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Toys-R-Us RFP

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by frogman, Jul 28, 2004.

  1. frogman

    frogman Member
    from MD
    Messages: 53

    Has anyone received a RFP from Toys R Us, through Symbiot Business Group? If so, what do you think of the contract? Has anyone checked it out with an attorney? It's a stacked deck, to be sure. This is the first that I've run across such a "deal" as this and I'm wondering if it's typical for a large Corporations.
    Bob
     
  2. sonjaab

    sonjaab PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    Frog...........Stacked deck ..you bet !!!!
    These big mgmt. companies bag all these big companies plowing
    then parcel it out to locals like us for peanuts !
    Its steady work tho and we gotta take it !

    Do a search for US Maintence Co. here and see a few tails of woe
    concerning late or no pymt. etc. etc. .....geo
     
  3. frogman

    frogman Member
    from MD
    Messages: 53

    Thanks Geo,
    Sorry about the delayed reply. We've been dealing with a particularly tragic family death and I have not been on the computor much.
    This one isn't for peanuts, but I know what your talking about. They asked for a proposal. The contract is written such that if anything at all happens (related to winter weather) they are not responsible and the contractor is. To boot, they've got a 2" trigger which I see as 2 inches of opportunity for any number of types of lawsuits and just a matter of time before one comes around to eat up those profits or worse. I'm disappointed to see that it just looks like a set up for problems. I'm not touching it. Maybe if I was hungrier. I'm surprised that there aren't any more responses here. The company is requesting bids for all the Toys-R-Us/Babies-R-Us in the Eastern portion of The Country. I presumed that I got the RFP as a result of being a SIMA member but I may be mistaken about that.
    Bob
     
  4. sonjaab

    sonjaab PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    FROG......Whats a RFP?

    I hear ya bro. Sorry to hear it........
    I have lost 6 family members since Nov. ! Hospitals and Funerals sure do suck ! Tough getting old !

    Read the post I brought up on US Maint. and Dentco.
    Some reports good, others...Hmmmmmmm.................geo
     
  5. Mick

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

    George, Request For Proposal. Management companies get contracts for snowplowing all Rite Aids (for example), then send out an RFP to all known companies who might be interested in subcontract work. Sometimes the term "Request for Proposal" isn't quite accurate as they tell you how much they'll pay. Then you're proposal is actually just a formality stating the you will go along with their pricing and will send them the other stuff they want; such a proof of insurance, types of equipment you have etc.
     
  6. frogman

    frogman Member
    from MD
    Messages: 53

    George,
    My condolences to you too. It's been like that here for the last couple of years. Just a couple of family members but the unit that I retired from has taken a lot of hits since9/11. Those guys meant a lot. I don't mind the getting older part but the losses are tough to take sometimes.
    US maintenance sounds like a company that could use a boycot. Too bad were not that motivated as a group. I don't know how a plower could make it worth-while cutting himself short like that. I guess (as I mentioned before), maybe if I was hungry...
    Bob
     
  7. PolarBear

    PolarBear Member
    Messages: 39

    I have a friend who belongs to the Symbiot Business group. he swears by it. It isn't so much a Maintenance company as it is a group of businesses that band together to get better purchasing power on equipment.

    To become a member organization, I believe there might actually be a buy in, but I am not sure.

    Check out the link for yourself

    http://www.esymbiot.com/
     
  8. Foz

    Foz Senior Member
    Messages: 119

    I have to differ with the "all the Toys R Us"...we have a contract for our local Toys R Us.....4 more years. Try to contact the manager at teh local store and bid directly to Toys R Us. Stay away from the maintenance companys.
     
  9. frogman

    frogman Member
    from MD
    Messages: 53

    Foz,
    I'm just repeating the info that Simbiot has given me. If that's not correct than you have my appologies.
    There are 116 Toys R Us sites on the list for the 'Eastern Division". 10 of them are in NY state. Here's the address where you can check out the whole deal. You might want to be informed.
    Bob

    http://www.symbiotnetworks.com/members/viewRFQ.php?infoID=18
     
  10. PolarBear

    PolarBear Member
    Messages: 39

    I just read the scope of work specs...

