Having the proper commercial liability insurance is an important step in taking on commercial lawn care customers but there is more to it than that if you want to land these contracts and keep everyone happy. It is fairly simple to know what amount of liability insurance you will need, simply ask them. Follow their requirements and you will pave a path to successfully gaining a new contract. But once you get it, you need to do more than the bare minimum. Let’s take a look into this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and see how lawn care bids are won and lost.
One new lawn care business owner asked “I want to put a few bids in on some apartment complex’s just wondering if I need insurance and what type if any?”
A second lawn care business owner answered “If you’re mowing any property, whether it commercial or residential you should have liability insurance. It’s not a matter of IF you need liability insurance, it’s a matter of how much. You need to have insurance if you are working on someone’s property. The other thing, is that it’s cheap to get! Most commercial lawn care customers won’t even allow you on the property until they get a COI, which is a certificate of insurance.
Right now I have lawn care contracts with seven apartments and my liability limit is $300,000.00. The reason I went with this figure was that was the minimum limit required to bid on the jobs. I am however, looking to moving it up to $1 million dollars in the near future as I am hearing talk they will soon be requiring this on future contracts. So far I have been able to keep almost all of my lawn care contracts over the past few years but when they call, I JUMP and I JUMP fast to respond and I always do more than asked of me.
As an example, I got a call from one of the property managers to meet them at the apartment to look at cutting some trees limbs. I got right on it. About 30 minutes I get another call from them asking me if I would mind scooping up the poop and toilet paper that was on the ground due to a backed up apartment that had been fixed. Yep, I got my tools out and went to work and took care of it for them.
Here is a story about how I learned of the importance of responding quickly and accurately to problems. Last year I lost a mowing contract for an apartment complex due to a strange situation.
From what I can figure out, one of the residents planted some trash behind a bush and then called the association to complain about it. In response, I sent someone out and they couldn’t find anything. So next, the resident took a picture of the of trash and uploaded it to a complaint site, and emailed it to the management company and me. This time, I sent a couple of guys out and they still couldn’t find it. After a while we did finally find this small amount of trash after receiving a very detailed location of it. But by this point, the damage had been done.
I suspect the property management company just wanted a reason to shop for a new lawn care contract, or what ever reason and out next bid at the end of the season wasn’t even considered.
So the lesson learned from all this was if you want to land commercial mowing contracts, you have to know their requirements. read through their contract. Know what they want in their bid. Make sure you have the proper tools and insurance to meet their requirements. But above all, you have too keep the customer happy. Be responsive to their calls and don’t let issues just flail on and on. Get problems corrected quickly and don’t give the management company or any of the residents a reason to focus their negative attention on you. Once this does happen, it can be very difficult if not impossible to turn it all around.”
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