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Commercial Customers

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by CTAYLORLAWNSERVICE, Oct 25, 2005.


    Messages: 7

    I have been in business since march 05 and doing ok, I'm starting to get a grip on the business and really enjoying myself. I deal almost exclusively with residential customers. However I just got a call for an estimate on a 20 town home community. One of my better customers gave a resounding referral and now the head of the housing community is phsyced about my company. Its a good place to be. They want some tree and shrub pruning done right now ( I can probably sell them on leaf clean up and hopefully snow removal) and next season they want lawn care and bed maint. However i have know idea with where to start for an estimate of this size and scope I know how to charge for bed and lawn care and other stuff but how do i roll it into a nice package for this customer ? Guys please give me some pointers i think this is one account that could really make my company soar next season.
    Thanks you guys rock!
  2. Husky05

    Husky05 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 307

    Hey man,

    Sounds like you are very similar to myself. I have been doing lawn care and maintenance since I was in highschool, however I just graduated from Penn State December 04 with a degree in Landscape Contracting and went into this full-time. I had a pretty decent sized clientel when I was in college so I decided to go into this full-time and bought a new dump truck and trailer and all new equipment....Anyway I had about 55 Residential accounts and then I got 5 commerical accounts this year and one of them was a 44 unit townhouse complex. At first I was worried about doing this because there are 44 porches, 44 driveways and 2 common areas. There is alot of trimming, I will tell you though, I get 200 dollars to do this and I set it up to get cut everyday 10 days. I do them the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month and get a montly bill of 600 which is guranteed cash. It takes me and 2 other people about 75mins to do it. If you are going to bid on this complex here are a few things that I would suggust. Take them for what they are worth to you.

    Give them a mowing price, whatever it is ask them how frequently they want the place cut. Weekly, Bi-Weekly, something like I do whatever. Bill them accordingly for the mowing. Any type of side job tell them upfront what it will be, type up an estimate and present it to the board or assocation or whoever is incharge. This way you will get an OK and just tack the extra job onto the mowing bill at the end of the month. I found this to be the easiest way.

    One other thing I will tell you, I got this account because the company that was doing it before me was sloppy. The biggest thing with complex's or communities is the trimming and blowing. Anyone can cut grass thats the easy part, you have to trim and blow off all sidewalks and porch etc. You have to keep in mind that people are living in all these townhouses/apartments and want the same service you give to your residential accounts. Give them a quality cutting and trimming and be sure to blow everything off. If you do your complaining will be at a absolute minium. The residents at the complex will see that you are a good contractor and that you do great work they will ask you to do side jobs for them.

    Just remember when you bid the place you have no down time, no loading and un loading. It just stop and mow and leave. Good luck man!!

    Messages: 7

    Thank you for the tips. That seems like the easiest method of billing. Mowing + side work. I think the reason the committee is after me is because the guy they had previously was sloppy also. What was the approximate acreage of the 44 unit place? Also has a degree in landscape contracting helped you? I often thought having acredited credentials would help me.
  4. Husky05

    Husky05 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 307

    The acreage of the place is approximately 2 1/2 acres but that is the total area. There is lot of space that is driveways and porches. Its not as bad as it sounds.

    Having a degree in this is obviously something that is new to customer. At least in my area where in live. You do not need one to start a landscape company but it definitely helps. I have taken alot of Design build classes, Horticulture and Turfgrass classes. I feel that I am very qualified for about any landscape task or question. When people see that I have a Bachlor Degree in this industry they realize that I am serious. They also have to know that I charge more considering I spent money on my education. Also I opened up a business accoun at a local nursery. They know that I have a degree and tell the customers that need work done. It definitely has helped me out in the long run. Let me know if you got any more questions.
  5. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

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    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    You have to know how much it costs to do business each hour and what your profit will be. Than know how much time it takes you to do the work.
    Looking at Husky's job we know that it takes hin 5.1 min. to do each townhouse. This is total work, Cut- trim- edge- and blow, Even though there are 44 units each has about 50 square feet of grass and I would guess about 30 foot of edging. Also add in the drive time it takes to get there ( and in Huskys case X's 3)

    One thing to remember is the commerical grass is so much thicker and harder to pick up, the commercial trimming is harder to do, the commercial edging is going to take more time, and the commercial maintenance of equipment is harder.
  7. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    should be no differnt, your costs arent changing,

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    To bad I can't spell residential!
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I must admit I am impressed by someone with a bachelor's in this field, that's more than most of us have. Nothing beats hands-on experience, but it sure doesn't hurt to have this kind of serious technical background as I safely assume a bachelor's degree is the one thing sets you apart no questions asked, I don't doubt for one minute that this helps.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    LOL you got commercial wrong too but a LOT of folks spell it commerical, has something to do with the way fingers wander on the keyboard, spelling commercial goes against the natural flow while commerical comes easy.
    Residentical, that one I'm not sure how it happens :)

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