Commercial help?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by LCCaptain, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. LCCaptain

    LCCaptain LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    I've been in business for six years now. I've always have professional commercial equipment and but what I lack in the business aspect of commercial bidding. I was wondering how you guys ,who have commercial contracts bid? Do you place a bid saying how much each cut will be, how much the monthly bill would be or an estimate for the entire year? I'm sick of being low man on the list just because of how I word a bid. Also, when you do place bids (time of year)? Take me through your process of the how to. Please help.
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,101

    More often than not, the commercial properties have their own bid format to which you fill put the blanks

    Are you cold calling, or being invited to bid?
  3. HPSInc

    HPSInc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 763

    You bid the whole season. Combined for everything they want done. All mine are the same. Spring cleanup, mid season trim, fall cleanup and weekly mowing. its 1 price, paid in 6 payments. Contract starts April 15 - oct 15. I didn't pick that the contract states it. I get paid once a month on the 15th. If your bidding the plowing as well id still have a sep price for the landscaping & plowing. but if both accepted they get combined and paid once a month all year long. its really easy to bid. Harder to get the opportunity to bid if you ask me. The key to that is finding property managers in your area and getting acquainted with them. before you know it the work will come to you. You don't have to write up much, they usually have lengthy contracts for you to sign if your bid is accepted. I do mostly all commercial HOA's. Good $$ and less hassle then a ton of johnny homeowners to deal with. Smaller commercials like food chains or things of that nature are usually much cheaper, don't really care about a business relationship, and always go with cheapest bid. I don't bother with those.
  4. twomancrew

    twomancrew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 940

    I'd like to find an easy way about this myself but it's called work for a reason. I cold call and offer to price lawn services. It doesn't matter how you prepare your bid. Crayon on poster-board by my 3 year old would work just fine. They look at the price and then they call you and will ask to meet or ask you to price a certain way or whatever. I usually can ask this upfront. It depends on who you get on the phone and what they do at the business when you cold call. You want to ask how to price it so it is easy for them to compare to their current contract. That is how you extract as much as you can about the current contract over the phone. "Let me make my bid in the same manner as the current contract so you don't have to work to compare the two Sir/Maam"

    My rate of calls to allowed to bid is about 1 in 5. Of those that I bid last year I got 1 new account from 30 bids placed. The year before I remember I did 41 bids and I got 2. It's a lot of work.

    I do not work from a script when I call. Be yourself, identify yourself as a new commercial business. Some people REALLY like that. Go find them!
  5. twomancrew

    twomancrew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 940

    Also don't worry about having enough insurance or any of that. If a company has a requirement you don't currently meet you can always add more insurance once you sign that new work. Almost anyone will let you do the work, they won't pay you until you get them things like a W-9, naming additional insured to your insurance, vendor pack stuff.

    It's OK to say "I don't have that today, but I will price it and add it to the bid for you. Thanks asking about that"

    Do not lie
  6. LCCaptain

    LCCaptain LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    I have made up written estimates for local businesses last year and I have been asked to drop of estimates for business that I have done residential work for (co'owners). Last year I drove around and looked at all the commercial places I wished to have business with. I can home and made them all a separate estimate sheet with a one page color flyer, paper clipped a business card and put it all in a white manilla envelope. I didn't hear back from anyone and the one that I was asked to place a bid, stayed with their current lawn service. I'm not sure if placing bids with the price of each cut was scaring them away or just the idea that they just want a bottom line of what it will cost them monthly without having to add all the cuts to get an average. I figured you guys would know more about it. Do you guys think I should drop them off this fall and mail them large postcards this winter?
  7. bel-nor

    bel-nor LawnSite Member
    Messages: 200

    i have found to check the newspapers for current and past biddings. The past bids, take the time to go and prepare a estimate based on your time, equipment, manpower and experience for a comparision in estimates.

    For current bids participate in the ones that will be announcing the bids openy after it has been awarded. You will soon learn how the numbers look. The business knows the numbers were just there, even the one's that are putting out to bid for the first time. They network too.
  8. twomancrew

    twomancrew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 940

    When a business gets a quote it didn't ask for I think it gets round canned most of the time. Make the calls first.
  9. LCCaptain

    LCCaptain LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    Thanks for the advice.

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