How do I start bidding comercial properties?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GREGLAND, Dec 12, 2009.


    GREGLAND LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I have been cutting residencial lawns for 5 years now and i have a great crew but I want to start getting commercial work to give the guys more work and money. The thing is i"m not sure how to get my foot in the door to bid on jobs. Id like to get mini malls or resturants or small office buildings. any advice would help. Thanks
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Being that you say you've been working the business for 5 years that was
    what I was told, and believe you me I saw the reason why, you might be glad, too.

    You really do need the experience, at least it felt that way for me, 5 years is a good time but
    in hindsight I wouldn't have wanted it a day sooner, more is better but I felt that 5 years is good.

    Way I went about it is just mention it to the regulars in way of conversation,
    sooner or later one of them residential customers will know someone, word
    gets around and you can bid your first one.

    Start slow :p
    Won't take long, just make mention of it, year after next by the latest you'll most likely bid one, maybe sooner.

    Then I'd be for taking on one 'smaller' contract for starters, that's what I did,
    yet another one of those things I was later really glad about.
    Two might be all right too but don't go overboard, way I did it is I made SURE that if
    the contract fell through that it wouldn't spell the end of me.
    One small commercial account is what I bid, it will fool you, it did me, I didn't think it was that much work but it was a load...

    So, take your time, start small...
    Good luck
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009

    GREGLAND LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Thank you!
  4. hornett22

    hornett22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 396

    mowing them is the same with better be able to do it for nothing and wait forever for your money.
  5. MikeKle

    MikeKle LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,253

    How true this is!
    One other way to get commercials is to really watch your local legal and business classifieds starting in about Dec. up to about march, Many companies advertise that they are looking for bids for their lawn care for the upcoming season. When you find one, call and ask for the bid package or set up an appointment with them. Another way is to just drive around one day and stop at the places you would like to mow at. go in and talk to them about their lawn care, and they may let you give them a bid right there? I have gained accounts by doing this before. But I would rather gain more residentials anyday over commercials, as the commercial places take their time paying and will intentionally wait until the absolute last minute to pay their bill every month! Plus the big reason, if they get a bid that is cheaper by $5., they will drop you in a heartbeat for the cheaper guy, they do not look at you as a person, just a number, and will always go with the cheapest price. but residentials, if you gain their loyalty and do a quality job for them everytime, you will have them for life, no matter what you charge. I know a guy who had a portion of the land around the expressways here in KY, it paid like $350K per cut, and it was done 3x a year, he went and bought all the tractors and bat wings, semi trucks to haul it all around, then he had another company bid lower by a real little amount, but it was still cheaper than him, and he lost the entire account after the first year! He was able to sell all that equipment, but barely, and almost lost everything in the process. Commercial is too cut throat!
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    That part...

    Again why I used word of mouth, in my case I was lucky enough where one of my residential customers happened
    to be a part of something else, that's as far as I want to go divulging what could be private information...

    Yet another reason to start out slow as well, and with a smaller area, don't take on too many
    and don't take on some huge complex because there's a lot to be learned.

    See that part I had little problem with as I spelled out the payment terms in the contract.
    Might help to remember that commercial accounts almost always can and WILL pay on the very last day.
    But I mean to tell you I got paid by the 5th of every month (yes, for the month just completed).

    Maybe it was the 10th lol but I had no problems there, none whatsoever.
    They always paid on time.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  7. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Messages: 2,313

    I do 99% commercial/industrial and I like the curb appeal-they just want you to show up as stated in the contract. For some reason, I have always had a hard time getting residential accounts but I can land a commercial job in a heartbeat.:confused:However, the loyalty part is right and some are slow. I have a Solo account that pays every 45-50 days but Wal-Mart pays in a flash and is excellent to deal with. It all goes both ways. I have acquired my accounts by going door to door and that's the only way.
  8. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Messages: 3,613

    why not just call these places?
  9. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Messages: 2,313

    Because there's a snowballs chance in he#@, you'll get to talk to someone. It takes a lot of persistence in commercial and selling yourself and then a lot of waiting on a decision.
  10. Ooomwizard

    Ooomwizard LawnSite Senior Member
    from atlanta
    Messages: 296

    First there are big LCO's that hire full time sales associates that do nothing but solicit commercial managers. For example, the commericals I have (especially the high visibility accounts) get LCO business cards in their inboxes every week. Therefore, I think it all involves timing and being at the right place at the right time. You have to spend a lot of time reminding people that you have a business and provide great service.

    Commercial accts most often have their own contracts/agreements. Read carefully and edit or clarify if needed.

    Since you're used to residential, you might try to think of bidding a commercial by breaking it up into residential accts. For example, a large client would be the same as servicing 10 residential, price it accordingly.

    My commercials are great. I've got the properties well maintained and the work is easy. They almost always pay net 30, which makes me happy.

    Just ask and ask and make contacts. Eventually some will come around.


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