I got the bright idea to take a bunch of commercial accounts this year. It seemed like the right thing to do?. I can tell you first hand it wasn't. I took all of them from a national that offered me the contracts. Some of the accounts paid pretty decent and others were a waste of my time. Even after driving to the sites and checking them out, I got burned.
When you first drive up and look around, you get some ideas in your head and think, "Oh, this won't be that bad?" and you sign the contract. If I learned NOTHING else, I figured out that when they tell you, "We are just trying to help some of the local guys with work", it isn't true. When you are told that, "We just don't have enough guys and equipment to cover all the jobs we have" it isn't true.
What is true is that since they (The nationals) know that time is $$, they take all of the sites that are a PITA because of hills, obstacles, massive amounts of garbage etc. excessive amounts of wear and tear on equipment or whatever and put them on a list of difficult locations, THESE are the locations that get contracted out to local people.
While I can say that I made a little bit of $$ on SOME of the accounts, most were a losing proposition. The estimators they have need to be kicked right in the .................. The amounts they pay make NO, NONE, ZERO sense!!! I have a location that takes me less than 20 minutes to complete that pays $45 and another that takes 3 hours with 3 mowers running and 1 guy trimming and I get $150. It just makes no sense???
While I (yes, me) am the dumb a$$ that took the contract, I guess I needed another degree from the school of hard knocks to get smarter? Next year, I will do NOTHING but residential. If I get a commercial account, it will be a local business that I deal with directly.
The only positive thing that I can say is that the checks were there every month on the 12th and it kept my guys busy and working. While they had a job that I provided, I made next to nothing. Don't fall into the "I am going big time and doing commercial stuff this year". Stick to the lady down the street and keep her happy. Trust me, you will be happy too!