Getting Commercial Accounts

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by NNJLandman, Oct 11, 2003.

  1. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,306

    How do you go about getting commercial accounts? I was planning on mailing letters about my services to the business's or apartment offices. Is this a good idea. Like if I were to mail something to a bank or car dealer? I attached the letter I plan on sending out.
     

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  2. Groundcover Solutions

    Groundcover Solutions LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,254

    I read your letter and it is a very good letter. In my experience, in my area, letters of this sort to don't get much of a response. We sent out a letter that resembled yours trying to get some more commercial snow removal accounts. We sent out around 150 letters to various commercial and industrial businesses. We did not get a single response. I think that the letter would work better if you also gave each place a call or went to the business in person. Most of the time commercial accounts are looking for the lowest price. This is more for the chain type operations but when looking at the smaller businesses they are looking more for the quality of work as well as price. In our experience what most commercial accounts are looking for is price. I would send out the letters and also add some kind of fallow up to see if they received your letter. Some will just through away your letter and some might hold on to it. For thous that hold on to it and are considering your offer you can clinch the deal if you call or stop by. Just my 2 cents. Hope this helps in some way if not just disregard all that was said.
     
  3. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    I would go for an all out approach. First mail some literature in the mail. Then do a follow up phone call, and perhaps set up an appointment with the manager or owner. If you can't reach anybody for a follow up phone call just keep on mailing promotions, discounts, etc to the company. Someone will finally give you a chance or tell you to take a hike
     
  4. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,306

    Thanks guys I acctually found a local company that does property management for a bunch of apartments around here I think, so I think ill send them the letter and see what happens.
     
  5. Keith Howells

    Keith Howells LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    I will be surprised if you don't get multiple invitations to bid, but you need to be careful with commercial accounts. Many property managers are after the lowest rate and/or they're waiting for somebody who is new and hungry to show up and drop their price to get that first commercial account. They can be sharks.

    In one particular case, there was a nice young guy who bid against me for commercial mowing work and won. The property manager had decided to divide up the required services and pick the lowest bidder in each category. He called it "best of breed pricing". At that point, I walked. I will not be cherry picked. The young guy won the mowing contract, so he bought equipment to service the job and he hired a helper. The following year he had to bid again for the mowing and this time he lost. Went out of business because he could not service the debt and the account represented a significant percentage of his business. He had nothing else to replace it with.

    I guess the moral is, commercial work can be lucrative, but you need to find the right account (there are property managers who want a long term relationship and are interested in quality) and you absolutely need to know your costs before you bid the job. I also think you need to take a look at what you'll have to buy or who you'll have to hire to service the account and how much of your total business it represents.
     
  6. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Posts: 4,041

    Hi NNJLandman,

    Great idea. The more companies that know about you the better :)
     
  7. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,306

    I was wondering about getting accounts for the town, like mowing the senior citizen complex, town hall, and park. Do you think If I were to send that letter to the Town I would get a letter back about a bid or what?
     
  8. Groundcover Solutions

    Groundcover Solutions LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,254

    Township work can vary, in all of the townships and cities in my area they all do there own work. As for mowing the city or township takes care of the parks, administration buildings, schools, and other property they own. Some my subcontract some work out and some may not. The best route to go would be to go in person to the town hall or administration building and ask the clerk if they are accepting bids on property maintenance or landscaping. A word of warning most communities are also looking for the lowest price but sometimes they are looking for quality work. Also any work you do for the township or city is going to bureaucratically and this can lead to a whole lot of other problems. but if you are willing to go through it and feel it can be profitable in your area go for it. I would say that going in person is going to get you a better response than sending a letter.
     
  9. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,660

    Seems a bit wordy. Get to the point faster. At the end, don't put "You won't be sorry" Use positive reinforcements like "You will be pleased with our services" or "We strive to please each customer on a personal level" Negative words like WON'T and SORRY, turn people off. Positive words like WILL and PLEASED turn them on.
    Just my 2 cents
     
  10. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    that is so true Expert, great post. Sometimes the little things like that make a huge difference
     

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