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kyles landscape
11-29-2012, 04:17 AM
Anyone do one or the other for a particular reaSon

Better profit for 1? Less headaches? Less competition? Etc?

If you do both do you try to get a certain percent or gross from one or the other etc is commercial work all the extra headaches it seems???
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Florida Gardener
11-29-2012, 07:48 AM
In south Florida....
Residential=Good
Commercial=Bad
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JCLawn and more
11-29-2012, 09:02 AM
Anyone do one or the other for a particular reaSon

Better profit for 1? Less headaches? Less competition? Etc?

If you do both do you try to get a certain percent or gross from one or the other etc is commercial work all the extra headaches it seems???
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my commercial properties are a piece of cake. I like them because i can do them wayyy early in the morning or at night when things get tight.

Florida Gardener
11-29-2012, 09:31 AM
The main thing that I don't care for commercial is, you can't get creative. Everything is formal and kept in boxes....
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MOturkey
11-29-2012, 10:28 AM
Many times, commercial accounts are interested in only one thing, and that is price. Some insist on accepting bids as often as every year, in an effort to keep costs at a minimum. Generally speaking, if you do a good job on residentials, you can retain the account as long as you want it.

herler
11-29-2012, 11:00 AM
The commercial account is capable of spending ten times as much as the residential.
Whether they do...
That's another story.

And you really need a crew to handle commercial accounts, in my experience there exist only a small handful of these types that a solo operator can tackle, so in my opinion the commercial account isn't worth it for a solo but for a crew type operation it might be the thing that keeps them afloat.

kyles landscape
11-29-2012, 11:35 AM
I have 1 employee willing to go to 2 or 3 if need be only want 1 crew though but I want to generAte more work to justify my costs and obv make more.

With tht bein said yes comm can generate 10x more but is it bad to have all your eggs in one basket? If I were to lose that "big" account the following year due to a low bidder then id be screwed were as if I have 100 res and lose one its no big deal
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SRT8
11-29-2012, 03:36 PM
With tht bein said yes comm can generate 10x more but is it bad to have all your eggs in one basket? If I were to lose that "big" account the following year due to a low bidder then id be screwed were as if I have 100 res and lose one its no big deal
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Our company is about 90% commercial.
Once you start going after big commercial properties you just got to keep growing. You are right, if you have one huge contract and you lose it you are screwed. If you have 40 big commercial properties and you lose 1 it isn't so bad.

I suggest going after all different types of commercial such as:
-Home Owners Assoc.
-Apartment Complexes
-Business Parks
-Industrial Parks
-City Work

You never know when a particular market will crash and if you have all your eggs in an HOA basket then you are twice as likely to be screwed. If you have eggs in every basket with several clients in each you will most likely be ok.

Low ballers will always be out there, don't fear them just do much better work than them and you should be ok.

kyles landscape
11-29-2012, 03:52 PM
How did you go about getting into your commercial and what things should I watch out for and what do I need specifically to jump into commercial
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Florida Gardener
11-29-2012, 04:03 PM
Our company is about 90% commercial.
Once you start going after big commercial properties you just got to keep growing. You are right, if you have one huge contract and you lose it you are screwed. If you have 40 big commercial properties and you lose 1 it isn't so bad.

I suggest going after all different types of commercial such as:
-Home Owners Assoc.
-Apartment Complexes
-Business Parks
-Industrial Parks
-City Work

You never know when a particular market will crash and if you have all your eggs in an HOA basket then you are twice as likely to be screwed. If you have eggs in every basket with several clients in each you will most likely be ok.

Low ballers will always be out there, don't fear them just do much better work than them and you should be ok.

Here in Florida all 5 that you listed pay crapola. The only good commercial work are shopping centers(to a degree). City work is bid at pennies on the dollar.
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SRT8
11-29-2012, 04:19 PM
How did you go about getting into your commercial and what things should I watch out for and what do I need specifically to jump into commercial
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Getting into commercial is no easy task. In our early days we had a lot of doors slammed in our faces. If you walk into an apartment complex and tell them you want to maintain their site they will most likely ask you "what other sites do you maintain?" if you don't have an answer to that question the door will be slammed.
Even if you know you can take on the big site , the management has to be 100% sure that you can do it and they aren't going to take your word for it. They want references because their job is also on the line if they hire a landscaper that isn't good. Curb appeal means everything to apartment complexes, its what drives in potential renters.


We started with our residential clients, and some of them owned business parks and we started maintaining them. Some of our other clients worked at car dealerships and they got us onboard there. Having a website works well also, just this year I picked up 4 industrial parks that found us online.

