Preparing For Commercial Lawn Care Contracts
Despite being in the same industry, commercial and residential lawn services are two very different things. Therefore, you need to plan your approach differently when it comes to the commercial lawn care game. Here are four ways you can prepare before seeking a commercial lawn services contract:
- Obtain the relevant licenses and certifications since property managers are less likely to trust landscapers with few qualifications to their name.
- Get ready for intense competition. Rival companies may offer significantly lower lawn care bids and take contracts from under your company. We have a great guide on how to price your commercial lawn care bid.
- Find what sets you apart from the competition so you have a leg up during the bidding process.
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Vendor Accounts Without Personal Guarantees
Some business vendors and lenders may request or require a personal guarantee . With a PG, you agree that if your business doesnt repay the debt, the lender can try to collect from you personally. While its best to avoid PGs when possible, they may be required in some cases, especially when your business is young and hasnt established strong revenues and/or business credit.
Tip: Read the application and terms and conditions carefully to determine if a PG is required. If the vendor asks for personal financial information such as a Social Security number, it may check your personal credit and a personal guarantee may be required. Clarify that with the lender if necessary.
What Not To Do
Just as it is important to follow certain steps to get commercial lawn care accounts, what not to do may be equally as important. When trying to securing new commercial accounts:
- Dont try to buy an account just to get in there stick to the profit margins you set in the research phase
- Train your sales team appropriately if youve switched over from residential accounts
- Dont put all your eggs in one basket and focus on one large account
- Dont treat every commercial client exactly the same learn what makes them unique and direct your focus to those areas
By being proactive and using the right approach, theres no reason you wont be able to secure new commercial lawn care accounts to fill your schedule. Our landscaping software Arborgold can help make the process a lot easier and help boost your sales to new levels. Take a tour today to see what we can do!
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What Is The Growth Potential For A Lawn Care Business
Many operations start out with a single person, perhaps one helper, and a single pickup truck. The ability to expand depends on the acquisition of more equipment and being able to hire more crew members.There are very large commercial companies in this business that serve an expansive area. There are national companies as well. Realty Biz gives a list of the top 50 lawn care companies in the USA. TrueGreen is the largest lawn care company in America. They are headquartered in Memphis and serve over 1.7 million residential and commercial customers from multiple locations across the country. If you add landscaping services, ValleyCrest Landscape Companies is the biggest in the USA with international operations also. They have over 100 locations, more than 10,000 employees, and earn over US$1 billion in revenues each year.
Not sure if a lawn care business is right for you? Try our free Business Idea Generator and find your perfect idea.
I Offer My Gardening Services
If we observe our lawn yellowing, it is time to fertilize it to provide nutrients. You will notice much better effect using fertilizers rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, and if they are slow release you will avoid having to sow often. But dont overdo it: too much nitrogen can be harmful.
Often, under the vegetative growth surface of the lawn, what is called a felt or thatch is created, a tangled layer of stems, leaves and stalks, dead or alive, which complicates its maintenance and makes it look rather unattractive. In short, a layer of tissues that take longer to decompose. It is more typical of more stoloniferous or rhizomatous species, but it can also be due to an excess of irrigation or nitrogen in the fertilizer.
Scarifying this layer mechanically is important to avoid the development of superficial roots, reduce the incidence of pests and facilitate the access of water to the grass root system, as well as nutrients and water.
What do we achieve by scarifying? Improve the appearance of our lawn and make it more resistant to weather conditions, something that will help us in our purpose: to keep it healthy and attractive when we come back from vacation. For this, one of the best times is spring, as we prepare it for the summer. We can do a second scarification in September, followed by a reseeding to regenerate it.
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How And When To Build A Team
Many start out as single workers and owner/operators and then add one assistant when the workload increases. You can hire additional crew if the jobs can be found and the necessary equipment is available. Expansion requires capturing more jobs, having available workers, sufficient equipment, and open work-time slots for scheduling.Make sure to hire documented workers because it is dangerous to use undocumented workers and there are hefty fines .
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
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Ideas To Get Customers For A Lawn Mowing Business
by Andrea Martins | Apr 28, 2015
Now that youve got your paperwork sorted and youre ready to make money mowing lawns, you might be asking, But how can I get customers for a lawn mowing business?
