Lost my first large commercial contract!

Talk about a bummer day man. I have a contract for a really large commercial real estate company, had 11 buildings, 4 of which were really big. Just got an email today telling me that they decided to go with a larger company! Talk about feeling like you got fired! Did nothing wrong at all, in fact they said I can keep the 4 small contracts but the bigger ones they gave to someone else, these guys have 10 workers with 3 poles.

Dont understand it really, they even told me that with my 3 man crew I finished one of the jobs in a day less than the 10 man crew. This sucks.

Has anyone else lost contracts like that?

That’s odd for sure. There has to be more to it than that though.:confused:
I’d wonder if the bigger company shot them a dirt cheap price to keep their guys working.

Bummer bro! Sorry to hear it.


I lost my best home owner association last spring, after 5 years of service (33 homes that could be done in 32 hours that paid really big). Bent over backwards for these folks but two complainers on the board got me bumped. Do you know the decision-maker for this account? Can you ask why you got dropped?

I was able to ask and find out the answer, and b/c of that, I ultimately won back the contract.

It’s never too late!

Sorry to hear it man. Try and get it back in the spring.

You have to try and get the contract back after they clean once or twice. Do not stop trying. There will come a time when the other company will screw up. It’s very hard to have a 10 man operation runing day to day smoothly. There is always something that is going to pop up and workers slack. If they keep screwing up, price is going to fall by the wayside. Look at the brightside of this. They did not toss you out completely. YOU DO NOT WANT TO LOSE CONTACT WITH THEM. It’s your perfect in. It could be worse, they could have totally tossed you. If the other company gets them to change the date of service then it makes it even harder to get the client back. Because even though you know they need the service, you’re not sure when they need it. If their not thinking about the service in June (I take it, it’s once per year cleaning) because they were serviced in March, then you need to catch them in Febuary. That sucks waiting that long to have a reason to rebuild a relationship. They’re still going to pay you for work so think positive always.

No, actually that was it. It all happened after a big job that they gave me a deadline of 3 1/2 days for. I had 4 guys on it and couldnt get it complete because we were waiting for the CCU to be done by the construction crew.
The head maintenance engineer, said he didnt think we could handle the scope of work and really didnt want to hear anything else. I told him about all the problems that his people was making for us, there were no water tie ins on the whole east side of the building which limited us to only one pole on that side. The winds were too strong too, yet they demanded we finish before that deadline.
The previous company was actually higher than me. But they have had the contracts for the last 6 years and I won the bid this year around. They gave me a shot, and the guy actually made a comment about me not having enough guys to complete the job.

No, these were quarterly cleans, and man were they GREAT money. I will try to keep the lines of communication open, I cleaned the decision makers house for free! So, I dont think it was her call, I think it was the maintenance engineer. This guy has no time for nobody. So, I will continue on with what I have…problem is, I priced these smaller ones so low, because it was a package deal. Not sure if I can renegotiate, and right now, I cant afford to lose the others if they dont like the new terms. Its rainy season, and I took commercial because they keep me working even in the rain. So, I will just have to sleep on it and come up with some ideas to keep the rodeo rockin.

Hey man sorry to hear about that. I hope everything works out for you. I remember you posting about the trouble you was having with that project. Man that sucks. You busted your ass. Keep your head up though something else will come about. I have always heard that when one door closes another one opens so stick in there. :slight_smile:

Brutal! Losing a guarantee cash flow contract sux! When we purchased this biz, we lost clients right away. Said they’d only let the old owner do their windows…Funny thing is, 75% of our clients we have, really disliked him anyways and were glad we took it over.:confused:

I feel your pain. We lost 2 sweet gigs this year due to the economy (that was their reason). One of the buildings was on a twice a year schedule. We cleaned it this Spring and the company sent me a letter that said they didnt authorize the cleaning. I was sweating it but they finally sent in payment with a letter that said to discontinue the service indefinately. Cleaned for them for over 9 years. Kinda sad but there was a ton of office space open in the buildings we cleaned.

As for your situation Tory, I would make a guess that A) the other company approached them with a deal that was so cheap they couldnt pass it up or B). Someone on the inside got a friend in on the action. Thats my guess.

