Everyone has a different method on gaining commercial lawn care properties, but some methods work better than others. Some lawn care business owners tend to be stand offish when marketing to commercial properties. They may visit a location, hand their business card to a secretary at the first desk they see and then walk out. But to really get the most bang for your buck, you need to talk to the decision makers on the phone. That is what this lawn care business owner shared with us his secrets on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
He wrote “The best way to get commercial is to call the owner of the property, the property manager, or the store or office itself. You have to cold call these people. Find out who the management company is. If there is a vacancy in the building there may be a for lease sign, call them, ask them who you should talk to in regards to the landscape maintenance. Look for a real estate sign, they will know the owner. If you have a friend that is a realtor, they can help you look up the owner in the local tax record. From there you have to track down a phone number. You have to be able to call these people and speak confidently about the maintenance of their property. It would help to have some ‘item of interest’ to talk about. What I mean is some problem about the property that you noticed and can suggest the solution to.
Example: I noticed that on the west side of the building there is a long grass strip between the building and the street. The front section of that lawn is always soggy, in fact the lawn is thinning and moss is growing indicating that it is getting too much water. I thought maybe you had a broken sprinkler that your landscaper missed, but when I drove by early one day the sprinklers were on and there was no broken heads. The remainder of the lawn strip is not soggy and I believe that the shading from the building in that area is the cause. This can be rectified by changing the spray head nozzels to a lower GPM head that will spray less water in that area while the remainder of the lawn still recieves its normal amount. ‘I have those nozzels in my truck, I could change them out for you next time I’m out there if you want - No charge.’ If they say anything about the cost say ‘no problem, the nozzels I put on are the same price as the ones I’ll be removing. All I ask is that you consider my lawn care company next time you bid out your landscape maintenance.”
You have to get their attention with some ‘item of interest.’ No one thing works on all properties. You have to go to the site, check it out and look for something the owner or manager is having a problem with and offer a solution. Never do it in a way that puts down the current landscaper - that will go against you.
That is why I purchased a steam cleaner. If I notice a shopping center has poor maintenance and also noticed that the sidewalks are very dirty, I will cold called the owner and tell him I was interested in doing the landscape maintenance on his center. In the conversation I will mention that when I was out there I noticed the sidewalks were very dirty, was he interested in getting them cleaned as I offer this service for my regular clients but could do a one time clean up for him to help him out if he could not find anyone right away. If he agrees I then will clean the sidewalks and soon afterward I can bet you I will get the landscaping contract. At first I rented a steam cleaner for a while to offer this and then later I bought one. It really helps me get jobs!
Do you see any graffitti? Tell the owner you will paint over it for a fee. I usually say someting like ‘I specialize in commercial landscape maintenance in this area and I am constantly out checking out the properties I maintain and I noticed your building got tagged with graffitti about 3 weeks ago and then got tagged again last night.’ They’ll ask where did it get tagged etc (you can offer to take digital pics and email them if they would like for no charge. Then say ‘do you have someone checking your building for graffitti on a regular basis? This is something I offer all my commercial clients no charge. When we see graffitti we take a picture of it then paint over it right away for a small fee.’
You want to make the point that you take personal pride in your work and also in the property itself.
After making phone contact I will ask for the mailing address to send my card and information on my company for their future use, when they are interested in bidding the job. Then I will also send a professional brochure. Even if you are just starting out, a brochure can make you look like your professional.”