    No way am I bidding on something that after January 1, 2005 the store manager can adjust the number of parking spaces / portion of lot that must be plowed.



    I either plow and treat the entire lot or I don't do any of it.

    Its like shovelling only one side or the walk or stairway... you know damn well that someone is gonna walk down the unshovelled side and fall.

    I wonder if the store manager would like me walking in the store and telling him / her what toys to sell or what to put on sale?

    Good luck to those who bid!::eek:
     
  11. frogman

    frogman Member
    from MD
    Messages: 53

    Stacked Deck.
    The specs have several little goodies like that. Due to the death in the family I didn't have the time to see if I could negotiate that thing towards something reasonable, before the window closed. I hope someone did.
    Bob
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2004
  12. Foz

    Foz Senior Member
    Messages: 119

    Our store was not on the list, but thanks for the link. Be careful when dealing with the property management companies!
     
  13. Notaplower

    Notaplower Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Symbiot Business Group

    For those of you that do not really understand what Symbiot Business Group is all about, you should contact them. It is not so much about the sites that the company has now but is more about how the company can leveage a national status to get your company national buying power-especially for those things that you as plowers use on a daily basis. Meyers Plows, Salt, Lesco Products, John Deere Landscapes are just a few of the partners to name. I strongly encourage people to take a look at what the company can offer rather than sitting on the sidelines and complaining about things that they do not even completely understand. A better informed business owner is a better business owner-and I do not think that anyone can dispute that.
     
  14. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,853

    Notaplower (says something I think), there is much history here about SMG\Symbiot. That is what they are basing their opinions on, and some facts as well. The jury is out on whether or not Symbiot will actually pay those who do their work for them.

    I do know what Symbiot is about and have spoken with others. Yes, for some the purchasing power of Symbiot makes it all worthwhile for them. For others (including me) the partnership program discounts won't make up for becoming a member of Symbiot. We are already receiving great prices from Lesco. I also have a major issue with paying someone so I can have the 'opportunity' to bid on a project. I already can do that without paying someone. Not to mention in my area, the total lack of 'opportunities' to bid on squat through Symbiot for anything but CVS's. I might just as well throw my money away at the casino as give it to Symbiot.

    BTW, IMHO, John Deere mowers and Meyer plows are junk.

    I'm pretty sure that most of the plowers here are pretty well informed on how payments were made by the former SMG now Symbiot. Maybe you should read a little more on how well informed we are. Then you might know why their is the animosity towards SMG\Symbiot.
     
  15. Mick

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

    Hi, notaplower. I think the original poster was wondering about the RFP, not Symbiot. I have met Sonjaab and Polarbear several times over the past few years and they DO know what they're talking about. Both have been in the snowplowing field for several years and have networked with others often.

    As far as how Symbiot does, that remains to be seen. I'll be waiting for others' experiences as there is no track record from which to make a judgement. Following the SMG fiasco, I did visit the Symbiot website to find out as much as I could, although that does not mean I know what Symbiot is "all about". I also had become familiar with the SMG RFP a couple years ago when offered the opportunity to submit a bid for a couple of Rite Aid stores. I chose not to submit a bid.
     
  16. plowed

    plowed Senior Member
    Messages: 344

    IMO, Stay away from the mgmt companies. You all can review my threads, but I'm till waiting another couple of months, supposedly until July '05, for my last 1/3 payment, of the 75% from their win/win/lose plan, from the SMG/Symbiot mess. That payment is from work we did more than 2 years ago!

    I, like Mark, will not pay anyone for the mere opportunity to bid on anything. There's no guarantee of anything except that they will take your $750 annual membership fee, or whatever it's up to now.
     
