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HOMER
05-19-2000, 11:51 PM
I heard from a mowing frien of mine the other day that the property manager over my apt. complex was telling my price to a competitor so he could give her a better price. I understand that he did in fact cut me by $50.00 a month and that she was going to give it to him..............this hasn't happened yet, and it may all be a bunch of BS. I know they do this but is there some legal avenue you can take if I were to lose the bid, does this fall under the description of collusion? I plan to drop that low paying p.o.s. as soon as I pick up enough new accounts to replace the money so it's not a great big issue even if I were to lose it, but the principal behind discussing prices to garner a lower one doesn't sit well with me.<p><br>Give me some feedback please.<p>Homer

lawrence stone
05-20-2000, 12:13 AM
There is no legal action you can take.<p>Forget about those apt complexs or condo<br>associations.<p>Go get your self a pesticide license and<br>spread insecticide to kill those fire ants <br>and mole crickets with a spreader mounted<br>to a chopper.

yardsmith
05-20-2000, 12:15 AM
yes Homer, gone are the days of innocence; people are jerks today. I wish we still lived in days of honesty. It has happened to me too.<br>Bad thing is, I discussed details on things to a friend of mine about a big commercial job 3 yrs. ago, & guess who's doing it now-HIM.<br>Most times I can't squeeze info out of anyone anymore- they want to hear my bid first, hoping it'll be ridiculously low. That way they don't have to inform me how much I could have been making.<br>Anyways, keep your chin up & your armor on. It's a battle out there dealing with &quot;the public&quot;, as we all know.<p>----------<br>Smitty ô¿ô<br>

HOMER
05-20-2000, 12:31 AM
Funny you should say that Lawrence.......my wife was on me yesterday about that very same thing. She said she wasn't trimming shrubs when she was 50 so I'd better be getting prepared to do something else!<p>Homer

southside
05-20-2000, 01:55 AM
Homer, is this customer on a written contract<br>with you? If not,then this would be a good<br>move to make.If you have the job in writing,<br>then this crap doesn't happen as often.All<br>my large jobs are on written contract.If I<br>have to make an equipment investment then I<br>want the deal done right with the job.<p>Karl<br>

HOMER
05-20-2000, 05:22 AM
Actually she has drug her feet on getting the contract written up. I let this happen, I did the complex last year and she has given me approval to do it again this year, even got a verbal O.K. to go up on my price $25.00 big dollars a month.<p>I don't know what apt. complexes go for in other parts of the country but this is ridiculous. I normally take 2 more helpers when I do it and it takes us 2 hrs to trim, mow, blow, 2.5 if we edge. Just ain't worth it this year. Got to cut it weekly too.<p>Homer

nlminc
05-21-2000, 09:31 AM
PMS (property managers suck) This will be my last year dealing with condos and assoc. 99% only care about the bottom line. Next year I will only be working high end residential and smaller commercial properties. One of the condo's I care for now has taken away everything but the weekly mowing and spring and fall clean-ups. The trusties are doing the irrigation themselves!:) They call a guy in from 30 min. away to trim the shrubs and trees. This scrub and his crew already SHEARED off any possible bloom for on the Rhododendrons. In my contract my guys have to wear uniforms. This scrubs crew came in wearing no shirts, boxers hanging out of the pants and sneakers. They had a septic guy plant trees which were all planted with the burlap and cage still on! The trees are planted to deed and several have already started to die. The maintenance man that works there has to spread 105 yards of mulch that they bought bagged! That was supposed to happen in March and the bags are still sittin all over the parking lot. The bottom line is they want to save money. The next time I see the manager who happens to live in the complex I'm going to tell him I saw a penny on the ground next to his Lincoln. Then if he has not already blown by me, I'm gonna ask him if he wants to race me to it! If I don't reply here for a while it will be because I got trampled by a property manager and his trusties, because I got in the way of that penny. ;) <p><br>Chris

HOMER
05-21-2000, 12:25 PM
I'm with you Chris. The time I spent trimming shrubs the other day could have been spent on other accounts that are way more profitable. The PM's around here are all suckin' up to the owners to try and save $'s.........They won't have me to kick around too much longer. I already decided that starting last week as soon as the new business equals 2/3 of the apt. revenue I will drop them. I figure 2/3 will be enough considering the amount of shrubs that I still have to trim and how many times I have to do it. If it ever starts raining they need trimming every month. Thats atleast 3-4 hours work monthly on top of the weekly mowing! 5 residentials will replace this easy and with alot less hassle. I think I am going to lean more towards smaller property anyway, things 2 can handle without losing ground on everything else.<p>In and out, thats the only way!<p>Homer

AGG Lawn Maintenance
05-21-2000, 12:41 PM
The best thing to do is draw up a contract for at least one year. After that try and lock them into a three year contract. A friend of mine does tons of apartment complexs and large scale lawns. He has just about everyone for three years. I think the best gig he has is the parks. I I'm thinking about going that way. The only thing is every year people are tring to bid it lower if you in a one year contract. Sometimes they are a penny smart and a dollar stupid.<br>What can you do!! Good luck Homer<br>Travis AG&G Lawn Maintenance :)<br><p><font size="1">Edited by: AGG Lawn Maintenance

