Trying to get commercial lawn care customers for your ego?

People do strange things at times because they think certain things are ‘in’ or ‘out’. If they think something is ‘in’ or cool, they may pay more for something than they would normally pay to get what ever it is they want. This applies to cars, shoes, and even the type of customers a lawn care business might try to acquire. Let’s take a deeper look into this topic that was brought up on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I just wanted to bring up a conversation about commercial vs residential lawn care customers.

Do most of you find having commercial lawn care accounts to be a ego thing? It seems most will do whatever they can do to get commercial accounts. Around here that even means losing money. In my area there are sooo many mowing companies going for the commercial at whatever cost. I find that most of the commercials customers around here go strictly with the lowest bid. They are not concerned with anything about your service, or what may set you apart from the rest. Just the bottom dollar. I am not saying I don’t do commercial, I do have some very good commercial accounts. But in general they seem to be more of a pain than my residential customers.

Sure it may take more residential to get to that same dollar amount, but it seems I can make almost double per hour on residential accounts than what the commercials go for. I will not lose money on ANY job, just to say I have a commercial mowing account. I just usually tell them: ‘next season when the guy you hired has all broken down lawn care equipment and no money to replace it; call me and  I’ll be here.’

What does everyone else think? Does this seem to be the norm everywhere? Are all the new guys thinking they must undercut commercial pricing to make them feel like a legitimate company? WHY?”

A second lawn care business owner said “I think you bring up an interesting point. I concentrate on residential lawn care customers, partially because I enjoy the work more than I do commercial. Where I operate, there are a few companies, and they have all concentrated on commercial accounts to the point that the business owners asking for bids do exactly what you said …. take the lowest bid. I too have found that I can make more money per hour mowing residential customers than commercial.

Personally, I also feel more rewarded when the little old lady says she doesn’t know what she would do without me, or offers cookies, pies or whatever they made as a gesture of thanks. Not to mention that they brag about the level of service I provide to their friends and neighbors. I pick up more accounts from referrals than any other single lawn care marketing method.

That being said I do have the odd commercial account, yet everyone of them is only because I look after their residential property as well. I am willing to sit back, take on all the residential mowing accounts I can handle and let the other guys fight it out for commercial territory.”

A third added “I personally tend to stay clear of commercial accounts. We have a few of them but very few. Being a small operation, payment is critical and I know from experience the commercial cust0mers they are slow to pay. I also know the mentality seems to be always wanting something for nothing.

One of my largest residential customers is also a property manager. He asked me to look at 20+ properties last year for him. Before I even quoted on the job, because I have known him a long time, I asked what they were paying for each and he gave me the proposal. He wanted to switch as they were not happy with the service, but I said to him for what you are paying, that is already less than I could do for the type of work they are doing. He said they didn’t want to put a lot of money into the property so I simply passed. Now his home is a different story, he forks out pretty big bucks to make it look really nice.

Our city have a few really big lawn care companies, three come to mind and the gear they have is a very big investment. I have found a balance as I don’t like to keep all my eggs in one basket. Meaning I prefer to offer a variety of services and lawn mowing is at the bottom of the list simply due to it’s profit per hour. We will still do it if the price is right however the other services we offer is where the better money is in my experience.”

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