insert as well.

I know of one guy in the area that offered lot sweeping but I think he is out of it now. He sold off both his Dodge 3500's (he lives in the same subdivision that I have a few yards in) which he used to tow his goose-neck trailer with his skid and attachments around. He used to have the trailer in front of his house at least once week but I haven't seen it since last fall. I think he is only doing remodeling now (The guy re-did one of my client's kitchen and bathrooms). I think that you have a good shot at exploiting an untapped niche in the area.

not looking to get into anything that I'm going to have to invest in more equipment. Want to better utilize what I already have. If I had to, I also have this 13hp Billy Goat loader mounted on 6x10 trailer if I needed to pick up large amounts of debris. Between the Little Wonder HPV, Stihl BR 600, Billy Goat loader and Little Wonder 13hp blower I feel like I could offer this service to smaller locations like banks, fast food, and small retail/office space.

unkownfl
12-08-2009, 01:22 AM
The easiest route would be private business I think.

bigshow825
12-08-2009, 02:48 AM
sounds like a good idea, how are you going to go about charging em for tha service? the lil strip mall up here that i mow has me clean up the parkinglot ever so often, with my br600 it takes bout an hour half, i charge them 45 hr, 1 hr minimum.

corey4671
12-08-2009, 08:22 AM
sounds like a good idea, how are you going to go about charging em for tha service? the lil strip mall up here that i mow has me clean up the parkinglot ever so often, with my br600 it takes bout an hour half, i charge them 45 hr, 1 hr minimum.

see I just don't like hte idea of pricing by the hour. I think it turns people away especialy when they hear numbers like 45 and 55 an hour. I always try to stick to giving a flat rate for service but I understand why guys do it. Some visits there may be more trash than others. Way I see it though, let's say like where you are charging a minimum of 45 for that first hour. How many visits do you realistically go over that hour? Let's say for four weeks a month you show up and three of those four weeks you're in and out in 30 minutes each week but the one week you spend an hour and a half. That's three hours for the week and you are still averaging 60 and hour to blow trash. I think customers, especially commercial accounts that are squeezing every penny til it screams will prefer to know that they have a flat rate they are going to pay and as long as the job is getting done they'll be happy.

Think Green
12-08-2009, 10:39 AM
Corey,
All of our commercial accounts opt for us to clean and or blow off their parking lots during the season. Our commercials pay monthly for 12 months of service. Included are the mowings, spraying, trimming, weeding, and parking lot cleaning. Sometimes, parking lot cleaning is all that is needed during the off season. Our small medical clinics are in need of cleaning especially after busy weekday patients. The thing to remember is that some or most will require weekend services. 5 of our clinincs are done on Sunday if needed. Doing a complete clean off will require you to do the work on the weekend.
I use BR 600's and the PB755T's. Still keep a commercial broom and 55 gallon buckets for the corner debris. Use the fascility dumpsters for the discarded material.
I do one fascility that has 40,000 sq.ft.---nearly an acre of concrete--not much!! but still takes me and hour at most with the winds blowing and swirling. We do it for 35.00 a week figured into their 52 week contract. The commercial sweeper trucks cannot do as good of a job in getting those corners and tedious areas that we can get.
Good Luck with your venture............it will pay off!!

ox6603
12-08-2009, 11:52 AM
You may infact have an untapped niche... Or maybe not, these things are often done at night by sweeper trucks. You may be able to make some money but it isn't seasonal and they may want it done at night
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Think Green
12-08-2009, 02:01 PM
Corey,
If you are venturing into this category of maintenance, clearly-don't do this service in the evening hours as a solo operator. Pick n' Choose you locations for reasons of safety and security.
I have been approached on several occassions over the years from bystanders and wayward strangers wanting money and cigarettes. ALWAYS KEEP YOUR EYES SCANNING IN THE DISTANCE!
The larger ticket commercial and industrial sites, are done by commercial vacuum trucks, so the idea may be a little far off. Target the smaller markets where the commercial trucks don't service.

Kennedy Landscaping
12-08-2009, 03:47 PM
Sounds like a good idea to me.

fl-landscapes
12-08-2009, 04:34 PM
Most commercials that we take care of hire a company with a street type sweeper that sucks up the trash and small debris as well as sand and whatever else is there. We blow off as part of our maintenance. The problem I see with your plan is your just blowing the trash into the lawn and landscape and I know my customers dont want that, they would rather pay a company to come in with the sweeper and take the trash with them. You can buy small units but they arent cheap

corey4671
12-08-2009, 04:51 PM
Most commercials that we take care of hire a company with a street type sweeper that sucks up the trash and small debris as well as sand and whatever else is there. We blow off as part of our maintenance. The problem I see with your plan is your just blowing the trash into the lawn and landscape and I know my customers dont want that, they would rather pay a company to come in with the sweeper and take the trash with them. You can buy small units but they arent cheap
go back and read the original post again
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fl-landscapes
12-08-2009, 05:10 PM
my bad. we use a minute man loader to suck up the lots but the sweepers are needed for larger areas. I have to read slower I guess.