The short answer is that to spread the word of your amazing lawn mowing prowess, you either you have get out there yourself to tell people, get someone else to get out there for you. Or, as most lawn mowers do, you could rely on a combination of the two options. Otherwise the phone will never ring and you will never have a successful mowing business.
To kickstart your thinking, here are 20 ideas to get customers for a lawn mowing business:
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Where To Find Commercial Lawn Mowing Clients In Australia
If you are looking to gain commercial lawn care contracts, personal networks and relationship-building is the top priority. Talk to your existing residential client network to see if they know any businesses needing landscaping maintenance services. Some commercial contracts are posted online for bids, but many are never advertised openly.
Grounds maintenance opportunities with government and council bodies go through an open tender process, so these vacancies are shared on sites such as AusTender and AustralianTenders. However, government tenders have their own rules and processes distinct even from commercial lawn care. Large commercial organisations may also have a public tender process, but this is the territory of experienced commercial
Tenders are extremely time-consuming to prepare, and government contracts come with a lot of strings attached that can be overwhelming to small businesses.
To get started in the commercial market,its best to start by looking for lawn mowing contracts available in your local area. It may be beneficial to talk to your residential client network to see who may know of businesses needing commercial lawn care.
You can also drive around your service area to look for prospective clients. If you notice a nearby business that has a lawn that appears unkempt, it could mean their scheduled lawn mower is coming soon or they might require a new contractor, a role that you could step up and fill with the right pitch.
Be Active On Social Media
Social Media is the newest form of networking.
You want to be active on social media, but you still have to act professionally.
You might not have a brand new truck with your logo, but still wear a shirt, be professional and dont attack negative reviewers.
In order to find homeowners , youll want to focus on Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn tends to be geared toward green industry pros looking for commercial clients.
Focusing on Twitter and Facebook because thats where youll find homeowners. LinkedIn tends to be geared toward green industry pros looking for commercial clients.
When you develop a following on Facebook and Twitter, the next step is advertising. and least expensive ways to grow your lawn business.
Your goal, though, is to save up money to hire a web designer to develop a website that will draw people to you and make you the local green industry go-to company.
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Pros Of Commercial Lawn Mowing Contracts:
- Consistent Cash Flow Commercial projects are generally based on a contract with terms that stipulate a monthly payment. This can be preferable from an income and budgeting perspective, allowing you to predict and plan your financial outlook months in advance.
- Scheduling One of the biggest advantages of commercial lawn mowing is the predictable schedules. The routine of commercial lawn maintenance is usually the same every week or month, with some seasonal variation. This means your team can learn the routines and manage other weekly bookings around these reserved slots, making your business more predictable and efficient.
- Multi-year Contracts In the landscaping industry, a majority of the clients are willing to sign multi-year contracts. This means that during seasons with low or no new clients, your business is still guaranteed to make revenue. This makes it easier to grow or maintain the business and enables you to predict your revenue a few years ahead.
- Year-round Work If youre looking to generate more winter income as a landscaping maintenance business, you may benefit from having commercial contracts in your portfolio. This is because clients prefer to have one provider locked in for the entire year, regardless of the weather, giving you predictable work even through cold and rainy periods.
When: Frequency And Seasonal Services Start And End Dates
Your contract should detail the timing for season-specific services. For example, your property may require more frequent mowing during the summer, but not at all during the winter. Here are more examples to consider:
- Winter: dormant pruning
- Fall: blow leaves, cut back perennials, prune
Finally, your contract should also clearly state a start and end date, the process for renewal, and how maintenance services will be adjusted in the event of inclement weather.
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Dont Compromise Your Pricing To Get Started
As a new player in a field of well-established businesses, you may be tempted to lower your pricing to appeal to more clients. However, this move will be detrimental both to you and your competition. Clients will continue to expect your services at low rates, and will demand the same from other companies. If you want to get the pay that you deserve, charge at reasonable rates.
Keeping Commercial Clients Happy
Most commercial clients are considered easy clients because their property manager is the main point person in your relationship. They have few demands, and generally just want those boxes checked and their expectations met.
