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Commercial account bidding

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by grassmanak, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. grassmanak

    grassmanak LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 792

    I'm looking to expand business a bit next year, i currently only serve 25 residential accounts which has been great, but would like to step into the commercial door. im just curoius how you go about bidding on these. I have insurance and such just wondering how i go about it.
  2. TurfProSTL

    TurfProSTL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 693

    Why commercial? If residential has been 'great' why would you want to go commercial?
  3. JJLandscapes

    JJLandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    why not ??????
  4. TurfProSTL

    TurfProSTL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 693

    :rolleyes: Lower margins?

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Grass is grass-- Mowers are mowers and do not have any idea what is going on in the building that sits on the land that they are mowing:laugh:
    Time is time- Gas is Gas- Bidding is Bidding-- See the trend?

    The work you do must support your business so bid all jobs the same- To make the money you need-
    I do not make a difference between RES. and COM.
    A house on a 8000 foot lot may be a rental -- that is commercial
    As far as margins-- I see the larger lots working down a little in the per hour you can charge-- but you can park a truck once and never move it all day-- so overhead is lower too.
    On lots that take 15 mins for 2 guys it is easy to get $35-- but add drive time
    On properties that take 4 guys 10 hours I fight to get $1600-- all day no driving
  6. Mowin&Coachin

    Mowin&Coachin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    I would like to know how to bid on commercial properties as well. I really have little idea how that part is done so please, any reccomendations will be greatly appreciated.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I will advise anyone looking into commercial accounts to do so only after you have at least 4 years in the business full time.

    The reason for this is experience, a big company doesn't care if you go broke. Granted, neither does the residential, but a small business finds a loss of a few hundred dollars easier to tolerate than when said loss amounts to several thousand.

    If, however, you wish to find out how fast a big money account can drain your account, then by all means, I'm all for leading you by the hand right into the lion's den as I'm first in line to see less of the competition.

    I speak from experience, I took on my first larger commercial account this year (my 5th), and it was by all measures a small account (only 6 thousand dollars). Keep in mind, it only lasted 90 days before they fired me, but that's because I was losing money and I stopped / discontinued some services until such time the budget would level out (which it never did, since they fired me). Imagine what might have happened if I had not discontinued those services, thinking I would recover this in the summer instead (watch out for that), I could've lost my shirt. As things stand, I still lost about a thousand dollars, so if you can afford to lose 400-500 dollars / month (who knows, maybe more), again then by all means, please do.

    Last but not least, with commercial accounts it's the same as with residential, you have to weed them out.
    Translation: 9 out of every 10 accounts are no good for you (it's a rule, they're no good for me either).
    What do you do when a contract binds you to a pita account? Do you have the nerve to hang up on the association's president when he calls to complain? I do... But as you can see, even a guy in his 5th year isn't always successful.
  8. grassmanak

    grassmanak LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 792

    Is what im looking to do is pick a couple of apartment buildings or townhome complexes to mow. I am a one man crew. I would like to try it out, if it doesnt work then it doesnt work.
  9. AAELI

    AAELI LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 360

    Just like PMLawn stated: grass is grass. You know your costs, or should, in order to arrive at a price that allows you a fair and reasonable profit. Topsites may have bit off more than he could sucessfully chew but that is no reason for you to do the same.

    I took on my first commercial contract, a shopping center/mall during my first year along with a federal contract to maintain a military installation. Made money on both that year along with bidding and winning the next ten years several more federal contracts for additional military bases. It required a bundle of paperwork and attention to detail. I knew my costs and bid accordingly. Federal contracting is demanding with bulky contract documents and regulations out the wazoo but they can be lucrative as there are always change orders.

  10. grassmanak

    grassmanak LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 792

    okay but is what i need to know is how do i bid these jobs, do i contact them and say hey id like to mow your property for 225 a cut, can i have the job???

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