scagtiger
12-08-2009, 05:12 PM
we do this for all our commerical accounts and we have won alot of bids because other companys dont offer it around here

bigshow825
12-08-2009, 06:02 PM
corey which ever route you'll take will be a good one, i know you like to sleep at nite and will do right by your customers, and at the same time make some money, unless your doing for charity, either way good luck, by the way, that hedge trimmer you sold me has been an absolute beast, no suprise tho but thanks,

corey4671
12-08-2009, 07:04 PM
corey which ever route you'll take will be a good one, i know you like to sleep at nite and will do right by your customers, and at the same time make some money, unless your doing for charity, either way good luck, by the way, that hedge trimmer you sold me has been an absolute beast, no suprise tho but thanks,
well I dropped a line at my bank this morning and found out the porter service they use is not very good. he's been blowing the trash onto the neighbor's who in turn blow it back. that might be the first step. if i do this it'll be an early morning type deal. like pre 5am. i'm not much on staying up late but I love getting up predawn and getting going
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unkownfl
12-08-2009, 07:14 PM
Why can't you do it after they close in the afternoon?

ed2hess
12-08-2009, 07:15 PM
Most commercials that we take care of hire a company with a street type sweeper that sucks up the trash and small debris as well as sand and whatever else is there. We blow off as part of our maintenance. The problem I see with your plan is your just blowing the trash into the lawn and landscape and I know my customers dont want that, they would rather pay a company to come in with the sweeper and take the trash with them. You can buy small units but they arent cheap

Exactly.......these big sweeper companies run all nite in our area cleaning up the big parking lots. And us lawn guys clean up the rest. We visit every account during the winter just to blow off and clean up parking lot. All free..

corey4671
12-08-2009, 07:46 PM
Exactly.......these big sweeper companies run all nite in our area cleaning up the big parking lots. And us lawn guys clean up the rest. We visit every account during the winter just to blow off and clean up parking lot. All free..

is it really FREE or are these accounts on 12 month service?

ed2hess
12-09-2009, 06:34 PM
is it really FREE or are these accounts on 12 month service?
They are on 12 month contact but we don't but anything in for blowing off the property just part of mowing cost. WE have to keep our workers in pay and it keeps the customer from thinking we aren't around.

PROCUT1
12-10-2009, 07:45 PM
You pay your workers to provide free service to customers?

Did I read that correctly?

g21
12-10-2009, 09:49 PM
OK Corey,
Here's my two cents and it's a great topic you started. First off, your thought process on the service is a good one. Yes, it is a valuable service that most commercial properties can and do use. Here is going to be your biggest challenge. Yes, properties like banks seem to be the perfect candidate for a service like that since large sweeping companies aren't going to send a truck to service such small properties. But as some of the guys have stated, on smaller properties like banks, convenient stores, etc., the walks and parking areas are usually small enough that it is expected of you under standard industry practices to keep the lot clean from litter, sand build-up, debris, etc.

On larger properties, even small strip centers, you will never be able to compete with sweepers. Period. They have the production numbers down to a science and labor to for driving sweepers at night is readily available and CHEAP!

But that shouldn't discourage you! We have had some great litter control and lot maintenance add-on's to some of our properties over the years and it was very profitable! Here's what you have to look for: Banks can be good candidates, but you want to look for "large" ones. Many institutions will have regional branches, or ones that house mortgage depts, etc. Large buildings with expanded parking and massive drive-thrus. They are not big enough for a sweeping truck to maneuver around and still small enough to service with a walk-behind vac or wheel blower. This is where you can really fill a niche. Also look at auto parts chain stores. Their lots are usually a mess and they need help. You may be able to pick up several in a chain around your area.

Continue to pursue it...it's a great service to offer!

At the risk of making this post too long, I just wanted to comment that you are really off base with your thinking about charging by the hour. The reasoning for you ideas don't make much sense. So if you charge a flat rate, the same scenerio can (and probably will) still happen...you do it in 2 hours one week, two and a half the next week. How many visits to a commercial property in this industry are the same every week? How does charging a flat fee verses basing your price by the hour fix that problem? Your mission when bidding a property is to have a system that will help you determine how long that job will take each week. Then (and this is the important part) you have to "track" your manhours spent on that property each visit. Each month, you can look at the manhours spent on the property that month to see if you are on track. If you are off track (either under or over), that's a red flag! Now you go in and find out why that's happening.

