commercial accounts! Am i crazy?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Eric's Lawnservice, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. ProStreetCamaro

    ProStreetCamaro LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,148

    What he is saying is they might show up with a crew of 4 or 5 guys. 2 guys on 60"+ mowers with 2 guys trimming and blowing can be out of there in an hour or less. These guys make there money in volume.

    Let me ask you. Are you a solo operator or do you have employees?
  2. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,916

    i avoid commercial work. i have a few of them but they came to me asking. i never seek them out.

    residential is so much better. just this year without even asking i had one start paying me $120 a cut instead of the usual $100 and another start paying me $60 a mow instead of the $50 i was doing it for. you get raises without even asking and you don't have to worry about getting lowballed because the customers are loyal.
  3. Eric's Lawnservice

    Eric's Lawnservice LawnSite Member
    Posts: 173

    Yes sir I am a solo operation. larger companies can do large properties very efficiently, but wouldn't you still have to figure in man hours. Say if one guy solo it would take 3 hrs to complete the job. Or if you had 3 workers and it only takes 1 hour. Wouldn't it still be 3 man hours either way?
  4. Eric's Lawnservice

    Eric's Lawnservice LawnSite Member
    Posts: 173

    I agree 100% residential customers are great!
  5. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,353

    Minus out the mulch and bed work that leaves what 30-35 dollars per mow. Perhaps as much as 40 per mow now divide your 4-5 man figure into that and were talking a gross of 8-10 dollars per man hour.

    I am confused what money are they making in volume and wheres the volume.
  6. ProStreetCamaro

    ProStreetCamaro LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,148

    When you pay your guys low wages under the table and then hide most of your income and don't pay tax's on it and you work daylight to dark you can "survive". That is how many crews around here operate. They operate to survive and not to put money away for vacations and retirement etc etc. They live month to month and many of them live 2 and 3 families in a single house and they all split the bills. Makes surviving much cheaper. You know....the life of illegals. Many of you guys would be sick at how cheap these crews work around my area. That is the only explanation I can come up with as to why that company bid so cheap. They are obviously not following the rules of real business operation just like 99% of the crews around my area.
  7. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Posts: 1,899

    Solo here! You're doing the right thing--stick to your guns! If what you offer is top-drawer quality, DEMAND a top-drawer price. I have passed up plenty of large 5-6 acre commercial accounts, and then land a half-acre commercial account that will pay more than what the 5-acre account would have paid. That's called BEING PROFITABLE.
  8. dhardin53

    dhardin53 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 711

    Thanks Eric for not taking my reply the wrong way. I guess in a way I got off on another aspect of commercial difference to residential accounts. But I do see your main point, the difference are like apples and oranges.
    This is a big account and it is sad that the pay is not better. But the hard core facts are what the customer is going to pay. I put myself in there shoes before I get to upset over pricing.

    But in the big picture here is this bid winner will take home $250 in a month and (I am assuming from your description) for 2 mows. How many residential lawns will you have to mow to bring in $250? Now add in the travel time, loading and unloading, time to bill each account and get payed on each account.
    Lets just say 8 lawns would bring in this $250 (hypothetically). How many hours do you have invested to bring home the same amount as this guy doing the one commercial account? You will find you have about the same amount invested as the poor guy doing all the commercial account for suck little money. Not always but like you said and I agree, you can make more money with residential accounts but not always. Everything is relevant . Apples to oranges comparison is difficult to see but at the end of the day you and this bid winners are just mowing lawns. We just get there differently.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
  9. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,550

    Commercials are tough my problem is getting the "as needed" request. Well what if I bid it at weekly and the other guy bids it at every other week.

    Best thing to do is be specific in your bid. Describe the scope of work you will provide and hope the account compares not only prices but also what they are getting.

    Eric--- at this point in the season your Charlotte grass would begin to slow down some. Will he reseed also? If not you think he was figuring every 2 weeks now. Maybe every 3 weeks in nov/dec, once a month in jan/feb??
  10. windflower

    windflower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,080

    At $250 the grass will get mowed and that's probably all. A few years back I lost a $900 account. New guys are doing it for under $400. It has extensive bed areas of winter creeper. New technique for weed control in these beds is mowing. Some areas haven't been touched in 3 years. A 10" diameter pine came down a couple years ago and is still lying where it fell. But they are cheap.

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