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Husky
08-24-2004, 02:01 AM
I maintain several of these now, but am mainly residential. I am however looking to really get into the smaller commercial full service accounts.. So i have some questions

When you guys bid these places and someone wants full services,,,meaning mowing for the year,,fert..weed control in beds,,mulching,,and any hedging that might need to be done for the year... How do you guys go about bidding these large maintenance fees?

I mean,,i would be worried about adding all this total up,,and then breaking it into 8 month seasonal contract paid in equal increments,,cause if they cancel right after like a large mulch install,,then you are out the money for themulch install cause they only got billed for hte maintenace fee?? i dont know,,ill clarify if need be..

Do you just bid by adding all these services up and dividing by 8 months plans or 12 month payment plans??

How do the BIG pros do it,,???

Husky
08-24-2004, 02:02 AM
I ask this stuff cause I always see tru green trimming the bushes at some of the larger commercial properties and am wondering how they bid the properties,,did they say,,ok fert,mowing and weed control in beds is a monthly equal payment thing,but mulch and these hedges we are trimming are going to be bid as individual things,,due on top of the maintenance fee.. you see my delimma?

Just curious,,I want to be as professional as possible...

Turf Dancer
08-24-2004, 05:39 AM
I figure it all out individually and then add all costs up for the total for the year and divide by 12 and add 5% just to cover any errors I might have made example of one of my small commercials

32 weeks mowing at $25 each = $800
(mow, trim and blow)

Fertilize and weed control for year=$150

clean up leaves that blow in in fall = $80

Total = $1030 add 5% roughly = $1080 divide by 12 =$90 a month on 12 months.

This is an easy one because it is a small area and it takes 20 minutes a week average.

Sign the contract and if you do your homework they can't break the contract unless they prove you breached the contract. I give all of my customers the right to break the contract but they have to buy their way out by paying %50 of the remaining money due on the remainder of the contract. Example I have one that is $525 a month on 12 months. They have some guy who says he will do it for $320 a month on 24 mo if they sign this month, They are trying to get corporate to go for the contract buy out because they think he will do the same job for $205 a month less over a 24 month contract = $4920 in savings. But it will cost them $1050 to get rid of me ! I really hope they go for it. I could use the $1050 towards my new trailer.

Whatever you do get it in writing and watch your wording !

HydroBC
08-24-2004, 07:36 AM
Great Post Husky-
Ive been hesitant to get too deep into commercials because of the risk of losing my ass!
You break it down nicely turfdancer thank you.
How do you find out which commercial contracts are actually up for bid?

PMLAWN
08-24-2004, 08:45 AM
First off why did they break contract? If we do something wrong than we should lose but if we are doing right I don't think We should have this problem.
All full service is year contract. A lot of the high cost stuff comes at the end of the year- areation-fall clean up -reseed- so if they do break off early I believe we are covered.

cntryboymc
08-24-2004, 09:38 AM
great info turf dancer!how do you approach theses businesses?

Mudmower
08-24-2004, 10:09 AM
Try this guys - Before I bid my first commercial, I tried to think of every possible scenerio (impossible). I now list, in detail, what will and will not be done, just as turfdancer wrote. I include it as a page of the contract. Use wording that leave little room for interpretation ie I do not haul off furniture, lumber, tires, concrete, or any large debris piles dumped by others. If the above does not cover what you see dumped in your area, include more. Also list that you will remove these things at an additional cost. Now, if it is a really sweet contract (great money) you could include the above service. Each customer is differant in what they PERCIEVE as a good deal.

Great idea on the buy out TD, I now have a new line to include in next years contract.

Jim

Husky
08-24-2004, 10:52 AM
Yes, good answeres and other questions on this thread..

WEll good,,thats probably the way I"m going to go about it. I was just curious weither it was a good idea...My commercials obviously want a large sum of mulch in the early spring. I Guess Ishouldn't worry about them cancelling, cause I'm sure this problem would be far and in between...

It just always bothers me to do a good amount of work and soend money and then have someone cancel on me..

See, now the question,,its sosunds ok for us to do it to commercial like that,,they are usually good payers.. but what about residential???

