From residential to commercial..has it happened 2 u?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by EX-DOORMAT, Jun 11, 2007.


    EX-DOORMAT LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    This year, we switched our focus to commercial properties. We have 9 residential properties until November at which point our contract expires. The commercial properties have high demands and although they pay very well, we are unable to keep up. I have lost 2 customers this year, one residential, one commercial and now I find myself torn between going back to residential or going forward and accepting the fact that I will probably never have good employees, reliable ones or the other headaches that go with it.
    Has anyone made the transition and found themselves too deep? I don't know what to do at this point.

    MILSINC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 175

    I may be in a similar boat.. my business has added a number of commercial accounts, when before it was all residential. Now, my residentials seem like huge pains in my tail compared to working commercial, and I am going to shift in that direction. It is easier to do the work, get paid, and never have to talk to a single person about any of it. The easy part is worth a lot to me.
  3. Liquidfast

    Liquidfast LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 739

    IMHO, commercial is the only way to go. I used to hate dropping the gate 15-20 times a day, having 80 bosses. Now, I kiss the right as$, put in my PR time with the right people, I have set up my website (starting Friday) to accept work orders online ONLY...its a beautiful thing.

    I work half as hard, make twice the pay and have weekends off now to do installs.
  4. coonman

    coonman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    Your statement is a little confusing. You have only 9 residential properties and a few commercial and you are having trouble keeping up. Are these massive all day accounts? There are pro's and con's to both types of accounts. I know everyone usually gets caught up in the bigger is better philosophy. But as you are finding out, there are far more headaches and costs associated with this. You may want to refocus on your residentials, and keep growing them until you have routes full of the gravy ones. Once you have a good residential, most likely you will have it until they die or move. You could have a very simple and profitable operation when you get your routes full of the good ones. Plus you get some perks such as Christmas bonuses, home grown vegatables given to you, etc. Just my two cents here.

    good luck
  5. JJG84

    JJG84 LawnSite Member
    from OH-IO
    Posts: 97

    yeah , 9 residential properties and a few commercial?

    that should be done in 2 days, unless you have a lot of windshield time.
  6. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    Come down here......

    I have 24 customers "residential" ths smallest one it 1/4 acer. no biggie...
    but that's the only one.... one guy has 4 houses.... the largest is 10 acers....
    By myself. I can get 2 to 3 a day done..... there killing me and I cant get any help.... JAckass kids out for summer all want jobs,,,, there all rich, there parents babyed them all there life...... I had a young man tell me it's too hot to work. so he took the day off....... I nearly fell outta my chair when his mommie called the next day asking if he had a job....

    JACKASS kids.
  7. C.T. Lawn Care

    C.T. Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 252

    Well i just recently started going for commercial props. and other than getting them 3 months late and wanting everything done three months ago they are great. I just got all caught up today and now it will be smooth sailing. There is a lot more capital that is needed though with commercial accounts than res. I had to go get a line of credit through my bank just to be able to do everything they wanted done. That is paid for and now it is great. I love getting calls saying " can we get some more flowers put down here", or " we have flower pots that we would like to get planted", or " we have a customer that says the bushes infront of their door smell like cat pee, can you pull them out and put something else there?" They are good money and i have not had a problem getting paid. Where as i have a big res. customer that i have not recieved a check from this year.

    Good luck.

    I like it and will continue to find more commercial accounts!

  8. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,781

    Commercial is great for my company but everyone see's us mowing there and every year or two they re-bid everything cuz every other LCO is out there for a buck. Large area mowing - 10 plus acres - were as low as $12.50 an acre. Condo's are being bid at $6 - $8 a condo - I was in the $15 range. Sure you might have 20 townhouses in a row but still.

    Residential is a pain - 20 - 30 times a day, all have something to say, drop the gate, unload, -reload but yet they are gravey - maybe pick up a little landscape, prune a bushe,tree and for that little work - hourly rate kicks in.
  9. coonman

    coonman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    I must be one of the lucky ones. 90 percent of my res customers are not home when I mow or they are home but just leave a check taped to the door. If they are not there I just leave a statement on the door inside of a self addressed envelope. Some will come out and hand me cash when I am loading up. Its not a big deal to pull up in front of the house and unload, I can be mowing in about 1 min from the time a park. Once you have a good route you should have several stops a day where you are unloading once to do 3 or 4 lawns. From the numbers you are quoting above how can you be trashing residentials. 12.50 an acre 6-8 for a condo? I have three patio homes that are probably the size of the condo's you are talking about. I get $30 apiece for those and they take 10 min each. That is what I am referring to as gravy.Residentials are not a pain to me.
  10. slclawn

    slclawn LawnSite Member
    from IN
    Posts: 71

    Almost all of my customers are commercial lawns the smallest lawns i have are half acer still 30 dollars a cut. Nine of those and ten one to two acer lawns, eight six plus acer lawns, and four fifteen plus acre lawns. The only sucky thing is commercial lawns take awhile to pay. You have to keep some money around to work with but i think a good balance of both is what needed to keep a good cash flow coming in and thats what we all want right is mo money :clapping: :weightlifter: :weightlifter:

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