Heres The Dark Side Of Commercial Lawn Care
The commercial world is focused on the bottom line. They will try to skim you. Businesses only care about the price unless you can sell them on better service. Your goal is to differentiate yourself. Look better than the other lawn care companies bidding on the property.
Here are other strategies you can use to win a commercial contract:
- Show them the values of a great-looking property. Be visual with descriptions: What if your lawns were emerald green, and your sidewalks sparkled in the sun? Would this make your customers more likely to buy here?
- Please work with your clients, not for them. Get them to collaborate on landscape design. Ask them what they think a perfect yard looks like.
- Listen to your client. Listen to their problems and their expectations. They will tell you what they want.
- Teach them about the pitfalls of bad landscaping. Unskilled labor, lousy work, and dead lawns will make anyone think twice. Explain why they should never allow uninsured workers near their land.
- Walk-in with a professional proposal. If you hand a business owner a clean, well-formatted step-by-step proposal, you will make a great first impression.
To win Commercial lawn care Contracts, you will need a good deal of salesmanship. Books, YouTube, and other B2B sales resources will help you nail the sale.
Getting Your Mowing Crew Size Right
This sounds relatively simple but Bruce says youd be surprised how often the wrong crew sizes are matched up to jobs. This is a huge detriment to making sure your commercial mowing contracts are profitable.
Thats because Bruce says the more crew members you have in a truck, the more your windshield time goes up. Thats something that you want to avoid. Windshield time is one of those hidden profit killers. For one hour of travel time, with a six-man crew, youre paying for six hours of time that has just been spent in the truck, making zero profit.
Of course, your most profitable crew size is your one-man-crew but that cant be right for every job, Bruce says. The key is to get as small a crew as you can for the job while still being able to get the work done the right way.
Building crew size comes from experience, Bruce admits. But it also comes from staying on top of your jobs and ensuring that you dont have more crew members than you need going out to a site. If you have crew members that are sitting around with nothing to do, that is taking a cut out of your profitability. But the only way you can know this is to stay on top of your jobs.
What Is A Lawn Service Contract
As a lawn care provider, you can make and sign Lawn Service Contracts to safeguard your interests as you plan to provide lawn moving or other services. Signed by both the lawn care provider and the property owner, this document can help define each party’s respective expectations. When you build your Lawn Service Contract on Rocket Lawyer, you have the option to access Document Defense®, which allows a lawyer to help you get paid or enforce your legal rights.
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Are Commercial Lawn Mowing Contracts Worth It
Whether commercial lawn care contracts are worth taking on depends on the individual business owner and strategy. If you are looking for the best profit margins, then commercial landscaping maintenance may not be the option for you. However, if you have the commercial-grade equipment and are looking for long term, consistent work, commercial landscaping can be rewarding.
The contract includes specifics such as the height to which the grass has to be cut. This makes the clients expectations very clear, which leaves little room for misunderstanding or mistakes. Ensuring all employees understand exactly what to do is key to success in commercial landscaping.
There are factors to be considered before deciding if commercial landscaping contracts are worth it. To better understand these, we have listed the pros and cons below.
When: Frequency And Seasonal Services Start And End Dates
Your contract should detail the timing for season-specific services. For example, your property may require more frequent mowing during the summer, but not at all during the winter. Here are more examples to consider:
- Winter: dormant pruning
- Fall: blow leaves, cut back perennials, prune
Finally, your contract should also clearly state a start and end date, the process for renewal, and how maintenance services will be adjusted in the event of inclement weather.
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Pros Of Commercial Lawn Mowing Contracts:
- Consistent Cash Flow Commercial projects are generally based on a contract with terms that stipulate a monthly payment. This can be preferable from an income and budgeting perspective, allowing you to predict and plan your financial outlook months in advance.
- Scheduling One of the biggest advantages of commercial lawn mowing is the predictable schedules. The routine of commercial lawn maintenance is usually the same every week or month, with some seasonal variation. This means your team can learn the routines and manage other weekly bookings around these reserved slots, making your business more predictable and efficient.
- Multi-year Contracts In the landscaping industry, a majority of the clients are willing to sign multi-year contracts. This means that during seasons with low or no new clients, your business is still guaranteed to make revenue. This makes it easier to grow or maintain the business and enables you to predict your revenue a few years ahead.
