Ohio: “How do you guys usually attract commercial accounts?
Maryland: “I was told to find some place I wanted to bid on and just call. Ask if they are accepting new bids for the year. Try to find out who you need to talk to at that company. Call property management companies.
“I’m in the process of doing this now.”
Michigan: “From what I have come across, it’s not like residentials, where they call you. For the few commercials I have, I’ve had to call them and ask if they were accepting bids.”
Ohio: “Thanks. Where do you guys go to look for commercial accounts and how many do you have?”
Utah: “Not sure if this applies to you or not, but just thought I would throw it out there for others who are considering breaking into the commercial market.
“Anyone seeking to work in the commercial market needs to understand that until you are licensed and insured, those companies are not going to give you the time of day.
“Commercial owners are going to want to write off your services as a business tax expense for themselves, and if you are not licensed and don’t have a tax ID number, then they have no way to write off the service.
“Also, if you do not carry liability insurance, then all of your liability falls on the shoulders of the commercial property owner, and I don’t think you’ll find any of them willing to take on your risk.
“After you have those items in place, then you can start making phone calls, sending letters or doing walk-ins.”
Missouri: “You definitely need liability insurance at $500,000 or more. You will get more attention if you supply more services than mowing. Person-to-person contact at the right time will have better results.
“Lowball pricing will scare potential customers away, as will ridiculously high bids. Bring a professional, itemized bid sheet. A portfolio with quality pictures or good references during an interview helps as well.”
Ohio: “Why do you say that low prices will scare people away?”
Wisconsin: “If you’re offering to do it for nothing, they know that you have no idea what you’re doing and that you’ll likely do a crummy job or be unreliable.
“As was said, if you don’t have a license or seller’s permit and liability insurance, you’ll get laughed out the door.”
Florida: “I used to work in development and commercial property management. You have to call the property managers and sell yourself to them. Send out fliers, go to their office, get on their radar and let them know you are there for future bids.
“I always went with the lowest bid, and, trust me, I never had to go looking for people. They always were knocking on my door asking for bids!”
Northwest Ohio: “Get legal, get experienced, get a name for yourself and they will come. If they are taking cold callers, it’s not really going to be a great account.”
Tennessee: “I actually have one residential account that has led to three commercial accounts. Here’s how.
“The one residential was next door to a motel. The manager came out one day and asked me for a bid. He liked it, took it. He later bought another motel in town and just told me to give him price for it, no fuss.
“Back to the residential. Where the owner goes to church, the men of the congregation always took responsibility for a month each of mowing the yard. The customer’s month came up and, needless to say, he didn’t want to do it. He hired me to take his month. They were impressed with the work and hired me full-time; not only that, but I talked them into letting me mow some of the property that they normally would have brush hogged and, as a result, got more money.
“I have a mini storage that is across the highway from me. I just called the owner and shot him a price and he liked it. My experience is that with the four churches that I mow for, if they have a member who is sick or what not and can’t mow their own yard, they’ll call me. I’ve had three jobs turn into full-time just from this.”
“In Your Own Words” is contributed from the lawn and landscape forum at www.lawnsite.com. Visit them, and join in the discussions.