If I was a customer (or a prospective customer) and I asked you how you came up with the price you want - what would you say? "Cause that's just what I get!"? Who would want to do business with someone like that? But if you said, "well, I've determined that it's going to take two manhours each week to service the property, and we charge $35. an hour for our services."

Now you sound like an educated contractor who understands not only what it will take to do the job properly, but one who knows his cost of doing business!

Sorry for being long winded!

Don't hesitate to ask if you need more help on these or any other topics.

Good Luck.

corey4671
12-10-2009, 11:57 PM
ok corey,
here's my two cents and it's a great topic you started. First off, your thought process on the service is a good one. Yes, it is a valuable service that most commercial properties can and do use. Here is going to be your biggest challenge. Yes, properties like banks seem to be the perfect candidate for a service like that since large sweeping companies aren't going to send a truck to service such small properties. But as some of the guys have stated, on smaller properties like banks, convenient stores, etc., the walks and parking areas are usually small enough that it is expected of you under standard industry practices to keep the lot clean from litter, sand build-up, debris, etc.

On larger properties, even small strip centers, you will never be able to compete with sweepers. Period. They have the production numbers down to a science and labor to for driving sweepers at night is readily available and cheap!

But that shouldn't discourage you! We have had some great litter control and lot maintenance add-on's to some of our properties over the years and it was very profitable! Here's what you have to look for: Banks can be good candidates, but you want to look for "large" ones. Many institutions will have regional branches, or ones that house mortgage depts, etc. Large buildings with expanded parking and massive drive-thrus. They are not big enough for a sweeping truck to maneuver around and still small enough to service with a walk-behind vac or wheel blower. This is where you can really fill a niche. Also look at auto parts chain stores. Their lots are usually a mess and they need help. You may be able to pick up several in a chain around your area.

Continue to pursue it...it's a great service to offer!

At the risk of making this post too long, i just wanted to comment that you are really off base with your thinking about charging by the hour. The reasoning for you ideas don't make much sense. So if you charge a flat rate, the same scenerio can (and probably will) still happen...you do it in 2 hours one week, two and a half the next week. How many visits to a commercial property in this industry are the same every week? How does charging a flat fee verses basing your price by the hour fix that problem? Your mission when bidding a property is to have a system that will help you determine how long that job will take each week. Then (and this is the important part) you have to "track" your manhours spent on that property each visit. Each month, you can look at the manhours spent on the property that month to see if you are on track. If you are off track (either under or over), that's a red flag! Now you go in and find out why that's happening.

If i was a customer (or a prospective customer) and i asked you how you came up with the price you want - what would you say? "cause that's just what i get!"? Who would want to do business with someone like that? But if you said, "well, i've determined that it's going to take two manhours each week to service the property, and we charge $35. An hour for our services."

now you sound like an educated contractor who understands not only what it will take to do the job properly, but one who knows his cost of doing business!

Sorry for being long winded!

Don't hesitate to ask if you need more help on these or any other topics.

Good luck.

great post! Great points! Thanks!!

BMFD92
12-11-2009, 12:31 PM
we do parking lot maintenance for a auto parts store as well as cut a small strip of grass they have on the lot. We clean the whole parking lot with push blowers and backpacks for the walks and around the building. We blow to the corner of the building then put everything in garbage bags. We move pretty quick with the blowers so we are making pretty good money with it.

ALC-GregH
12-12-2009, 09:03 AM
Go all out and buy a street sweeper. :)

ed2hess
12-12-2009, 01:23 PM
You pay your workers to provide free service to customers?

Did I read that correctly?

We keep one core crew during the winter and basically just break even on their work....but yes we blow off key accounts free. We make up the loss on other things like cleaning out holding ponds, but not necessarily the same account.

bigshow825
12-12-2009, 04:51 PM
OK Corey,
Here's my two cents and it's a great topic you started. First off, your thought process on the service is a good one. Yes, it is a valuable service that most commercial properties can and do use. Here is going to be your biggest challenge. Yes, properties like banks seem to be the perfect candidate for a service like that since large sweeping companies aren't going to send a truck to service such small properties. But as some of the guys have stated, on smaller properties like banks, convenient stores, etc., the walks and parking areas are usually small enough that it is expected of you under standard industry practices to keep the lot clean from litter, sand build-up, debris, etc.

On larger properties, even small strip centers, you will never be able to compete with sweepers. Period. They have the production numbers down to a science and labor to for driving sweepers at night is readily available and CHEAP!

But that shouldn't discourage you! We have had some great litter control and lot maintenance add-on's to some of our properties over the years and it was very profitable! Here's what you have to look for: Banks can be good candidates, but you want to look for "large" ones. Many institutions will have regional branches, or ones that house mortgage depts, etc. Large buildings with expanded parking and massive drive-thrus. They are not big enough for a sweeping truck to maneuver around and still small enough to service with a walk-behind vac or wheel blower. This is where you can really fill a niche. Also look at auto parts chain stores. Their lots are usually a mess and they need help. You may be able to pick up several in a chain around your area.

