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Ok, so i would like to have a discussion regarding commercial accounts.

I currently have two, one small apartment building, that only has flowerbeds, and one furniture store, decent amount of grass, lots of trimming.

Both have approached me, by word of mouth. The furniture store was acquired last year, after my mom was speaking to the owner (old friend) at a sporting event.

The apartment building was all me. Its a funny story, walked in for a hair cut, walked out with a customer. Lots of work, weeding, mulching, snow/ice management, etc.

I talk to a lot of guys around here who acquire their commercial accounts through word of mouth, and others say they call for bidding. I personally would like to get more commercials, especially as I advance into the snow/ice division, but I don't want to get stuck in the "cheapest bid game".

I think as my reputation grows, the commercial client list will grow, but I am just curious...


How do you folks acquire your commercial accounts?

Thanks a lot! I appreciate your time.


-Mitch-
 

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Word of mouth works the best. Yellow pages bring in a lot of tire kickers and low price shoppers, not good, but a few of my good one found me there.

I always have good luck with "T" selling. Both next door neighbors and across the street of current customers.
 

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word of mouth, calling up and asking if there takeing bids
 

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I call and talk to the receptionist or plant manager and tell them about yourself and your company and ask him/her about coming and and setting up a time to sit down and talk about the lawn/landscape/snow needs of the property. I've gotten 2 commercials this way.
 

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Word of mouth? Thats nice but most businesses would never rely on that alone.

You've got to get cold calls or door knocking done. And it's a matter of numbers. more contacts you make the greater chances of an interested property manager.

Make a professional looking bid with enough margin to make some profit. You'll win some and lose some bids, but thats the name of the game - bidness.

GL!!
 

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Word of mouth? Thats nice but most businesses would never rely on that alone.

You've got to get cold calls or door knocking done. And it's a matter of numbers. more contacts you make the greater chances of an interested property manager.

Make a professional looking bid with enough margin to make some profit. You'll win some and lose some bids, but thats the name of the game - bidness.

GL!!
Exactly, thats how all the big boys do it also. Its just a numbers game and getting your name out there. Thats why branding is so important. You need to brand your company and burn the image into potential customers heads. Everything from trucks uniforms, business cards, post cards, adverts, etc.
 

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If you really want what you speak of I think you should be patient and
just keep doing what you're doing, sounds to me like you're doing just fine
and maybe you never make it really big but that might be the better choice.

As I found, for myself over the years, when I get antsy over wanting something,
that's when I usually make mistakes trip up all over myself fall flat on my face. :p

So just keep doing what you're doing, one lawn and one day at a time.
Is my take on it.

Good luck man
 

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Mine all come to me, though only 10% of my mowing work is commercial work. Depending on how you run your operation, you'll have to choose what path to take. For me, being a solo operator, I don't compete AT ALL pricewise on these accounts - and I don't want to. The commercial guys around here work for pennies... which is not a path I ever plan to take.
 

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I just last week went out to the companies and started asking question. My father has always taught me the worst answer to a question is "NO". I now have two hotels, possible resturant, 5 gas stations and 2 car lots. All of them right in a row as well for snow removal. The owner of the hotel had friends who owned the resturant who then had friends who owned the gas station. The car lot I bought my wife's van from and they like my offer for that one that I am quoteing thier other lot as well. Just ask questions is my philosopy the worst answer is "NO". Good luck!
 

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why would you want comercial accounts? in my 15 years in the business the commercial accounts pay the least, if you can get them to pay you. they take the lowest bid and then take 60-90 days to pay your invoice, usually after several phone calls. i only take on commercial accounts if they pay my price, i wont play the lowball game. the guys around m the do alot of commercial work, work alot longer then i do to make less money. not my cup of tea
 

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You will get more loyal and higher end residential customers as your reputation grows but if you gain more commercials I would be shocked, the only thing they care about is that the work gets done (half assed or not) and the bottom dollar. Price being most of their concern. I have one commercial account that I got an inside line on contacting them and they had the worst landscaper in town currently. I think ok I could nail them with a bid because they were sold on signing with me and they needed to get rid of them before winter but stupidly I give them a more than fair price. They persist to beat me up over and over again after they were already getting a deal. It is a long story but I maintained this account at my previous employer and they knew I did great work and it also gave me good insight into giving an accurate quote. I figured hey they know I do great work and they wanted the place to look great I will give them a fair price and there wont be any questions or squabling. Boy was I wrong all they really cared about in the end was money.
 

