How to win over a property manager.

This is a very interesting topic. Lawn care business owners are always looking for ways to land commercial lawn care bids. But what’s the best way to do it? There are many ways to go about getting close with property managers to win bids but there is nothing like hearing the inside scoop straight from a property manager himself. That is what we were lucky enough to hear in this discussion. A lawn care business owner had asked on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum this, “my question is how to get commercial properties? Everyone tells me I have to go to them, they won’t come to me. Before we get into this I would like to tell you about my business.

Lawn care property manager

Lawn care property manager

I started my lawn care business four or five years ago with about four accounts my first season and second season I got up to about ten. That’s all I had for the next two seasons. So for this season I advertised with signs and that got me up to about twenty five accounts give or take. I now moved up from a 21 in push mower to a 36 in commercial walk behind. What my question is, is that I would like to expand into commercial businesses in my area because all I’ve been doing is residential yards. I’m wondering when to start looking for these commercial properties for next season and how to land them?”

Great question and here is some insight shared with us from a property manager. He responded “Hello, I am a property manager of 2 million sq ft. I was reading this and thought I would throw in a few thoughts.

The company I work for prepares it’s budgets at the end of August beginning of September with final revisions in October. This is a little earlier than most, but not by much. Especially given today’s economy, we are looking at every expense harder than ever before. One of the differences I did this year in accepting bid’s/proposals was I wanted every item broken out. In the past I would ask for the total year number, number of cuts and what that number included. I put together a bid package outlining what I want, and then get the number as a whole. This year I wanted every service provided broken out, ala cart. I am tailoring the service to my budget and cutting costs where we can. I am looking at everything from irrigation maintenance to fertilizer and tree trimming, trying to find small amounts that can be cut to make a difference. However small. Maybe this year I will only trim the tree’s once and fertilize once instead of twice like last year. Not sure, but I need options right now.

I have met a lot of resistance from several contractor’s telling me not to cut back on fertilizer or other services, but the fact of the matter is that the budget is so tight and the property incomes are so greatly reduced, every dime I can squeeze out has an impact.

Those landscape contractors that I invited to bid this year tended to get my attention about 6 months ago. Maybe once a month sending me an email or brochure after a phone call. I actually throw out the ones that got overzealous, but that’s just me. I don’t need a call every week. Once a month is fine. I have a lot of other things going on, but again, that’s just me.

Insurance is a priority. I am in large scale commercial property management and all of my contractors are required to carry 2 million in insurance. We used to take 1 million, but now only 2 million is looked at.

I require terms also. Sorry, but my office, on average gets 100 invoices a day. We handle approx 10 million sq ft, so lots of things need to be paid. It’s just not possible for me to cut a check the same day or typically even a week to get someone paid. We require all contractors to be on a 30 day invoice. Obviously we are good sized and a lot of smaller companies can turn invoices around faster, but if you want our work, you have to meet the terms.

Lastly, and more than anything I looked at is references. I require, and call, references. Sorry, your brochure looks great, but I don’t know you from Adam, so I need to talk to people that do know your work.

One last thing I would throw out there for thought- this year has been bad for commercial real estate and the forecast for next year is to be much much worse. I would caution you that there are a lot of real estate companies out there on the verge of closing and are having a hard time paying their bills, and for that reason may be making a fast switch because the place needs to be maintained, but they didn’t have enough cash to pay the last guy. Just be wary of anyone making the “fast switch” right now. I am also seeing a lot of companies stretch those 30 day payment terms into 45-60 days.

Again, we are pretty good sized and I’m sure that’s not what everyone here had in mind about commercial, but I just thought I would try to contribute.”

What fantastic insights. Now that you know all this, you can take this information and use it to your advantage when trying to get the attention of a property manager.

How to win commercial lawn care jobs - GopherHaul 47 Lawn Care Business Tips Podcast

How to win commercial lawn care jobs - GopherHaul 47 Lawn Care Business Tips Show

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