Anyone contracted with home or commercial builders?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by andyslawncare, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. andyslawncare

    andyslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 812

    I have been marketing to new subdivisions (mostly ones that are still developing). It has done very well for me so far; I've been doing it for about 2 months.

    I've been getting really mad at myself when I go to work there and I see competition doing full installs to 3 houses in a row at the same time!

    I know my credentials are a close match to most of them!

    I'm usually called out for back and side plant installation, sod installations, and irrigation additions, since the builders usually supply only curb appeal.

    What's the best way to get hired by them?

    I understand it is a risk to work for builders, since they're always going bankrupt (lately) and several guys are owed by them for 3+ months, but if and when the checks come in, everything is well (and possibly above average for a provider like myself) I just thinking out of my A$$, or how is the building industry now for others reading this?

    The good builders are building, and the others are still vacant lots and half built lots.

    I have a list of at least 10 good home builders with developing neighborhoods in my service area right now...should I cold call, talk with the people in the model homes, or visit the build sites in person to learn who to talk to?

    I just figure that if I'm working at the houses they build after someone moves in, it would be nice to do all of it + the additions later :)
  2. Danscapes

    Danscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 328

    Stick with what your doing. Sounds like the homeowners are the ones paying you. If you contracted with a builder you would more than likely always be chasing your money. Just my 2 cents, I've heard horror stories.
  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Builders also want everything done on the cheap too. They like to keep their margins to 25% profit on homes.

    Around here there are only a handful of home builders, along with a couple of larger development firms, so the landscapers that are doing work for them already have a cozy relationship with them. Like stated above, it can be hard to get your money from them also.

    And from what I hear the scapers are only making money on the volume of work they are doing for them, not because of quality or individuality. I've already gone in and "fixed" a couple of those installs after the new owners have taken the homes.
  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    It is not true that every builder wants things done on the cheap. Custom builders in the higher end market get and maintain their reputations by project managing for high end results. ... the bad news is that you don't find them building out subdivisions.

    They also tend to stick to landscapers who are already well regarded in the highend work and then they stick to people that they have worked well with in the past. Think of it from the builder's perspective as a project manager. If you work with the same subs for a long time, they know your expectations and you know where you have to pay attention - in other words, you don't have to work too hard at project managing because you are all on the same page.

    Contrast that to a builder building out a subdivision. It is all about speed and controlling expense. The better ones tend to use companies with bigger crews that can finish up quickly once you get the plumbers, electricians, drywallers, and painters trucks off of the would be landscape. Cash flow is also a very big concern because these projects are often carrying heavy debts. These guys often find themselves in situations where they need to decide who gets paid today and who does not simply because the cash flow is "inconsistent". That is when they start to "use people up" and find new guys to "use up".

    Caution flags should go up if you are a newer small company and someone wants to give you a "big break" by dangling a "lot more work" in front of you in order to have you "sharpen your pencil". The bad and/or desperate guys know that young guys who have not been at it long don't have the knowledge and resources to protect themselves so they use them. Those landscapers don't have good contract, if any. They don't have accountants or lawyers or the money to hire them if they should need them.

    Always ask yourself what reason they would hire you over all of the others.If it is to give you an opportunity based on your potential, you are toast.
  5. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,903

    its all about conections and they have some you don't.
  6. NarNar

    NarNar LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

    Let me also add that landscape is the last thing on the builders mind and usually the lowest paid (if you get paid at all), normally landscapers are the last to get paid. Tread carefully.
  7. sgallaher

    sgallaher LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 265

    Used to do some work for a big builder. The work was decent and steady. Landscaping, final grading, seeding/sod, some hardscaping. They were pretty good about payment. Work done this month was paid on the 15th of the following month. Once the housing market recovers I'll try to get back in with some builders. Add-ons with new home owners is always nice too.
  8. NarNar

    NarNar LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

    Great to hear you have a good experience. I have heard one to many horror stories... it keeps me away from working with some contractors.
  9. andyslawncare

    andyslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 812

    The horror stories are the main issue, but I think the housing market will boom again in the near would sure be nice to risk not being paid on time now for winning big in a few years. I'm good with contracts and have a good lawyer on my side.
  10. qualitycut

    qualitycut LawnSite Member
    Messages: 102

    I do landscaping for a contractor that flips houses, pays me the day Im done, like doing the work cause its usually mulch and some plants.

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