December 26, 2023

How To Bid Landscaping Jobs Faster & Accurately?

Bidding and Estimation

Nothing happens until someone sells something.

Indeed, sales are the lifeline of every landscaping business. But a lot happens before you close a deal. From receiving an RFP to responding to it with the most competitive bid, you lose or win a job.

So, welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to bid landscaping jobs faster and more accurately. 

What hurdles are keeping you from being the first bid that reaches your customer? How can you overcome those challenges? Find answers below. 

In this blog, we’ll equip you with strategies so that you know how to bid landscaping jobs faster & accurately. Here are the 5 things you’ll take away from this blog:

  • What is stopping you from being the first bid out
  • What stops you from being the most accurate bid
  • Automating your sales process
  • How to create an accurate cost-based estimate
  • Understanding the role of renewals
  • How to create customized proposals to fit your customer expectations  efficiently

Let’s dive right in.

What stops you from being the first landscaping bid out 

Creating competitive and precise bids is crucial for success in the landscaping business. And the difference between winning a project or losing out to the competition often comes down to two key factors: speed and accuracy.

When it comes to how to bid landscaping jobs so that you win projects, here are 3 main reasons why your current bidding process slows you down:

A slow process for you to bid on landscaping jobs

What stops you from being the first landscaping bid- Archaic methods site measurementsFragmented processes for measuring, estimating, and creating landscaping bidsMaintaining speed & accuracy when chasing leads on cold calls & RFPs Manual Landscaping Proposal Creation
  1. Archaic methods of site measurements
  2. Fragmented processes for measuring, estimating, and creating landscaping bids
  3. Maintaining speed & accuracy when chasing leads on cold calls & RFPs 
  4. Manual Landscaping Proposal Creation

Traditional site measurements

Manual property measurements are time-consuming, potentially delaying your bid submission. Our research with over 500 field service businesses revealed an average of 6 hours spent daily on site measurements. Measuring an HOA could span weeks—a primary setback in your sales cycle.

Consider the substantial cost of inefficiency: If your sales team dedicates 10-20% of their time to measuring properties, either through online tools or on-site methods, the financial leakage is stark. 

On average, this equates to nearly 300 hours—or roughly two months—of lost time per sales employee each year. Not to mention, this does not even account for the potential revenue each employee could generate during this time when you're aiming to bid on landscaping jobs effectively.

Fragmented processes for measuring, estimating, and creating landscaping bids

Disconnected systems for takeoffs, estimating, and proposal creation slows down your sales process.

It's a multi-step ordeal. You measure with tools like Goilawn, then visit the site for validation and labor hour estimations. Not all features are captured, leading to more guesswork. Then, there's the laborious task of entering this data into your platform or a spreadsheet.

Being neither first nor accurate in your bidding can have several consequences:

  • Lost opportunities as clients often favor promptness.
  • Inaccurate bids lead to budget overruns and profit loss which in turn erodes trust.

Maintaining speed & accuracy when chasing leads on cold calls, Google, or responding to RFPs 

When you contact a prospective client through a cold call, or they reach you via Google, they typically explore options from multiple service providers. In such scenarios, the first bid they receive often sets the benchmark against which all other bids are measured. If your bidding process is sluggish, you risk losing these valuable leads to competitors who are faster and more responsive.

On the other hand, RFPs typically come with specific deadlines, and your ability to adhere to these timelines is critical. The challenge intensifies during peak seasons as you're likely handling multiple RFPs simultaneously. In such high-pressure times, relying on a manual bidding process can become a significant bottleneck.

Manual landscaping proposal creation

Customizing proposals for each client could be taxing. But it is necessary to stand out when you bid on landscaping jobs. Even with templates, each client's unique scope demands adjustments—time-consuming when done on software not optimized for quick edits.

When does your accuracy suffer as you send out commercial landscaping bids

  1. Peak season submission
  2. Not accounting for all costs in your estimates
  3. Lack of thorough production reviews
What stops you from being the most accurate commercial landscaping bid out

Peak season- submission in a hurry

Now, you must work quickly to submit bids, as there's a small window of opportunity to be the first bid to reach your customer. Besides, research reveals that 60% of the time, the first bid that reaches the customer wins. 