  17. Notaplower

    Notaplower Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Response to those of you who have left a message regarding Symbiot

    Some of you have left a message with regards to Symbiot. I can tell you that in relation to the purchasing power, you have to work the program right in order to make sure that you are using it properly. Some people may have been in the business for many years and I do not dispute their knowledge or intelligence of running their business but what I can tell you is that there is also a more efficent way for people to work smarter rather than harder. Would you rather want to go out and work hard or work smart? Some do both-others only do one. For those of you that do not think that the purchasing power is an asset, maybe it isn't for you because you just simply do not have enough business to even see the benefits. Also, if you think that the main purpose of Symbiot is to have sites for you to bid on, you are terribly mistaken. This is not the ultimate thoughts of the company but does play into it. Maybe there is quite a bit of unresolved issues with the former SMG-but they also still have a corner on the markets. It is kind of like going to Wal-Mart: You may not like it but it is there (and I am sure that someone will have something to say about that analogy) If you don't truly understand what it is about then you should ultimately try to understand it before you completely knock it. For those people that think that John Deere Mowers are junk, more power to you. The purchasing power is not only for John Deere-a company that has been around for a long time I think that it is inadequate to knock a nationally recognized company. They must be doing something right or they would not be in business after all these years. It also seems like there is alot of things that you business owners do not know about Symbiot. I am sure that if you contact them, they will tell you exactly what the company is about and how it plans to move things in the right direction during the 21st century. How many of you have ever been on a web cast to network with people across the nation about some of the national opportunities that may exist-I would gather that there would only be a handful of you out there. Folks, it is about educating your business. You get stagnet, you die as a business owner. Would we all agree on that? Symbiot wont let you get stagnet if you use the programs RIGHT. Don't expect to pay your membership fee and just get sites handed to you. It doesnt work that way. You must be active in the organization to get a ROI for you.
    And for those of you that think you can go out there and just bid on a National account that Symbiot has negotiated-you may be correct, but I can tell you it will be alot harder doing it that way-and when something does go wrong, you can deal with the regional manager that has a much easier time of firing you than they would if you were involved in a National Contract Management Company.
     
  18. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,853

    Notaplower, why was Symbiot formed? I already know the answer, just wondering if you do.

    Walmart, been in one once, never step foot in one again. Yes they are successful, but so is the Mafia and the drug cartels, so do you really want to use just success as a measuring stick?

    Apparently you didn't read or understand what I said about the purchasing power. Our costs from Lesco are not that much higher than what Symbiot memebers are paying to make the $750 worthwhile. I don't use any of the other brands that they are parnters with. I have demoed a couple different JD mowers and they were junk. I don't care how big of a company they are, their mowers were junk. Maybe you didn't know this, but JD made their reputation in the agriculture industry, not in the landscaping industry. Just because someone is successful in one field does not automatically mean they are successful in another industry. Call it inadequate or whatever you want, but you can't dispute facts. I am basing my opinion on knowledge that I have received by using their equipment and also on someone elses experience with JD. Now is it OK for me to say they are junk?

    I have been in contact with Symbiot, several times over the past years, ever since they started 'advertising' for partners. Please don't tell me what I do and don't know about them. Unless you happen to know me personally, you have no idea what I do and don't know.

    I am also a member of a couple national associations and am fully aware that you get out what you put in. This goes back to my initial question. I will wait for your reply to the question before explaining myself more. I know what those associations can do for me and then make my judgement of joining based on those facts. So once again, please don't tell me what I do and don't know, unless you know me personally.

