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Growing my business

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by ADBsnowremoval, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. ADBsnowremoval

    ADBsnowremoval Member
    Messages: 43

    Hey all this is only my 2nd post. We are a family owned and operated concrete and commercial snow plowing company in the chicagoland area. We have been in the business since 1971 and have a great reputation. We have some of our original lots that we have been plowing since the early 70's along with others picked up along the way. One could almost say we have about a 95% or greater retention rate in the past 15 years. We are at a point now that we have been trying to get in with some management companies but are unable to even get a call or email back. Does anyone know how or where I would be able to meet these people and get some face time if not some phone time? I have sent out mail fliers specific to the business parks that we service, have been able to get our website posted in the sponsor links on google for our area, but still dont get the calls that you all seem to be getting. Where do I go from here?

    The few contacts that have asked for new bids this year all said that we where overpriced. These low ballers are really messing things up. How is a good, reputable company to grow and create new jobs? Frankly this is starting to piss me off. We have a huge company in Elgin that is supposedly even slashing prices now. What could these bigger companies possibly be charging per hour on their big front loaders? With such big equipment how do they even afford to lower prices.
  2. B.Bells

    B.Bells Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    im in the same boat, would love to help but i ask myself these questions everyday. Just hold your ground and see what takes.
  3. Mick

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

    My advise would be to not pursue the snow maintenance management companies (I am very serious.). Their strategy is to get the work for less than is being paid now (ie: getting WalMart by telling WalMart they'll save 30%). Now the management co has to make a profit, too, so they'll offer someone about 40% of what that someone was paid last winter for the same lot. Example (simplified numbers):

    Paid last winter - $100
    Pd this winter to save 30% - $70
    Paid to contractor this yr - $40 (40% of last yr)
    left to pay management co expenses and profit - $30

    Now - do you still want to work for them for $40 or go out and find your own for $70 or even $100?
  4. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    2nd what Mick said. Just go out to the individual lots you want to plow and contact them. It might be getting late in the season, but some might still need service.

    Good Luck
  5. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    I don't thing he meant USM, or those kind of management companies, think he meant more like actual property managers. My advice is analyze each account you have and see what kind of margins you have, say you want make a 50%GPM, if you're you're at 65% and you want to keep the work you could come down a little bit and still be happy. Never before would I have said go backwards, I'd say theirs more work down the street, but with all the lowballers there really isn't. Retention is key and if you and I struggling so are our clients. Concessions made now without starving or lowballing may lead to excellent loyalty when times are better. As to your question about property managers, try networking groups like BNI, I'm not selling it as I'm not a member(went to a few mtgs for a friend) or even better look into associations like BOMA, they have excellent networking oppurunities, I believe BOMA is a national association, but even if not check out their website and see what they're about and find something local that's similar.
  6. Mick

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

    Rereading the original post - I think you're right. Could it be that the management companies you're trying to contact have already contracted with a management company like USM? Maybe that's why they're not responding to your queries. The more locations the property management companies have, the more likely they're already contracted. This, unfortunately, is the way of the future and some snow companies will need to restructure their business model.
  7. kolkie05

    kolkie05 Senior Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 114

    I agree with what the guys are saying just focus on other accounts. I'll give you a example being a Chicago guy too. I had two property management companies I was quoting for this year, one I had a friend that worked there and the other called me off a simple mailer.

    The one who I had a friend at didn't even call me to bid the properties and that's with a friend there! The other sent me around on a wile goose chase to several properties each time telling me my bids were the best. Two weeks ago I called to follow up and he told me several b/s stories on why they decided to stay with another company.

    My point to you is it's not worth it you spend all your time bidding these places and they give you the run around anyway. Personally I think they use guy's like us to test the market and see what they can do to lower they're current companies price.

    And it's true low ballers are killing this year I had to lower my price more than I wanted just to land a couple of condo assc. But like they said earlier hopefully my kindness will be rewarded in the future.
  8. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    unfortunately this is going to be the year of the lowballer, if you are serious about getting in with those property managemnet companies, you are going to have to kiss some serious @ss, unfortunately. Stoke some egos, get in with the condos too, do you have friends on the board? Make some. keep this in mind, the management companies you are talking to, have contractors they have been dealing with for many years, and those condos, like the work that contractor is doing, so you are competing with a reputation. Another thought, approach brand new condo complexes, they may not have a property management company yet, and when they do, if they like you, they well let the management company know. we have a management company we have dealt with for 5 years now, they have 8 condos, and every year people submit prices, and every year the same contractor does them,why, because the condo boards are happy with those contractors.
  9. ADBsnowremoval

    ADBsnowremoval Member
    Messages: 43

    Thanks for all the advice. I am not looking to work for a USM or any other sort of company. We are our own company that has our own shopping centers and so on. How anyone would be able to work for what I call chump change is beyond me. If I wanted to do a $40.00 job I would get into driveways. I think some of you are right on both sides though. Lowering a price a little may get you in the door with hopes of it going great in the future, but we all know that you cannot live on hoping things go great. I think I am going to stick with my pricing as it is. My equipment is all paid for, and any other growth in new equipment will be under our normal pricing. :)
  10. naturalgreen

    naturalgreen Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    i am sticking with my prices. I agree it is low ballerheaven. But they will suck and do a crap job and call us. hopefully we will be full by then and tell them to wait.