With the economy slowing, more and more homes are being foreclosed upon. As they sit there uninhabited, someone has to maintain them or they will fall into disrepair. Mowing foreclosed homes is easy work. There is no homeowner to complain about the job and it gives you a chance to make first contact with the new homeowner when they move in.
This is exactly what our friend jim is doing. In fact, it’s how he got his start in lawn care. He wrote “I’m Just starting my lawn care service and to be honest a little nervous. I got here by accident. After being a real estate
agent for several years my business was killed with the housing crunch, so I went back to driving truck. I drove truck most of my life, I did network marketing, and then was offered a business cleaning up bank owned homes.
Well after you clean them up you get the lawn service 2 cuts a month for $100.00. I have 17 homes, so I decided to expand it to regular homes.”
Steve: “What advice do you have for lawn care business owners who are looking to get into the business of cleaning up bank owned homes? How can they get their start and are there any hints you learned or downsides to it?”
Jim: “I got into cleaning up bank owned homes by accident, I had a friend doing it and he needed some help just cleaning the house ( I had a cleaning company 10 years ago). After I started cleaning some of his home I spoke to a real estate agent I knew that was selling REO’s (bank owned homes). She refereed me to a company called Singlesource. When I called them, they asked if I could give them a bid to do everything, clean out the trash, clean the house and do an initial lawn cut. My real estate friend gave me some average bid numbers for this area and included in all bids is lawn service. The companies that handle most properties are called preservation companies, and most are nation wide, SafeGuard is a huge one. I haven’t been getting too many bids lately I went from 2 to 3 a week to 1 every two weeks. This part of California has a ton of people doing this. The preservation companies have web pages to fill out vendor applications. Safegaurd.com is one. Another good way is to look at the signs on bank owned homes and call the agent that has a lot of these properties and ask them if they are getting good service, they deal directly with the bank sometimes. There is competition in bidding. Bid too low and you don’t make enough. Bid to high and you don’t get the job. The worst thing about all this is I figure it will phase out over the next year!!! That is why I’m going for regular homes.”
Great advice if you are looking to expand into providing service on bank owned properties. Remember, once you get one property in a newer area, make sure you reach out to the neighbors with your door hangers and flyers to help expand your route. Maybe use a lawn sign in the front of the property as well. This one property could become your beachhead in your marketing attack to help you expand out farther and farther. If you would like to join in on this discussion further, visit the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum here.