I was recently asked how to go about getting commercial contracts for my lawn care business, by a listener of the podcast. I responded by doing a entire episode of the podcast entitled (Episode 068 – How to get commercial contracts) answering their question and offering up suggestions. After recording the episode I thought to myself that even though I don’t personally like doing commercial work, that others may find this information helpful and I should also write a blog post summarizing the podcast episode.
Commercial work varies to residential in many ways. One of the most notable is the fact that with commercial work you have to be proactive and do the leg work to go out and find the right people to introduce your company to. These are the property managers or board members of the local HOA’s. This differs from residential work where its usually the customer that is seeking you out. If you are just starting out and you don’t know where to begin I put together a few tips to get you in the right direction.
- Start off with your website. Make sure that you include relevant information pertaining to commercial work on your website. For example make sure that you list that your company does commercial work. You will also want to state that you are properly licensed and fully insured and that your employees are covered by any mandatory governmental requirements such as WCB (workers compensation board) in case a employee gets hurt and needs to take paid time off to recover.
- Second you will want to prepare a introduction letter you can use to email to potential prospects and hand out to those you meet in person. You can also attach a copy to your bid proposals later on like a cover letter. The next step would be to google and look up property managers in your area. You can then email them your introduction letter to tell them about your company, your experience, your insurance, etc and that you would like the opportunity to submit a bid proposal to them the next time they require a landscaper. This may not get you work right away but will at least get you on the radar of the decision makers for the types of properties you are looking to maintain.
Once you have completed the above steps you can begin to focus on the most important step, and that is networking, networking, networking! Sometimes also known as SCHMOOZING!
- Start with your friends and family. Think about where they work and ask them if they have seen landscapers during work and if they know or can introduce you to the boss, or property owner.
- Next start to extend past your close friends and family to other people you interact with on a daily basis. For example the next time you visit your doctor, why not ask if he can put you in touch with the property manager for the building that his or her medical office is operating out of.
- Think about all the other people you interact with. Try your veterinarian, the gym you work out at, the manager at the grocery store you visit etc.
I like many others have children who participate in after school sports, and I spend a lot of time on the sidelines each week hanging out during games and practices with many of my children teammates parents. This is a great example of a opportunity to build relationships that you can leverage in the future. As you build friendships, ask what they do for a living and if they know who you could contact for the landscape maintenance.
- Join the local chamber of commerce and attend their monthly meetings. This is a gathering of local business owners that discuss local happenings and provide time for networking, its a great place to find local commercial property owners all in the same room, and to introduce yourself and your business and start to build those relashonships.
As you can see there are opportunities all around you, and networking is the most important skill you can use to build relationships you can leverage in your favour to build a list of commercial client contracts. I will end with a famous quote “your net worth is equal to your network”
Did I leave something off the list? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share what works for you. Also if you found value in this blog post, why not share it with your friends.