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Commercial vs residential?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by joshman108, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. joshman108

    joshman108 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    Hi. Im in highschool and working my second year residential. Im going fairly well for starting off and I know the residential market pretty well, but i know nothing about commercial mowing.

    For ease, lets say 2 same sized jobs, a big res. and small com. take the same time to do. Do you get paid more for the commercial job simply because its commercial and you can? Or is the pricing the same?

    Im thinking about moving into commercial soon
  2. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    Well first off your in for a rude awakening. In my experience commercial accounts tend to be less money than residential. Every swinging you know what is drooling over them and then the bidding begins which means, usually the lowest price wins. There is very little loyalty so don't put all your eggs in one basket because you might not be there next year. TRUST ME!!! more times than not there not worth the headaches. We do 3 big box stores and many other commercial places but these 3 are a complete PITA! picking up garbage for an hour before you can even start mowing, call backs for a single sidewalk crack weed, stupid stuff. Don't get me wrong, we have a few that are good accounts but every year you have to worry if the next low baller slashed the price again. I know the allure of doing a "commercial" account is great but again most aren't worth the phone call.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    To answer the question, given the conditions you described with two lots...
    One residential, one commercial, both identical to each other down to every
    single last detail except one is residential, the other is a business.
    Assuming both would have exactly the same work done.
    The price would be the same.

    One should always charge what it would cost to do the amount of work being asked of us to do,
    plus materials and what costs you may have, labor, all of that.
    But we don't charge more because we can, nor do we charge extra just because it's a business.

    As to whether that actually and ever works out that way in the real world?
    That could be a different story.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  4. 205mx

    205mx LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,392

    And make sure u have some profit. I've nickeled and domed myself to death on some bids. Make it worth your while.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    Commercial jobs are usually more money, but less profit. They cover more expenses, but cost more to do a lot of times. It's hard to find residential jobs that bring in as much as a commercial job. Fyi, Condos are the worst... and cheap
  6. justanotherlawnguy

    justanotherlawnguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,282

    Commercial is garbage!!! Why does everybody think comm. Is the holy Grail of lawn service?

    Next time you drive by commercial sites, look at the guys maintaining them. 98% are garbage lowball lawn guys working from a dodge Dakota. If that's what you aspire to be, then go for it...
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. Hell on Blades

    Hell on Blades LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 513

    Aside from some of the points above, both markets are profitable in their own ways.

    You will run into a problem bidding commercial properties until you're at least eighteen. As of now you're not old enough to sign a contract, even if you are initiating it.
    Also, I'm assuming that you've not insured yourself, due to your age. Most commercial properties ask for more than minimum insurance. You will have trouble getting insurance until you're 18.
  8. BCL Services

    BCL Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 177

    This statement is just idiotic. Or maybe your idea of commercial is much different than mine. Most true commercial clients require contractors to meet many requirements to even submit a bid to even considered.
  9. justanotherlawnguy

    justanotherlawnguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,282

    Here is my idea of commercial: obviously there are different kinds of commercial. You've got companies like valley crest that do the common grounds for all the nice sub divisions around here. I know for a fact that nobody on this site van compete with them.

    Then you have apartment complexes that some of the medium sized guys can handle.

    There are strip malls, car dealerships, businesses, restaurants, gas stations, fast food etc which is what most of the commercial jobs guys on here refer to. Maybe it's different where your at, but here in this part of Florida, those types of commercial accounts are serviced by the dirtiest, garbage lawn guys out there. Next time i get a chance, I will take some pics of the guys I see doing commercial work.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. joshman108

    joshman108 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    thanks guys this helped. Fortunately I am 18 and am legalizing my business next year. How much does insurance cost?

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