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How to gain more contracts

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by snowplower1, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 774

    so we do only commercial plowing and commercial mowing and this summer i sent out about 250 letters asking about bidding and it had a fairly good turnout, and am thinking about doing the same for the winter but i am not sure yet, does anyone have good idea as to how to get more contracts? I have a website but that does not attract much commercial business and i understand word of mouth is the best way to get more business and it has been the only way we have ever gotten work up until this year as i am attempting to expand as we now have the equipment to do so.
     
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Letters and follow up are best. You could send out blind bids and then do follow ups.
     
  3. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 774

    Yeah they are just so much dang work. Between printing them and put them in the envelope and writing the address it took me like a week to do it after already working all day. Not to mention just finding addresses to send themto. That's why I was just seeing if anyone had different options to try
     
  4. A.K Landscaping

    A.K Landscaping Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Snowplower1, how do you choose who to send letters to? Do you find a list of businesses in your area or do you personally select who you would like to plow?
     
  5. fireball

    fireball PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 536

    you could declare yourself a national service provider, cut prices next to nothing, hire shykelia, and refuse to pay subs. Worked for everyone who utilizes state of the art communication systems in a facebook world.
     
  6. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 774

    I'll stick to my size company before I become one of them
     
  7. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 774

    A.K, I went on Google maps and I searched for apartments and restaurants etc. That works for landscaping but for plowing I may need to be a bit more particular with who I send letters too. I received probably 15 bids from them and won 2. Around here there are way to many low ballets and I won't compete with them
     
  8. A.K Landscaping

    A.K Landscaping Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    I like this idea for reaching commercial customers.
    Do you send them an estimate with the letter or wait for them to respond?
     
  9. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 774

    Well what I did was wrote that I would be contacting them in the following weeks that about whether they want a bid but that was so much work. I didn't even end yo having time to call all of them and it looks bad but not much u could have done. In all honesty there were so many people that had no clue about the letters so I might just call but we had like 6 people call us before we even got to call them
     
  10. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    If they have more then one location then they will have a management dept ,call them, Apartments are a pain ,what ever your bid would be double it. Single locally owned are a good start.
     
  11. A.K Landscaping

    A.K Landscaping Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    I'm trying to increase my commercial clients this year. I was thinking about calling companies, but it is very time consuming and it is very difficult to find the right person to talk to.
    How do you address the letter so someone who has the authority accept and view bids gets it? Do you put something like "property manager" above the address line?
     
  12. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 774

    Yeah I put dear owner/manager of ...
    And you just hope that someone actually gives it to then
     
  13. Defcon 5

    Defcon 5 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,686




    :laughing:....Funny But True....:laughing:
     
  14. fireball

    fireball PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 536

    In all honesty, figuring out who the decision maker is very hard to do. There are all kinds of marketing companies who claim to know, but really don't and if they do, you don't have a advertising budget big enough to justify them to get involved with you.

    My advice to you is: Be aware that your biggest, best, most profitable customer is right next door to your existing customer. You got one on each side of your customer, you got one right behind, and you got one across the street. Okay you can get the property owner from google, tax records, realtor etc but you can probably get the most important information from your customer. Most people know who their neighbors are. More important you might get recommendations and referrals from your customers, they need to know that you want more work. Keep in mind "Birds of a feather, stick together" so if you have a questionable customer such as a slow payer, they tend to know other slow payers. Be aware, that you will probably need to contact them at least 8 times before you get a response from them. Never volunteer a estimate until they ask for it. Problem is that until you talk to them, you don't know what they want. If you price something on assumptions, you can negotiate down but only rarely can you negotiate up.
     
  15. dieselboy01

    dieselboy01 Senior Member
    Messages: 783

    I've been thinking along the same lines as you, Snowplower. I just ordered 250 post cards with my logo on one side and just a few lines about my business on the other. I Googled local businesses in my area to get the addresses of the places I want to plow. I'm thinking of mailing them out Sept 1st, unless you guys think that's too soon or late.
     
  16. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    Here I do Full year Contact One company for there needs From snow to Mow/Ground Maintenance

    Show them a discount on each item Show them the money they can save by having my company taking care of all there needs
    But can over load a person So last year I started drop the lower $$ sites Keeping the higher ones
     
  17. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Buy ad spots on local menus and place mats at diners.
     
  18. 2002F150

    2002F150 Member
    Messages: 38

    Would letters work on residential? instead of me passing 250 flyers would it be good to mail letters? with an estimate in it ?
     
  19. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 774

    Hmm that's a tough one for me because I only do commercial but I have been told by people who specialize in marketing that one of the best things you can do when sending out a letter for advertising is to make it look as personal as you can. So I hand right every address and word it personal. I agree with it too because when I get a postcard for anything typically it's going right in the trash unless it catches my eye in the 5 seconds it's picked up on the way to the trash
     
  20. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Fliers are best for driveways,Write the price on it to stop tire kickers,this way they know and won't waste your time.