Continue to pursue it...it's a great service to offer!

At the risk of making this post too long, I just wanted to comment that you are really off base with your thinking about charging by the hour. The reasoning for you ideas don't make much sense. So if you charge a flat rate, the same scenerio can (and probably will) still happen...you do it in 2 hours one week, two and a half the next week. How many visits to a commercial property in this industry are the same every week? How does charging a flat fee verses basing your price by the hour fix that problem? Your mission when bidding a property is to have a system that will help you determine how long that job will take each week. Then (and this is the important part) you have to "track" your manhours spent on that property each visit. Each month, you can look at the manhours spent on the property that month to see if you are on track. If you are off track (either under or over), that's a red flag! Now you go in and find out why that's happening.

If I was a customer (or a prospective customer) and I asked you how you came up with the price you want - what would you say? "Cause that's just what I get!"? Who would want to do business with someone like that? But if you said, "well, I've determined that it's going to take two manhours each week to service the property, and we charge $35. an hour for our services."

Now you sound like an educated contractor who understands not only what it will take to do the job properly, but one who knows his cost of doing business!

Sorry for being long winded!

Don't hesitate to ask if you need more help on these or any other topics.

Good Luck.

i second that, great reply and very informative, you helpd me change the way i will approach the few lots that i do, thanks abunch

Tharrell
12-14-2009, 04:53 AM
Most of the banks will have a landscaper and will assume they're already paying for that so you'll have to sell it. As far as the bigger properties or national chains like BOA, they use building maintenance services and again, you'll have to sell it if they don't have their contracted landscapers doing it weekly now.
I like this thread and would encourage everyone to post their thoughts.
I can see places with no obvious need for a landscaper but a need for parking lot maintenance.
Also, community banks are less likely to use the big building services like Trammel Crow or CBRE. Tony

corey4671
12-14-2009, 08:43 AM
Most of the banks will have a landscaper and will assume they're already paying for that so you'll have to sell it. As far as the bigger properties or national chains like BOA, they use building maintenance services and again, you'll have to sell it if they don't have their contracted landscapers doing it weekly now.
I like this thread and would encourage everyone to post their thoughts.
I can see places with no obvious need for a landscaper but a need for parking lot maintenance.
Also, community banks are less likely to use the big building services like Trammel Crow or CBRE. Tony
That's how my bank is. there is no grass at all. only landscaping is a couple of beds in front of the building with some shrubs. out back is a parking lot with about ten spaces and then the drive up window. it's located right off the town square so it sees a lot of traffic. i talked to the branch manager friday and he gave me the number of the person to call about property maintenance. going to call today. might be a dead end but you never know unless you ask!
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Tharrell
12-14-2009, 07:09 PM
That's great for you. That's the situation I had envisioned that would be a perfect opportunity. Tony

cylinder3missfire
12-14-2009, 09:12 PM
I might have overlooked it, but it would also be a great way to sell power washing services, (Now that your parking lot is clean and tidy, those stains in parking spots really show up, for x amount we can degrease and clean those up for you. Also please take a look at our brochure for seal coating and lot striping.) Just a thought.

corey4671
12-15-2009, 12:49 AM
well bad news. called the property manager and as I expected, they have a NATIONAL deal for these banks. (USBANK). NO doubt they have some large outfit that is doing this for next to nothing and it shows. Lady was very snippy with me on the phone. Whatever. I'm not giving up on this. On the bright side, I DID land a new mowing customer for 2010 today! I had done a one time service for her early in November. She called today and wants to be a full time customer next year and wanted to make sure she called early and got on the schedule.

Big C
12-15-2009, 02:07 AM
well bad news. called the property manager and as I expected, they have a NATIONAL deal for these banks. (USBANK). NO doubt they have some large outfit that is doing this for next to nothing and it shows. Lady was very snippy with me on the phone. Whatever. I'm not giving up on this. On the bright side, I DID land a new mowing customer for 2010 today! I had done a one time service for her early in November. She called today and wants to be a full time customer next year and wanted to make sure she called early and got on the schedule.

I called a property management company once and they gave me the old "we use a national lawn care company" story....I happen to drive by one of their properties a few days later and saw their "national" company.....2 mexicans with a 22" murry push mower, a michete and a broom.;):laugh:..some of those property management companies are so full of sh!t it is unreal.

Tharrell
12-15-2009, 11:32 AM
The lowest bidder always gets it unless the actual customer isn't happy with the service. The contracts are negotiated and they try to push you around.
BOA has had so many in my town, I can't even count them.
Personally, I don't have the patience to deal with those people. There is a ton of LOCAL business so keep at it.
Convenience stores are a really good bet, I do a ton of them. Tony