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Getting Commercial Accounts

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by NNJLandman, Oct 11, 2003.

  1. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,306

    Thanks yes that is very true, its kinda funny before your posted this I took that " you won't be sorry" out.
  2. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,306

    Anyone ever do a mass mailing or anything like that to get your services out to everyone
  3. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    The guys above all gave you some excellent advice.

    Dont expect to get much, if any, response to mailings. You are just one more piece of junk mail they will likley toss b4 they even read it.

    I like to try and put myself in the prospective customers shoes. Try to think like THEY think. Why should they hire YOU? What makes you different, better??Guys who mow grass are a dime a dozen....so why hire you?? I can't tell you how to do it, but somehow, and until to have enough business to live off referrals, you are going to have to get them to NOTICE YOU....and sending them a letter wont cut it....I;ve been there and done that....with poor results.

    My advice? Pick out the places/areas you'd like to work and make sure you can handle the properties you call on. Then take a deep breath and walk in the door and ask to speak to the person in charge of the facility. Some doors wont open...but I'd bet a few will. Its hard to do cold calls....I didn;t like doing it....but it worked better than sending letters into the black hole...good luck
  4. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,660

    I looked into bulk mailing once, but you have to have a certain amount, in weight I believe. If I remember correctly, you have to sign up for it and pay annual fees through the USPS
  5. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,306

    Yea I think im jus gonna make postcards and do a couple streets a month.

    Guys Thank you all for your help. This is what I love about LawnSite that no matter where you are we can all help each other and theres almost always a answer from someone. Its great Thanks again for all your help
  6. GreatBigTuna

    GreatBigTuna LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22


    Let me qualify myself by sayng that I am new to the lawncare business, but I have been involved with a few successful businesses and I have a lot of close contacts that manage large commercial and residental properties. Having qualified myself, I would suggest that alot of the higher-end commercial accounts (business parks, office buildings, large apartment complexes) are landed primarily through networking with the managers of these properties. There is an organization called BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association) that is basically a professional association for property managers. I would search out your local chapter and join as an associate member. Here in the Baltimore area, they do alot of networking events that usually turn out to be a pretty good time to boot. Networking is essential because if the managers of these types of properties do not know you or your company, or know someone else that does, most are unwilling to solicit a proposal from you.

    To the PM's that I know, price is very important (you have to be competitive), but service, consistancy and reliabilty play a very important role in the decision. Also most have told me that once they find a good contractor, they generally stick with them, only replacing them if they are not satisfied with the service or if the prices become uncompetitive and the service does not justify the expense.

    To become involved with these types of accounts my advice would be...

    1 - Join BOMA, and meet and mingle with these folks. If you don't have the time or inclination to do that, hire someone that does to do it for you.

    2 - Remember that these are folks that think in terms of ROI (Return on Investment). It's ok if you are not the cheapest, as long as you can convince them that the added value that you provide is worth the extra expense. You have to learn what motivates them to spend money (hint... it starts with m and ends with oney). If your added value will positivley effect their bottom line, make sure they know that.

    3 - I don't know about NJ but around here any type of contractor that does what he says he is going to do when he says he is going to do it, no matter what, is a rare and treasured find. This is not lost on a busy property manager that has a thousand better things to do than track down her LCO to get them to dead-head the flowers that were supposed to have been dead-headed 2 weeks ago. Never break that trust, because bad reputations spread fast in thier world.

    4 - Avoid any property manager that tells you what their current contractor is charging or shows you the competing bids. Do not lowball to get these accounts, there is always someone willing to do it cheaper and these PM's will bid you every chance they get. Lowballing stinks just as bad in the commercial world as it does anywhere else.

    5 - Finally, image is very important. Make sure that you are projecting a professional image in every thing you present to them, including bid propsals, invoices, trucks, equipment, employees, etc...

    I hope you find this advice helpful and useful. Like I said, I'm new to the lawncare business, but the advice given above easily applies to any business trying to do land large property management account. Please let us know how you do, and I hope to do well. Good Luck!
  7. GreatBigTuna

    GreatBigTuna LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    I hope you do not get offended by the constructive critisism I am about to give concerning your letter, but here goes. I read the letter and I think it is pretty strong, but consider the following suggestions...

    1. Your first paragraph talks about the value that you "try" to provide. It would probably be more effective if you eliminated the word try. It just subconciously suggests that you do not always provide that value.

    2. I would also bullet the list of services available and get rid of their descriptions. You should be selling the value that an attractive landscape adds to their bottom line, and why you are their best choice to make that landscape happen. Your letter seems more suited toward residential clients, as you are selling the astetics of each particular service offering, which is important if you care about having a pleasing landscape. Unfortunately, most of these commercial accounts will not. If you could convince them that replacing their grass with hot pink concrete and broken glass would drive more sales, they would do it regardless of the astetics.

    Again, I hope you don't take exception to my comments as they were made with the sincere intention of providing helpful feedback. Thanks and good luck!
  8. lost mountain

    lost mountain LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92


    Very astute! I hope you will stick around and give your input in these forums frequently as many here will surely benefit from your apparent business savvy. Good stuff!
  9. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    Tuna.....you may be new in this biz but you are well aware of the issues on the commercial side. Great info you provided to NJlandman,or anyone else who wants to know how to get their foot in the door.
  10. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,306

    Thank you very much and again everyone else, all your opinions and changes have been used in considerations. I have made some changes to make the letter better. Thank you all. And I don't take any offense to anyones comments or opions unless the plain out say....you suck man heh but thank you very much everyone, you are all teaching me a lot and building me up to become a better business man.

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