How To Write A Winning Proposal for Your Commercial Landscaping Business

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A well-written landscaping maintenance proposal goes a long way in building a long-term client relationship. It ensures that your clients understand the nature and quality of your services.

Landscaping proposals are also great avenues for you to take your client relationship to the next level so making your proposal stand out is critical.  Let’s go through a checklist of all the things a winning proposal has –

1.  A Winning Proposal Answers All Client Questions

Your clients will have a LOT of questions, especially at the beginning of your relationship. Your contract should be a guide for them to navigate through the details at all times.

It should answer the famous 6 W’s of all time:
the Who, What, Where, When, How ((We know :)), and Why

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The 6W’s: the guide to ace your commercial landscaping maintenance contract

1. WHO is going to build the landscape of their dreams? Your Team.

Your clients would like to know about the people working on their property. Whether they are qualified to service their property, their certifications, licenses, insurances, etc. They will appreciate information about who they should expect to see on their property and when. This is where you get an opportunity to introduce your people, and through them, your work.

2. WHAT all is included in the proposal

Everything about the services and what that means for your clients’ properties need to be articulated in the proposal with great detail. The terms, pricing, discounts, timeline, the entire process, legalities; everything must be in order in your proposal. Details on regular reviews and feedback could give some extra comfort to your customers.  

3. WHERE will the service be applied?

Sure, the address is explicitly stated. But for large commercial properties (or even small), details such as the frequency of mowing for certain lawns, where to install the new beds, etc. should all be explicitly stated. Your proposal should become a reflection of what their properties would look like after your team is done servicing it.

4. WHEN will the services be provided and what is the timeline that will be followed?

It gives customers great comfort if they have a timeline of how things will follow in the future. Your proposal should have a clear contract start and end date. Other than that, you should also regularly communicate with them throughout the term of the engagement. Have checkpoints, and planned reviews to ensure seamless project execution and set expectations if you foresee any sudden delays.

5. HOW are you going to provide the service? 

A description of the various services you will be providing and the equipment and process behind it helps give the customer an insight into the details. These details give the customer confidence and assure them that you have planned every small detail.

6. WHY are you doing what you are doing for your client?

This is where you get to really highlight the differentiators of your business. What does your landscaping company stand for, your values, ethos, and culture? Why are you in the industry? Why is working with you the right decision for your client? Show your passion. At the end of the day a human sitting across the table reviewing your proposal.

2. A Winning Proposal is Clear and Simple

A proposal must be easy to read. With a clear structure. One needs to set a draft outline of the content structure before diving into the actual proposal. Once that is final, start filling in the content and make sure all the details are spelled out clearly to avoid confusion for your clients. Important details such as pricing, payment structure should be as clear as possible. Do not overcomplicate it for the client. No one trusts complicated pricing structures. 

Each proposal might need to be customized for individual clients but broadly, it should follow a standard structure. Not only does this allow you to consistently churn out high-quality proposals, but also ensures you are able to do it quickly without compromising on detail.

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Here are a few sections your landscaping proposal must have – Cover Page, Table of Contents, Company Background, Project Overview, Detail of Services, Case Studies (Proof of Work), Execution Plan, Timelines, Pricing, Your Team, Terms and Conditions, Contact Details and Next Steps.

3. A Winning Proposal Has a Great Case Study

Working with new contractors can be challenging for your customers. Landscaping contracts are long and very detailed. Social proof (a testimonial by your previous client)  makes it easier for the facility manager to choose the right service provider. Having pictures of your services on similar past projects definitely gives you an edge and creates trust with your customer even before you actually work with them. 

Don’t shy away from adding customer references, testimonials, and case studies will reassure your customers and instill confidence in selecting you as their preferred partner. 

4. A Winning Proposal is Visually Appealing

Humans are visual creatures. 

According to studies, humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and 90% of the information absorbed by the brain is visual. So, if you want your landscaping proposal to resonate with your customers, you need to ensure it’s designed well. Use infographics, pictures, and other visual cues to make your proposal as attractive as possible. 

However, don’t go overboard. One trap that people fall into while making graphic proposals is overdoing it. Content is still the star of the show, ensuring the focus remains on the readability. The quality of the content is still very critical. 

Here’s a list of simple things you can do to make your proposals instantly more attractive – 

  1. Have a cover page that speaks to your brand.
  2. Follow a standard color theme.
  3. Have consistent Font Styles and Font Sizes (Don’t use text sizes below 12, EVER).
  4. Ensure proper alignment to ensure easy readability
  5. Note page/slide numbers for easy navigation

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5. A Winning Proposal is Built With The Client

Landscaping service proposals can easily get very complex. There are a lot of services to cover, there are times of low and high activity and a lot of service requirements. Spring and summer might be the busiest, but your client’s property will require care throughout the year. This can easily get too complicated for the customer. 

Plan sync-ups with your customer to get their thoughts on the proposal, this will give you valuable feedback and will take some weight off their shoulders. But most importantly it shows your client that you are to their needs. This also shows that you take accountability for your services and appreciate your customers’ opinions and suggestions. Having sync-ups also gives you opportunities to seamlessly address conflicts, and challenges that you might face during the project.

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In conclusion, a proposal is a reflection of who you are as a company and should talk about your services, values, and commitment to your customers. While there is no recipe to craft a perfect proposal, these points might help you find the recipe that works for you.

Tell us how you build your proposals? What according to you are the must-haves. Let us know in the comments below.

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