Chances are when you’re looking for a professional landscaping company to service your commercial property, you have a few choices. So, like a smart shopper, you contact a few and ask for commercial landscape maintenance bids. How much would they charge to take care of your commercial landscaping service needs?
Then, your fun begins. Except, it’s not necessarily fun.
Turns out, you’re not exactly comparing apples to apples here. Or, should we say, mulches to mulches.
There might be considerable price differences that puzzle you. One bid might outline the services in detail, another might be fuzzier.
Comparing bids is tricky. We have a few pro tips to help you through the process.
Note: You’ll need to go beyond the written bids and ask some detailed questions. The extra effort is worth it. It isn’t just your flower beds at stake here. It’s your company’s reputation.
9 Keys To Accurately Comparing Commercial Landscape Maintenance Bids
Comparing commercial landscape and grounds maintenance bids can be overwhelming. Experts advise zeroing in on more than a few important details:
Who Best Understands The Scope Of The Project?
Say you get bids from four commercial landscape maintenance companies. The bids come in at $42,000, $44,000, $47,000 and $15,000.
The contractor behind that $15,000 bid clearly misunderstands the scope of the job. Getting commercial lawn care contracts is challenging and it is possible that they bid the lowest as part of the commercial lawn care game to get chosen by property managers.
Have each contractor walk you through the project step by step, so you know who has a thorough understanding of what needs to be done.
Each contractor should be able to tell you exactly what they’ll do for the money and explain their pricing.
It shouldn’t be a mystery.
References, References, References
One more time, for emphasis: Check references.
This is your chance to talk to current clients to find out what they really think of your potential commercial landscaper. Ask plenty of questions:
- Is their commercial landscape contractor reliable?
- Do they do what they say they will, when they say they will?
- Are they available to talk when you need them?
Take a look at their property. Does it meet your high standards for appearance?
Check Licensing And Certification
Don’t assume all commercial landscape workers are licensed and certified. This isn’t a given.
Ask for proof.
Here are a few more important questions to consider when hiring a landscape contractor:
- If workers will apply pesticides to your property, are they licensed for that?
- Does the landscape company have landscape design experts on staff?
- Do they have a full complement of consultants aboard who can address all your concerns and your property’s diverse needs?
- Do you have specialists on staff or are there just a couple guys who mow the grass?
Much like licensing and certifications, not all landscape maintenance companies have complete insurance coverage. Ask about this.
Your commercial landscaping company should have workers compensation insurance, general liability insurance, bonded workers and appropriate state licensing.
From landscape construction to routine landscape maintenance, accidents can happen. Contractors with liability insurance will cover any property damage or injuries incurred while working on your property.
Consider The Administrative Staff
What does the administrative staff have to do with your commercial lawn care and pest control? More than you might think. Billing, insurance, documentation — all of this happens in the front office.
A quality administrator will send you an email to let you know crews were at your property that day, detail what they did and tell you the fee.
If, instead, you get a scrawled note on the back of an old contract, well, you can see which scenario is better.
Will The Company Use Subcontractors?
Opinions are divided on this one. Subcontractors aren’t an automatic red flag, but considering all the tasks you already have as a commercial property manager, you don’t want to have to keep track of a flock of different workers.
When your landscape maintenance company uses a lot of different subcontractors, it’s harder to hold people responsible. Why didn’t the turf guy apply fertilizer? Did the irrigation guy show up?
You should at least confirm that your core landscape maintenance services like mowing, edging, basic pruning and cleanup, are supplied by the experts who work at that company—not subcontractors they hire.
If the subcontractors serve many clients, you could slip through the cracks. You have enough to do without worrying if your lawn was fertilized.
What’s The Chain Of Command?
Is the business owner involved in the business? If you want to get him or her on the phone, can you?
If the company owner is the guy in the truck and you’re not happy with the service, you have nowhere else to go with your concerns.
Is The Bid For All-Inclusive Pricing?
All-inclusive pricing means the landscaping company provides a menu of covered items with a yearly commercial lawn care contract and agreement, so you know what you’ll be paying each month and what’s included for your commercial property’s landscape.
You’ll know exactly how much you’re paying each month, and what’s included in that price.
That old saying about not judging a book by its cover doesn’t really apply here. Customers who see your landscape maintenance crew at work will judge you by their appearance.
Are the workers in professional uniform? Are their vehicles and commercial lawn care equipment professional and well maintained?
If your landscape maintenance crew parks a rusty old vehicle on your property while they work, that reflects poorly on you.
A Couple Other Things To Consider
Once you’ve reviewed the bids, asked the questions and done your research, it’s time to choose.
Here are a couple other considerations before you decide on a commercial landscaping company.
Don’t Make A Decision Based On Cost Alone
Sure, it’s tempting to just go with the company that offers the lowest bid. Everybody likes to save money.
But opting for the company with the lowest bid might cost you more in the long run. This company might seem great at first. But chances are, if they bid very low, they’ll realize they’re not making enough to cover their costs. So they might begin spending less time on your property. Things won’t look as tidy anymore.
Soon, you’ll have to start all over again to look for a qualified company.
Or maybe this bid is low because the company is saving money by cutting corners — maybe by foregoing liability insurance and worker’s compensation.
Remember, you really do get what you pay for.
Does The Company Meet All Your Needs?
Hire a commercial landscaping company that meets all of your property’s landscape maintenance needs and there’ll be less stress for you.
A full-service company can handle all of your needs, from lawn maintenance to annual color to pruning to irrigation systems. That means one phone call when you need something.
If you hire one company for all your property’s needs, they’ll get to know it well. That means they’ll spot safety issues before they become problems.
Have You Received A Bid From Neave?
At Neave Outdoor Solutions, we have experts in a multitude of divisions to meet all your commercial property’s needs, from landscaping to smart irrigation systems to enhancements like landscape water features and masonry services.
When you get our bid, you’ll know exactly what you’re paying for. We’ll walk you through it, explain the pricing and answer all your questions.
No mystery — just great, reliable service that’s clearly the best.
If you’re in the Hudson Valley, call us at (845) 463-0592. If you’re in Westchester County, call (914) 271-7996; from Connecticut, dial (203) 212-4800; from New Jersey, dial (201) 591-4570. Or, fill out our simple web form, and we’ll contact you about setting up your free consultation.
Images: Orange and apple, Landscape design draft