The best way to win these types of clients is to show them that you care, that youre doing the job properly, and that youre not missing anything.
That means that you need to keep track of the notes you make on their account, and ensure that your crew completes all the work they want.
From the start you should make notes of the job requirements during the site walkthrough with the client.
Using quoting software, like Jobber, helps you to add materials, services, and labor as you go so that you dont have to worry about remembering to add them later on.
Your secret weapon in keeping your client happy will undoubtedly be your CRM and job checklist . That way, you never miss a step with each phone call, email, or site visit.
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Tips For Successfully Marketing Your Commercial Lawn Service
Did you know that you should be marketing for your commercial lawn service now? Or even starting back in January and February?
Spring is here, and the snow is melting. As soon as the ground dries up, its time to put down pre-emergent weed control and start lawn fertilization services for your commercial properties.
6 Tips for Getting More Commercial Landscape Accounts
While you cant go back in time to start marketing for spring cleanup jobs right after Christmas, you can still promote your commercial lawn care business. Here are six tips for picking up more landscape maintenance contracts:
Make sure you have enough equipment to handle more commercial properties. For example, do you need to buy more mowers or hire more crews to take the extra jobs that come in?
Its a good idea to stick to either residential or commercial clients because it takes a different set of selling, marketing, and contracting with property managers and HOA boards compared to individual homeowners.
Do you know the different property types that make up commercial properties? You can choose to serve government, educational, office, HOAs, manufacturing, and medical properties.
Does your sales departmentor salespersonknow how to sell lawn service maintenance packages to the different types of commercial properties?
You want to know who makes the final decision to work with you. Is it the HOA board, a property owner, asset manager, or facility owner?
Associations Groups And Networking Events
Homeowners Associations and similar real estate groups, Building Owners and Managers Associations, Chamber of Commerce meetings and other networking-type events can get you in front of the right people. You might be able to make deals at the events themselves, or at the least will have a reference point when you follow up later on.
Getting to know government officials can give you a huge leg up when it comes to winning new accounts. Government officials know what big projects are coming up and also have a network of other corporations in the community that will have commercial landscaping needs. Especially if you live in an area with a high amount of commercial properties, you will want to have a network of people who can let you know when a big account might be looking for a new vendor or taking bids.
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Who Is Your Ideal Customer For Commercial Cleaning Contracts
The first step in any marketing campaign is to identify your target market. Describe, in detail, your ideal customer. Are you going to concentrate on working with multiple small independent businesses, or does working in large office buildings fit in more with your business plan? The description of your ideal customer will inform all your marketing decisions and the directions in which you aim your promotions.
If you’re not sure which direction to take and you already have a small customer base, look at your most profitable customers and decide if you want to repeat your successes in that same area. If you’re just starting out, talk to businesses that fit your target market. Either way, seek to distinguish yourself from other commercial cleaning companies by doing things such as concentrating on excellent customer service or green-cleaning chemicals.
Can I Upsell Work To Make A Profit On This Contract
Maybe you lose money on the mowing, but you can make 200% on the fertilization package.
In this instance, you might be able to accept the job with the right upsells.
Keep in mind, even when you’re dealing with a high-profit job, you should ALWAYS be looking for ways to upselleveryone.
A great job costing tool, like Service Autopilot, will be able to tell you if a job is worth it.
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Step : Obtain Necessary Permits And Licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
In most states, it is necessary to obtain a Lawn Service license. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBAs reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
In addition, certain local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply. For more information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerks office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Lawn care businesses should require clients to sign a services agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions. Here is an example service agreement.
Recommended: Rocket Lawyer makes it easy to create a professional service agreement for your lawn care business when you sign up for their premium membership. For $39.95 per month, members receive access to hundreds of legal agreements and on call attorneys to get complimentary legal advice.
How Do I Write A Landscaping Contract
Typically, the landscaping professional writes the contract, much like plumbers would writeplumbing contracts for a client. However, yourlandscaping service contract should be as detailed as necessary to ensure that it is enforceable and reduces the chance of the possibility of future disputes from arising.
If you need legal advice regardinghow to write a landscaping contract , speak with a contract attorney in your state to help you get started.
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