Subbing with landscapers

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by DeepGreenLawn, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,372

    OK, I only do the chems... I have spoken with a few landscapers who were interested in using my service as a sub for their company.

    Anyone do much of this?

    Any suggestions and things to look out for?

    How do you set up a "deal" with them. How do you work out the billing and money type stuff?
  2. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,167

    I give them a 25% discount but they do the selling and billing. I get paid on completion.
  3. pinto n mwr

    pinto n mwr LawnSite Senior Member
    from gr8, mn
    Messages: 422

    it's the only thing i do
  4. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    First, make sure they're quality scapers. Learned the hard way just how bad AND dishonest some of these guys can be. Nothing like tying YOUR reputation to that of a scam artist in a skidsteer.

    I give no deals, but work with a company here I trust. He's got a ton of my cards, and I've got a ton of his. He gets all my landscaping work, and he refers me for the maintenance and chems.

    Subbing would be nice, though - because then you get to avoid all the billing and deadbeats. :D
  5. cod8825

    cod8825 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    First discuss all of the details. I mean all of them.

    This by no means is a complete list but will help you get the ball rolling

    1) How many accounts do you have
    2) What is the average length of you accounts
    3) How many new accounts did you add this year
    4) Go into great detail explaining what services you promised your customers
    5) What exactly is your program, how many steps, when do you start
    6) Make sure and get this answered how exactly did you explain it to the customer that you handle weed kill, what exactly defines a call back, how you handle call backs, and on....

    There are other things discuss billing and payment and get a contract signed. The two companies I work for understand that I bill for all services on the first of the month and they have until the 30th to pay or services are suspended. One contractor I get 80% of the app price. The other contractor I quote all prices and then pay them 20% for their end. I hope this helps.

  6. RCA

    RCA LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    I'm sure you guys are gonna jump on me for saying this but my experience has been that other landscapers (maintenance, installation, etc.) are the worst payers I've got. They typically take 60 to 90 days to pay and that's with me hounding them on a weekly basis. The other downside is that when they owe money... it's not just 50 bucks, it's typically hundreds of dollars.
    I've got one guy who still owes me 750 bucks. He's a great guy and I know he'll pay but it's put a real strain on our working relationship.

    I would also suggest "setting expectations" very clearly with other companies as they often expect that 1 to 2 treatments will eliminate all weeds. I've got one company that calls me whenever they've supremely pissed off a customer. Usually I have to calm down the customer when I arrive at the site before doing a treatment, then I have to explain to the customer that I'll need a few treatments to get the lawn back on the right track.

    I've therefore decided to stop doing sub work for other landscapers beginning Jan 2009.

    My suggestion is to ask him to refer you and you service the customer directly. That way you can begin developing a relationship with the customer and don't risk losing the business if the guy you're subbing for loses the account:)
  7. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,662

    I'll 2nd that! What RCA suggested is exactly how I handle it. I know I've missed out on business because of it,(persons, businesses,associations that want to deal with one entity instead three) but I've been "burned" so many times it's not funny. And, with materials being the price they are these days, I'd much rather use those materials to treat a sure enough paying customer than having to chase down someone to get paid. It just works better for me all the way around.
  8. jbturf

    jbturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,486

    IVE BEEN burned by a couple scrapers over the years, and its hard not to let
    that sour me towards the lot of them. But, there are infact, some
    well educated, professional, legit landscapers out there. ive started a habit
    of asking friends, associates, suppliers etc.. about potential new customers.
    It really is a small world, and every one seems to know everyone. Ive recieved alot
    of good feedback that has helped me.
    and i really appreciate some of my business relationships with some great landscapers.
    the mutual relationship can really benefit both parties.

    I give NO discounts period. however, i usually will take care of the landcapers
    own lawn free- if im their main man and we have a good relationship

    do your homework and never ever get in deeper than one round of apps
    b4 payment.
  9. tlg

    tlg LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 651

    Everyone is right on with the pros and cons of being a sub-contractor. There are opportunities to make good money with the right landscape company. We currently work for two large companies and do a fair amount of work for them. They have been great customers. They pay on time and also will refer work to us. We have, however dealt with nightmare companies in the past. They were slow to pay and some expected next day service. I would like to share a story that will I hope keep you all on your toes when doing sub work. We were hired by a large landscape company to do all their lawn fertilizing. Things when great for a while. We did the work and we got paid. Good deal right? Wrong! After we worked for this company for about a year and half I got the phone call from the owner to stop all applications until he authorized any more work. No explanation was given other than his customers were not paying him and he was not going to service them until they paid up. That was fine. We stopped. It was not until the owner killed himself that the truth came out. He had been accumulating large gambling debts and doing drugs. To support his addictions he billed customers for work that was never done. Mail fraud. All I can say is be real careful who you work for. Sub-contracting gives control to the company that you work for. You may never know what is going on .
  10. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    just want to reinforce what is being said. Especially with the slow economy.

    Be careful, and make sure you know the guys that you are doing work for.

    Sub-contracting is a great way to grow a business, but it can be difficult.
    we do ALOT of sub work. and I can say I WISH I only had to fight of $750. I fight over 5,10,15 grand. And no dont think those guys are into me for more than one round.

    Quote of the week:"I am waiting on some checks to come in"
    Quote of the day:"We just dont have any money to pay you right now."

    We will not stop subcontracting, we do too much of it. But we may start asking for deposits up front. This way I am at least not out of pocket for materials/labor if they are slow paying.

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