Residential or Commercial Work?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Amazing Earth Landscapes, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. Amazing Earth Landscapes

    Amazing Earth Landscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    I started my company this year we currently maintain about 35 weekly residential accounts from 1/4 acre lots all the way to 6 acre lots. This winter I want to go after a lot more work. Which way do you guys think is the better way to grow? Going into the commercial work, or jumping up to 90 weekly residential accounts? Any input would be great! Thanks alot
  2. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,673

    I prefer residential. There seems to be less to worry with/about.
  3. Amazing Earth Landscapes

    Amazing Earth Landscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    How many do you currently maintain?
  4. Davis De Iowa

    Davis De Iowa LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I have a mix of about 80% residential and 20% commercial. I think it always depends on the customer. In my experience a few small residentials in the same area are as good as one larger commercial account. If I price right and they pay me timely that's good business 101. I think the residential customers can be more needy and like to talk more, have more questions etc. which takes up a lot of time but helps build rapport and a good relationship. I've never had a commercial account not pay me timely. Again, I think it all depends on the customer. Chose them carefully, treat them with respect and know when to drop a bad one. Good luck - sounds like you're off to a great start!
  5. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Priced right and you will make money either way. Though in the past commercial paid better. Since the economy took a dump in most areas commercial now pays worse.

    Commercial can also cause problems because their size can make them to large to handle for the smaller LCO's.

    I do not get an ego boost claiming commercial customers.
  6. 123hotdog

    123hotdog LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    I am a big fan of diversity. I have a mix of residential, business, hoa's, and foreclosures. The good thing about the foreclosures is they can be mowed wet. Diversity will keep you in business. Residential customers are much more loyal (though a hassle sometimes) than commercial accounts. The commercial accounts are nice in the winter time. I prefer the hoa's myself.
  7. Amazing Earth Landscapes

    Amazing Earth Landscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    How do you normally land your hoa accounts?
  8. Walkerville Group

    Walkerville Group LawnSite Member
    from Windsor
    Messages: 11

    My two cents. I'm part time and enjoying it. I find that commercial tends to want year round coverage. Grass cutting in the summer months and snow plowing in the winter months. I don't plow, nor want to. So I tend to avoid commercial because if you can't offer both they usually pass you by. That being said there are some out there that plow part time and don't cut grass. Team up with them and you have all your bases covered. Minor footnote to that. If you are the primary contractor you might have to answer questions regarding the plowing contractors work.
  9. HeartOfTexas

    HeartOfTexas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    With commercial you'll get a lot more customers beating you up on price. Price seems to be the biggest issue with commercial. Even after you have the account they may say that another company offered to do it for less and will ask you to agree to price cut. Residential customers may also do this but not nearly as much.
  10. mclawns365

    mclawns365 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    I find commercial guys in my area easy to deal with. If their boss isnt mad at them over price or looks, they ignore you and send checks willingly enough (if not quickly). I work for alot of big companies, so I deal with mostly regional supervisors, and less business owners. They have about two million things to do they think is more important than talking to you. I like my residentials, but they require alot more time, both on the job, as well as talking them up. I also put alot of faith in yearly contracts. One set price every month, rain or drought. Commercial guys love it, where residential are more willing to take the risk, meaning you might be without income this time of year. I keep a healthy mix, so in the spring I have those residentials paying for 6 mows a month, and in the dog days of summer I still have my commercial guys paying the bills.

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