Mowing at big chain stores.

You have mowed your share of residential properties. Then you found yourself taking on commercial properties. Wouldn’t the big box stores be the next logical step? Wouldn’t they be the best payers and the customers you would want to grow your lawn care business to the next level? This is a topic we look into from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. In this talk we learn a lot more from landscapers who have been in the trenches, dealing with nationwide customers.

One new lawn care business owner asked “I already have commercial lawn care accounts, HOA’s, dentist offices and places like that. But I have always been curious on how to get in contact with big chain stores such as Walmart, CVS drugstore and places like that. I’m familiar with getting in touch with property mangers and have been successful in doing so, but I am just curious if getting big box stores is similar to that? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.”

A second lawn care business owner replied “I have been contacted to do shopping malls, Home Depots, Walmarts, for landscaping and snow removal.

There are national companies that bid on these jobs. Then they will contact local companies to put in a bid to them. They take your bid and add their own fee to it. From my experience, they do this before they even land the account. So they’ll waste your time bidding on a property they don’t even have.

It makes completely no sense to me. The store managers could just take bids directly from local contractors and not pay the extra money to some middle man, but this is what they like to do.

On top of all that, these property management companies, are famous for not paying for up to 5 months and calling you out to the site for the smallest things.”

A third shared “I do all commercial landscaping work. I used to service big box stores and retail at high visible locations and I can tell you from experience that stores like Walmart and big chains suck with a capital SUCK.

First off, fast food places deal with tons of trash and with the drive thru’s where most of the crap accumulates. This is because customers dump out their garbage from their car from the last stop they made.
I can not tell you how many Burger King cups I have found in a Dunkin Donuts drive thru. Plus when you are blowing and during leaf season, whenever you are working in the drive thru lane, you have to stop when a car comes, so the people can talk. While their windows are open, you have to be sure you don’t dust them out. When the big lines form, you are sitting there waiting and waiting before you can get to work.

Second, places at anything you would consider a big box store, people actually leave the containers they bought the item in in the parking lot. For example, at when they have a big sale on big screen tv’s you can rest assure that there will be several of those big tv boxes in the parking lot each day of the big sale. The reason being is that some people are just litterbugs and some do it out of necessity because they can not get the tv in the car without taking it out of the box.

Third, all these places because they are big and have so many locations all use the same property management company and they don’t pay much.

When I mowed the lawns on these types of locations I was more of a garbage collector than I was a landscaper. Two to three guys would have to do litter patrol before you could even mow the place and they don’t pay you for the disposal. On top of all that, places like Walmart or Costco or any big chains, the dumpsters are usually inside or at least the only access to them is from the inside because they all use compactors and they are all locked up tighter then a drum.

If you want more commercial work, I would target the big corporate complexes and corporate headquarters. They pay the best and they want the premium service because it is the corporate HQ.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.ā€¯

If you need help estimating lawn care or snow plowing jobs, get these lawn care and snow plowing estimation calculators.

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