As the owner of a landscaping business, you know that it’s important to keep your client list full and growing. You want to consistently add projects to your schedule.
Oftentimes, acquiring each landscaping project means submitting a successful bid.
But even for seasoned professionals, bidding and winning landscaping projects can be challenging. For that reason, this guide will walk you through what it takes to win more landscaping jobs and keep your deal flow up. Let’s do this.
3 steps when bidding on landscaping jobs
The art of winning landscaping bids into a few easy steps:
- Build your reputation to find the right clients
- Price your services
- Understand your costs
- Delivering a perfect bid & repeat
The sections below will cover each in detail, setting you up to bid and win your next project in flying colors.
Key elements of a landscaping bid
Before we dive into step 1, it’s important to understand two key aspects of a bid. For any kind of contractor or landscaping company, a bid has two parts:
- A proposition for the work you’ll perform
- A price at which you’ll do it
The proposition depends heavily on your reputation. As your landscaping company grows, its reputation will precede it. But early on, you need to build it. And that means delivering quality service, job after job.
Build your reputation and network
For any business, your reputation is often what opens the door to each potential client. Word of mouth advertising is your best friend and it’s free! But you first need to build up a client base who can vouch for your skills and services. To help find more clients and build your reviews, consider:
- Local print ads
- Digital marketing – focus on your local market
- Build a website
- Print business cards
- Offer a friends & family or refer a friend discount
How to set the right price for your landscaping services
The other side of the bid, aside from your promised work, is your client’s budget. Any professional bidding for work needs to make sure the prices they offer are high enough to turn a profit while also being affordable enough to attract customers. What you need to establish is efficiency. In other words, you need to have a deep understanding of:
- Your own operating costs (equipment and crew)
- Your client’s budget
- The requirements of the job
While the first of these is relatively stable, the second and third can vary widely. Your own costs form the basis of your overall pricing, but the specifics of a given landscape job ultimately determine how much your client pays out of pocket.
Breaking down your costs
The kinds of costs you need to consider when pricing a landscaping job fall into the following categories:
Labor costs – Will you be using additional workers? If so, will they be specialized or general laborers? How many people do you need on your crew?
Materials – What’s needed to get the job done? Is the client providing any materials, or are you providing these yourself? Consider:
- Tools and equipment like lawnmowers, hoses, pruning shears, etc.
- Materials like dirt, stones, mulch, etc.
Synergies – Does the potential contract synergize with other landscaping projects in the pipeline? Consider:
- Physical proximity to your headquarters or other job sites
- Shared materials with other (nearby) jobs
Deals – If you think you can facilitate future contracts or consistent landscaping work with prices lower than your normal rates, you should consider:
- Waiving or bundling costs
- Offering limited-time promotions
- Providing loyalty rates for high-volume clients
Type of pricing – Does it make more sense to price the job by the hour, or to give a fixed rate for the entire bid?
- Hourly rates can offer more flexibility for your client
- Fixed rates can offer your client more peace of mind
Other costs – Finally, factor in any other costs, like taxes, fees, and insurance.
Thimble’s Landscaping Insurance, customized to the hour, day, or month, is a great way to keep costs down.
And, one of the most important factors of cost is what kind of landscaping work you’re doing for the client.
Landscaping insurance: A cost you can’t skip
As a landscaper, you always want to have insurance in place. This safeguards your business’ finances should a mishap occur. When it comes to your bid, being able to produce a Certificate of Insurance is one more selling point. It tells your prospective client that you’re professional and prepared.
For instance, landscaping insurance can help protect you from third-party claims of:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Personal and advertising injury
It also puts your clients’ minds at ease knowing that, should something go wrong on the job, your policy will help cover them.
How to price different kinds of landscaping jobs
It’s important to understand the differences between costs incurred by various landscaping jobs. For example, you might set different prices for just mulching or lawn care:
How to price mulching jobs:
Mulching is an isolated task typically performed infrequently, so it makes sense to price it using factors like square footage of area mulched, materials, and either hourly or project-based labor.
How to price lawn care jobs:
A more holistic lawn care service involving several aspects (planting, mowing, irrigation, etc.) might take the course of several months or years. It could be billed per-appointment, or on a daily, weekly, or monthly cycle.
These prices would likely be lower than a bid for building a whole garden, but they might be higher than planting a tree or installing a large planter.
How to bid on commercial landscaping jobs:
Pitching to a commercial client is different than having a conversation with a neighbor. To begin with, word of mouth may not be enough to land commercial jobs. While businesses may have a sense of your reputation, you will likely need to showcase your work. This is why it’s important that you create a portfolio!
Doing so will allow you to provide examples of previous jobs, including pictures, videos, and testimonials of the work you’ve performed.
In terms of pricing, whereas you might find yourself giving private clients ballpark estimates, businesses often require detailed, itemized quotes. As a general practice, being able to itemize your invoice or contract for any client is a great way to put your most professional foot forward.
No matter the job, understanding the factors that influence pricing is the only way you’ll be able to price your bids perfectly.
Water & grow your business
Once you know your price and have your referrals to support your work, your bid should be easy to build. Remember, you’ll want to deliver the information to your clients in a way that’s convenient for them, whether in person and a physical document, or over digitally. Make sure to understand how they want bide delivered.
Another way to help your client make the right choice (you) is to ensure their financial safety knowing you’re protected business insurance.
Hopefully with everything above, you’re well on your way to bidding more landscaping projects, winning them, and providing an excellent service.
Market your services, price your bids with careful consideration, deliver them in a way that’s convenient to the client, and, just like the lawns you return to, watch as your landscape business grows.