- Year-round Work If youre looking to generate more winter income as a landscaping maintenance business, you may benefit from having commercial contracts in your portfolio. This is because clients prefer to have one provider locked in for the entire year, regardless of the weather, giving you predictable work even through cold and rainy periods.
How To Bid A Lawn Care Contract
Many new landscapers struggle to stay afloat because they dont cover the four areas necessary for a profitable lawn contract bid. Every time you estimate a job, you must cover your labor, materials, overhead costs and desired profit .
Setting your prices based only on your competition is a recipe for bankruptcy. Figuring out your expense categories in advance helps you more quickly and accurately estimate jobs and generate profitable contracts.
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How Are Lawn Service Contracts Structured
The specific details to add are:
As you might hope, Lawn Care Contracts that you build using Rocket Lawyer also contain the typical language with regard to the non-employment relationship, confidentiality, and finally, indemnification. While making your agreement, you’ll also have the ability to decide which state’s jurisdiction it will be subject to. Further adjustments and edits are permitted, as needed.
Tips For More Profitable Commercial Mowing Contracts
There are a number of factors that go into creating the best commercial mowing contracts and all of them must be in line in order to have success. In fact, even if you have just one item askew, it can eat away at your profitability.
As a commercial mower, your goal is for all of your jobs to be profitable. With the cost of doing business not getting any cheaper, you need to be able to make more money and build up more profitable commercial mowing contracts in the pipeline.
This doesnt just happen by chance. There is a lot of legwork that goes into improving your success. Bruce Birdsong, founder, and CEO of Precision Landscape Management, a full-service commercial landscape management firm employing over 300 employees, knows this very well. Hes been in business for nearly four decades and has learned from his mistakesand his many successesabout what it takes to produce more profitable commercial mowing contracts.
Bruce recently shared 5 of his best tips that he says can make all the difference between a profitable contract and one that falls short of helping your bottom line.
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Free Lawn Care Contract Templates
A lawn care contract facilitates a working arrangement between a client and a landscaper on a residential or commercial property in exchange for monetary compensation. Generally, this includes services like cropping, lawn mowing, maintenance, hedging, and any other personalized request the client may have. The agreement may be a one-time agreement, or a recurring one, which is typically the case with commercial properties. In such agreements, clients are billed at regular time intervals.
Heres How Ed Prices His Commercial Jobs:
After a walk around, I might decide that a property will take an hour and a half with three people. I will need one truck and one trailer, so Ill build out the quote like that. So three people on the site means Ill bill them out at $45 an hour, $45 per employee. There are three employees, so thats $135 for the job to start.
Then I consider what equipment Ill have on site. I charge two times the hourly rate of labor just to have the staff on the site. About $5 of my price ends up going to my equipment overhead.If you have little experience with pricing commercial contracts, take Eds advice and follow the same approach you would with residential clients:
Figure out how much time it will take you to do a commercial job, and then think about much money youd make on a residential job. Say its an hour and a half. If you normally do three residential jobs and bill them at $50 per job, you should be making $150 an hour to do that commercial job, or very close to that.
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How Do I Write A Landscaping Contract
Typically, the landscaping professional writes the contract, much like plumbers would writeplumbing contracts for a client. However, yourlandscaping service contract should be as detailed as necessary to ensure that it is enforceable and reduces the chance of the possibility of future disputes from arising.
If you need legal advice regardinghow to write a landscaping contract , speak with a contract attorney in your state to help you get started.
Tap Into Your Residential Clients
Your existing relationships and clients are an easy place to start. If you previously worked with residential accounts, you can use your already established relationships to secure recommendations for commercial clients. Ask your clients if they have any commercial businesses that need your services, or if they can endorse you to businesses they know.
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This Is How To Get Commercial Lawn Accounts
So if you want commercial landscaping accounts to be a significant part of your business you have to approach them. Some will approach you but most are already being approached by your competitors so they dont need to seek you out. That means you have to go to them. And that means networking and building relationships.
So in order to go to them you have to discover where the property managers hang out. What groups are they apart of? What networking events do they attend? BNI, chamber of commerce? Who do you know at the HOAs? Is there someone that can introduce you? Who do you know that can introduce you. You may also want to research custom home builders and track home companies. You have to discover who controls the property. Who the decision maker is, build a relationship. Shmoooze And approach them to bid. All of this means leg work. Knocking on doors, asking questions, making your company known and putting your bids in.
The Right Way To Bid Your Next Commercial Lawn Care Contract
Here’s the dark side of commercial lawn care…
The commercial world is focused on the bottom line. They will try to skim you.
Businesses only care about the price… unless you can sell them on better service.
Your goal is to differentiate yourself. Look better than the other lawn care businesses bidding on the property.
Here are some other strategies you can use to win a commercial contract:
- Show them the value of a great-looking property. Be visual with your descriptions: What if your lawns were emerald green, and your sidewalks sparkled in the sun? Would this make your customers more likely to buy here?
- Work with your clients, not for them. Get them to collaborate on a landscape design. Ask them what they think a perfect yard looks like.
- Listen to your client. Listen to their problems, and their expectations. They will tell you what they want.
- Teach them about the pitfalls of bad landscaping: inexperienced labor, bad work, and dead lawns will make anyone think twice. Explain why they should never allow uninsured workers near their land.
- Walk in with a professional proposal. If you can hand a business owner a clean, well-formatted step-by-step proposal, you will make a great first impression.
To win your next commercial lawn care contract, you will need a good deal of salesmanship.
Books, YouTube videos, and other B2B sales resources will help you nail the sale.
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Where: Spell Out The Location
Sure, your property address is quite clear on the contract, but is it obvious where the seasonal color should be installed? The location-specific services will be performed on your property should be drawn out. In fact, some contracts literally include drawings for clarity.
Are there certain areas of your property you dont want included in your contract? Perhaps you have native wetlands or an employee-maintained vegetable garden that should be left untouched. Or maybe you have water features or ponds that require specialized service. This should also be spelled out within your contract to avoid misunderstandings.
Likewise, if certain areas require additional attention or out-of-the-ordinary requests, those should be detailed as well. While you may have discussed these items in detail with your landscape provider and feel confident everyone is on the same page, its best practice and protects all parties to put it in writing.
Determine The Materials Costs
Your main materials cost for yard care might be gas if you offer only basic mowing, edging, trimming and blowing services. If you offer seeding and aerating, fertilizing and shrub care, you need to add those costs to your bids.
Depending on how you do your accounting, you might include your costs for spark plugs, air filters, blades, and equipment maintenance and repairs to your materials costs. For example, if you estimate that you will have $900 worth of these expenses this year and 300 jobs, you add $3 to each job to cover the costs. You might come up with a different formula that charges large jobs more of these expenses than small jobs.
The good news is, you will be able to write off most of these expenses when you do your taxes. That doesnt mean you get to deduct these expenses dollar-for-dollar. Talk to a professional tax advisor to learn how deductions work.
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S To Writing A Statement Of Work In A Lawn Care Contract
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Use Care In The Authorization Of Chemical Treatment
If pesticides are going to be used on your lawn, find out what specific lawn problems are being addressed and inquire about the availability of less harmful chemical compounds or alternatives to chemical treatment. You are entitled to a copy of the pesticide label if you request it. If pesticides are used, find out what you need to do during the chemical treatment and for how long. Should you stay indoors, keep your windows closed, bring in lawn furniture or your childrens toys? How long should you stay off treated areas? What about your pets safety? Florida law , Florida Statutes) requires the posting of a sign at the time of application to notify persons that the lawn has recently been treated. You should still be mindful of small children in the neighborhood, who may not understand what the sign means, to protect them from any problems that might arise from the pesticide application.
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Keeping Track Of Quotes Contracts And Terms And Conditions
However you choose to document your jobs for a client, you should always keep track of any contracts, quotes, or terms and conditions agreements.
They can be used for tax purposes, dispute resolution, marketing , and invoicing.
If you use Jobber, attach your document to the client file in your CRM. You can add an attachment under client, request, quote, job, or invoice.
On the clients profile, on the right side of the page below the billing history box there will be a section called Internal notes and attachments. This field also appears on requests, quotes, jobs, and invoices.
Notes made in this field are strictly internal, so your client will not see them. However, you can choose to make them client facing when you email a quote or invoice to your client.
If you use other lawn care software, make sure that it can store signed copies of your documents for you.