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View Full Version : How do I start bidding comercial properties?


GREGLAND
12-12-2009, 08:14 PM
I have been cutting residencial lawns for 5 years now and i have a great crew but I want to start getting commercial work to give the guys more work and money. The thing is i"m not sure how to get my foot in the door to bid on jobs. Id like to get mini malls or resturants or small office buildings. any advice would help. Thanks

topsites
12-12-2009, 08:32 PM
Being that you say you've been working the business for 5 years that was
what I was told, and believe you me I saw the reason why, you might be glad, too.

You really do need the experience, at least it felt that way for me, 5 years is a good time but
in hindsight I wouldn't have wanted it a day sooner, more is better but I felt that 5 years is good.

Anyhow...
Way I went about it is just mention it to the regulars in way of conversation,
sooner or later one of them residential customers will know someone, word
gets around and you can bid your first one.

Start slow :p
Won't take long, just make mention of it, year after next by the latest you'll most likely bid one, maybe sooner.

Then I'd be for taking on one 'smaller' contract for starters, that's what I did,
yet another one of those things I was later really glad about.
Two might be all right too but don't go overboard, way I did it is I made SURE that if
the contract fell through that it wouldn't spell the end of me.
One small commercial account is what I bid, it will fool you, it did me, I didn't think it was that much work but it was a load...

So, take your time, start small...
Good luck

GREGLAND
01-13-2010, 08:37 PM
Thank you!

hornett22
01-13-2010, 10:48 PM
mowing them is the same with trees.you better be able to do it for nothing and wait forever for your money.

MikeKle
01-13-2010, 11:56 PM
mowing them is the same with trees.you better be able to do it for nothing and wait forever for your money.

How true this is!
One other way to get commercials is to really watch your local legal and business classifieds starting in about Dec. up to about march, Many companies advertise that they are looking for bids for their lawn care for the upcoming season. When you find one, call and ask for the bid package or set up an appointment with them. Another way is to just drive around one day and stop at the places you would like to mow at. go in and talk to them about their lawn care, and they may let you give them a bid right there? I have gained accounts by doing this before. But I would rather gain more residentials anyday over commercials, as the commercial places take their time paying and will intentionally wait until the absolute last minute to pay their bill every month! Plus the big reason, if they get a bid that is cheaper by $5., they will drop you in a heartbeat for the cheaper guy, they do not look at you as a person, just a number, and will always go with the cheapest price. but residentials, if you gain their loyalty and do a quality job for them everytime, you will have them for life, no matter what you charge. I know a guy who had a portion of the land around the expressways here in KY, it paid like $350K per cut, and it was done 3x a year, he went and bought all the tractors and bat wings, semi trucks to haul it all around, then he had another company bid lower by a real little amount, but it was still cheaper than him, and he lost the entire account after the first year! He was able to sell all that equipment, but barely, and almost lost everything in the process. Commercial is too cut throat!

topsites
01-14-2010, 11:57 AM
mowing them is the same with trees.you better be able to do it for nothing and wait forever for your money.

That part...

Again why I used word of mouth, in my case I was lucky enough where one of my residential customers happened
to be a part of something else, that's as far as I want to go divulging what could be private information...

Yet another reason to start out slow as well, and with a smaller area, don't take on too many
and don't take on some huge complex because there's a lot to be learned.

See that part I had little problem with as I spelled out the payment terms in the contract.
Might help to remember that commercial accounts almost always can and WILL pay on the very last day.
But I mean to tell you I got paid by the 5th of every month (yes, for the month just completed).

Hmmm...
Maybe it was the 10th lol but I had no problems there, none whatsoever.
They always paid on time.

johnnybravo8802
01-14-2010, 05:30 PM
That part...

Again why I used word of mouth, in my case I was lucky enough where one of my residential customers happened
to be a part of something else, that's as far as I want to go divulging what could be private information...

Yet another reason to start out slow as well, and with a smaller area, don't take on too many
and don't take on some huge complex because there's a lot to be learned.

See that part I had little problem with as I spelled out the payment terms in the contract.
Might help to remember that commercial accounts almost always can and WILL pay on the very last day.
But I mean to tell you I got paid by the 5th of every month (yes, for the month just completed).

Hmmm...
Maybe it was the 10th lol but I had no problems there, none whatsoever.
They always paid on time.
I do 99% commercial/industrial and I like the curb appeal-they just want you to show up as stated in the contract. For some reason, I have always had a hard time getting residential accounts but I can land a commercial job in a heartbeat.:confused:However, the loyalty part is right and some are slow. I have a Solo account that pays every 45-50 days but Wal-Mart pays in a flash and is excellent to deal with. It all goes both ways. I have acquired my accounts by going door to door and that's the only way.

4 seasons lawn&land
01-14-2010, 08:41 PM
why not just call these places?

johnnybravo8802
01-14-2010, 09:22 PM
why not just call these places?
Because there's a snowballs chance in he#@, you'll get to talk to someone. It takes a lot of persistence in commercial and selling yourself and then a lot of waiting on a decision.

Ooomwizard
01-26-2010, 01:21 AM
First there are big LCO's that hire full time sales associates that do nothing but solicit commercial managers. For example, the commericals I have (especially the high visibility accounts) get LCO business cards in their inboxes every week. Therefore, I think it all involves timing and being at the right place at the right time. You have to spend a lot of time reminding people that you have a business and provide great service.

Commercial accts most often have their own contracts/agreements. Read carefully and edit or clarify if needed.

Since you're used to residential, you might try to think of bidding a commercial by breaking it up into residential accts. For example, a large client would be the same as servicing 10 residential, price it accordingly.

