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  #21  
Old 10-05-2012, 12:13 AM
ozarklawns ozarklawns is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Posts: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by superdog1 View Post
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!
VERY TRUE! I did not deal with a national but I have learned loyal residential customers relieve so much stress from my job. Year after year I keep coming back and they keep referring me to new customers.
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  #22  
Old 10-05-2012, 08:35 AM
superdog1 superdog1 is offline
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Location: Lebanon, PA
Posts: 218
I want to clarify that I did these accounts FOR the National and I did not take the contracts from them. The bottom line is that the margins are just to slim to make any $$. Even when I pushed the crew to cut down on the time we had at each location, it still didn't help much.

The National is getting $$ for a property they never even touch, so you know darn well that if you are getting $50 a job, they are billing for $100 and pocketing the difference.

I am thinking about going crazy and grabbing as much of the local accounts I can and then just subbing them all out except for a few to keep my guys working. If the Nationals can do it, so can I?
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  #23  
Old 10-05-2012, 01:31 PM
cuttin-to-the-Max cuttin-to-the-Max is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Commerce,MI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superdog1 View Post
I want to clarify that I did these accounts FOR the National and I did not take the contracts from them. The bottom line is that the margins are just to slim to make any $$. Even when I pushed the crew to cut down on the time we had at each location, it still didn't help much.

The National is getting $$ for a property they never even touch, so you know darn well that if you are getting $50 a job, they are billing for $100 and pocketing the difference.

I am thinking about going crazy and grabbing as much of the local accounts I can and then just subbing them all out except for a few to keep my guys working. If the Nationals can do it, so can I?
Funny to joke around and say that but YES people do that!
All you have to do is Find the person who makes all the decisions, Give him or her a BIG Bribe, And they'll give you as many accounts as you want. They will also let you know if anyone else is trying to take your accounts.

This guy wanted me to be a sub for him. He had a HUGE connection with a Property MGMT co. and got every plaza they had in the 6 cities in SE Michigan. He wanted to pay me 60k for an all inclusive that was worth at LEAST double that! I was curious so i had my other landscaper buddy bid it too. (Gave him all the specs that i had.) He was 2k higher than what my number was! It was a about a 150k dollar account. I said no way, he got somebody to do it for cheap, the guy who ended up servicing it left mid-season. Majority of that money went straight to material cost.
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  #24  
Old 10-05-2012, 04:40 PM
superdog1 superdog1 is offline
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Location: Lebanon, PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cuttin-to-the-Max View Post
I said no way, he got somebody to do it for cheap, the guy who ended up servicing it left mid-season. Majority of that money went straight to material cost.
Yeppers!!!!! If you were at $150,000 and they only paid $60,000, you know darn well that more than %50 of almost every job goes to cover gas, wages, wear and tear with breakdowns etc. Even if everything on your trailer is brand new at the start of the season, something WILL break before it ends. Even if it is under warranty, it will cost you time, which is just as bad as having a bill to pay.

Some of the jobs I took are actually COSTING me $$. They are far enough away that until I get there, get the job done and get home, I am in the hole. As I said, I am willing to admit I am an idiot. I signed the contract and no one forced me to do it. It just goes to show that you have to be really careful and be darn sure about what it is you have to do, how often you have to do it and how long it will take each time. Any one of those 3 things could ruin you if you get it wrong.
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  #25  
Old 10-07-2012, 05:28 PM
acculawnsystems acculawnsystems is offline
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Residential vs Commercial accounts

I have always found that residential properties pay more especially when you have them in the same area and in subdivisions with higher end homes. We have developed a method that will allow for you to focus your attention on more profitable residential yards in your community. You can start by coating the area with door hangers and then promoting your website to those customers on the door hanger. Then by using acculawnsystems.com instant online quote feature, you can give instant quotes and sign customers up without much effort. See what the homeowner will see at Acculawncare.com.
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  #26  
Old 10-07-2012, 10:02 PM
sterlinglawns sterlinglawns is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Sterling Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 93Chevy View Post
Depends on your area and customer base. I work for a company that's 100% commercial. Very loyal customer base, good paying accounts. I mean, yeah, we're afraid of losing a PITA account next year, but it happens. And some places are cheap, but if they were so cheap, then we wouldn't have bid them in the first place.

You might run into problems with fast food joints, mom and pop stores, and little stuff like that. You might make a killing off HOA complexes and retirement communities like we do because you're equipped to do so and the property manager is willing to pay your company $25k more per year than Brickman.

You might not be able to handle the high-paying loyal commercial customers yet. Maybe residential is better for you. Sounds like you like resi accounts better, so maybe you'd better stick that route for a while.
Why would Hao and retirement communities pay your company more than brickman?
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  #27  
Old 10-07-2012, 10:15 PM
cuttin-to-the-Max cuttin-to-the-Max is offline
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Location: Commerce,MI
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I got 3 assisted livings due to the fact that I'm NOT brickman or United. They said yes my prices were quite a ways higher than the other 2 companies but my references were strong and I sold them on spreading liquid in the winter opposed to rock.

Their biggest complaint was brickman had all of these assisted livings in the area so they brought in a huge tandem dump truck with a under body spreader. Note: all of these locations are super tight so majority of the salt was getting on the lawn which shown in the spring.

Long story short, NOT EVERYBODY LOVES THE BIG NATIONAL COMPANIES! The property managers are the ones who really knows what's going on NOT corporate.... Yet corporate still makes the decisions! Crazyyyy!
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  #28  
Old 10-07-2012, 10:51 PM
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93Chevy 93Chevy is online now
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Location: Pittsburgh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sterlinglawns View Post
Why would Hao and retirement communities pay your company more than brickman?
The property managers want their property to look good so they can get income from people moving in and paying their dues.

Brickman cannot provide that service. For a nominal price increase, we keep all (except 1) of our accounts happy. We're low enough in price to gobble up work, but charge enough that we can spend another few man hours over Brickman to take the extra time to ensure there's no missed trimming, take care of the weeds weekly, and overall do a much better job.

It depends on your location though...luckily around here, we are able to charge more because of the growing job and housing market, especially with high-paying stressful jobs where people just want to come home from work to their manicured no-maintenance townhouse.
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  #29  
Old 10-07-2012, 11:17 PM
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Snyder's Lawn Inc Snyder's Lawn Inc is online now
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Kirksville Mo
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I just landed a 60K per year for the next 4 years and rest of this year on a Commercial account How many Residential accounts would I need to get to match that around here. I figure it up be like 60 + and there no way find that many, with all kids and weekend mow and blow guys
Im a Full service company and its hard to find Full service Res accounts vs Commercial.

All areas are different Go to source stay away from them Lawn brokers Tell Customer it will save them money iff they cut out the middle man.
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  #30  
Old 10-12-2012, 03:13 PM
acculawnsystems acculawnsystems is offline
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Residential vs Commercial accounts

Furthermore, we are offering this system to only one LCO per area. So once a LCO signs up for the area we will not be able to offer this technology to any other LCO in that area. Check out to see if your area is available by going to acculawnsystems.com and reserve your spot today.
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