Last but not least LUCK! some people are just lucky or catch lucky breaks.
It just takes that one person to drive by your work and be "wowed" by your performance. We had a client drive by one of the properties we maintain, park her car and walk into the office and leave her business card for me. We have picked up a lot of properties due to that.

Start with a small dentist's office, and work your way up little by little. Remember a big operation is very expensive to keep up, but if you have the work it should be no problem. Once you build up a good sized commercial clientel landing new clients is a piece of cake..

Keep your clients happy, exceed their expectations, communicate with them regularly and always do quality work............recipe for a strong successful business.

andyslawncare
11-29-2012, 09:17 PM
High end residential, churches, and HOS make up the majority of maintenance for us. Commercial is good considering, 1 customer gives more money for more work on the stop, but can be PITA also, since positions change, especially with HOA. With residential, people own their land and home and want relationship, which over time includes trust between you and them.

Residential customers take me 90% of my communication time in the office, but are easier to keep for long periods of time. Residential customers are also more likely to be a much higher probability for extra work, such as installs, tear outs, and redesigns since the budget is not as limited. For example, this year I've had $15,000 maintenance jobs for commercial, and have done more than $15,000 on some of my residentials. There isn't much of a true answer for this.

Brickman, valeycrest, and trugreen land care's new owner focus is on large commercial, city, and government maintenance, and none of them have profit margins that we get from residential and small to medium commercial accounts. They do quantity in a specific marketplace, and this is why they are large. Their sales forces are huge.

I market full service, and this sets me apart from the start and lands me jobs where people agree with fees and offer respect.

kyles landscape
11-29-2012, 09:26 PM
Getting into commercial is no easy task. In our early days we had a lot of doors slammed in our faces. If you walk into an apartment complex and tell them you want to maintain their site they will most likely ask you "what other sites do you maintain?" if you don't have an answer to that question the door will be slammed.
Even if you know you can take on the big site , the management has to be 100% sure that you can do it and they aren't going to take your word for it. They want references because their job is also on the line if they hire a landscaper that isn't good. Curb appeal means everything to apartment complexes, its what drives in potential renters.


We started with our residential clients, and some of them owned business parks and we started maintaining them. Some of our other clients worked at car dealerships and they got us onboard there. Having a website works well also, just this year I picked up 4 industrial parks that found us online.

Last but not least LUCK! some people are just lucky or catch lucky breaks.
It just takes that one person to drive by your work and be "wowed" by your performance. We had a client drive by one of the properties we maintain, park her car and walk into the office and leave her business card for me. We have picked up a lot of properties due to that.

Start with a small dentist's office, and work your way up little by little. Remember a big operation is very expensive to keep up, but if you have the work it should be no problem. Once you build up a good sized commercial clientel landing new clients is a piece of cake..

Keep your clients happy, exceed their expectations, communicate with them regularly and always do quality work............recipe for a strong successful business.

i was gonna say i feel like once u get ur foot in the door slowly gets easier and easier because people see you out more....more creditable...etc etc

between apartments and commercial is there any competition between each who wants the nicest looking groundsin the area or is it simply just do this or that and that is that

kyles landscape
11-29-2012, 09:32 PM
High end residential, churches, and HOS make up the majority of maintenance for us. Commercial is good considering, 1 customer gives more money for more work on the stop, but can be PITA also, since positions change, especially with HOA. With residential, people own their land and home and want relationship, which over time includes trust between you and them.

Residential customers take me 90% of my communication time in the office, but are easier to keep for long periods of time. Residential customers are also more likely to be a much higher probability for extra work, such as installs, tear outs, and redesigns since the budget is not as limited. For example, this year I've had $15,000 maintenance jobs for commercial, and have done more than $15,000 on some of my residentials. There isn't much of a true answer for this.

Brickman, valeycrest, and trugreen land care's new owner focus is on large commercial, city, and government maintenance, and none of them have profit margins that we get from residential and small to medium commercial accounts. They do quantity in a specific marketplace, and this is why they are large. Their sales forces are huge.

I market full service, and this sets me apart from the start and lands me jobs where people agree with fees and offer respect.

ya right now im small and i feel as though the residentials it much more profitable....true or false?