Therefore, when RFPs start coming in thick and fast during the peak season, the issue only gets worse. You rush to submit bids fast. And your accuracy suffers because you’re either guesstimating, relying on paper processes and manually preparing landscape estimates, or are left with no time to refine your estimates before sending them.

The tiniest of inaccuracies pile up and end up directly eating into job profitability.

Impact of how you price your landscaping bids
Impact of how you price your commercial landscaping bids

Just a 10% underbid due to incorrect measurements could drain over $50K from your bottom line per salesperson per year. 

Not creating cost-based estimates

A key factor contributing to inaccurate bids is not fully accounting for all job costs, leading to underestimation of the project's actual expenses:

Overlooked Expenses

Commonly missed costs include travel time, equipment rental, subcontractor expenses, and other job costs (OJC) like dump fees.

Importance of Detailing Costs

Every aspect, from equipment use to subcontractor invoices, must be factored into the estimate. Neglecting these elements can lead to bids that don't cover the full scope of expenses, impacting profit margins.

Lack of Thoroughness in Production Reviews

Skimping on the production review process is another cause of inaccuracy:

Rushed Reviews

In the urgency to meet bid deadlines, thorough production reviews are often skipped, leading to unvalidated estimates.

Consequence of Incomplete Reviews

Without detailed cost analysis and validation from the production team, estimates may not reflect the practical realities of executing the job.

Updating Production Factors

Regularly revising and updating production factors is crucial. Outdated parameters can lead to bids that don't align with current operational capabilities or costs.

Accelerate’s automated measurements & auto-populated estimates when you bid on landscaping jobs

The next step in how to bid landscaping jobs is that once you identify these bottlenecks, you need to integrate & automate your sales process.

Automated Property Measurements

With Accelerate, manual property measurements have become a thing of the past. Enter a property address, and confirm lot boundary, and the AI technology performs precise measurements built on the latest aerial imagery. This innovation streamlines the bidding process significantly, allowing your sales team to focus on more strategic activities.

Automated landscape maintenance and construction takeoffs with Accelerate- the only end-to-end landscaping business management software
Automated landscape maintenance and construction takeoffs with Accelerate

Integrated Landscaping Takeoffs With Cost-Based Estimates

A seamless flow from property measurements that auto-populates into your estimates means you get accurate estimating and professional proposal creation. Besides, you drastically reduce the time to bid on landscaping jobs.

Accelerate's sales module simplifies the estimating process, reducing it to a matter of a few clicks. This feature drastically cuts down on the time traditionally spent on data entry & calculation, providing faster, more precise estimates to clients.

Landscaping estimate template integrated with your property measurements
Landscaping estimate template integrated with your property measurements

Estimates generated by Accelerate are detailed and account for all potential costs, ensuring every aspect of the job is covered. From material quantities and labor hours to equipment costs and other job-related expenses, the system auto-populates data from measurements to create a thorough estimate. 

This comprehensive approach to estimating helps avoid costly underbidding or overpricing. So, let’s dive into the steps to ensure that your landscaping estimates account for every cost.

How to create detailed cost-based estimates when you bid on landscaping jobs

What your estimate should definitely include so that every cost of your job is accounted for:

Your landscape estimate must account for all costs- labor, materials, equipment rental, subcontractor expenses, other job costs, and renewals so that you master how to bid landscaping jobs
  1. Labor
  2. Materials
  3. Equipment rental
  4. Subcontractor expenses
  5. Other job costs
  6. Renewals

Labor

Consider the number of workers and hours required, considering the crew's skill level and the task complexity.

Materials

Precisely calculate the quantity and cost. Account for quantity, quality, and price volatility. Stay current with market rates.

Equipment Rental

Account for the cost and hours of usage time and rental rates.

Subcontractor Expenses

If you're outsourcing any work, those costs need to be in your estimate.

Other Job Costs (OJC)

This includes anything from gas surcharges and dump fees to travel time. These can often be overlooked but can add up to significant sums.

A Special Mention To Renewals

When it comes to renewals, treat each one as an opportunity to reassess the value you provide. Use historical data to analyze your profit margins from the previous year and adjust your renewal pricing based on those insights. Blindly marking up prices without understanding the past performance can lead to either underpricing, which eats into your profits, or overpricing, which risks losing customers.

