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getting new accounts! new to the industy and dont want to lowball!

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by the new boss 92, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    as some of you guys know i am new to the plowing biz, but i can do a hellov' a job. now next year i am coming to conclusion i need to go on my own and pick up a tailgate spreader. now from the serch feature on the site i got out of it to call around right after winter, april june time so all the people that are doing a bad job get cut right away. i also heard that going from place to place is a good idea to but can get introuble for soiciting in the wrong area. when you guys started how did you go about getting your first big commercial accounts and be able to keep them? i also have a great opertunity to take over the guys route i sub for, but he just wants proof that i have an actuall billing system that is lagit and looks professinol. any imput would be great and i would be picking up a snowex 1075 pivitpro or an sp6000 vbox for the time being.any input and help would be appreciated, thanks alot guys so far this site has helped me out alot and i am having alot of fun plowing.
     
  2. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    I started on residential first, some of my customers had business etc, was asked to price/plow there.:nod: Other business came on,after I had gained a good rep for price and work. And it grew from there. And what is lowballing. And who is Walmart. Some of the whiners on plowsite shop regularly there. :waving: If y ou are able to offer your service at a lower price cuz you have less overhead and come out with a decent return on investments and time you (IMO) are not a lowballer. :nono: A LOWBALLER IS SOMEONE WHO HAS A GRUDGE AGAINST ANOTHER BUSINESS AND CUTS RATES (unreasonably)IN ORDER TO CAUSE THE COMPETITION TO LOSE MARKET SHARE
     
  3. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    that makes sence about low balling, and i already took that into consideration. i dont want to really cut prices all that much just because my stuff is mine not the banks and so on. but i also have ins to pay for gas,salt up frount ect. this past year i went out to late and couldnt pick anything up because my prices were good compitition. now i can cut my prices a few buck 10 15 dallors but thats it because there are guys out there that need snow removel as winter income and would much rather not see me undercut prices by 25-30%.
     
  4. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,269

    I'd say pick up more residentials first for your "first" real year of plowing on your own. Then network and go from there. Getting into commercial lots with a 1500 w/tailgate sander and 7'6" plow is asking for trouble. I had 1 large parking lot that was vacant (bank owned) that I was allowed up to 1 day after a storm to plow- it would take me all of an hour or more to clear it with a 7'6" plow- once again, completely vacant and just a big square, add in some cars, islands, etc. you get the picture. If I had to do that parking lot and keep on top of it to make sure it was cleared/sanded/salted, along with a bunch of resi's, I'd be over my head.

    Thats just my 25cents.
     
  5. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    im adding atleast one more 3/4 ton this summer for myself, my dads looking at a truck and blade aswell alsong as i pick up the work. i only want maybe a couple more, like 2 or 3 walgreens, couple cvs, and then i can add in a couple driveways, i hate driveways to be honest with all you ps members. im more perductive in an open lot bymyself rather then with another truck or bob cat. soo off the you should do this or do that subject, whats the best way to go about getting more commercial accounts for next year, whats the best time to start looking? sorry if i sounded like an a$$
     
  6. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,269

    You don't sound like an a*s! Obviously a lot is easier, its more open! There is obviously more money to be made as well.
    If your getting a 3/4 ton then thats great.

    Market yourself anyway you can- walk into places like you mentioned, even if they think you are soliciting make sure you grab a card if they are telling you to leave. Wait a bit then call and ask to speak with the manager- then go forward about your services.

    Think outside the box- go to real estate agency's asking about maintaining vacant properties or if they have landlords you could get in contact with. Go to banks and as to speak with whoever handles forclosures and commercial sales. Sounds dumb but its extremelly easy money- ask me how I know...

    Yellow Pages, make a web page, you get the idea! Good luck!
     
  7. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    my dad told me about the realesate angencies aswell, but do you really think with the economy we are in ther are going to plow vacant lots and forclosed homes everytime it snows?
     
  8. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    im also going to do some cold hard calling in the summer once winter is gone for the reat of the year till december
     
  9. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,269

    I've been doing it for 3 years- its the banks that pay, not the real estate. You basically go to them to find out which banks own the homes. You need to sell it to the banks like this- Open driveways allow showings, showings allow sales, quicker sales mean the home is off the banks books- no more holding the home and its costs. Open driveways may be necessary due to fire regulations- house catch's on fire whether it be arson or electrical or mother nature and a fire truck can't get to it, the bank will be held liable for any and all damage (to firefighters or neighboring homes). Mr. Obama also gave the banks money to fix these homes to make them nicer/easier to sell, so if they can't get to them...you get it.

    Plus- as in my case, I have 24 hours after the storm to get them cleared. I get paid a flat rate per home/Lot per storm so I let the storm pass then plow. If its a 2 foot storm, I charge double. If I didn't have a full time job, I'd use this as a supplemental income- plow residentials and other commercial lots with the storm for people that need it done ASAP. Then after the storm passes, go to the vacant properties and take it easy, make some cash.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  10. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    so your saying go to the real estate and i have to find out what bank they use and go talk to them correct? all the points you brought up are very vauleable and correct. now what wbout commercials?
     
  11. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,269

    You can do it that way or walk into a few banks and ask about doing it also.

    As for commercial- just walk on in and ask for bid packets for the next year. Networking is huge as well since people talk and word of mouth is the best advertising and its free!
     
