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Best time to approach seasonals?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by born2farm, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    Well I am sitting here laying out an action plan for next year already as to how to grow my business. As I research some possible accounts I am faced with the fact that many of the commercials around here are being serviced year round by the same company. I plan to present the benefits of a snow only company to them and try and get them to switch over. When is the best time to propose this to them? If I can not get them to switch then I will bid full service and sub-contract out the lawn care portion but that is last resort.

    Thank you
     
  2. PHL

    PHL Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    For us Aug. 15th to Sept. 15th seems to be our best window for picking up our "winter only" commercial clients (which we then try to work into year round customers with our summer maintenance package...)
     
  3. hammerstein

    hammerstein Senior Member
    Messages: 318

    Late summer is best, never hurts to shake the trees earlier though. Most of my stuff is a combo package where the lawn care and snow is a contract signed before end of winter so you may loose out on ones like that. Never give up though this year I got a call the last week of October to bid on a place and signed them to a 30k snow only contract on October 29th so you never know what can happen.
     
  4. paponte

    paponte Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    Different times for different accounts. Many accounts can have anywhere from a 2-7yr contract. As far as a seasonal time frame August & September would probably be a good time to start.
     
  5. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,550

    I would go now. Ask them when their contract is up. If they sign a year long contract on January 1 and you go in August, they will give you the usual push off of... "It is under contract." Just a thought that has worked for me before.
     
  6. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    it is never too early
     
  7. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    Thanks for the responses. I will go talk to some of these accounts as soon as my papers get filed to be a legal business. Here is my other question. Do I approach these contracts as a snow only company and try to sign them that way, or do I go in offering full season and have a sub lined up?

    Thanks again
     
  8. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    Ask them what they prefer. Some places only want to deal with the fewest number of contractors they have to. Some think they get a better price by bidding it out, and not relying on one guy to handle everything. It's all up to each place, so I find the best way is to ask. I am a snow only contractor, so I try to talk them into letting me bid just the snow and salt, even if it's just to keep the summer guys honest.
     
  9. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    Thanks for the responses. I plan to start cold calling come first of the year just to get an idea of whats out there to bid.
     
  10. MahonLawnCare

    MahonLawnCare Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 851

    dont offer mowing if you don't self perform lawn care. you are a young kid and you don't want to get a bad name because you subbed out the lawn care portion and someone did a shoddy job. best advice for you since i started at 18 100% as well, only bid and promise what you can actually do and do well. too many guys act like a jack of all trades and then they get bad rap with clients. good luck
     
  11. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    Thanks for your input. I am planning on bidding everything as snow only unless a large property wants full season. I will only bid this way AFTER I find a realiable lawn care guy who can meet my standards of work.
     
  12. Yarden of eden

    Yarden of eden Member
    Messages: 38


    If the snow is on the ground, how do you suggest you find a good quality lawn sub? Any Jackass can talk himself up as a great quality lawn mower. Also, have you any Idea how to bid for lawn care? If they want full year service, chances are they want some form of fert, weed control, leaf clean-ups, shrub trimming etc. Are you prepared to bid for all that on a full season basis?Will your sub be licensed for it?

    Sorry for peppering you with questions here, but as a summer time lawn guy, It pisses me off when some schmuck who knows nothing about the costs of doing business in lawn care decides he is going to start bidding on jobs because it is convenient to do so. Are you going to tell these people that you dont know anything about lawn care, and that you will be sending a near stranger to do the work?
     
  13. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    Just for your information I am not just some schmuck who knows nothing about lawn care. I started off as a full service landscape company three years ago. I ran out of time in the spring and summer due to farming. So I do have an idea of what it takes to bid a lawn job. I would not hire someone to work for me that was not properly licensed and did not know what he was doing. Just because I am signing the contract doesnt necessarily mean all of the lawn figures must come from me. ONCE you build a good relation ship with a lawn contractor it is not very hard to say...." Can you go take a look at a property on such and such a street and give me a figure for full season lawn care." Then sit down with said lawn contractor and come up with a price that suits both of us and put together a nice package for my contractor before I present them with a bid. I might be young but I have a pretty good understanding of whats going on. Thanks though.
     
  14. Yarden of eden

    Yarden of eden Member
    Messages: 38

    Sorry if I blew up at you a bit, but you made it seem as though you are totally green, and you said yourself that you haven't even filed papers to be a legal business. So you might understand where I would get the impression that you might not know the first thing about lawn care, and just as there are umpteen laid off people that think they can just get a plow and run around striking it rich, there are just as many doing the same thing in the summer, way underbidding, and driving down what small amount of profit margin the rest of us have left.

    I wish you good luck, and a friendly warning to do your homework. It's nearly impossible to fly by the seat of your pants and make any money.
     
  15. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    I havnt filed papers yet because I could not set the business up legally the way I wanted untill the first of the year. I am not flying by the seat of my pants. I joined SIMA and have been doing a lot of research. Basically this winter will be me visiting possible clients lots and see what kind of job the contractor is doing. Figuring out how I can better it. Where I will be price wise and then targeting that customer come spring. Thanks for your input. Post people dog on the younger guys because they think we are going to steal all the work. I take it and I respect the guys who have been doing it for years, but I will not let them tell me I cant achieve something that I have set goals to achieve.
     
  16. Yarden of eden

    Yarden of eden Member
    Messages: 38

    I'm no old fart either, I'm 26, I have a ton of money tied up in my equipment, and I was where you are a few years ago. I thought I had it all figured out and I thought because I worked for a total A-Hole moron for a few years, that I was easily smart enough to exceed his large success without. Long story short, I made a lot of mistakes, lost some money, and tried to bite off more than I could chew a few times. I am just trying to prepare you for what is sure to be a bit of a wake-up call. It's never as easy as you think it is, and as prepared as you think you are, **** happens you wouldn't expect, things break that shouldn't, and people you trust will stiff you. Just remember that there will always be someone you can learn from, and over time it will pay off and the big accounts will roll on in!
     
  17. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    I know exactly what you are saying. Thanks for your honest words. I am deffinitly not expecting this to be easy. I do think that I am smart enough and have the drive to do this that things will come in stride. Its a lot of money to lay on the line...hope it pays off.