Well, I got a reply from the boss lady and I was right about the maintenance engineer. This is what she said:

Paul and I found that we were spending too much time managing the window washing on the larger sites and Elite does not have the manpower to complete the jobs in the same number of days as with previous crews we’ve worked with.

With regard to the pressure washing, we need a vendor with the heavy duty commercial equipment for our periodic cleanings. Thanks for your understanding.


This is all due to the big job that had the deadline I didnt make because of them. There ARE things that I should have done before hand. I should have known about the water tie ins and let them know before I even started. I should have gotton 2 or 3 more guys just in case. This was just a bad job period. Bad weather, CCu that was not done before hand…next time I will know to be ready to handle whatever comes my way.

This was a very expensive lesson to learn my friends. I was getting 22,000 a year from them, now its about 8000. Big loss for sure. My goals for 2010 have changed slightly. I will be marketing like crazy in the next few months and be able to land as much as possible so I can hire some more people. It will all go out to bid next August. I know the lady likes me, but the other guy…I really got to get my act together.

I seen how the other company works. They ARE good, but really really slow (each person). Everyone I have on the jobs all have their own companies and are all professionals (except for my one guy who was phenominal on that job) so if I had 5 guys that I trained, we would blow this company out of the water hands down.

This was NOT the time for this either. I had all 4 of those building scheduled for January (historically a bad month for me) with glass restoration…and was looking to make about 23000 just on those alone!

Tory, sorry to hear about your luck, I hope it all works out for you. My top customer for the past few years discontiued service w/me a couple years ago- to save money i think, but ended up calling me back a year later, I raised their price and theyve been my best customer since then,so hang in there. Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Thank you. Encouraging to hear I wasnt the only one it has happened to. I will be ready when it go’s out to bid again.

Sounds like Paul was friends with the previous company.

Let Jenny know that you feel you’re just as productive as the other company. Having fewer employee’s standing around allows your company to work much more effectively while maintaining a high standard of quality. Your company consist of professionals, not simply employees paid by the hour. Would they rather a company of 4 highly trained and experienced workers or 50 employees?

Baby the remaining work you have with this company. Keep your name in front of them. Inform them that when work isn’t happening when they need it to, that you’re their to help.

On the brighter side, take this extra time and devote it to finding new clients with more money! :slight_smile:

There U go

Thanx Micah,
Yeah, I think it was Paul being friends with the other company too. When I got that email- man, I was really bummed out. It was like I was being fired! You remember that feeling? Like…"what did I do?"

Windowwarsher nailed it.

When I’ve lost biggies it’s typically due to one of the two reasons he gave. As posted previously in another thread, commercials tend to be a lot more competitive, concerning pricing, especially in the current economy. Many of my bread 'n butter contracts cancelled service year before last when the economy first showed signs of slumping. Even while the local economy was still good, corporate HQ decided it was time to trim the fat. This actually contributed to the local recession. Cause and effect, a snowball, kneejerk reaction.

Or ww’s B) option. There very well could’ve been some inside action from lower down the ladder. The execs generally don’t have time to worry about maintenance problems, so delegate them farther down.

When this happens to me, I identify whatever the potential problems might have been, determine if I can present viable solutions in the future, and get ahold of my designated contact, the one as far up the proverbial ladder as possible, telling them I enjoyed serving them and making sure they have my business card for future reference should the current company prove to be problematic, and thank them.

I prefer not to hound them, so to speak, as it can come across as desperate and unprofessional, instead turning my attention to filling the holes in the schedule with some marketing and soliciting.

Many, many times this patient approach gets me the customer back within a year’s time, and once that happens they are then loyal for life.

Yeah that sucks man. Sorry to hear that. I have lost big contracts, but never for a lame excuse like that. Performance or price I can handle hearing but size is a load of crap. I did hear one of my compititors who called complaining about FISH hacking all of his accounts lost one of his because his guys did not wear matching uniforms. That was lame too because it wasnt about price or service. He could have bought matching shirts or shorts or whatever they wanted to see. Sorry again. I would fight for it back though. Tell him you hired 12 more guys but you put them on unemployment for now until you can provide them some more work.

Your advice to Tory is to lie?