  12. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    now scence i am new to this, whats all included in a bid packet? how long do they normally take to complete? my one commercial i have was basically given to me and its just a mouth to mouth contract with no strings attached!
     
  13. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    does anyone else have any input on the subject, i know you guys are out there, even somelike how did you go about getting your first account?
     
  14. jblatti13

    jblatti13 Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    ill throw in a few words here just to give an idea or two.

    i dont remember who posted it... but the foreclosure/ repo home market actually is a good place to target. this summer i was contacted by a real estate agent who had 4 properties that were vacant but needed the lawn taken care of. she gave me 4 houses, weekly, all summer long. so yes there is money to be made in those. i actually sent formal letters to local realtors in the fall but didnt get anything out of those, yet.

    my commercial stuff, which is small to med size lots, just landed through networking. i've bid on a few just from other plow guys passing the word, and bid a few where my newspaper ad came into play. newspaper here is kind of expensive, so i only do that a few months out of the year. ive been asked to bid on, and basically told i will get next year, a gas station lot where i use to work when i was about 17. the manager and myself had a good relationship, and kept in touch with her over the years. they have a larger maint. company now and ive seen there work, they suck. he runs a 88 1/2 ton 2 wheel drive and a vbox thats broke as hell... just kinda keep your eyes out when you're out doing your thing, youll see some targets for bidding, everyone thinks they can plow, we all know thats not true. if they say well this guy charges me X and your Y, then you tell them well because the X price includes his crappy service, and ill garauntee better results.

    theres alot of ways to get into comm. bidding, different areas see different results with certain marketing strategies. i think developing some sort of personal contact with the manager or owner or whoever is key. when you can sit down and tell them to their face, il do this job for this amount, and you will see these results, theyre happier than getting a piece of paper and seeing some numbers scribbled in.

    just my 2c
     
  15. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    jb, thats what im going to try and do for next year if i could pick up about 5-8 hours of commercial lots and take a nap in between and then go do some resi's ill be set. but if i could get enough work do you think it will be worth it to buy another truck and have someone run it or should i just get enough work for me myself and i and keep a subs number on hand? because i heard growing to fast can have problems or could work out. i am responsible and when stuff needs to get done i do it efficiantly and quick and dont half a$$ it. this is just one of the harder parts is finding the work not preforming it!
     
  16. jblatti13

    jblatti13 Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    in all honesty, if you pick up say 8 hours of comm. work, then start on resi's, as long as you hit each house within your given time frame every storm, then id say stick by yourself. if it gets to the point where you're out 24 hrs straight busting nuts by yourself, consider throwin a sub some hours. after 24 hours you wont want to be behind the wheel, and if its during daytime travel, neither will other drivers. i think thats the max for 1 guy to be out. of course, the timing will always depend on the storm, and if a storm ends at midnight, and you dont have resi's drives clear by 5pm when they return home from work, they may be PO'd.

    i do have a backup truck, and my sister actually started giving me a hand this year when i had too many hours in and just wanted a break. i did 90% of my accounts, she finished up, and we were both happpy. of course a sub wouldnt be so pleased if you called him out of bed for an hour of work, but thats the decisions you have to make.

    i think if you get your 8 hours of comm., dont get crazy trying to pick up 40 resi's on top of that, and youd be fine on your own. these guys are right, trying to get too big too fast will cause problems. jumping from one situation your first year, to a huge operation your 2nd year, will just be insanity for you trying to keep straight everything going on.
     
  17. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    yup thats what i wanna stay away from getting to big to fast and not being able to keep up with the billing, plowing, salting and have angry cutermers on top of a headach. i just wanna get garrentted work for next year thatsmine, i also sure that i will beable to get more work for a second truck because the guy i sub for now is talking about giving me all his driveways for next year(15) if i come up with a billing system.
     
  18. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    to sum things up,

    go around ask for bid packets for 10-11 season
    get flyers passed out for resis
    coldhard calling
    news papper adds
    networking

    anything else i missed i just wanna get stuff together now, so when april comes around and contracts are up i can get people signed up earlier then later and that way i have all my stuff orginized and whos whos. i just havent done any bidding by myself and have always worked for some one in the buissness already
     
  19. jblatti13

    jblatti13 Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    when it comes to bidding, do your research here as well. although most of these guys will give you a hard time if you start a post that says "help me price this lot", because almost every sized lot has been answered already. i use google earth myself, locate each site, theres a ruler option on there, measure the lot out, find the obstacles and total sq footage, take a drive by there and see how many cars are normally around, what kinda of traffic, and adjust your price accordingly. i think the standard is an acre should take an hour.
    45k sq ft=60 minutes... i think that means though that its wide open space, which i have seen very little of around me. before all this, you need to come up with an hourly price, or what you need to make in one hour to cover expenses and make a profit. i think the average is around 100-125 an hour.

    that being said, i picked up a lot this year thats roughly 9k sq ft and they accepted a bid well over 125, because i worked the service angle, and there are constantly cars parked in the lot, its oddly shaped, and the snow goes to one end.

    each site is going to be much different, it just takes some practice at looking at them and coming up with a solid number. but definitely check out the estimating/bidding forums, because prices vary quite a bit from different areas.
     
  20. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    well as far as bidding goes i have 2 or 3 people around i could ask for a little help. but if worst comes to worst then i could post up with google imiges like you said and get a little help form the ps members. does google calculate the meshuerments of the lot for you or do you have to meshure it out your self?