    Any chance you might reveal your real identity rather than just hiding behind a nickname? Always makes me suspicious, but that's just me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2005
  19. Notaplower

    Notaplower Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Response to Mark

    Mark, Symbiot was formed just like your company. Three reasons othewise known as the 3 P's in the business world. Profit-obviously something that we all desire. Prosperity-something that you would want to leave for your children. Protection-the idea and concept that all of us will have a secure economic future with whatever company we may be with. I hope that this answers your question. Symbiot does have alot of challenges but there are also many good things happening with this company just as happen with yours. It is interesting to read many of the comments about the "former" SMG- I can tell you from personal experience that if you want to know more about Symbiot, you can contact the CEO directly. Can we all say this about the Brickman Group or US Maintenance? I am not so sure that we can. Corporate Property Management Groups have their upside and their downsides-I cannot dispute that. The understanding of someone getting stung once is a reality but would you also never eat at McDonalds again if you had a bad hamburger? If you can state that you wouldn't then the program would not be for you. Symbiot doesn't take everyone that wants to be a partner. They are picky-and unless you are a viable company that they wish to partner with, you wont be a partner. Again, the proof will ultimately be in the future as to the success or failure of the company. There are over 1000 partners nationwide-although small, it does give a great basis for those out there that desire the type of contracts that Symbiot goes after. I highly doubt that you can know everything that there is to know about Symbiot especially if you have not talked with them in the past 6 or 8 months. Again, your points are well taken-just don't completely knock it until you have all the facts.
     
  20. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,853

    From my understanding it wasn't the 3 P's directly. It was formed by several large landscape companies that needed to compete with Landcare and\or Trugreen\Landcare-TruGreen USA. It was a coalition of these companies that wanted to be able to provide their customers with good services in areas where they were not. Therefore, they did not have to start up a satellite location and then gain more customers to make that location viable. There were no fees (that I know of), no different levels of partners, just these large companies banding together to compete against the others that sold out.

    It has since evolved greatly since that and it is probably a good deal for some. But for me, my costs at Lesco are not that much higher to pay for the 'membership' fee. I don't use Meyer or JD, because I believe from my experience that they are junk. Symbiot can not give me the opportunity to bid on squat around me because Target, McDonalds, etc, etc are either franchises or renting property or something similar. On top of that, the way most of the companies that Symbiot 'represents' are maintained in my area, i wouldn't want my name on those places. Most of them are dumps around here.

    I have some issues that they would bail someone out like SMG as well. The problems are not just growing too fast, despite what is being said publicly. The problem of not paying contractors has been around a lot longer than the last 2 years. This is just when it became very widely known.

    There is something that doens't make sense about the way Symbiot is going about their snow business as well. Last fall, a bank that we have provided services for over 40 years went with a management company. I gave the management company a price (the same price the bank was paying in the first place), the next day I get a call from somebody at Symbiot asking me to bid out these same properties. Huh? I figure whatever and give them the same prices I gave the management company. Basically the same specs. Next thing they are talking to me about becoming a partner, blah, blah, blah and how they tackon 5% or 10% depending on whether I am a partner, etc. I couldn't care less about what they add to it, my costs are the same no matter who I am billing for the work.

    Now the kicker, I am not a partner but there is a partner in our area. Why didn't they call him???????????????????????????????????????????????????

    I've spoke with Bruce Wilson before, he used a lot of the same methods we use to save money in the commercial market and still provide a high level of service, we just don't have the desire to get that big. He is very intelligent and a good businessman. From what I have heard about US Maintenance, I have no need or desire to talk with their CEO. Brickman isn't in my area so I don't need to talk with him either. If I wanted to, I probably could get to him because I think Brickman is an ALCA\Planet member. Not sure what being available really has to do with anything, though. If it means anything, a lot of the contractors that were owed money were in dorect contact with JAA before he was bailed out. I don't understand your point.

    Anyways, I need to get some work done so I can go to the Symposium and get something out of my membership there. If it matters to you about what I think about organizations and their worth to me, I am a Charter Member of SIMA. When I see a benefit, I invest.

    PS This is before they saved SMG (not merged, but saved) from going bankrupt.

    PPS I am quite sure that not much has changed in their offerings since then. I checked out the website again just to see if I was missing something, I determined that I am not and I don't have to pay someone to give me the opportunity to bid on something. I can do it for free. :nod: