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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by markmana, Dec 5, 2005.
When is the best time to get commercial bids out?
Commercial bids are not "just accepted". The commercial property will contact the prospected bidders and send them a RFP, "Request For Proposal" Bid Packaaage.
The best time is usually shortly after they ask you for one.
As MM said they will contact you, but only after a well worked marketing plan by you.
What would be a good marketing plan to get a commerical RFP from a company??
Looks like they dont want to share that info. Quick and short.
A lot of small businesses and some large ones are not that formal. I have already contacted at least a dozen in my area and just asked if I could bid their work. Just ask what all it entails( trimming, edging, weeding, blowing, mulching). I even ask what they paid for it last season. Some will tell you. Just start going door to door and asking. It the only way you will get started.
I agree, start now. If you ask what's been paid in the past, be careful, they could be "offering" you a lower rate just to see if you'll bite. They are business people.
Na, Tis the season, to be very busy with a lot of other things, so sorry for the delay.
#1 answer to the question of how---NETWORKING!
But first let me clarify commercial work as I see it. I look at commercial as a 3 party deal. The property is an INCOME producing property.
If I deal with a homeowner or renter, AT his house WHERE he lives, the subject property, and he pays me to cut that property, that is residential.
If I cut a house where a family lives- But I never talk to that family or never get paid by them but deal with an investor or property management firm, I consider that commercial.
The gray area might be the Mom & Pop Video store where they own the building and will pay to maintain it. That would work the same as residential with fliers and such. (As a side note, I have found that type-Mom Pop- to be the worse for me so I don't go after them)
So back to what I consider commercial work. The owner of the property or in most cases a management company will be the 3rd party that you talk to. They are not at the property so fliers will not work.
The first step is to think as they do. They are an investor. They own the property to produce INCOME. Part of the income comes from happy tenants or customers and part comes from equity build up. So if the owner wants income he also wants happy tenants or customers and equity build up. Sales training 101= Give the customer what he wants. Even though your billing shows up as an expense on his spread sheet you must think of your service as being profitable to him by helping him keep happy tenants and keeping the property in a condition of highest value at all times.
So now that your mind is in the right place. Think of who your customer really is. He is an investor or property management firm. These are people that deal with Real Estate. So start NETWORKING within the real estate community.
Networking is the art of making sure that everybody you know and everybody that you meet and everybody that they know and meet, knows what you do. Become the expert on lawncare. Become the expert on what proper lawncare will do to protect their investment.
Start at the real estate offices in your area. Get to know the Realtors. You need to be the person they answer with when their client asks about how much the property they are thinking about buying will cost to maintain or who can maintain it. Find every firm that does property management. (phone book-ask around) As you drive past apt. buildings, look at the building or parking lot for a sign of whom it is managed by. When you enter shopping centers look for a contact sign. These are the managers.
There will be a local Real Estate Investment club close by you. Join as a vendor.
Call the # on a for rent sign and ask if they are going to manage it. Or if they manage others. How to become a vendor.
Look up Facilities Management firms, Call and ask who to speak to, to be put on their vendor list.
Merry Christmas, Do you have your Christmas cards out yet.
Do not send a CARD but send a Christmas LETTER. Tell everyone what you are doing now. And dont just say Im cutting grass now Tell them what you do!!!
I am helping homeowners and investors protect their investment by providing the highest level of property maintenance.
What program do you use for contact management. You do use one right????
I use Act. Every person I meet I enter into Act. It allows me to keep notes on all the people as what they do and what they want and their family and all info. Find out what every body you know does so you can use it for referral if you need to. Put this in Act. It also allows me to group all contacts into the right area so I can contact them at the right time. All businesses and business contacts are also in Act. I can mail merge and mass fax to business. I can send personalized form letters to any or all. I enter all feedback into Act.
Put your name in front of prospects any way you can and as often as you can.
If you are truly entering into a business, you are not cutting grass. You are in sales and marketing. Study and learn that. Grass cutting is just what you sell.
This will take a lot of time and effort on you part but will pay off in the end.
Your business will build over years, Not days.
Buy books and tapes on Marketing and Sales, also Publicity. Keep tract of which things have the highest ROI and do more of that.
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That's some really great advice.
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Ah, did I mention that when they become your customer that you enter them into Gopher route tracking and billing software.
Sorry Team Gopher, I do use you software and it works well for me.