MRPLOW
05-21-2000, 04:29 PM
Hey I wear sneakers, whats wrong with them?

nlminc
05-22-2000, 09:43 PM
MRPLOW, If OSHA showed up on your job those sneakers would be the most expence sneakers you have ever owned.

bill phagan
05-23-2000, 03:55 PM
don't make the same mistake many in our profession make....assuming all HOA's and apartments and customers in general are cheap! They are not. After 20 years in this profession, it's just a bad idea. I concur with the contract issue. Sounds like you've been tooooooooo busy to take care of business. A 3 year agreement is good as long as you don't have an &quot;easy out&quot; clause for them. A 3 year deal with a 30 day out IS NOT a 3 year agreement! But a contract is a definite in our profession, preferably a tailored one for each customer. Knowing how to protect yourself against the cheapos is critical and avoiding them even more so. Ask questions UPFRONT about budgets, why they are looking to change, their concerns. Remember this, HOA's are also interested in their property values and investment. Apartments are interested in high occupancy rates. Neither can be accomplished without &quot;curb&quot; and marketing appeal which we provide in our industry. Improving our tactics upfront usually make for longer relationships and so what if you lose one? We are in a $60 billion a year profession. And there's plenty of prospects out there for good professional companies who are in the profession and not in the &quot;business&quot;. I would work on my agreements and selling and consulting skills were I you.<p>Good luck.

lawrence stone
05-23-2000, 04:39 PM
bill wrote:<p>&gt;don't make the same mistake many in our profession make....assuming all HOA's and apartments and customers in general are cheap! They are not. <p>Maybe 1 in 10 of these jobs might be profitable but frankly I don't have the<br>time to pick through the garbage.

nlminc
05-23-2000, 07:59 PM
Wow! Lawrence, I couldn't agree with you more on that one. We must be sniffin from the same bag of fert this week! :)<p>Chris

HOMER
05-24-2000, 06:03 AM
Unfortunately, working on my marketing skills and contracts with these people would be a total waste of time, they are concerned only in the cheap price. When the contract ran out last yea I called to let them know and to also tell them I was going up on my price due to the large # of shrubs and lenght of time it took me to trim them, she (p.m.)had to call the owners and get approval. When she got back with me there was nothing mentioned about shrubs to the owners, they thought i was going up due to the price of gas. They approved 1/2 of what I asked for and said gas would go down!!!!! There is no way they would sign a 3 year deal and yes, their contracts have a 30 day clause.<p>There is a lowballer on every corner, one had 11 complexes last year! Mr.cheapy cut a friend of mine by $125.00 per month. The best thing for me to do is call her and give HER the 30 day notice and pick up 5 new residentials to replace the mess. I would be more profitable. <p>Homer

thelawnguy
05-24-2000, 08:48 AM
homer.<p>Even the cheapies need to be sold on a job. And more importantly, on yourself. You pay 50 cents for a Hershey bar and skip over the 45- cent Homers chocolate because you know what Hershey offers, they have a name you recognize, but you never heard about Homers chocolate, right? Same with yourself when dealing with prospective customers.<p>Bill

bill phagan
05-24-2000, 11:27 AM
All sales people and business people should put together a marketing program to provide maximum exposure to their business to get those prospects calling. When they start calling it's time to qualify them to determine if WE even want to waste our time. If you sense they are too cheap or will be the dreaded &quot;customer from hell&quot;, don't waste your time. Conversely, when there are good prospective customers, this is where we should spend our time. I call this the &quot;cherry picking&quot; process. Let's assume you get 10 calls and half of them are not good prospects. You still have 5 left. If you've done your due diligence, you understand the concerns, they know you understand the concerns and how YOU will overcome them, you have 5 excellent prospects that represent increased revenue and profits to your business. If you only get 2 of the 5 as new accounts and they are profitable, you're good to go. Eliminating the poor prospects upfront is a timesaver. Or you can choose to &quot;chase bids&quot; and maybe get one and that one is usually a loser for you. There are quality apartment complexes and HOA's out there that can produce profitable dollars for you. Cherry picking finds them. I really admire the attitudes stated in this forum regarding not taking on losing business and us &quot;dropping&quot; them for a change. Wish more LMO's thought along these lines and boy, could we improve our profession!

lawrence stone
05-24-2000, 03:56 PM
bill wrote:<p>&gt;There are quality apartment complexes and HOA's out there that can produce profitable dollars for you. <p>Maybe in your local market but in my market<br>196 out of 200 on the Forbes Mag list these<br>places esp. the section 8 jobs are not worth<br>my time.<p>These managers will pick some up and coming<br>&quot;young scrub&quot; that submits the lowest price.<br>My theory is that you should always work at<br>the highest profit available with the least amount of work. The trimming and edging<br>of those sites takes hours. Plus up North<br>you have to stand by all winter and push and<br>blow snow for these type of accounts.