sub contracting work

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by kyles landscape, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. kyles landscape

    kyles landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 331

    I would assume a kickback u got him the job u should make somethin on it...u don't agree?
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  2. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    I always mark up if its a genuine sub job. No such thing as a free lunch
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  3. ringahding

    ringahding LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    Since February the phone has been ringing off the hook! Jobs we could do, we had NO time to do. So I too had to come up with a plan, idea to service these calls. I am not one to leave jobs on the table, but have no problem saying no.

    Building connections with actual owners relating to our industry has benefited me personally and them as well.

    Leads I get will either be forwarded to a "Partner", in exchange for $$$ or help on properties we service or services they do not provide will be sent to us.

    The up sell has been endless & rewarding for all of us at the same time. Getting your ducks in a row is a challenge. You will get burnt a couple times when reaching out to another owner, but the weeding out process is that of hiring an employee or getting rid of the bad paying customer.

    Once you find others you can trust it needs to be in writing that there is "No Compete" in each others area.

    Landscaping speak: Do you normally ask the customer for 1/2 the $$$ down before any work is to begin? Okay, get half of the $$$ from the sub for your lead then or some compensation. No excuses! !
  4. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    Whenever I have too much work, it means my prices are too low.
  5. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    Some companies sub-contracting is all they do, that way they don't have to get their hands dirty.
  6. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Sometimes I just refer work that doesn't fall within my service area, sometimes I sub it out, and sometimes I'll have a sub help with part of a job. But I always mark up my subs. There is time involved in dealing with them and I generally pay them in full upon completion and then have to wait for my payment from the customer. I think that deserves a markup, the same way that providing materials for a job does.
  7. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    I started my business as a sub, working for a number of landscapers and contractors I had built relationships with through my prior job as a landscape distributor. I was doing fert/pest, irrigation & lighting. I had planned to never be hired directly and only do sub work.

    Now we are a landscape construction and do everything except for maintenance (adding that next season). We still do a lot of sub work and sub out a large amount of work ourselves. This season we were subbed for well over 250k and probably subbed out about 200k or so.

    The standard with us is that we tack on 10-20% when work is subbed out, and know that contractors do the same to us. So if I get a large construction install and the deck contractor charges me 30k, I tack on an additional 3-6k for myself. But with referrals we do not pay a kickback or expect one in return, we simply refer the customer to the other contractor that we trust to do a good job. The reason to sub rather than refer is that you retain control over the products and design. Often times when the customer has direct contract with other contractors they may decide between them to make changes, these changes can have a negative impact on the overall design. For example we had one a few years ago that was a full back yard landscape install. The customer hired their own contractor to build the deck. We had good communication between us, but then between the two of them they decided to move the location of the deck stairs. This caused us to have to make large changes in the patio design and retaining wall, the changes to the wall were enough that we had to bring in an engineer and delayed the project 4 weeks as we had to go through all of the approval and permitting process again.

    With sub contracting, changes can still be made but we must be a part of the project. The deck contractor signs a contract with us, not the homeowner. So if they make the HO's changes without our authorizations they are not building the deck per our contract. This makes sure we are always in the loop and can be sure all changes will still work with our intended design.

    As a far as what we sub, the most common is fencing, decks, pools, concrete/asphalt, and large excavation that we can not do with our mini, or land clearing that that would take to long with just a couple of skids and minis
  8. kyles landscape

    kyles landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 331

    how many employees do you have and how did you learn the things you know today??

    do you ever work alongside the sub?

    as far as bidding the job goes do you talk to the customer then later bring your guy over to see what he can do it for then give the price?
  9. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I just had what you mentioned and I highlighted above happen to me. It was a small job. I ripped out the existing plants, tilled and raked out the area. Due to overgrown shrubs that had been hanging out onto the lawn, the disturbed area was irregular in shape. I "sketched" in the shape of a proposed new bed with a shovel, with other portions to be seeded as lawn. A Master Gardener friend of mine had planted another bed for this customer with me and did a good job, I was really busy and just referred the customer to her. Well, I got there Friday to do the fall cleanup and couldn't believe what I saw. She had planted the entire area, but didn't define it at all. I would have put in an earthen edge and then mounded the bed a bit with the soil from edging. I would have done that while I was there, but I was waiting for the customer to approve the proposed shape. Now it's all flush with grade, it has poor visual appeal and there are plants right on the property line, which is a foot away from the side of the next door neighbor's garage. And it's heavily planted with spring bulbs, so now it's not really very practical to fix it. It had also been several weeks since I had done my portion of the work, so there were weeds and grass growing in the bed...she didn't do anything to remove them. I'm told that today she mulched the area with shredded leaves......I'm embarrassed to have had any part in it!!!!! The customer appears to be happy with it though....he went shopping for the plants with her and was there when she was doing her work.
  10. danni856

    danni856 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Does anyone have any sample letters of requesting subcontracted work and vice cersa?

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