Commercial vs. Residential

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by gatorfan903, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. gatorfan903

    gatorfan903 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    What are your alls opinions on commercial mowing vs. residential. Many guys i know won't touch commercial accounts, but for me that is almost all i do. What are some pros and cons for both.
  2. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    * Lowballing game with zero loyalty.
    * With employees, however, more productive than stop and go residential.
    * Better hours, or worse hours, depending on how you look at it.
    * Lots of extras required (trash cleanup, equipment moved, etc)
    * Sometimes not so picky as residential.
    * Larger accounts means fewer accounts, meaning bigger pains if you lose one.

    * Often better $$/minute ratio.
    * Extras not necessary.
    * Often means more windshield time.
    * Schedule is more important to clients.
    * Many accounts often required, but means that losing one might not hurt as bad.
    * Get wrangled into conversations more readily.
    * Often get better loyalty from these - and more referrals, too.

    There are lots more.

    Personally, I'm an 85% residential guy, because the commercial market here goes for pennies. I do better servicing home owners.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009

    DLAWNS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,780

    That pretty much sums it up. I prefer residential also.
  4. mississippiturf

    mississippiturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 674

    I agree and my ratio is about the same. The only difference is that my biggest commercial has a very good pay for the amount of time spent except during the rainy parts of the year.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    It definitely ain't the same LOL
  6. MileHigh

    MileHigh LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,466

    Commercial no comparison.

    Don't get me wrong...I will always have a residential client base, and want to have multiple trucks running...but got my hands pretty wet in some commercial work this year and it's great.
  7. SfTD_service_CENTER

    SfTD_service_CENTER LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 868

    im gearing up to go comercial next year i have been weeding out customers for a long time and getting all the great paying people, all the ones that dont bother me, and i never see and just some that plain dont care what i do! i love my customers! and i cant wait to add some commercial accounts to my line up! i have enough equipment for 3 guys to do anything at all times and spares of everything as well.

    i like the good residential customers but the ones that point everything out can kiss my azz! i try and try and never make them happy but they keep me arround for the great price i give, makes me go nuts! so now like i said bove i will be ready for comercial work next season. i hope some of you big shots will help little old solo sftd out with some pointers lol!
  8. vincent1

    vincent1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    You guys are all wrong

    Have you thought about where you want to be in 10-20 years. Having residential accounts limits the growth of your business. Sure you can make a decent living doing it. Maybe have a 3 man crew at best. But what are you going to do when you get too old, or just burned out. Being in the sun year after year melts your brain. When the time comes and it will come your going to send your mowing crew off by themselves. It may be for many reasons, want to work less, start another mowing crew or start a landscape crew. Your customers who see you week after week year after year. Lets just go ahead and say a friend who will poop in their pants when they don't see you.
    If you have a customer for 10 years. Its not because of how good your mowing the lawn. Anyone can mow a lawn. I do mean anyone. I see little kids do it all the time. It's because of you. You are your business. They like you and they trust you. Most businesses, not all will begin to fail. Few people have the business skills to pull it off.

    Having commercial accounts does require more responsibility. Most accounts are full maintenance. Weeds, trim bushes, irrigation, light landscaping. All this extra stuff sucks. But they don't care who mows the lawn as long as the property looks good meaning a green lawn, all the planter beds are weed free and what ever else your supposed to do. Your not going to have any problems. Anyone can do the monkey work. You just need to over see the monkeys. Its not going to be easy. It might take many years or you may never get to this point. I just think you have a better chance of being where you should think about being in the future with commercial properties.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Another reason to pay taxes, at least get Social Security.
    Not you, I mean...
    Just saying.
  10. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,719

    I think I will have to break this down into 3 parts. Residential, private com and non-private com.
    On the residintial I have some very loyal people but the profit is the least out of all. If I wanted to do all residential I would be going up against every Tom, Dick and Harry that had a mower and that can really bring the price down { my town does not have many "high end" places} because most are just concerened with price.
    The private com like Dr's, Lawyers, ect for me has better profit, pays year round and as long as I make things look good I do not have to worry about bidding at the end of the year. These are my favorite.
    The non private com have the highest profit for me but I do not know if I will have them next year. They bid every year and I might get it and I might not. This year really hurt because I had several I did not retain.
    I personally like having a mix but some want to do all com or all residential. I personally beleive there is no right or wrong here, just opinions.

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