Landing a commercial account can have its advantages: you can increase profits by starting work earlier than you’d be able to on a residential property. Although commercial properties can sometimes pay more money, this is not necessarily always the case: they often go to the lowest bidder, and have very little loyalty to one provider from one year to the next. Required proof of insurance may also be a difficulty you encounter.
If you are interested in landing a commercial account despite these possible drawbacks, look to these tips to get you started:
1) Make use of your network: Do you know a small business owner? Are you a “regular” somewhere? Reach out to your network of contacts, friends, and family members who work in commercial buildings to refer you.
2) Do your research: Identify a commercial property that your lawn care company can fully service. Once you’ve determined which property you’d like to service, find out everything you can about the company and its owner(s). Is the company locally owned? What do their past business practices tell you about them? How has the property been maintained over the years? (For instance, is it obvious that they take pride in their property’s landscaping?) This step is both the most time-consuming and important part of the process, so be patient.
3) Contact, Meet, and Follow up: Call the contacts you made through your networking and research efforts. Still don’t know who to contact? Call the company, explain your situation, and ask to be directed to the right person. You may choose to introduce yourself to the company by sending a letter of interest. Once you’ve set a meeting, demonstrate your knowledge through a professional, well-rounded portfolio or brochure. Even if you haven’t serviced commercial properties before, you can still make an impression with photographs of the large residential properties you’ve worked on. In the meeting, demonstrate that you have long-term plans to meet the landscaping needs of their property. Set a specific date and time that you will follow up with a quote, and then stick to your word. Don’t keep them waiting—be sure you get back to them within a couple of days. At the same time, don’t be too pushy or bother business owners at busy times, like Monday mornings.
If the owner accepts the quote and writes up a contract, great job! Make sure you fully review any contract before signing your name to it.