What was your IN for commercial properties?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Ramairfreak98ss, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    Ive bid on a lot this year. Some high, some very fair priced, some low, just to "assume" i would get a few givens... nada. I had no new clients take any of our bids for service such as apartment complexes, storage facilities or other larger companies.

    I see trucks at these accounts from your average small LCO, to big places that are on the Lawn & Landscape top 10 like Brickmans and other companies that have no signs or anything on their trucks in front of hotels and such. Whats going on?

    Surely it didnt have much to do with my pricing, they didnt take the low, mid or high prices so what gives? I had bids for $48 an acre at apartment complexes that were 34 acres in size and tons of trimming and edging.. nada.

    I had two bids for two apartment complexes somewhat int he same area, closer together, i bid out both prices separately and then offered a 15% whole contract discount to get both places since we could go out in one 10hr day and do both in the same town. Obviously some other company must have undercut that amount even with my 15% discount for both... sucks.

    Ive heard companies that would bid MUCH higher than my bids and others have told me that my bids were too high for the mowing alone. Most bids had to include costs to do everything though such as mulching work etc.
  2. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    What about the fact that the company appreciates the work that's already being performed?

    They don't want to switch companies because they don't know what they're going to get.

    Most of the new work I get, I hit new construction pretty hard.

    I also keep an eye on commercial places I want, in my service area, for properties that are changing hands.

    Usually you can get a better bid process when the owners are new, rather than trying to get someone else out of the property.

    If you're trying to get an existing account, you don't know if you're high (won't switch because you're high) low (won't switch because they don't think you can do their job for that cheap and do it well) or dead on the same price (won't switch because you're the same price and they're already happy with the service they're getting for that price).

    Once you get going, it's all word of mouth then. However, it'll take 10+ years to get to that point.
  3. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,472

    No way let me tell you if you are the lowest bid you will get 80% of commercial. Commercial is very unloyal I bid 7 commercial propertys and landed 0 so I decided to ask why I was not considered. Everyone said we are going with the cheapest bid.......

    Thats right if you want commercial just be the lowest bid.
  4. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    I've already posted about the 3 accounts that I lost to low bid.

    All the others I know I'm mid to high on the bid.

    You can't compete for low bid. If that's your market, you'll need to stay out and work residential.
  5. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    yeah lol. Well i dont want to offer the lowest bid, but i do believe in this central jersey area, there are a slew of companies all with tons of bidding. They end up picking one of the lowest bidders and hope it works out. I myself have a few commercial properties $155 for bi-weekly cuts for 3 acres, not a whole lot of trimming, a few real estate places, churches etc. Just nothing of any magnitude to get my mowers on the roll for the early weeks. These commercial sites i do on my normal residential route since theyre on the way and dont take very long to dedicate time to.

    I think we do at least "better than average" work, not to boast, but you really have to stoop to a new level to gain some of these commercial contracts.;)
  6. Carolina Cuts

    Carolina Cuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,152

    it's not always 'what' you know, but rather, 'who' ya know.

    ex. The general/district manager of a Comfort Suites dates a girl who's brother has a landscape company. Who do ya think is gettin' the lowest bid? Now who looks like a hero for bringin' in the lowest bid?
  7. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 616

    Beyond who you know...its who you BL@#! Especially in the commercial/industrial market. Comping the managers is a common practice around here + it will typically get you higher rates for extras once your in. Just my .02.
  8. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,306

    Believe it or not, ive found that they way I win bids is by being extremely detailed in my bids. Several times now Ive been offered the job just because my proposal was detailed. It didn't just say Spring Cleanup: $xxx.xx. Not saying your not doing this but this has worked for me in the past and still does. Sometimes bigger companies offer more tasks under a single headline. You might cleanup leaves sticks and edge beds. Brickmen might do all that plus fert., seed, etc. Who knows. With the amount of competition its not even worth the hassle, when you add it up as minor as it is, advertising, paper, stamps, envelops, your time its not even worth bidding. These people have so many LCO's to choose from you really havta be able to stand out among the rest and sometimes the only way to do that is have the cheapest price unfortunatly. Places don't care if you have the 2008 F-550 with brand new equipment lettered from front to back. They wanna make a profit just as much as you do and sometimes they find out that hiring the cheapest isn't the best way to get that profit.

    Sorry for the rant

  9. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,993

    I dont go out and hunt for commercials. The only reason I have the few that I have is because my current residential customers own a company or building and they ask me to do it.

    To be honest I dont have much experience bidding commercial but I would say have all your ducks in order when you submit a bid.

    Insurance, references, photos of work completed, etc etc.

    Make sure your bids are well laid out, easy to read and understand, and presentable. If they are large companies you might want to think about taking it to a Kinko's or somewhere like that and having them put it together for you.

    Also IMO if you are doing commercial be prepared to submit a bid for all phases of the work to be done. Mowing, landscape maint, snow, fert and weed control, irrigation,...the whole 9 yards.

    Like I said earlier I don't do it much so if anyone wants to throw some thoughts in they would be welcome...
  10. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 616

    I know of alot of larger companies out there dropping their pants to get the work knowing they will bend the client over on the extras. Is it my style?-No, but at the end of the day, these guys have made lots of money doing this, and so does the local grocery store, Walmart, etc. Loss leaders get you in the door...

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