SRT8
11-29-2012, 09:58 PM
i was gonna say i feel like once u get ur foot in the door slowly gets easier and easier because people see you out more....more creditable...etc etc

between apartments and commercial is there any competition between each who wants the nicest looking groundsin the area or is it simply just do this or that and that is that

There is competition between properties. Every apartment complex wants to be nicer then the one next door to drive people in just like every business park wants to be the nicest to get people to lease an office there. Also the nocer the property is inside and out the more they can charge monthly for rent.
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kyles landscape
11-29-2012, 10:43 PM
Any problems with slow payers/non payers what did you look for specifically when starting to best aviod the crap properties? And I am god awful when it comes to bidding lol any help in that area entirely? I almost feel as though you can make good money anywere but it needs too be bid properly
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SRT8
11-30-2012, 02:20 AM
Any problems with slow payers/non payers what did you look for specifically when starting to best aviod the crap properties? And I am god awful when it comes to bidding lol any help in that area entirely? I almost feel as though you can make good money anywere but it needs too be bid properly
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You gotta pick your battles when it comes to properties. Ugly properties most likely don't have money or aren't willing to spend money its as easy as that.
Slow payers- as for them....... Get used to them, its life in commercial. I maintain properties in CA but they have their offices all over the country and with different time zones communication can be tough. But IMO commercial is the way to go if you want a big company.
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Duekster
11-30-2012, 06:56 AM
I like residential as gap fillers and project money.

I have 6 hours of work in a zone and can pick up some residential to fill in the route.

I do not think Residential is real profitable for me but it does cover overhead and make some profit. Keeping the Crew running that extra hour or two a day helps.

orangemower
11-30-2012, 07:50 AM
I have a couple commercial accounts now. They all pay fast, pay good and take half the time versus money that some of my residential customers pay take. Basically I make a solid $90hr to just cut grass. AND I do all the other property maintenance at additional prices.

SRT8
11-30-2012, 11:52 AM
I have a couple commercial accounts now. They all pay fast, pay good and take half the time versus money that some of my residential customers pay take. Basically I make a solid $90hr to just cut grass. AND I do all the other property maintenance at additional prices.

The majority of our accounts pay fast, but its the nationwide companies that can sometimes take long.
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ClipXE Software
11-30-2012, 11:57 AM
The following is a quotation from (back in 2004) the Lawn Care company that operates here, Clip Lawn Care. This is why they only do residential work, I hope this helps anyone to make a decision:

We only do residential lawns. Why? Because the most profitable companies I know do them. It is proven that the $ per hour is more then commercial.

We don't advertise except by door hangers. Why? Travel time kills your profit. It also allows use to choose the neighborhood where we want to work in.

We don't do high end? Why? Their expectations are high and you usually can't charge that much more to make up for them calling all the time because you missed a weed.

We are the cheap guy in town? We advertise that we will beat any other company's price (They must be a real company). How? By keeping overhead very low and tracking the time on every single job everyday. I will drop a loser in mid season.

So basically we are the mow, blow and go (we do trim also). I use that term loosely because I know most landscapers hate that phrase. I use the same high quality equipment that you do, pay the same wages, etc. We do a "good" job on the lawns. Our target is customers who don't want to mow the lawn themselves. They are happy to have a lost cost alternative and we even trim (which everyone hates to do).

We currently have about 130 weekly customers but have serviced over 402 lanes in the past 1.5 years, meaning that we did our "$20 special" for them.

Yesterday the one crew did $46.44 per hour and the other $49.10. THIS INCLUDES TRAVEL TIME. Our goal is $40 per hour.

Now all my employees are on piece work. If you read my previous email about the employee from hell, well he did show up for work, did piece work, got all the work done at 3:00 and went home. He was thanking me!!
Let's see if it will last.

The office (if you call a computer and a filing cabinet an office)is at one location and the shop(if you call a Sam's Club plastic garage a
shop- the equipment is on a custom bed we have on the back of a used GMC
3500) is located someplace else. The foreman uses CLIP remotely from a computer at his house to record the work and print the route sheets. We use Clip Connect so the posting only takes a few minutes.

We have no debt at all and run a small profit. Not to bad for 2nd year in business. We plan to have a real profit of 30% in a few years. Some of you guys already do this.

Duekster
11-30-2012, 08:07 PM
The following is a quotation from (back in 2004) the Lawn Care company that operates here, Clip Lawn Care. This is why they only do residential work, I hope this helps anyone to make a decision:

We only do residential lawns. Why? Because the most profitable companies I know do them. It is proven that the $ per hour is more then commercial.

We don't advertise except by door hangers. Why? Travel time kills your profit. It also allows use to choose the neighborhood where we want to work in.

We don't do high end? Why? Their expectations are high and you usually can't charge that much more to make up for them calling all the time because you missed a weed.

We are the cheap guy in town? We advertise that we will beat any other company's price (They must be a real company). How? By keeping overhead very low and tracking the time on every single job everyday. I will drop a loser in mid season.