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Word of mouth & Real Yellow Pages. Cold calling is a waste of time IMO; because 90% of the time local management are just answering machines, while senior management, who makes the final decision's is located in another state.


Commercial accounts are significantly important in this tough economy for us, their vital to my business survival, I could not survive without commercial work. Even the high end residential market has been effected in there spending on Lawn & Landscape service's.
 

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I don't get why people want commercial. Stick with res. Commercial most of the time want low(est) price. All the big companies in my area do HOA/Commercial,have like a million employees and prob make not much of a profit at the end of the year. This is how i view accounts: if the bottom line has a profit,then it is worth it. Don't take on accounts just to say hey i have 500 accounts. If it is profitable to you, then go for it. I would much rather deal with residential.
 

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I don't get why people want commercial. Stick with res. Commercial most of the time want low(est) price. All the big companies in my area do HOA/Commercial,have like a million employees and prob make not much of a profit at the end of the year. This is how i view accounts: if the bottom line has a profit,then it is worth it. Don't take on accounts just to say hey i have 500 accounts. If it is profitable to you, then go for it. I would much rather deal with residential.
this you dont know.

for us commercial is good for us because it is year around work. lawn, general property maintenance, mulching, plants, tree work, and snow plowing. you get this on residentials as well but this work is steady and no my prices are equivelant or higher than the profit margin compared to residentials
 

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I don't get why people want commercial. Stick with res. Commercial most of the time want low(est) price. All the big companies in my area do HOA/Commercial,have like a million employees and prob make not much of a profit at the end of the year. This is how i view accounts: if the bottom line has a profit,then it is worth it. Don't take on accounts just to say hey i have 500 accounts. If it is profitable to you, then go for it. I would much rather deal with residential.
Thats just it!!! YOU DON"T KNOW, your talking out of your ARSE. Commercial customers will always keep their lawn maintenance contracts, while the residential market is hurting in this economy. While some LCO are done for the season, I work 12 months a year. With guys thinking like you their will always be commercial work:laugh:

who has 500 accounts "WTF" I would not be doing commercial work if I was looseing money:hammerhead:
Your sound like a dumb arse with a response like that regarding commercial lawn & landscape.
 

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dude, chill the hell out. Im going by what I know about big LCO's in my area. They need to have tons of big commercial accounts to stay alive. Most commercial from what I know in my area go for low bidders. Ok, so you have work year round, that is good. I wasn't disputing that.

I didn't literaly mean 500 accounts.

Maybe in your area residential is bad. I live in one of the most wealthiest areas in the US and these people aren't getting rid of their maintenance. Most are still even doing landscaping.
 

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dude, chill the hell out. Im going by what I know about big LCO's in my area. They need to have tons of big commercial accounts to stay alive. Most commercial from what I know in my area go for low bidders. Ok, so you have work year round, that is good. I wasn't disputing that.

I didn't literaly mean 500 accounts.

Maybe in your area residential is bad. I live in one of the most wealthiest areas in the US and these people aren't getting rid of their maintenance. Most are still even doing landscaping.
:laugh: I'm cool. No hard feelings, I just appreciate commercial work. While their are many LCO who are comfortable with 100% residentials: high end or middle class, and make good money, I respect that. For me? I'm telling you ALL, I could not have built my business without the support of residential or commercial contracts both. While my high end residentials are "contracted" their non-binding, and while you may think commercial accounts are lower paying or slow payers, that is false. I look forward to my FAT commercial checks each month. I can pay more bills with one commercial account check than 1 high end residential check, period. You just have to find the right commercial folks to deal with. I would like to drop more of my residentials their just to "*****y" nowadays. Commercial involves more paperwork, but it involves less overall stress vs profit.

Here's a good example I just purchased a new BB AOS Diesel ZTR, and without my commercial accounts I would have zero use for such piece of equipment, and now I can increase my total production residential or commercial. I feel that diversification is what enables one to excell in this economy, yet don't become the "jack of all trades, the master of none" applies here.
 

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I know what you are saying. I have two friends that each have 1 commercial account that both pay really well. The commercial in my area that are "lowbid" are typically the condo complexes(which we have tons of). They don't do mulch, planting,etc. It is just maintenance and tree trimming 1 or 2 times a year. If you get commercial that pays well and does all the extras, that is awesome. I wouldn't mind commercial at all as long as it pays well.
 
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