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how to pick up commercial accounts?


LawnSite Senior Member
S. Jersey
Oscar- First off make yourself known to the controller or the person you would be dealing with. Say hello, see what he/she is looking for servicewise and see if their present company is meeting their needs. Do follow up calls. Above all maintain professionalism. Do a search on this subject at the top of the page too. It wasnt talked about too long ago.


Yellow pages may work to passively attract commercial work. I don't think you will get the quick results you likely desire.

I have personally developed telemarketing skills I never knew I had. I might suggest you drive around, look at properties of a specific profile you would like to maintain. Write those business names down. Try a telephone call to the effect of, "Hi, my name is Joe from ABC Lawn Service and I was calling to ask permission to measure your property and submit a bid for lawn mowing and maintenance...Who would be the appropriate person for me to discuss this with?" This is a little more syrupy version than what I use, but you get the idea.

A face to face meeting at some point with prospective customers is a must, but the first contact might not be the best time. Many prospects are eliminated quickly in the first or second contact, so no need to waste their time or yours so early in the process of trying to obtain the account IMHO.

This is a numbers game, don't get too wrapped up in any one account! (If I could only take some of my best advice!!!) Don't try submitting 20 bids if you are trying to get ten accounts. If you win half of your bids, you are pricing way too low from my experience.

You may be on a wild goose chase many times, but persistence pays off in the end. Always make it your goal to talk to the proper person at each prospective location. At one place it may be the store manager, at another it may be a property management firm 1500 miles away! Sometimes somebody who hasn't a clue will tell you," we do it ourselves, or we have someone already."

On a year round basis, you should be calling on prospects, unless you are satisfied with the size of your client base.

One more thing. Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. Don't stop contacting prospective customers at reasonable intervals, unless they tell you "no."


LawnSite Senior Member
All of the above plus,

What I like to do is go in with a price. This way you are ready on the spot with a price, so when they say we are happy with who we have or you actually get the person that can make the decision, you are ready with a figure they can think about. They WILL look at it if you have it then.

Say it is a resturant. It is a public place, walk around look at the shrubs, the lawn, the mulch, etc.. If you are a little timid you can do it without anyone noticing. Go early in the morning before they open. Write down your figures and put it all together as a proposal. Notice bad things like shrubs not trimmed enough (my personal favorite), excessive scalping of the lawn, etc..

I have offered different prices for different plans in the past cold call proposals and it just depends on the property, but what I usually do now is just make the proposal out as full grounds maintenance proposal only, one price. But, I like to make it out as a bare bones maintenance, like do not figure two aerations, maybe one or none. Basically, get the price as low as what you can do or want to do. This might not be the same as what the current LCO is doing, but you want the contact person to see the price and think about wanting to talk more to you. Besides, you also really do not know what the other LCO is being paid to do, so you want to start at the minimum and add to the services to meet the prospects requirements. Make sure you do mention all the other services though and that you do them. I do this by just listing additional services without prices, but I have them ready sometimes, so I can just pop it right out.

I work eight months, April 1 to November 31. I make the monthly price based on a 10 month payment plan. This makes the rate even lower to grab their interest. I usually put a message in a notes section at the bottom stating price based on a 10 month contract. Most I have dealt with really do not like 12 month plans.

Now, I have left the proposals with just the manager, I have asked for a contact to where I could send the proposal, etc.. Best is to do it all, leave one, get a name and send one, stop back while you are out and ask to see the General Manager and give them one, etc.. Just keep trying. Don't be a pest, just be persistant.

Keep a eye out and stop in when the place looks bad, (again my favorite)when the shrubs are two feet past trimming. It is amazing sometimes how the people that work there do not notice things like the shrubs needing trimmed until you point it out. I took pictures of an prospect that I want to get. The pictures have a time stamp on each one, and they show the shrubs all out of shape with two to three foot growth on holiday weekend, a very busy time for this account. I also made sure the pictures show all the cars in the lot as well.

Hope this is of some help.

unique lawns

LawnSite Member
Thanks guys for the responses, I will try the methods you have been using and keep up my persistance, I got to bid on one property not so long ago by just driving by and finding out info about the property mngr. After he called he invited me to the association meeting and it looked as if he really liked me, I noticed he was trying his best to get the association to give me a chance, but the president was good buddies with their existing contractors and just eliminated the subject. I'm sending letters to the property mangr. to let him know that my services are available at any time. So I guess I'll repeat the process for future marketing techniques.
Thanks a lot, Oscar