Taking a sales position for a full service tree and lawn company

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by TampaBGTguy, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. TampaBGTguy

    TampaBGTguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Let me give you a little background on me
    Bachelors in management and marketing
    I have done marketing, promotions, and sales for companies such as Anheuser Busch, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and a few other companies.
    I have also owned and operated my own small business which was a stone restoration company,

    My fiancee has a sister who is also engaged. Her sisters Fiancee started a small tree trimming business which has grown into a full service landscaping company over the last ten years. He has done this solely by word of mouth and mostly residential jobs as well.

    Because he doesn't have a great mind for sales and marketing (which is fine... everyone has their strong points and weak points) he asked me if I could help him to grow his business and I offered to help. I developed a full professional marketing plan for free, I built a custom website for him for free, and I have met with him several times on ways to run his business more efficiently (i.e. ways to cut costs and run his crew so that their time and energy is maximized).

    He has asked me to come to work for him doing sales to generate some commercial accounts and wants me to come up with a figure for him for what I think I'm worth.

    Since he is a friend now and eventually family I don't want to take advantage of the situation but I have already put him in an excellent position to market himself and make a lot of money. AND I built a website for him and hosted it for free.

    What would you consider to be a fair number assuming he doesn't have the money to pay me a salary?

    I was thinking 10% of a commercial sale and 5% of residential. He wants to do a lot of 1 year contracts so if i get a 30,000-70,000 a year contract for him, I don't think its too far fetched to obtain 3,000-7,000 dollars off of the sale.

    I was also thinking of asking for a company gas allowance.

    Would you guys think this is too outrageous for a family deal? If i were going to work for a large corporation I would probably play hard ball but for total commission only I think what I'm asking is fair. The only other non mentioned factor is I would be driving 2 hours north every time I would be working for him.

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
  2. greenguy08

    greenguy08 LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 99

    You're too high. A $30,000 per year maintenance contract might include 50 yards of mulch and fertilizers,etc. that need to be purchased. There's a LOT of overhead in maintenance.
  3. TampaBGTguy

    TampaBGTguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    No. my question isnt about contracts for commercial properties. We have a good system in place for that presently.

    Typically things like fertalizing/mulching etc is listed on the contract as extra.

    This is more of a thread to ask if my asking for a 10% sales commission is common or would that be offensive to my future brother in law as most of my jobs (not in the lawn care business) have always been salaried jobs making 30-40k+ a year. If im making no salary from him but he wants to pay commission... he asked me what I would be comfortable taking in from him. Im thinking of telling him 10% + a gas allowance. I wanted to see if any of you owners thought this was reasonable.
  4. David1970

    David1970 LawnSite Member
    Male, from Midwest
    Messages: 202

    I was once an owner and now manage for a $2 million+ company. I am paid a salary plus a commission of my gross sales. Around here, your formula would be opposite of what you are thinking about proposing. The commercial accounts would have a lower profit margin, thus justifying a lower commission (say 5 to 7%). I think 10% of residential sales is reasonable (this is what I used to pay my commission only salesman).
  5. TampaBGTguy

    TampaBGTguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    sounds good.

    Thanks for the advice Dave!
  6. greenguy08

    greenguy08 LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 99

    You mentioned commercial sales specifically with the 10% figure, so I presumed that was what you were wanting feedback on. At any rate, I'm only trying to offer help here. Do you have a projected sales volume? Are you planning on doing this part-time/as needed or is this a potential full-time sales position?
  7. TampaBGTguy

    TampaBGTguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Yeah i was going to do it part time. I dont live in his city so I was thinking of heading up there 1 week a month for set meetings I obtained through cold calling, etc

    He has only ever gotten 1 commercial account in the past few years. It was 7 acres just mowing and edging and it was a 29,000 a year contract which was supposedly 10k cheaper than the next lowest bidder. He goes once a week and gets it done in less than 1 day... he says its extremely profitable for him so wanted to focus more on that than residential.

    My projection is to close 10 more commercial accounts for him before I leave for the air force in May. These may range from smaller jobs to much larger. I wont know until i get in there and do it but before I could do it he wanted me to come up with a number for him so I was trying to get a feel for the industry average.
  8. greenguy08

    greenguy08 LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 99

    Industry average varies from one area to another and even from town to town.
    Since he only has one commercial contract, and you are planning to drum up work for him in a short time period, which will be very beneficial to him, your figures seem fine. I can't see him having a problem with it under the circumstances. You'll need to be very precise in your estimations for him- in fact you'll want to give him the final say on pricing for sure. Good luck.

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