Breaking into commercial

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Set Apart Lawn Care, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. Set Apart Lawn Care

    Set Apart Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 192

    My question is how do you break into the commercial market? I bid on 4 commercial properties this year, I was told I came in to high on 3 of them, and the fourth I had a connection and the current company was doing a terrible job, I knew the existing contract price and would probably have bid to high on that one as well.

    I have a small company now with 3 guys including me and we take care of about 120 yards and the one commercial property (16k annual contract).

    It seems like I cant compete with the prices the other big companies have because I am just to small. If I could have 5-6 guys in one spot on a big property, of if I had 3 crews going I may be able to make more competitive bids.

    I am 28, ran a commercial crew for 4 years, been on my own for 3.5 and my wife and I our having our first child in 6 months. I want the stability of commercial accounts, especially consider that here in Memphis the off season is slow even with all the leaves.

    Any ideas, tips, or advice on how to get into commercial work?

    I do have all the appropriate insurances, legit payroll, etc.
  2. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,903

    connections connections connections

    THEGOLDPRO LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,222

    Its alot of luck really.
  4. highlander316

    highlander316 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    ^ a little bit of #1 and a little bit of #2 mostly. Or as you said, cheap cheap cheap.
  5. MJB

    MJB LawnSite Silver Member
    from Wa
    Messages: 2,869

    I don't think stability and commercial accts belong in the same sentence anymore. I'm noticing long time commercial accts are putting it up for bid each year ....taking the lowest bid. I used to get 3 to 5 yr contracts not eat dog. Residential are more loyal to me.
  6. Danscaper22

    Danscaper22 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I do not know what your market area is like but it really helped me to just stop by property management companies and introduce myself to the managers and ask if they would put me on there RFP list.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. hoyboy

    hoyboy LawnSite Senior Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 346

    I'm with MJB on this one...

    Commercial accounts are over-rated. Yes, one commercial account can bring in a lot of revenue. But they are usually tightly bid, low margin jobs. And as soon as a new property manager comes on the scene, it is bid all over again, or he/she brings in some other landscaper from their prior job.

    A nice portfolio of long term residential accounts, congretated in a close geographic area, is a real winner. They tend to be more loyal, and the prices aren't bid so heavily that you can't make any money. Most residential will not send out for bids every year. And if you do happen to lose one now and then, it's not a huge chunck of your business you just lost.

    Good luck!
  8. Fred B

    Fred B LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    The difference between residential and commercial is equipment. You with 21 inch mowers or a small ride on cannot compete against me on large commercial accounts. I also cannot compete against you in residential as my large mowers would have to stay on the trailer.

    Remember do what you do well so nobody can compain about quality, and make sure you do it at a level so that an other landscaper would have to quote at the same price or have to offer a less quality job for less money.
    Also if you lose a couple of customers in residential, not the end of the world, in commercial it can be devistating.
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    That ain't no joke. Amazing how that works.

    The other thing that has worked for me is my business networking group I'm part of. It really helps to get the name out to not only the business owners in the group, but also the other business owners they know.

  10. HPSInc

    HPSInc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 763


    property management companies are your link to commercial work. I do more commercial than residential and i prefer it. Steady pay, less headaches IMO. Being a small company I am able to bid less than the big guys and win the bid while still making a killer profit. I have less overhead so it works in my favor. the commercial places around me are paying for it trust me on that. Residential doesnt come close to paying as well. from my experience anyways.

Share This Page