Commercial accounts can be hard to come by. But, just like any other business it’s all about doing a good job, communicating with the customer and giving a fair and competitive price, according to Steve Rak of Southwest Landscape Management in Cleveland, Ohio. Here are five ways to boost your commercial client list.

1. Have a lean, mean operation.
Competition is fierce in the commercial market, so it’s important to keep a strong backbone when it comes to your pricing and negotiation skills. Property managers are working with strict budgets and many proposals from competitors. Running a ‘mean’ operation doesn’t equate to being cruel, but do stand your ground and show the property manager why you are the perfect fit for the job. Efficiency, professionalism and competitive pricing will make the case.

2. Take advantage of current contracts.
Having contracts in place with commercial clients can give stability to business operations with consistent and expected work. With contracts already in place, landscape business owners can spend less time with concerns about the short-term work and more time with getting more contracts and long-term work. Once commercial contracts are set up and in place, take the opportunity to sell.

3. Use extra time to maintain relationships.
Use your network of property owners and property managers to improve relationships and inquire about other opportunities they may know about. Ask for a referral or see if they own or manage any other properties that need landscape services. Even building relationships with the tenants or homeowners of commercial contracts can be beneficial for rave reviews and complimentary comments.

4. Improve scheduling efficiency.
With established contracts in place, use this time to get crews on a routine route where they need minimal supervision and can eliminate any wasted time with a new route or new location. Efficient routes can still be updated. Search the surrounding areas for potential commercial locations that would fit easily in a crew’s established route. This can be a conversation starter when meeting property managers and even a price negotiation tool.

5. Stay up to date on certifications.
Don’t overlook updating certifications or licenses for your company and crew. Many states have landscape associations and some of those offer strong educational opportunities along with certification programs. Along with industry certifications, many colleges and universities offer curriculums of specialization. Getting and maintaining industry certifications and memberships show that your company is serious about its work and has certain standard of industry knowledge. This could help your company stay relevant, get contract renewals or gain more commercial clients.

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