1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Large Commercial Accounts

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Kent Lawn Care, Dec 20, 2003.


How do you obtain commercial accounts?

Poll closed Jan 19, 2004.
  1. Visit potential commercial customers

    22 vote(s)
  2. Let commercial customers call first

    3 vote(s)
  3. Dont bother with commercial

    2 vote(s)
  1. Just wondering how eceryone obtains larger commercial accounts? go knockin on their doors introducing yourself, or let the call you? also how good is your sucess rate at each if you tried both
  2. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    I have obtained two large commercial accounts by knocking on doors. Presented both with fair contracts and have provided them with excellent service.

    One account I have had for 8 years now, the other on its second season. The first is shopping center I estimate to be 1 1/2 the times of a Wal Mart super center. It 3 hours to plow with 4 trucks on a 6" snow. The other lot a large furniture store complex takes 2.5 hours for the 4 trucks to plow. Both lots are wide open, no islands, and usually only 2-3 vehicles left at the times we plow.

    We supplement this with about a dozen other 30-45 min commercial lots and 10 residentials. The great thing about the commercial lots is that for us most have a 1" trigger.

    We usually do the large lots first with all 4 trucks attacking one large lot at a time. We develop a system and have become very efficient. The large accounts mean more plowing time & less drive time. The two large properties are located about 1 mile apart. After we finish those each truck takes of on a specific route focusing on commercial accounts but knocking out a residential if it is on the route. We finish up the rest of the out of the way residentials last. I am always looking for larger commercial properties. I would sub-out my smaller accounts .

    Like always when doing large commercial accounts make sure you have plenty of good insurance. Never been sued, but you are very exposed.
  3. I guess also, we could include any commercial accounts, after i thought about it i guess there isnt really any major differences in the way you get them. just the size and price.
  4. Okay i see wveryone introduces themselve, now for the guys that wait for them to call, whats your reasoning?!? other than, we dont need more accounts, cuz everyone needs more accounts
  5. apkole

    apkole Member
    Messages: 75

    I do wait for them to call. I don't need more work. I use snowplowing to keep off the residential roofs in the winter. I like a good mix of residential and commercial snowplowing accounts. One or two large commercial accounts creates a "tail wagging the dog" situation. Once you have landed a large account, fear of losing that customer can cause all kinds of pricing issues down the road. Large accounts are high profile and typically get hit by new people trying to break in to the business. I like to keep our customer mix such that I can lose a couple of accounts and not have it impact my bottom line too much.

  6. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    I agree with the above post. You dont put all your eggs in one basket , we have a mix of office buildings , retail and churches. A few residential long drives. There is a large shopping center I pass all the time , every year they have a different grass company and then a different company plowing. Why ?, because they dont like to pay. This management companies love to play games . They form a different management company for each property they own. They sucker a newbie in by agreeing th their rates no matter what they are. They say they will pay in 90 days .
    On a year with little snow they pay up, when we get hit hard they file bankrucpy and leave the contractor holding the bag.
  7. sounds well thought out. i have enough accounts right now, a good mix of res. com. churchs (however you consider those) and municipality. im planning on purchasing another truck soon, or if its to late into the season next year, but im hoping to gain all commercial for this truck, im on the low side for salting/deicing, so i want to gain customers that opt for that. so im trying to get a feel for how everyone gains the customers.
  8. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    I have had no problems with our large commercial lots. 8 years of service with one & 2nd year with the other and expecting it to be long term also. Nether account was acquired due to price. Referrals of good service landed both accounts. I guess I must be lucky though. We call all the shots. Never had a complaint on price, 1" trigger, we salt & sand every time, and they both pay within 15 days of service. We provided them excellent service and they have appreciated that. They have paid quickly and have not searched for service elsewhere. I believe we have established a quality relationship that has paid off. Both lots are privately owned and not run by management companies. Kind of rare I guess. Maybe I'm just luck.
  9. szorno

    szorno Senior Member
    Messages: 308

    I generally go looking for commercial accounts, but we specialize in small to medium. We stop and visit, and leave a card volunteering a quote. Then produce a proposal that when they sign becomes a contract. I did get a call for a large account from an excavator I know. She just handed the 2nd biggest contract in the area over to me. Weird, but great ! :waving:
  10. Sounds like everyone has their act together! time to get mine together, im goign o start working on a packet that i can give the potential customers along with introducing myself, there are a couple larger strip malls, well larger from wher ei am, but small compared to everyone elses standards. but anyways, im going to approach three of em, adn see what i can do, i dont want to get more than three, cuz i dont wanta paint myself into a corner. thanks loads guys! make sure to put snow on your christmas list for santa!

  11. ih82plow

    ih82plow Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    Hello Kent I am not a plowing contractor by trade. But I do own a service related business.

    I do believe the most important part of owning a successful company is marketing.

    I DONOT SPEAK AS A PLOWING COMPANY OWNER But I feel a service company is a service company

    If it were me I would invest in a digital cameras (I find it to be one of the best sales tools I can use) and as your out on your route take notice of any large properties in your area that are being done incorrectly. Take a quick picture of it. Then take quality picture’s of your existing accounts showing the better know companies in town and that there lots are clean and useable and safe for there customers and workers. Go to a CVS pharmacy or similar and you can print out the photos. Take some photos of your trucks showing a solid reliable vehicle.

    Write a letter to the company on your letterhead introducing your company and yourself telling them of the services you provide and put all the photos in with the letter. Right on the pictures or circle in the picture what the other contractor is not doing then circle in your photos what you are doing on the photos from the properties you’re doing

    The idea of the photos is that they will be passed around the office and usually end up on the owner’s desk. If you just do a letter chances are the office manager may throw it out prior to the owner seeing it. Make sure you put it in a hand written envelope. Enclose in your letter a quick sample contract with pricing on the services you supply and your photos with notes on them. Make it real easy for them to hire you. Again this is not my profession but I do this constantly in my profession with excellent results. A picture is worth a thousand words.
    Good luck

    I always feel we cannot have enough profitable customers even if I have to put on another crew or vehicles. Unprofitable customer I don’t need I leave them to my competitors. But high-end companies I can provide services for I chase them and sell them on my better service I can provide for them.
  12. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    Word of mouth.:waving:
  13. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    The Boss is right. I started commercial plowing 20 years ago at the request of one of my general contracting clients. I bought 2 used trucks and only did his work the 1st year: (Read: no profit year 1) Slowly and carefully and charged a reasonable rate. The following spring, I met with my client, found that he was happy with snow removal service and asked him to refer me to other commercial building owners. 20 years later, I have all the work I can handle. STAY AWAY FROM APARTMENT COMPLEXES, all the tenants do is complain and want you to shovel out their cars. Also, offices empty out at the first flake and you have the lot to yourself all night. Do a great job and let your work sell itself. Also be sure to sell your service and not just a low price. If you sell price, you will lose by price as you will get lowballed. Create your own destiny by being the best.