Estimating Landscape Maintenance Jobs with Automation

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Estimating landscape maintenance jobs accurately makes or breaks your sale. Read on for the what, why, when, and how of getting correct landscape maintenance estimates.

The green industry accounts for 129 billion US dollars of annual revenue and is growing at a healthy rate. That’s great news for you. But it also implies that there will be fierce competition for every landscape job.

Getting a new job requires nailing your estimate as the first step.

If your quote is too expensive, you risk losing customers to less expensive rivals. You’ll leave money on the table if it’s too low. Customers who see terribly low costs can also worry about what’s wrong with your services.

So, what is the best way to for estimating landscape maintenance jobs?

In this blog, we find out.

We’ll discuss the most effective method for estimating landscape maintenance projects to help you win more work and earn more money.

What does the typical sales process look like?

You come to know of an opportunity. Or the prospects you have been nurturing finally decide to give you a chance to send a proposal. You have a proverbial foot in the door.

You set up a meeting with the property manager on site. You want to show up prepared, so you look up the site on Google Earth. Then you start measuring the site manually by clicking on the map – for hours.

But something else came up, so you could not complete the clicking process. And now it’s time to meet the property manager. You show up with half-baked property intelligence. You have a very vague sense of the estimate. You fail to ask the right questions about the budget.

You go back to the office and resume clicking. But you are not sure if there is turf beneath that tree and don’t know the number of shrubs in the flower bed next to the main driveway. So you go back to the site, again.

Days pass by, the submission deadline is near. You manually enter the measurements into your estimation spreadsheet. You or your team do the production review. But then you realize the numbers need to be tweaked because the prices have gone up and it’s hard to sustain the margins.

You still have to work on the proposal and don’t want to ask for an extension on the submission deadline. So you wrap up the estimates in the Lord’s name and start to work on the proposal. Let’s say, you just made it on time.

Imagine multiplying the above sequence of events by 40, because that’s the number of bids you want to submit in the peak months.

What is the problem with the typical sales process in estimating landscape maintenance jobs?

Here are the problems:

  1. Sales reps measuring the site manually miss out on selling time
  2. Manual site measurements have an inherent error hurting estimates
  3. Inaccuracy in estimating costs leads to over or underbidding
  4. Not being able to move enough deals through the pipeline

The cost of a mistake is high: if you bid too high, you run the danger of losing business to your rivals; if you bid too low, your margins would be low. If due to a lack of time, you frequently resort to guesstimates, that is really bad for your business.

All things considered, when it comes to establishing a repeatable sales process that wins consistently, estimating costs accurately and on time is the key.

A fast and accurate estimate can assist clients and organizations stay within their budgets while reducing the chance of expense increases.

How to get costs accurately while estimating landscape maintenance jobs?

To operate efficiently at volumes, you need systems in place that deliver consistent outcomes on a repeatable basis. Accurate estimation of labor, equipment, and raw material requirements is crucial. Without this, you are bidding in the dark and it’s impossible to proactively work on maintaining your margins.

Never before have material prices and labor availability been so uncertain and dynamic. So it’s important that you have a system that gets the fundamentals pricing determinants right. What you need is a process that allows you to:

  • Get detailed sitemaps and HD service diagrams
  • Accurately obtain site measurements
  • Accurately estimate the cost of every factor of production
  • View your margins on jobs with high confidence

It is also important to fine-tune your production rates so that your estimates and actuals converge in general.

So what do you do?

Put estimates on Autopilot with Autobid

With Attentive’s end-to-end sales automation software AutoBid, you can get the most detailed cost, time, and material estimates off of your production factors and cost structure – with zero manual effort. Let us see how.

AutoBid gives you auto-generated site measurements for lawns, hedges, mulch beds, gravel beds, hard & soft edges, and tree count. This is based on state-of-the-art AI technology that extracts these measurements on the latest high-resolution imagery.

Then, based on your pre-set production rates and cost numbers, AutoBid creates estimates instantly by combining them with the auto-generated site measurements.

The software shows you the margins next to the cost numbers. You can tweak the margins on the go, which will instantly update the price. 

The cost estimates are calculated in a scientific manner. Here, all your factors of production are set up in the system beforehand, including those for labor, equipment, material, and overhead. See the below image for illustration:

You can tweak the production rate, cost, and markup for each item by going to the items set up, which looks something like this:

With this system in place, you can be sure the estimates you get are accurate. And you can fine-tune a particular estimate based on customer requirements. 

The software allows you to be consistent as all your factors of production can be accounted for. You will hardly find a scenario where you will have to make exceptional adjustments. And then, you can keep on tuning your production rate in order to make the estimates and actuals converge.

Benefits with AutoBid

AutoBid will empower your sales team to multiply your growth. Specifically, it lets you:

  1. Save time on creating takeoffs and estimates
  2. Develop and send out more proposals
  3. Optimize your bids and avoid over and underbidding

Attentive is helping the best sales teams save countless hours spent on manual measurements. How? By providing accurate estimates based on automated property measurements. Want to learn more? Contact us.

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