What is the best type of commercial account?

Chuck Smith

LawnSite Senior Member
Nutley, NJ
Just curious. As was said in the "10 customers in 1 thread" condos are not such a great account to have. What is the absolute best type to have?

I'm leaning towards a factory. We plowed one for one season, but it was too far away, and not profitable to go there. It was a dream though, the lot was almost always empty. No obstacles.

I also plowed a small professional building for 5 seasons, and it too was like a dream. Anytime it snowed, the law office closed. All the doctors and nurses went home (except for one idiot Dr. who would park in the middle of where I had to plow). It didn't matter when it snowed, soon after it started, they all went home. The day after a snow, they all came in late. I always had plenty of time to plow it.

Last year, the owner sold the building. The new owner called me on the night of Jan. 29th, to make sure I was still plowing it. There was snow forecasted for the 30th. I told him yes, and the same prices applied, and he agreed. It snowed, and I plowed and salted it.

In the afternoon of Feb 1st, it snowed again, and stopped around 8 pm. I went and plowed it. When I was spreading salt, a guy in a mason dump with a plow pulled in. I thought he needed help, or diresctions. WRONG.

The new owner signed a contract with him for year round maint. including plowing, effective Feb 1st.

Needless to say I felt stupid. The other guy understood, but we agreed that from then on he would be plowing it. The owner signed the contract with him on Jan 20th.

I checked my messages, and the new owner didn't call at all. He didn't take the time to tell me I didn't have to plow it. I billed him the usual price, and he paid on time. I included a note saying he could have at least told me about signing the contract with the other company.

I passed by the building last week, and it's for sale again. The new owner was a Dr. and his new office there was closed, permanently. Basically his practice there went under. The building looks like crap. Bushes overgrown, leaves and trash everywhere. The shame is, that there is still two dentists that have their offices there. They are the ones suffering now. I can only imagine what will happen when it snows. It looks like the new guy is out a maint. contract, or the service intervals were cut back.

So I am warning you all. If you have an account where the building is for sale, keep up on it. That way when it's sold, you won't plow a lot for nothing. I got paid that time, and was lucky.

We lost a gas station the year before. The owner sold it, and told no one. I found out after I plowed more than 1/2 the lot, when the "new" guy showed up and told me. It's not a good feeling........




LawnSite Senior Member
southern ontario
Best type...multiple location contracts. Only one guy to deal with, only one guy to invoice. Worst type...multiple location contracts. Only one guy to decide whether or not to retain you the following year, when you've allocated alot of manpower and equipment to that job, and are screwed if he ditches you. That's why it's important to put out a truckload of quotes each pre-season and not rely upon previous year's customers being retained. 'Cause $hit happens, even if it was a heavy winter, you did the good job, and you didn't raise prices.


LawnSite Senior Member
Chuck; I've always felt that the best clients are the ones that pay a handsome fee every month, but don't expect any services in return. Now, if I can just find a few like
that . . . .

John DiMartino

LawnSite Silver Member
I think the best clients are the ones I have recently acquired-they love the quality service and professional job I do,as compared to the last guys.My customers Ive had for 10+ yrs dont appreciate it anymore until they get a neighbor over and they comment on how clean it is.I like the one bowling lanes I have the best-they dont open til noon-gives me plenty of time to get there after ive got every one else opened up.


LawnSite Senior Member
I agree, the best commercial account has to be a industrial or Office /professional building.

n y snow pros

LawnSite Senior Member
Large commercial lots like malls,shopping centers or industry we find to work best for us.I would rather have several pieces of equipment on one lot than several peices spread out among numerous smaller accounts.larger lots are easier to control for us.


LawnSite Bronze Member
John your right about large lots, if there were a lot of them in my area i would be on them too. However in my service area, there are very few. Also i know some guys from portland, where the big lots are. There are so many exevators after them, i don't think the money is all that good. I gotta go with what i got for a market, and what i have for equipment.



LawnSite Bronze Member
My single best account. My church. they pay well, and they only have services three times a week. I have all night,day and then some to plow it.

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