For instance, an arbitrary increase, like a standard 3%, doesn't account for the complexities of the actual cost changes over the year. If you suffered a 10% loss last year, an uninformed increase could compound that loss instead of recovering it.

The key is to build and maintain trust with your clients by providing renewal bids that reflect both the value and costs accurately. If you've overestimated in the past and then increased your prices further, clients will eventually seek alternatives.

Customer trust

So, by treating each renewal as a new sale and ensuring your pricing reflects the true costs, you create a stable platform for business growth. Besides, retaining clients is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. and accurate renewals based on historical data play a critical role in this retention. It's not just about maintaining a relationship but reinforcing it with transparent and justified pricing that clients can trust year after year.

Now that we’ve established how you can create winning landscaping estimates, the next logical step is to translate this accuracy into compelling, client-specific proposals. This is where Accelerate’s sales module becomes indispensable.

Let’s see how.

Accelerate’s Sales Module Transforms Proposal Creations In How To Bid Landscaping Jobs 

Attentive.ai’s Accelerate platform speeds up & streamlines the way you create proposals by offering:

Versatile Templates

Choose from a range of templates suited for different project types and revenue brackets.

Accelerate landscaping proposal template integrated with your estimates & property measurements so that you bid landscaping jobs faster & accurately
Accelerate landscaping proposal template integrated with your estimates & property measurements

Tailored Terms and Conditions

Built-in terms catered to diverse project requirements, including seasonal variations.

Guidance for New Team Members: Provides a framework for team members to create consistent, high-quality proposals.

Efficient Proposal Editing

Clean and professional landscaping proposal template that is easily editable, customizable
Clean and professional landscaping proposal template that is easily editable, customizable

Accelerate allows for swift adaptations to your proposals, accommodating unique client requests or changes. Its built-in editor simplifies the process, enabling you to edit directly within the software, saving time and ensuring flexibility.

With Accelerate, you can efficiently produce customized landscaping proposals that not only meet but exceed your client’s expectations. Now, you enhance your chances of winning the bid and fostering long-term client relationships.

Bottom Line: Transforming How To Bid Landscaping Jobs 

To excel in how to bid landscaping jobs, it's crucial to adopt an approach that blends traditional expertise with modern efficiencies. By doing so, you position your business not only to win more landscaping bids but also to establish a reputation for reliability and quality in the commercial landscaping market.

Remember, the key to successful bids lies in precision, clarity, and a deep understanding of both your client's needs and the landscape of the industry you're operating within. 

Accelerate’s sales module ensures that you bid on landscaping jobs faster and more accurately than ever before. With automated takeoffs, estimates, and proposals–you set up consistent processes for your team that can be scaled easily as you grow.

Find out more about Accelerate by booking a personalized demo with our team.

FAQs

How do you calculate labor cost for landscaping?
To calculate labor cost for landscaping, determine the number of workers needed and the hours they will work, factoring in the complexity of the tasks and the crew's skill level. Use historical data to gauge past labor efficiency and consider current wage rates. Then, multiply the number of hours anticipated for the job by the hourly wage rate for each worker. Include additional labor-related costs such as taxes, benefits, and insurance to get the total labor cost.

How do you write a bid proposal for landscaping?
Writing a bid proposal for landscaping starts with a clear understanding of the client's needs and the scope of the project. Use a structured template that includes a detailed description of services, materials, labor, equipment costs, and any other expenses. Present a clear timeline for project completion, terms and conditions of service, and ensure that your company branding is evident. Tailor each proposal to the client's specific requirements while ensuring accuracy and professionalism.

How do you write a quote for landscaping?
To write a quote for landscaping, itemize all services and materials with their associated costs, ensuring each element from the initial takeoff is accounted for. Include a total cost summary and any applicable taxes or fees. The quote should also mention the validity period for the quoted price and any conditions that might affect the final cost. Use clear and concise language, and consider using visual aids or breakdowns for complex projects. With Accelerate, this process can be automated, drawing on accurate measurements and cost data to produce reliable quotes swiftly.