Moving from Residential to Commercial

Dan Goodwin

LawnSite Member
I have a small business here in NE IN, currently just me mowing 40+ accounts (10 locations are commercial but spread all over town) 3 days a week and leaving 2 days for projects. I'm currently working out of my garage and wanting to secure the work to be able to afford renting a building. Whats the best way to make the transition? Does your pricing vary between residential/commercial bidding of work? I've submitted bids using my residential pricing on a few locations in the past but always get underbid. Any helpful suggestions will be appricaited.
 

Youngandfree

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
VA
Read this thread

 

Cut n Strut

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Midwest
That's your answer. Why do you want to get more work that pays less?

It’s a different business model. Commercials are general cheaper but, they rarely ask you to skip a week, text you on Sunday, chat your ear off when your servicing, etc. The price per mow may be less than that of a same size residential acct but you’ll likely have more billable services in a season at a commercial acct.

I have a small business here in NE IN, currently just me mowing 40+ accounts (10 locations are commercial but spread all over town) 3 days a week and leaving 2 days for projects. I'm currently working out of my garage and wanting to secure the work to be able to afford renting a building. Whats the best way to make the transition? Does your pricing vary between residential/commercial bidding of work? I've submitted bids using my residential pricing on a few locations in the past but always get underbid. Any helpful suggestions will be appricaited.

The commercial side of things is very cut throat. Lots of larger companies will do it for “cheaper” just to keep the guys busy and their trucks being seen at high traffic areas. It’s not an endeavor I’d recommend for a solo guy. I did it for awhile, wasn’t really enjoyable.

In my opinion the best lawn business is comprised of both residential and commercial but has more residential than commercial(70/30) and is full service. Less accts to manage but more services per acct.
 

Mac-s Lawn & Snow

LawnSite Bronze Member
At this point I'm thinking this boils down to 2 type s of commercial accounts. 1 is always going to look for a cheaper price at some point. 2 knows the value of the service thay pay for and will gladly pay your price within reason. Sounds like you have some good commercial accounts, work whatever angle got you those. Maybe you can hustle up more work anywhere your working commercially and even around some residentials.
 

Ijustwantausername

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Raleigh NC
For what its worth, my largest commercial account has spent half of the contract value (separate charges) on trying to get their irrigation system into order. Its old and stuff keeps going wrong, but since its such a large system they have to have it running. They are now reviewing 2 proposed options to revamp the entire system. One is around 22K and the other is around 72K. I hope we can convince them to do one or the other.

Enhancement work also has pretty nice margins on our commercial accounts in my experience. If you service chains like banks or something else it opens up the possibility for more work on down the pipeline, at least that's what I try to do.

I do love my no-drama residentials, however.
 
OP
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Dan Goodwin

LawnSite Member
Don't know about your situation.I don't do commercial but are you going to be at the same (hourly) pricepoint to mow a 40 minute residential as a solo as sending 3 guys out for a 2.5 hour commercial mow?

My minimum is $40, after 13,300 sq ft it goes to a Sq ft price, of course I take into account having to push fenced in back yards, that was $5 extra but moving that to $10 extra...excessive trimming and all that... As I set now I bust my butt and have yet to cross the $100K threshold... All the companies around me who are established with multiple crews buildings and so forth are all 90% commercial... I'm trying to figure out how to get out of my garage and into the $250K + market! having multiple crews and a building separate from my residence.
 

Youngandfree

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
VA
My minimum is $40, after 13,300 sq ft it goes to a Sq ft price, of course I take into account having to push fenced in back yards, that was $5 extra but moving that to $10 extra...excessive trimming and all that... As I set now I bust my butt and have yet to cross the $100K threshold... All the companies around me who are established with multiple crews buildings and so forth are all 90% commercial... I'm trying to figure out how to get out of my garage and into the $250K + market! having multiple crews and a building separate from my residence.
Have you read all the posts about guys being unable to hire any quality help?
 

Cut n Strut

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Midwest
My minimum is $40, after 13,300 sq ft it goes to a Sq ft price, of course I take into account having to push fenced in back yards, that was $5 extra but moving that to $10 extra...excessive trimming and all that... As I set now I bust my butt and have yet to cross the $100K threshold... All the companies around me who are established with multiple crews buildings and so forth are all 90% commercial... I'm trying to figure out how to get out of my garage and into the $250K + market! having multiple crews and a building separate from my residence.

I’m solo, no issues hitting $100k+. You’re not going to do that by mowing only tho, at least not in my experience.
 

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