New Construction Installations

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Jeremy1592, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. Jeremy1592

    Jeremy1592 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    I'd like to expand to find the opportunities to bid more new construction installations.

    Does anyone have any advice about how to go about picking up these bids/opportunities? What is the best way to become a sub for the general contractors?
  2. ncpete

    ncpete LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 288

    When I did flooring years ago, we made ourselves known to the GC's in the area. Starting out, they may give the odd smaller job or two, and as they became familiar with our quality of work, we got more and more opportunities to bid on the jobs they had.

    Also, we did a LOT of renovation work subbed out by Lowe's, Home Depot, and Sears, and other smaller outfits. The home centers have garden shops, do they offer installation services? The home centers provided probably 85% of our work back in the mid 90's, and new construction was around 15%.
  3. Jeremy1592

    Jeremy1592 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    Did you just send letterhead and introductions to the GC's? Phone contact? Personal visits?

    The big box stores around here don't offer landscaping installations and the nurseries all have their own installation crews. That makes it interesting to get some of that work. If a customer can walk into those places and buy the materials, they usually also walk out with installation contracts signed.
  4. dllawson

    dllawson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 172

    Subcontracting landscaping on new construction projects can become a large part of your business, but you will have to be committed and patient if you want to be successful. I started bidding on commercial construction about two years before the housing collapse. It took 6 to 8 months to win our first job, and it was another 6 to 8 months before we actually started working. It was a slow process, but over the next 3 to 4 years new construction grew to provide about 1/3 of our 1 million in annual sales.

    First make a list of the reputable companies that you would like to do business with. Next prepare a generic letter and email template asking for the opportunity to estimate their projects in the future. Make sure to describe your business and provide references for your work. Then get started by talking with contacts you already have with companies on your list. These will be the easy ones.

    Check out websites and do some research on the remaining companies on your list. Find out who you need to talk to, make a personal visit and ask to speak with them. Take a copy of your letter in case you can't meet with them. Finally, decide how often you want to visit, call and email until you finally get a chance to bid. A great way to start working with new companies is to ask if you can send them your estimate for a particular project you know they are bidding.

    Warning: You have to be shrewd if you want to get into new commercial installation. Be ready to finance your labor and materials while you wait 30 to 60 days to get your draws. Be ready to be delayed on your expected start date and then rushed to finish the job at the end. Be ready to fight for your final 10% of the contract after the job. New construction can be good, but you have to be confident and tough.

    I was able to be successful working for general contractors who would also hire us to work at their homes. This way, if there were ever serious problems I could sit down with the owner over lunch and get things resolved face to face.
  5. Southern Heritage

    Southern Heritage LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    Dlawson is exactly the same way I got into commercial work and he pointed out all the good and bad. Ill also add this point I'm still in a law suit with 2 company's from over a year ago who are refusing to pay any of the contractors due to them no getting paid so on a so fourth. The legal wait time also is 90 days before you can file a suit. So there is a good chance you be almost a year waiting on the money. We did a huge job 2 years ago. The company wouldn't do draws. So I was out 100k and then on the 90th day I was hand delivered a check. I was happy to get it and still do a lot of commercial work. I would say close to 1/3 but every year varies. Just rember to make sure you an afford to do it.

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