Can you run the residentials like tthat also? THey want fert mowing and say mulch in early sring,,u iknow what,,on second thought,,no,,i don't want to put it out there like that,,i have remulch jobs that are in excess of 1000$,,,so if someone drops a bomb on me,,id be screwed...I will bill monthly equal price for the year for mowing fert and weeds,,and then i will bill lump sum for hte other services...

Randy Scott
08-24-2004, 11:20 AM
Originally posted by Husky
It just always bothers me to do a good amount of work and soend money and then have someone cancel on me..

See, now the question,,its sosunds ok for us to do it to commercial like that,,they are usually good payers.. but what about residential???

Can you run the residentials like tthat also? THey want fert mowing and say mulch in early sring,,u iknow what,,on second thought,,no,,i don't want to put it out there like that,,i have remulch jobs that are in excess of 1000$,,,so if someone drops a bomb on me,,id be screwed...I will bill monthly equal price for the year for mowing fert and weeds,,and then i will bill lump sum for hte other services...

If you're having people cancel on you and you aren't being paid for services rendered to that point, somethings wrong in your head. Regardless of what the monthly payment is, at the time of a contract being canceled, a review of what was actually performed, and what was actually paid, needs to be gone through and a final bill sent with a breakdown for them to see, and then pay the balance if one is due. It's really that simple. Our residential and commercial contracts are extremely close in format. I don't care who work was done for, if there's a balance, they're paying. We had one customer that was a mutual agreement cancellation this season ( what a bitc*) and she was sent a final bill with the dates of the services performed, their associated charges, and then the check numbers and dates of what she paid. There was about $200 she owed us and she paid it and we had her sign a cancellation letter stating everything was paid and all work was completed as per charges, end of story.

Husky
08-24-2004, 12:18 PM
Oh no Randy,,yea Your right on with that, your post brings out the simple truth...

I have had 1 cancel in 2 years,,which I think is Awesome..

I was concerned about doing a mulch job and sticking it in with the mowing monthly equal payment thing for an eight month period over the season,,cause we put up money and work on the property,,and then slowly over the next eight months we get it back,,I don't know if I want to do mulch like that,,or do that as a per job thing...

I guess what I want to do is do residential like the commercial should be.

"excuse me mr. customer,,what services will you need?

fert.mowing aerating overseeding,,oh,,ok,,that will be 213.47 per month for eight months,,mowing weekly,fert as applies through season aeration and seeding at the end,,that works GREAT..

THen I have to decide when they ask for mulch in the spring,,do I include that in the monthly,,or make it a solo price? and is that the same way a commercial is done,,mine are per shot now,,,scares me when a drought comes?

Randy Scott
08-24-2004, 01:20 PM
Originally posted by Husky
I was concerned about doing a mulch job and sticking it in with the mowing monthly equal payment thing for an eight month period over the season,,cause we put up money and work on the property,,and then slowly over the next eight months we get it back,,I don't know if I want to do mulch like that,,or do that as a per job thing...

Actually, this will have to be on an individual basis. We have contracts that are all inclusive. All services divided out equally. Then we have some that are the basic mowing and fert totals for the season then billed per month. Any additional work, mulch, edging, shrubs, etc.. will be billed in addition upon approval. The thing with this is, you'll have to prepare a proposal stating what each individual service costs, and then the total divided into months. This way they know mulch is 2 grand or whatever and if there is ever a parting of ways, you and they know what they are going to be responsible for. We do a lot of residential and commercial this way. I may start changing this for next season though. I will have to feel each customer out on this but after doing 2 to 3 hundred yards of mulch in spring for different customers, it gets to be a lot of material costs I carry all season. A) I'm not a financial institution, and B) I'm really seeing the "cash is king" theory this season. Meaning, I need my money when the work is done, not in 12 monthly payments. The regularity of payments is nice, but this season with our expansion and more expenses, it is making it difficult. Seems I'm always a day late and a dollar short. We have a lot of money owed, but also have a lot that needs to go out during the busy season. I think for a select few next year, we will continue similar procedures, but for the most part, big ticket items will not be spread out over the season. Just doesn't seem to fit our cash-flow situation.

Husky
08-24-2004, 02:59 PM
I AGREE..,,wow read my mind..See I was thinking of it dragging out through the season,,and during times of expansion,,it could have a negative effect on your company,,bad when ur growing..