My commercials are great. I've got the properties well maintained and the work is easy. They almost always pay net 30, which makes me happy.

Just ask and ask and make contacts. Eventually some will come around.

GL!

johnnybravo8802
01-26-2010, 08:43 AM
First there are big LCO's that hire full time sales associates that do nothing but solicit commercial managers. For example, the commericals I have (especially the high visibility accounts) get LCO business cards in their inboxes every week. Therefore, I think it all involves timing and being at the right place at the right time. You have to spend a lot of time reminding people that you have a business and provide great service.

Commercial accts most often have their own contracts/agreements. Read carefully and edit or clarify if needed.

Since you're used to residential, you might try to think of bidding a commercial by breaking it up into residential accts. For example, a large client would be the same as servicing 10 residential, price it accordingly.

My commercials are great. I've got the properties well maintained and the work is easy. They almost always pay net 30, which makes me happy.

Just ask and ask and make contacts. Eventually some will come around.

GL!
I hear a lot of people on here say to break it up into several small residential accounts but I don't agrree with that. First of all, being on one property for 12 hours takes a whole diferent mind set and stamina than 10 residential accounts-you can get a good rest between 10 residential accounts but you have to keep rolling on the large commercial account. Also, the large commercial account can seem overwhelming at times and you feel like you'll never get done-I've never felt that way with a residential account. Secondly, if you price the large commercial account like 10 residential accounts, you'll be twice as high as everyone else and never get a job. Remember, it's very competitive and everyone wants the job-residentials don't have someone soliciting them everyday.

All-Star Landscapes
01-26-2010, 01:14 PM
anyone have any info on estimating commercial property's??
break down etc...

Lawnut101
01-26-2010, 01:49 PM
It's really all about timing. I called a lot of commercial places last year. I landed one contract that has turned out to be great. They were looking for a new company, because their old company didn't do a good job plowing. I got the mowing work. Don't have the plowing work yet, but I have enough of that work for now. Do a good job, give them a fair price and they will probably stick with you. Usually you can tell a cheap manager when you see one.

johnnybravo8802
01-26-2010, 02:28 PM
anyone have any info on estimating commercial property's??
break down etc...
I've done a lot of commercial so I can pretty much look at a job and get a good feel for it. I do mine by the day-my daily rate is $800 for a 3 man crew working 8 hours-that gives me and my company $600 and my workers $100/person. I sometimes break it up into a half day at $400 and revolve around that. That should be really close, at least in Ga. Your bid should always be somewhere in the middle.

All-Star Landscapes
01-26-2010, 03:31 PM
Is pricing per man hour any different, residential im at $35 per man hour. i would think it would be higher to cover misc things like fuel, more insurance etc...
Want i'm doing now is take the man hours it takes per visit X 4 to get my monthly rate and dividing it from a total of 48 week not 52 because of holidays (Christmas to new years, thanksgiving, memorial Day, 4th July etc..
Exp.
32 weeks @ 1 hour(2 men)=70.00
16 weeks @1/2 hour(2 men)=35.00
total amount= 2,800.00 divided by 48 weeks=58.33per visit/233.33monthly
then add chemicals and pine straw etc.. and divide throw out 12 months
to get a monthly average..
Just seems low for commercial ( what I'm I missing??)

DoetschOutdoor
01-26-2010, 04:40 PM
Im in the same boat...got a pretty full load of resi's and just need a few more commercial jobs to be in a really good position. I have 3 commercial accounts now but only 1 of them requires anything more than lawn mowing so its not that great. Had an absolutely huge apartment complex 2 years ago but manager ditched me and they hired on the mexican maint. guy to do it. Went back this year, 50+ year old couple with station wagon and 1 rider doing what 3 guys did in 8 solid hours. I cant imagine how many days it takes them.

Im going to start cold calling a few businesses here in the next week as well as stop into a few. There are alot of businesses around here but then again alot of the guys that I know around here are already taking very good care of the majority of businesses....who knows.

johnnybravo8802
01-26-2010, 04:46 PM
Is pricing per man hour any different, residential im at $35 per man hour. i would think it would be higher to cover misc things like fuel, more insurance etc...
Want i'm doing now is take the man hours it takes per visit X 4 to get my monthly rate and dividing it from a total of 48 week not 52 because of holidays (Christmas to new years, thanksgiving, memorial Day, 4th July etc..
Exp.
32 weeks @ 1 hour(2 men)=70.00
16 weeks @1/2 hour(2 men)=35.00
total amount= 2,800.00 divided by 48 weeks=58.33per visit/233.33monthly
then add chemicals and pine straw etc.. and divide throw out 12 months
to get a monthly average..
Just seems low for commercial ( what I'm I missing??)
Commercial usually runs cheaper than residential-you'd think it ran more with the insurance requirements!:confused:You have to be efficient to make up for the lack of money per hour.

All-Star Landscapes
01-26-2010, 04:49 PM
do you have any break down foe commercial??

johnnybravo8802
01-26-2010, 05:07 PM
do you have any break down foe commercial??
Like I mentioned earlier, I go by a daily rate since a lot of my properties take the better part of a day to mow. I come up with the hours by eyeballing each section and estimating how long each section will take. I sometimes measure areas with a wheel and figure up square footage. I try to stay up at the $50-60/hr. range with the smaller properties but my commercial rates are closer to $33/hr. if it's a tight bid-I can pretty much tell you what they are paying now and what they are willing to pay-I"m a small company so I can play with the numbers more. Now, I do have a property that I charge $1200 to mow and I can do it in 6 hours with three other guys-that's a good gross for a half day. I wish all my jobs were like that.