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More best practices from Mark Carrico

February 4, 2011 -  By

Where do you have the most success in terms of bidding and profitability?

“The larger jobs that we bid are the most competitive. That’s probably because there aren’t that many really large properties in our region, not like in a larger metropolitan region anyway. It’s harder to match the low bids that we’re seeing on these large properties. We would have to back off of our numbers quite a bit to get some of these jobs. We do better on the smaller properties, the restaurants, hotels, smaller apartment complexes and similar properties. The good thing about these types of contracts is that if you lose one that, of course, we don’t like to do, it’s not such a big loss that we have to lay off somebody.

Do you offer snow and ice management?

Yes, we do snow plowing and we use sub-contractors in some areas. That’s income that we don’t budget because we can never know if we’re going to get snow or not. We’re in the Transition Zone so we’ve had winters where we barely had snow and winters with lots of snow, good winters. The first year I offered snow we had a storm that dumped 12 inches in Paducah and eight inches in Murray. You learn pretty quickly in those conditions. I didn’t know you could stack snow that high with a truck.

What do you like best about running your own business?

I work more hours than I did before getting into this profession, especially if I count the early mornings I spend preparing proposal and the evenings meeting with property owners, but the business gives me a certain amount of flexibility. And now that my wife is working with us and not in her previous job, her schedule has more flexibility, too. Now she can spend more time with our 10-year-old daughter who has gotten into playing softball.

About the Author:

Jacobs is a former editor-in-chief of Landscape Management.

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