Are commercial accounts so good?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by jdlawn, Apr 19, 2007.


Which type of account do you like?

  1. Commercial Accounts

    22 vote(s)
  2. Residential Accounts

    17 vote(s)
  3. Both

    28 vote(s)
  4. It doesn't matter

    7 vote(s)
  1. jdlawn

    jdlawn LawnSite Member
    from MO
    Messages: 68

    i currently have one commercial account and i make pretty good money from it but i have heard that commercial accounts are the best and then i have heard residential is the way to go. (most are a mix it seems) Just wondering what you perfer. i couldn't say for myself i like it all.
  2. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Messages: 0

    Personally I prefer the residential accounts.

    We've had plenty of commercial accounts in the past (Wal-Marts, Restraunts, Condos, Day-Cares, Office Plazas etc) and while they do pay well it seems like all their interested in is the lowest cost provider so eventually you end up loosing the accounts.

    The residential customers seem to be more loyal and will stick with you for years even with the lowballer knocking at their door. Plus replacing the income from (1) lost residential account is much easier then replacing the income from (1) large commercial account.
  3. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    Money, Money, And Money
  4. prosperity

    prosperity LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    I prefer commercial accounts myself.

    Usually can be done at any time of the day, or weekend if need be -
    Can mow wet if need be
    Don't have to worry about kids/pets/people being around

    Also, pertaining to what Wells said, yes, they are usually bid jobs. But, for me, that makes me all that much more efficient I feel - almost a challenge each time.
  5. haybaler

    haybaler LawnSite Senior Member
    from ma
    Messages: 511

    I'm very surprised at the results. I was expecting at least 75% BOTH. You have to have a mix. you need to have a good base of customers that you know you'll have for the rest of there lives and then bid a little high on a bunch of commercial. There's no reason to lowball commercial bids unless your desperate. There's some commercial places that don't go out to bid, if you can get some of those your lucky. don't go for the chains like Wal-Mart.
  6. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    Most of my commercial is bid, but it's already decided at the outset that I'll get them. Thing is I offer the commercial manager more than the competition. For example, we just did a site, first we swept the parking lot with a Tennant parking lot sweeper, did a real nice job, emptied all the sand and rockchips in their, next we did spring cleanup on the lawn area. Used a pull behind power sweeper with an attached motor to power the broom. It does detatching and picks it up at the same time. All we have left to do is paint the parking lines and we're done. 1/2 day for 2 guys. So overall, 2 men did all the parking lot and the spring clean up in a total of 30 manhours total. Cost in labor $600 + 10 hours for line painting. Total $800.
    Cost to client(condos)- $2,800. This is typical of commercial/condos. Just did a spring cleanup on a group of commercial bldgs. Used the John deere pull behind sweepers for this one as the grass wasn't that strong. It's crappy grass, one thing I love about commercial, that way it's easier to do spring cleanups. This one was done in 6 manhours. Cost $120 labor. Cost to customer- $1,145. These numbers are NOT exceptions, I could go on for mostly all my spring cleanups and my grass cutting for this coming season.

    Commercial pays way more than residential, that's not even a guess or a by golly, it's real life, not just me, but other commercial guys. Not all commercial pays this well, you just have to find the ones that do.

    You also need to be very versatile so the manager needs you around. Make it so that you offer so many services they can't afford to lose you. Today, just got go ahead for a condo for interior painting. It's hallways in 2 4 storey condo bldgs and it's a $42k job. We did the decks last year and some landscape work. This year we'll do the painting and more decks. payup

    I'm not bragging, just giving some enterprising soul here an insight on how the real serious money is made. It takes time, but with higher profits, you can buy more equipment and offer more services till they can't do without you. You make life simple for them and they give you the work because it eliminates a lot of searching for them. We expanded to parking lot cleaning this spring and we bought used tennant parking lot sweepers at a cost of about $30k. We'll recoup that money this spring and maybe part of next spring. Anyway, this is all without doing residential. I know, residential can also be very good, but commercial is where the big dollars are, unless you're a brickman, but how many of those are there? :)
  7. haybaler

    haybaler LawnSite Senior Member
    from ma
    Messages: 511

    I totally disagree. your account is an exception. Plus I hate painting, I do landscaping. Most commercial accounts go with the lowest bid, period. your not guaranteed the account. then there's the residential accounts that the people are either millionairs or upper class that work all the time and want somebody they can trust and count on for there property and if they like you the'll keep you forever and those are your best accounts. Is this your only account? Don't get me wrong, if your making money great! but look at the other side
  8. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    While both of these are in the same ball field they are two completely different ball games. Yeah every year you do the same thing to gain new clients...solicit work. But like Wells said, every year you have to worry about a lowballer or just a lower bid and every year you seem to have to look over your shoulder to see who's watching for even the slightest mistake doing commercial accounts so they can move in for the "kill". Around here its a very "cut throat" business just like anywhere else I'm sure. But again around here it seems to be more of a soap opera where everyone knows who's doing what property and for what. I try to stay out of that scene but sometimes its hard to do knowing so many guys. Again Wells nailed it with his thoughts and they make all the sense.
  9. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    Why Please tell me Why when you show up to do a house the people want to come out and start working in there yard.....

    I tell them that mowers and weedeaters throw rocks....
  10. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,374

    In our area there is a little prestige to getting and holding key commercial properties like popular restaurants and hotel the have flowers, rye grass in the winter and just want to look nice. It is a good feeling when you drive by the property in the evening and see how nice it looks and when you tell people you mow such and such they say oh yes it always looks nice. It hurts a lot when you lose a $10K property but that is what drives us every day to be sure we don't lose them...

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