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Proper etiquette?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by stangman, Sep 15, 2004.

  1. stangman

    stangman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    I am in the process of going around and gettin a list of the companies that I wanna target for next year. Being this is my firts year goin after comm. I would like to know how to approach the person in charge.
    First I call up and ask to speak to the person handlin facilities. Introduce myself and proceed to ask them about bidding on their property for next year. Then I would follow up by sending a letter requesting teh same for the ones I can't get a hold of. Now would I ask if they could provide a copy of their requirements or do the yusually provide that?
    Am I goin aout this the right way?
  2. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 1,796

    Person handling facilities may not be the owner of the land, just tenat. THey might just look for a few companies out of the phone book and randomly bid. I would get to know a realtor that deals in commercial properties that can turn you on to jobs. Also business functions are good places to make contacts, make as many as possible. Local Chambe rof commerce agood place to start. It's not always what you know it's usually who you know.
  3. stangman

    stangman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    Is this the only reply that I get. I was really hoping someone could point me in the right direction or tell me if I was wrong or gimme some kind of lead.
  4. mbricker

    mbricker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    Stang, I think you are going about it right. Starting now for next season is smart.

    As for getting a "copy of their requirements" this is sometimes called a "bid specification," and it is a real plus. A company that uses and provides a bid spec shows they have at least some of their ducks in a row. One thing is for certain, either you or they will have to come up with one, which if you do it, will be your proposal, then if approved and signed, the contract.

    If you are dealing with someone who says "What that?" when you ask for their bid spec, you will have to spend a lot more time getting the proposal ready. One pitfall is, once you have provided them with a detailed proposal, in effect writing the bid spec for them, they may well provide the result of your hard work to other lco's also bidding on the job. EVEN if you tell them to please consider the proposal as confidential information. Remember, the customer is working for his interests, not for yours.

    One other piece of advice for seeking commercial work...In some areas the bidding is cut-throat low ball. If you possibly can, before you do any substantial work preparing a proposal, try to learn what they paid the previous season. You will save yourself a lot of useless work by not bothering to propose on an account that is already going for far less than you can afford to work. In my first 2 years, I did not realize just how cheap some guys would work (and I was way too cheap myself) and I learned that jobs I had invested several hours in, scoping out the job and writing the proposal, were awarded to lco's bidding half what I bid.
  5. stangman

    stangman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    Easier said than done. How would one go about finding the costs from the pravius seasons? Anybody?
  6. mbricker

    mbricker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    Often this is not so hard. Ask the potential customer, "If you don't mind me asking, what were you paying for this service last season (year)?" A surprising number of them will tell you. Some of them will not tell you the truth, but at least you will know what they THINK the work should go for.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    If they won't reveal what they paid last year, you could throw around some numbers once you have an idea of what you're dealing with. You know, go check the property out, and get back to them in a day or two with "We're looking at around $20,000 or so, are we in the ballpark?" As said before, no use wasted countless hours on a proposal that is way too high for them. I got smart and started doing this years ago, saved a lot of time.

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