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Property Preservation?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by GravelyWalker, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. fsondger

    fsondger LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    In the past decade I have worked as a Broker, Asset Manager, and Field Service Contractor. Most of the larger banks and asset management companies obtain field service work (lawns, securing properties, trash-outs, sales cleaning, evictions, and general repairs...) to national field service companies. Some of these companies sub work out regionally to smaller field service companies who then hire contractors like us to actually perform the work. Some of the larger lenders and most of the smaller ones rely on the real estate broker they hired to sell the property to coordinate the maintenance and some of them have preferred vendors.

    There have been quite a few posts on this site and others regarding working on foreclosed properties. The following has been my experience having worked in all aspects of the business:

    The most important factor to being profitable is working for the right client. The right client is the one ultimately paying the bills; banks, asset management companies (not field service companies), and realtors.

    Most of the above will pay invoices with little concern up to the HUD or Fannie Mae allowables quickly. The allowables can be found online for each schedule.

    The current HUD allowables for initial lawn care are:
    Up to 5000 SF - $50
    5001 - 10000 SF - $75
    10001 - 15000 SF - $100
    Shrubs - $30

    The current HUD allowable for re-cuts ARE:
    Up to 5000 SF - $40
    5001 - 10000 SF - $65
    10001 - 15000 SF - $85

    The current Fannie Mae allowables for initial lawn care are:
    Up to 10000 SF - $100
    10001-15000 SF - $150
    15001 - 25000 SF - $175
    25001 - 35000 SF - $200
    35001 - 43560(1 ACRE) - $225

    The current Fannie Mae allowables for re-cuts are:
    Up to 10000 SF - $80
    10001 - 15000 SF - $100
    15001 - 25000 SF - $125
    25001 - 35000 SF - $150
    35001- 43560 SF - $175

    Cuts are every 2 weeks or twice a month and the first cut each year is considered an initial cut.

    Fannie mae allows up to $250/yr in most states for tree and shrub work. The above lawn prices are for up to 12". If the lawns are higher or there are other issues like debris bids are requires.

    The above are what most field service companies charge their clients. The difference in what they charge and what they pay you less expenses is their profit. So if they are paying you $25 for an initial 10000 SF cut they are making at least $50 ($75-$25) less expenses. There are exceptions of course but you get the idea.

    Pictures are required by almost all banks and mortgage servicing companies. The field servicing companies then ask their subs for pictures. The difference is how they are reviewed and how many are required. As an asset manager I cannot remember a bank kicking back invoices for lawn care because the angle was wrong.... they just want to make sure the work was done. Most banks simply pay the invoice if it is within allowables. The field service companies are much more critical of the pictures you submit. If they can disallow part of your invoice for any reason it is profit for them, they don't reduce their bill to the bank.

    Even if a complaint is received asset managers rarely dispute the charge or get involved because of the effort and paperwork to do so, they are very overworked often carrying 500+ properties with extreme pressure to sell them.

    As you can see cutting out the middleman greatly increases your profitability but may reduce the number of properties you receive. The same process applies to trash-outs and other services (check the referenced web-sites for allowables) This was just my experience and may not represent the practices of every bank or financial institution. Good luck!!!!!
  2. BLS 2002

    BLS 2002 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    I did it for a while - money was OK - slowly companies started giving less and less for services rendered. I've determined since then that it's not worth it for my company to focus on that type of revenue generation. If you have a large volume based company that can take on the work with out worrying about getting paid with-in the 30-60-90 day time frame then try it out.
  3. SIRKY

    SIRKY LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    ive been doing it for the last few years and average about 150k a year from them but we do everything and it keeps my workers busy through the winter. The best thing to do is get direct with the national companies and build a good relationship by doing the work right and turning it in on time. They pay me on a net 30.

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