So basically we are the mow, blow and go (we do trim also). I use that term loosely because I know most landscapers hate that phrase. I use the same high quality equipment that you do, pay the same wages, etc. We do a "good" job on the lawns. Our target is customers who don't want to mow the lawn themselves. They are happy to have a lost cost alternative and we even trim (which everyone hates to do).

We currently have about 130 weekly customers but have serviced over 402 lanes in the past 1.5 years, meaning that we did our "$20 special" for them.

Yesterday the one crew did $46.44 per hour and the other $49.10. THIS INCLUDES TRAVEL TIME. Our goal is $40 per hour.

Now all my employees are on piece work. If you read my previous email about the employee from hell, well he did show up for work, did piece work, got all the work done at 3:00 and went home. He was thanking me!!
Let's see if it will last.

The office (if you call a computer and a filing cabinet an office)is at one location and the shop(if you call a Sam's Club plastic garage a
shop- the equipment is on a custom bed we have on the back of a used GMC
3500) is located someplace else. The foreman uses CLIP remotely from a computer at his house to record the work and print the route sheets. We use Clip Connect so the posting only takes a few minutes.

We have no debt at all and run a small profit. Not to bad for 2nd year in business. We plan to have a real profit of 30% in a few years. Some of you guys already do this.

Wow. I just watched your increase profits by 30% video.

You have 11 post.

you get an e-mail from Mark and today from me.

You want to research what we have said. :waving:

Great progam but time to kick it up a notch.

kyles landscape
11-30-2012, 11:17 PM
The following is a quotation from (back in 2004) the Lawn Care company that operates here, Clip Lawn Care. This is why they only do residential work, I hope this helps anyone to make a decision:

We only do residential lawns. Why? Because the most profitable companies I know do them. It is proven that the $ per hour is more then commercial.

We don't advertise except by door hangers. Why? Travel time kills your profit. It also allows use to choose the neighborhood where we want to work in.

We don't do high end? Why? Their expectations are high and you usually can't charge that much more to make up for them calling all the time because you missed a weed.

We are the cheap guy in town? We advertise that we will beat any other company's price (They must be a real company). How? By keeping overhead very low and tracking the time on every single job everyday. I will drop a loser in mid season.

So basically we are the mow, blow and go (we do trim also). I use that term loosely because I know most landscapers hate that phrase. I use the same high quality equipment that you do, pay the same wages, etc. We do a "good" job on the lawns. Our target is customers who don't want to mow the lawn themselves. They are happy to have a lost cost alternative and we even trim (which everyone hates to do).

We currently have about 130 weekly customers but have serviced over 402 lanes in the past 1.5 years, meaning that we did our "$20 special" for them.

Yesterday the one crew did $46.44 per hour and the other $49.10. THIS INCLUDES TRAVEL TIME. Our goal is $40 per hour.

Now all my employees are on piece work. If you read my previous email about the employee from hell, well he did show up for work, did piece work, got all the work done at 3:00 and went home. He was thanking me!!
Let's see if it will last.

The office (if you call a computer and a filing cabinet an office)is at one location and the shop(if you call a Sam's Club plastic garage a
shop- the equipment is on a custom bed we have on the back of a used GMC
3500) is located someplace else. The foreman uses CLIP remotely from a computer at his house to record the work and print the route sheets. We use Clip Connect so the posting only takes a few minutes.

We have no debt at all and run a small profit. Not to bad for 2nd year in business. We plan to have a real profit of 30% in a few years. Some of you guys already do this.

same idea here i wana LOCK an area up!!! id rather drive the mower down the st house to house then the trcuk. i have one strip were in can hit about 15 homes without moving the truck :)

now that i have a set base of customers around 50 i wana try bumping my minimum to 25 per 1/4 acre and throwin on some commercial in the early/mid week

orangemower
12-01-2012, 09:01 AM
same idea here i wana LOCK an area up!!! id rather drive the mower down the st house to house then the trcuk. i have one strip were in can hit about 15 homes without moving the truck :)

now that i have a set base of customers around 50 i wana try bumping my minimum to 25 per 1/4 acre and throwin on some commercial in the early/mid week

WOW is all I can say. Doing your math, I make as much working 15 properties in a week and only use 3 days.

You say, now that I have 50 customers I want to bump the price on them? That's not the best way to secure long term customers. You stand to lose a bunch in the spring because of this. I have always priced out work according to job and don't budge. I don't have a minimum. If a job is that small that it only makes me $25 then it's scheduled to be done when I'm already going to be there.

kyles landscape
12-01-2012, 02:11 PM
I'm not bumping anyone as long as they stay with me I'm bumping new customers from here on out and we all start somewere don't we. Next year when I get the other mower I want I should be able knock everything out in 2 days or 3 no problem
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