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Acquiring and Bidding Commercial Mowing

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by calundeen, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. calundeen

    calundeen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Hi!!

    Looking to get into commercial accounts such as townhomes w/ HOA's, apartment buildings and businesses along with more residential that I already have.

    What are your strategies for acquiring such accounts and bidding them? btw I live in Minnesota so mowing is from Mid April to Mid October

    Thanks!!
     
  2. ducnut

    ducnut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,569

    I don't mess with them, because they've been bid down so low. I feel like it's putting hours on a machine just for revenue; not profit. I'd much rather have residential, as you're not bidding for the work. If you've got a good reputation, you'll make a lot more money per hours invested.

    The big guy around here said he just dropped cards at every business he saw. He only does a couple very large complexes, because he has two 10.5' machines and 8 guys that can get them done in a single day. Complex managers don't want crews around the property any more than they have to.
     
  3. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,674

    I second that^^^^^^
     
  4. MasScape

    MasScape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 258

    Commercial is a lower margin but maybe you are only making 30% instead of 40%. That 30% is over a 50k commercial contract instead of a 5k residential. Commercial can be very profitable if your efficient, know how to bid extremely well, and know your company numbers very well. We do a mix of commercial and residential. If I did it again, wouldn't change that...
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  5. ducnut

    ducnut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,569

    I wish the margins were that good, around here. We've got two LCOs that have run down everything, including municipal stuff. Next year will be interesting, as the big guy said he's going to bid for fuel cost to really put the screws to these two. As a group, we try to get things to where we're making money without screwing people, but, there are always those who don't care about profit.

    When a regional mgr tells me to not waste my time because there's no way the current LCO is making money, based on his math and other location bids, indeed I will not waste my time. The dude was called out for trying to skip mowings, as he's bid it so low. I don't need it.
     
  6. Middle Tennessee Lawn

    Middle Tennessee Lawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 220

    We have a big box company here in Nashville that will do over 50 million this year and they hope to net 8percent after all exspenses now note thats still 4 million after all payroll, fuel etc.
    even small profit margins can add up if the numbers are big enough.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  7. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    Commercial has basically gone the way that residential has, it's a high volume game with low margins, it's all about volume so you have to be very very very efficient. I've talked to a few of the larger LCO's here and they said a certain big box LCO was underbidding people just for market share. I've had a few of their guys apply for jobs with me because they won't pay their guys jack and expect them to work ludicrous hrs.
     
  8. calundeen

    calundeen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    anyone have tips on acquiring and bidding commercial mowing?
     
  9. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    Start small, it's all about developing relationships with the right people, just have to walk in and normally talk to the facility manager/ property manager and find out when they renew their contracts. Generally should have a professionally printed folder telling about your company and it's credentials to leave with them.
     
  10. MasScape

    MasScape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 258

    I agree with the comment above. Most property managers are not going to give a huge HOA to a tiny 1 crew company that has no commercial properties as a references. Start with churches, small shopping centers, gas stations and etc. Build up your presence in commercial landscaping. Those types of places you usually deal direct with the owner. It takes time but showing up at these places asking about their contracts renewals, tell them about your company, and ask about bidding. You will get more no's then yes but that is it all starts.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     

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