Mowing foreclosured properties and dealing with banks.

In many areas of the country, there are still high levels of property foreclosures and money to be made with them if you take your time to investigate the job. Look too desperate for work and take any job that comes your way and there is a good chance you may never see any payment. Meeting with a contact person and discussing what is expected from you can greatly improve your chances of finding success. Let’s take a look at some foreclosure experiences that were shared in a discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I see a lot of properties for sale in my area that have been foreclosed on and are being resold by the bank, but are not being kept up at all. Anyone have any insight into how I can pitch myself to the banks for lawn care, and maybe even some easy installs? Is it worth it to pursue?”

A second lawn care business owner said “I’ve done these for the last year and 1/2 (lawn/snow). My advice would be to keep on going! They have become very difficult to work with and the prices seem to keep dropping as they want more and more work from you. Also they are Very hard on your equipment because you never know what your going to run over. They only want the lawn mowed bi-weekly period. The government owns the vast majority of them and the banks simply handle the money. Good luck if you do pursue, hope I didn’t ruin your day.”

A third shared “I have had mixed luck myself. I take care a few properties for a local bank and they are a dream to work with. On the other hand I turned down some work for a bank out west who wanted dozens of pictures taken and lots of other hoops for me to jump through. It all depends. You just need to be picky about the accounts you choose and the clients you work with.

As far as how did I get the accounts, they actually found me via my website. I have first page listing on google and bing for my city along with pay per click advertising.”

A fourth said “I deal with a lot of foreclosures and I mean lots. Last summer a guy went into our local ace hardware store and asked if there were any lawn care companies in the area and they gave him my card he called me. I went to meet him as he had a foreclosed property. I gave him a bid on mowing his grass as it was about 4 foot tall. I did the job, sent him a invoice, and within a month he paid me well. That started the ball rolling and yes we had to take before and after pics. He invited me to do about 10 more houses in Las Vegas (this area has the highest foreclosures in the nation and highest unemployment at over 15 %).

Since then, we have been real busy. Even tomorrow I am mowing another 10 foreclosed houses. We also clean the inside of the houses. This contact of mine even called me today and said they have 190 more houses to check on this week and usually about 10% have to be mowed.

I also have 3 other company we work with. They call us for the foreclosure work in the area. The last big one we did was on Saturday where we did one for $200 and the guy paid me that day with his credit card. About 25% of my business now is mowing foreclosure properties. In fact we been so busy with foreclosure properties I even went out and bought another trailer for the business. So now we have 2 trucks, 2 trailers, and 2 crews.

In most cases, these owners lost big in the housing market and now they’re getting code enforcement letters stating they should make the place presentable or the city will do it and charge them a crazy amount.

Some of them are just looking to shift their expenses to you and me and I have no doubt that many of them would have no problem screwing you over for a few bucks. However if they make the effort to meet you at the property and they’re from the area, there is a much better chance you’ll get your money. So be smart and look for the same warning signs you would when dealing with any other customer. If the situation feels wrong, pass on the job.”

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