what is bidding jobs and how do i find jobs to bid?

Hi this is my first year in this business I'm 17 years old i turn 18 in early march I'm just curios to know. I here a lot about people saying on this site "bidding a job" how do i find the jobs to bid. any serious answer would be very appreciated thank you. Sam
 

PK Mows

LawnSite Member
Location
Memphis Tn
I'll tell you a way to get business, cut a few lawns for free. Maybe some family members, maybe a good friend of the family, maybe check with a local Church and see if there is a little old Lady who's living on pennies. When I first started out, I even cut a Church for free. People appreciate that and will be more than happy to help a guy out. It's way cheaper than any other advertising and it gets your product in front of people more effectively that anything else.

What this will do is give you exposure. Do a really good job. Look really good while you're doing it. Remember that people are always watching you and they will decide who you are and what sort of work you do in the first couple of minutes. Screw up that first contact and you're screwed. You don't have to have fancy uniforms, new equipment, $60,000 trucks, but you do have to make what you have look as good as you can make it. Even people who don't have a clue about your equipment will recognize when stuff is just thrown on a trailer and beat to death. That creates a bad image and you're in the image business. And, always do a good job and treat every Customer, every potential Customer and everybody who may talk to a Customer, as though they are the most important person in the room.

Exposure will give you referrals. Referrals are the absolute best source of business you can get. Cutting a few for free will also teach you what your time is worth. Pay attention to what it costs you to do that little old Lady's lawn and how long it takes you, then build your pricing structure.

Since you asked what "Bidding a job" is, I'll just explain that it's the art of properly pricing a job so that you maximize profit. You need to know your expenses, what you need to make personally, (or salary) and what you need to make as profit. (what's left over after you and all the other bills have been paid) You should avail yourself of the local library and read several books on salesmanship, marketing, operating a small business and basic accounting. Salesmanship is the most important skill to learn, People who can make a lawn and landscape look good are a dime a dozen, it's the guy who can sell that makes all the money. Really good salespeople can make as much money as they want, in any industry they want, so do your best to develop the skill.

And, always, always enjoy what you are doing, life is far too short to spend it doing things you hate. Good Luck!
 

JBNC

LawnSite Member
Bidding is usually done for commercial properties, not residential. Say you want to do an apartment complex, they will usually accept bids from different companies and pick one of them to do the job for a year or whatever is in the contract.
 

justanotherlawnguy

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
tampa, fl
Don't ever do anything for free! Even being new doing things for free is one of the stupidest ideas ever.

Nothing is free, ever!

With gas nearing $4 a gallon, your better off sitting at home playing xbox then wasting your time doing jobs for free.
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ReddensLawnCare

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Charlotte, NC
Free can be good at times, but understand a lot of people will take advantage of you. Don't ever give a free mow with a promise fromthe customer more work is coming. I have done some community service projects that has helped get my name out for people to see and shows I am involved in my community
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PK Mows

LawnSite Member
Location
Memphis Tn
Bidding is just giving a Customer an estimate for services. Residential Customers might not take estimates from multiple companies, although many will. Commercial Customers typically will either advertise that they're taking bids or will tell you when you contact them what sort of process they have. I think it's fairly common that most Government jobs are open to public bidding although there may be areas of the country where you have to be on a bid list or otherwise pre-approved. Some Government contracts are not open for bid as well, but Government work is not something you'll want to mess with starting out. Most outside Managed properties, properties which are managed by Property Management Companies, will have a bid list that you can get on if you meet their criteria. ie: proper insurance, uniformed workers, certain number of workers available, provided services, whatever they decide they want.

Starting out, stay away from commercial rental properties. (ie: malls, apartments, warehousing, etc.) It's very common to have to wait many weeks to get paid, the bidding process can be intricate, you have to be competitive but still be profitable, and most commercial Customers will be more difficult to service. You get into the wrong commercial Customer and you can find yourself out of business if you don't have the pockets for the risk. My experience is that my highest default rate has been on mid-size, mid-market commercial rental properties. (Apartments, Strip Malls, Rental property owners who are new to the business) They seem to always be on the edge of going broke and you're the first one they won't pay. My biggest wash-out was an apartment that was into us for a couple thousand dollars worth of cutting and several thousand dollars in irrigation and landscape upgrades. The property was bought by a new company, the selling company was bankrupt and I was out-of-pocket for that month's worth of service. Looking back I know they played me and managed to get that one over on me. There was nobody left to sue, or at least not worth suing.

Commercial properties like gas stations, single front buildings/stores, those are like cutting residential properties unless they're part of a chain. They tend to be good Customers for me.

Many companies do list open jobs on their websites or have a list of Contractors who get a bid sheet. My welding business is on the bid list for several companies and I get either emails or faxes several times a month for bids on jobs. I also am on the bid list for landscape contracting and get a few a month for that as well, although typically they are large installations which I'm not equipped for at present. I absolutely would not recommend thinking about getting involved with that sort of clientele until you have several years of experience and plenty of cash in the bank. You will typically deal with one or more Project Mangers and maybe Site Engineers and Architects. These people will generally know their business and will quickly recognize someone who is new to the game. Word gets around and if you get in over your head with those Customers, you may end up with a bad reputation, not to mention broke and facing legal action. Also, it's not uncommon to have performance contracts. These hold you to perform on their time schedule and if you don't meet your obligation, they start taking money off your contract.

To sum it up, stick with residential Customers for a few years until you know what you're doing.
 

PK Mows

LawnSite Member
Location
Memphis Tn
"Don't ever do anything for free! Even being new doing things for free is one of the stupidest ideas ever.

Nothing is free, ever!"

It's called advertising. Rather than spend several hundred dollars on fliers or postcards, spend a few dollars doing someone a favor. Try it sometime, word gets around real quick when you do something good for someone. What gets better new Customer sales results, 5000 fliers or one happy person giving you referrals? Which costs more, cutting a family member's lawn or a newspaper ad? What builds more good will towards your company, cutting a shut-in's lawn for no charge or knocking on doors?

You pay for all forms of marketing and advertising. Whether you buy an ad in the paper or you cut a property no charge so you can be seen and showcase your work, you're paying either way. So which has a better return on investment? Shouldn't take a lot of thinking ability to understand that people are more likely to buy when they can actually see your work, and you doing the work, than a flier or an ad.

I didn't say do some work for someone because they promise you work somewhere else. I said do some work for someone in order to market your business. Cut a Church for free that has a hundred regular members, that's a hundred people who will now know your name and see your work up close at least once a week. That's also a hundred people who have just become salesmen for you. Nothing stupid about that. Why do you think food companies give away free samples? Why do you have to dodge those irritating pretty women with the perfume bottles in the department store? Why do you think the car salesman wants you to take a test drive? Because it is a proven form of marketing. Refusing to think outside the box and be innovative, that's what's not very bright.
 

cgaengineer

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Winder, GA
Lots of phone calls to find jobs to bid...non-billable time.
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