Getting Commercial Accounts

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by drsogr, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,275

    I am fairly new to the business, and I am wanting to get some commercial accounts. How do I go about this? Do I send out letters asking to be part of the bidding process? When would I send these out? I would be greatful for any help possible. I am looking for more inpersonal methods, as I work full-time currently and do not have the time to introduce myself personally.

    Thanks,
    Derek
     
  2. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    Good question, i too have been wondering about the same thing.
     
  3. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    Depending on what type of commercial work you are looking for.

    If it's government type, then check the newspaper and the Builder's Exchange for current RFP/RFB (Request for proposal/bid) They are also posted in courthouses, etc.

    If it is any other type of properties, you might need to make time and pound the pavement, knock some doors, and press some flesh. Property managers, maintenance directors and others in the position of authority have a tendency to like seeing a smiling face before doing business with them. A relationship of some kind has a tendency to open the door. I once had an Apartment manager that it took nearly two years of just stopping in to say hi whenever I was in the area. Usually to see my golfing buddy, but I always stopped in the Manager's office for a few minutes. One day I was asked to give a price to replace a controller, and got the job. Now do all of the irrigation work for three apartment complexes that they manage. Just have to be in their face.

    If you are serious about the commercial work, you may need to take some time off from the full-time job and spend it on the part-time one.

    Just my take

    Jerry
     
  4. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372


    If you're looking for an impersonal way to gain commercial work, just place an ad in the local newspaper and hope managers read it.

    Other than that, if you just send out letters, how are you going to target places? Go through the phone book and look up the address?

    Best bet would be to do as jerrym said, pound the pavement, go there during business hours and ask for a manager, property owner, etc.

    When they ask you what's it about, tell them that you would like to know the arrangement that they have for the lawn / property maintenance.

    When the secretary / receptionist says "Oh, we already have that taken care of", tell her that you would STILL like to talk to the manager / owner.

    The secretary / receptionist USUALLY doesn't make the decisions.
     
  5. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,275

    Thanks for the info guys. Has anyone tried sending out letters though? I am sure the success rate would be quite a bit lower, but you could reach a much broader scope of people. Then you could go in for the "kill" with the jobs you are really hoping to get? As an individual I hate getting people coming to my door and selling stuff. I realize that this is the best way to sell, but I hate doing it, and I hate it being done to me.
     
  6. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,847

    how are you going to grow your company if you dont plan to "wear the hat" of a salesman? get over your fears, most of which are completely unjustified. worthwhile things typically are not easily done.

    on a side note, if you dont even have time to sell new accounts, how do you plan to service the ones you win?
     
  7. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    As for reaching a broader scope of people, the biggest thing those letters will reach is the trashcan. Property managers get so much junk mail, that if it isn't an invoice, or payment of some kind, they don't take the time to really read anything else.

    You said as an individual you hate people coming to your door selling stuff. That's not quite the same as a salesman going to a place of business to sell a product of service. It is an accepted and expected way to do business. The salesman, in this case you, introduces the service that is available, breifly explains the features and benefits, and then asks to be considered whenever it is time for contract renewal. Now you've got your foot in the door, and you can occasionally drop by and further the relationship. Keep your face in front of them. Many times the last guy out the door gets the first call on the next project. So keep making sure you are the last guy out the door if you really want the job.

    So, suck it up, put on a clean shirt and pants, comb your hair, and go talk to them. Because they sure won't come to you first. And remember the hardest part of any sales call is getting out of your truck and actually walking through the door. After that it's all downhill. And what's the worst that they can do? They can't eat you and they ain't gonna kill you.

    Givem hell Tiger.

    Jerry
     
  8. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,420

    Although I am not starting my actual business until after the first of the year, I am actively planning now, writing business plan, talking to CPA, checking liability and health insurance, license requirements, etc. etc. etc. Point is it seems to me the more time and preperation you put into it the more you will benefit, even with a lot of planning there will still be unseen variables. Think of it as building a house , wall , or some other such structure, and lay down a solid foundation on which to build upon.

    At least thats how I am approaching it and I will leave nothing to chance, so I will advertise and I will knock on the doors of commercial properties and will continue to do so if for no other reason than to just get them to know who I am and what benefits I believe my service can provide for them.

    Like I said I'm not actively operating yet but next spring when I am I want to be in the best possible shape hitting the ground that I can be in.

    Green-Pro
     
  9. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Posts: 2,702

    Jayhawk,

    I'm not a salesman either, but as many have said, it is a necessary "evil" if you're going to promote your own business.

    Another option for letters is to join your local Chamber of Commerce, and they can often supply you with a mailing list of all members, typically in spreadsheet format. Obviously, almost all of the members in the chamber are local business, read commercial. You can then easily create mailing labels and send out your letters, introducing yourself and explaining your desire to bid or provide proposal for maintenance and/or landscape services.

    HTH, Good luck.
     
  10. Team Gopher

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

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