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Commercial accounts are calling

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by LI landscaping, Oct 31, 2003.

  1. LI landscaping

    LI landscaping Junior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 21

    This past week I have received 3 calls to bid on large commercial snow accounts. Its almost the first of November and there looking for bids now??? I know that the companies (all different) that serviced them in the past are still in business so why are they calling this late??? I really do think they are all just "kicking tires" but we will see.

    The one thing that sucks is if and I realize its a big if I do get these three accounts I will be grossly over extended, but whats a man to do.... but bid away.

    Any one else receiving calls for quotes this late in the season???
     
  2. sno-mover

    sno-mover Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    Pick the one or two you want and the one you dont want shoot high.:D
     
  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

     
  4. Mike Nelson

    Mike Nelson Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Someone here once told me...... Bid it higher than normal and if you get it, good for you. If you don't you weren't looking for it anyway, so nothing lost!!!

    Good Luck

    PS we are still bidding and getting jobs.
     
  5. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,223

    They are just checking the bid they got.What if they could not get anyone.You will go to all that trouble and you will not get it.
     
  6. ChuckC

    ChuckC Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    I have to disagree with the whole bid it high if you don't want it thing. This may end up hurting you in the long run( it will make your company look bad ). I feel that you should bid the accounts that you can handle ( making sure not to overwork yourself) and either sub out the rest, or refer the account(s) to someone that you can trust to do a professional job.
    Another option is if you can lock the account in for a 2 year contract and the money is there, go out and buy another truck. Doesn't have to be new.
    Just my 2 cents.
    Thanks Chuck
     
  7. farmertim

    farmertim Member
    Messages: 95

    :confused:

    I just found out the biggest plow jockeys in my area are not plowing this year.......
    and they haven't told the customers yet!!!!!!!!


    40 drives are within 2 miles of my house, unfortunately my route is 10 miles away...
    so many drives......so little time.....

    whats a guy to do....
     
  8. LI landscaping

    LI landscaping Junior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 21

    Chuck, Thanks All bids are going out with a 5% discount for a 2 year contract. All bids also went out as a per season price rather than per push so new equipment can and will be bought. All bids went out at a fair but profitable rate based on plow history for the last 5 seasons.

    As far as being overextended My big fear is not having enough competent labor to complete these jobs but just because I might be awarded these jobs does not mean I have to accept the work.

    The one thing I do find strange is that these bids are being sent so late, which at least in my eye these commercial accounts are just price shopping with out any real inclination to change service providers.

    Does any one else think these bids going out so late is odd. Or are there others still receiving bids
     
  9. LocalTouch

    LocalTouch Junior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 26

    2 days ago I recieved a call to bid on a large apartment complex. It is handled by a very large management company. I really would have figured they would have their contractors lined up a month or so ago. We sign contract on Monday, which is November 3rd!!!!!! Oh well! At least this is a seasonal contract.
     
  10. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    I know someone in this area who is still giving bids on condos and construction areas.
     
  11. GVLawnCare

    GVLawnCare Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    Late Bids

    I recieved a couple phone calls last week looking for bids. I was awarded one of them. Every year there are the companies that for whatever reason wait so long to get snow plowing bids. Maybe they just plain aren't thinking, or maybe they just found out their last contractor wont be plowing this year.
     
  12. JustUsDe

    JustUsDe Senior Member
    Messages: 181

    Many people around here wait until Nov. to get bids. We usually don't see snow until late Dec. I bid 4 subdivisions through their consulting company. They had to be in on Oct. 1. The consulting company just gave one of the subdivisions their bids yesterday. So by time they have their meeting and stuff. I probably won't hear from them for another couple weeks.


    Ray
     
  13. 4evergreenlawns

    4evergreenlawns Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    I found some commercial accounts do this thinking if they drag there feet on a seasonal contract the take the chance of missing snow in November and not having to pay for that month. This happen twice last year with late bids and I thought I scored some new accounts. This year same thing with same customer but instead I bid the work again just listing a total season price regardless of when they sign the contract. All my other commercial account are bid last week in Sept. signed by Oct.20. or there is a up charge. Guess you can call it a discount instead of up charge for business purpose. Anyway, heard from one of the local guys I work with and both of these places called him for a bid asking for a monthly rate only. Lets face is we all plan on the season covering five months, or at least here in Chicago Nov.1-Mar.31. Why should I miss a month of billing because they are playing games.

    As for the concept of taking on more work than you can handle. I would have to go along with Chuck. But I do love it when that happens. Why else would a customer change service providers unless either the service was no good or the rate increases are too high. Sure bid it high knowing you already have more work than you can handle and hope for no snow. Then when is does snow buckets your customer is flagging me down or call the number on the side of my truck while they are looking across the street at the lot that is being serviced timely. Not saying everyone does this, but I must say, I have went from 4 locations to 30 locations in two years just off of referrals, because the job was not getting done even when the big company promised their Fleet of trucks could handle it and that is why the rates are higher.

    Also seems to be allot of lawn services but not enough snow plowing services. Hope all you landscaping only types keep doing that too. Commercial customer want one guy all year long. At least that is the only way I am writing contracts now. No more killing myself all winter to do a good job only to be kicked to the curb for the guy that will cut an acer for $35.00. I will not even take a call for residential work. Drive-ways and $20.00 weekly cuts end up being more hassle than they are worth IMO.
     
  14. Little Jay

    Little Jay Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    Its ridiculous.
    We spent the third week in October calling customers who had bids in their hands, in an attempt to confirm or deny the bid. Most of them we got our answer but there were still a few larger bids that still "havent made up our mind" or "looking them over again".
    So, I wander in to the office to catch up on some paperwork and look over at the fax to see a pile of faxes that the people signed and returned the bid. They didnt bother to call and let us know, just sent off a fax. They all came in on Nov 3rd !!!
    Normally I'd wouldnt get as irritated as I am, but our coversations with these people two weeks ago were very clear.
    Maybe some of these places have more important issues to deal with, as the economy either gets worse or starts to turn around-depending where you are at. But it still would be nice to extend courteous business practices to us too...
     
  15. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Little Jay, do you put a deadline on your bids? I always put a date for it to be returned by. That way, I can figure I'm not getting it and can move on.
     
  16. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    You should bid a little higher this late in the season anyways.Bidding high does not make your company look bad.Not everyone looks at the lowest price,some look at the company in general,the quality of their work,and their capabilities to get the job done.I always bid high,and expect to get paid well for what we do.If they don't like it,I don't want them.

    If you do get all the work,consider subbing out some of the work until you can bring your operation up to speed to handle it.If they are large commercial accounts,there should be a pretty good margin to afford to do this,and still make some money.You can lease\rent large equipment and one operator to do the work of many smaller trucks.

    All bids should have a deadline,as well as several follow ups to make sure it's fresh in their minds.If I don't see any progress when I follow up later,then I drop it.If they come crawling back later,we tack on a late signing fee,and they are further down the queue in order of service.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2003
  17. Little Jay

    Little Jay Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    I know I sounded like I was whinning but..
    Yes, we put a cut off date on our bids, but not for a retraction of our bid, rather an increase in price. We do this 'cause around here there are plenty of people willing to take on additional sub work.
    I've spend my years scrambling at the last minute and taking on too much business. I hate it and the customers are never satisfied. I dont do that anymore and allow all my employees and subs a little cushion time. Its not the most efficient from an accounting point of view but happy employees work harder and customers are happier.
    Maybe thats why all of the late commers were willing to accept our bids late at 5-10% increase for signing late (depending on the account). They pay 5-10% more for being two weeks slow, but they know they'll get the service they want. Or so I hope!