The way I think I"m going to run it is this

FOr Residential: I'm going to do equal monthyl payments for 8 months only for mowing weeding beds fertilizer aeration and overseeding...sound good,,or am i going to have a problem with this?

Mulch,,hedging,,pruining, planting landcaping all billed as completed..

Commercial:::

I think this will actually follow the same as the residential only will go for 12 months or 8 month option...

What do u think randy?

Guys?

Husky
08-24-2004, 03:03 PM
oh and randy,,,with your commercial properties do u run a 12 month plan or give an option of 12 or 8 month equal payments?

And are you talking about,,well lets say a commercial account wants mowing and mulch,,thats all,,,and they choose a 12 month pay plan,,,so u bill them equal payments for the mowing for hte year,,and in march when u placed the mulch down,,,that months bill will be the maintainance fee plus the cost of the mulch install,,,is that how u mean???

Just curious,,i like the idea a lot,,i just didnt know if commercial properties and hoa's would go for something that can change their monthly payments lie that...

Randy Scott
08-24-2004, 03:20 PM
Originally posted by Husky

And are you talking about,,well lets say a commercial account wants mowing and mulch,,thats all,,,and they choose a 12 month pay plan,,,so u bill them equal payments for the mowing for hte year,,and in march when u placed the mulch down,,,that months bill will be the maintainance fee plus the cost of the mulch install,,,is that how u mean???

Just curious,,i like the idea a lot,,i just didnt know if commercial properties and hoa's would go for something that can change their monthly payments lie that...

As long as you agree to terms in the beginning and they agree, then you shouldn't have a problem. Like I said, every individual business and resident is a one on one basis and need to be treated so. Contracts with clear explanations solve everything. Even my cover letters to people have an area where they need to initial at the bottom. Sometimes I make explanations in the opening letter to them and make them sign that as well as the contract.

Turf Dancer
08-24-2004, 03:57 PM
I have never lost a commercial account due to my failure of any duties. I am about to lose one due to a lowballer. I mean come on this place is a mess and I can't afford to keep it. I am at $525 a month and the next guy is talking $300 a month to them this morning. I say if he wants to mow 98,000 ft a week and have to bag 10,400 ft of it as well as provide weed control for the 10,400 ft. Plus weeding and trimming 30+large bushes then let him. This place is a nursing home on the city limits and it sits next to a pasture and several fields which makes it near impossible to control weeds in that environment. They were talking about full grounds maintenance for next year and now they are getting more cheap everyday. Hell weed control on that large of an area here would cost me $2100 a year by itself. That is another $175 per month plus I want another $225 a month for me. It is rough and there is puncture vine everywhere in the 10,400 ft area. So I have to mow it with a 21" bagging the whole thing to avoig messing up my tires on the ZTR.

As for how I find out about which ones are up for bid. I make notes of places I am interested in and about every two months I take a couple hours or a day and go cold call on these places and talk to them and tell them what I can do. I never tell them what their guy isn't doing, I just tell them what I can do !

Husky
08-24-2004, 06:22 PM
bac kto the top with this thread!

Thank you so far guys?


big help on this one!!



IN your experience guys have you ever found that many commercial contracts dont mind being on a 8 month plan,,,or is 12 month what i need to aim for for commercial,,and ill keep my residentials at 8 equal payments??? what do u guys think of that,,,or do i move all to 12?? i dunno just troubleshooting

Randy Scott
08-24-2004, 06:28 PM
Dammit Husky, do I gotta figure everything out for you? :D

I don't know your seasons too well, but our residential are on 7 month contracts and our commercials 12 month. We try not to do any residential plowing and also they are too cheap to charge for the season. As well, we only do residential two or three times during winter. We just haven't been hit with 3 or more inch snowfalls, so they usually shovel an inch or two. The commercial accounts pay monthly for us to be at their beck and call. So they are on 12 month billing cycles. Plus they have a one inch trigger depth for plowing and salting.

Husky
08-24-2004, 07:55 PM
lol,,now im getting yelled at?lol

wow we turned this into plowing,,but i understand what you are saying....

i don't do any plowing,,crosses my mind,, ..

again all hail randy