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How To Bid on Landscaping Jobs (and Win More Work)

Do you want to grow your landscaping business but don’t know how to bring in more clients? We know that increasing your client base is critical to growing your business. Marketing and advertising are necessary steps, but so is successful job bidding.  

In this article, you’ll learn how to bid landscaping jobs like a seasoned pro. 

You’ll get tips on how to stand out from the competition. You’ll also find advice on building strong client relationships. With these expert strategies, you can increase your revenue for greater profits or expansion. 

How Winning Bids Can Drive Landscaping Business Growth 

If you’ve never had to bid for a job, here’s an explanation of how it usually works: 

Bidding in the landscaping industry is the process of submitting a proposal or estimate to a client to compete for their business. The client might be a homeowner informally interviewing landscaping companies for their property. 

The customer could also be an HOA or developer. Maybe they’re seeking landscaping professionals for multiple residences. Sometimes, businesses will also take bids from landscapers. 

Municipalities and government agencies typically have the most formal bid process. They use a “request for proposals” (RFP) process within a specific timeframe. These proposals (bids) usually follow a format. Each gives the client the same information for a level playing field. 

Being strategic in your bidding as a landscaping business can impact your revenue streams and growth. What’s involved in strategic bidding? 

  • Making bids financially accurate for the work the job requires 
  • Bidding on jobs that are best suited to your skills and experience 
  • Timing your bids to respond faster than the competition 
  • Showcasing your company’s unique talents and portfolio 
  • Being transparent with estimates (e.g., no hidden fees) 
  • Producing a continuous flow of bids to avoid income gaps 
  • Periodically bidding on higher-level jobs that push your limits 

When you produce careful estimates, for instance, you don’t overpromise work that cuts into your profit margins. You can still focus on the client, though. Simply use responsive, tailored proposals and transparent financials. These elements let you stand out from the competition. 

It’s smart to put out a regular flow of landscaping bids. That way, when one job ends, you’ll have another waiting. If you have the employees to handle it, you can take on several projects simultaneously. This improves your company’s stability and avoids the panic of downtime with no prospects. 

Another way to broaden your revenue base is to bid on commercial jobs as well as residential ones. Commercial clients often have bigger budgets and offer longer-term work. 

Over time, when you start bidding on more ambitious projects, you will see growth. This will be reflected not only in your portfolio but also in your revenue. The more you are awarded higher-paying jobs, the more you can profit and expand. Play your cards right, and that expansion will lead to more profit. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: 7 Strategies for Generating Commercial Landscaping Leads 

Key Considerations for Bidding 

It’s essential to look at the requirements for a project before submitting your bid. Not doing this can have several negative consequences. 

First, as mentioned above, you could underestimate the amount of labor or materials needed for the job. This will reduce your profits, leaving less leftover. 

Additionally, the more you customize your proposal, the higher your chance of winning a job. For instance, skimming the client’s requirements too quickly could mean that you miss that they like Asian-style gardens. But if you pick up on this, you can include cherry trees, a fish pond, and rustic fountains in your bid. 

Of course, you must have the manpower, equipment, and experience to take on a landscaping job you bid on. Taking on a project only to fall short on staff or not have the right tools can be, at best, humiliating. You can expect poor online reviews and damage to your reputation. 

At worst, failing to fulfill a proposal as promised can leave you open to legal consequences for breach of contract. That’s why some landscaping businesses—even well-qualified ones—take out a bond just in case. A bond is insurance that they will complete the job on time and up to standard. 

So, how can you make your bid stand out in a crowd of other bids? 

  • Take the time to thoroughly assess the project at every step before submitting your bid. 
  • Make sure your costs and expenses are calculated correctly while still being competitive. 
  • Review the client’s needs and ensure your services are tailored specifically to them, not a generic client. 
  • Include samples of similar projects so the client has confidence you can succeed with their job, too. 
  • Provide references or testimonials from past clients that give the client trust in your skills and reliability. 

Effective Bidding Strategies 

Above, we touched on the importance of differentiating yourself from competitors. Landscaping businesses grew by 3% just between 2022 and 2023. Therefore, you need to stand out more than ever to win bids and bring in those coveted customers. You may face even greater competition in year-round warm climates like California and Florida. 

As well as using the tips in the previous section, here’s how you can make your services catch the eye of clients: 

  • Develop a specialty niche. You will have less competition if you work in unique areas. Think xeriscaping, pet-friendly yards, public parks, or urban greenspaces. 
  • Use technology to create ultra-accurate estimates quickly. Software for landscapers can help you build a template. Then, you input information to generate a customized bid. Today, programs can simplify takeoffs for plantings, irrigation piping, and the like. 
  • Develop professional-looking proposals. With landscaping, imagery is a key component. You can also utilize technology here. Could you use CAD to produce plans and elevations that show different options for the client? What about a photo montage of similar jobs? 
  • Leverage strong relationships with suppliers. Can you get materials that are hard to come by? Can you purchase in bulk to save the client money? Play up your pipeline to look like the best landscaping resource. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: Landscaping Pricing Guide: How to Price Landscaping Jobs 

Building Strong Client Relationships 

Clear communication and openness in your bids can help you initially win clients’ trust. Once you have a good rapport with customers, it’s important to keep it going. They can become an excellent source of new business through online reviews and word-of-mouth referrals. 

How do you accomplish this? 

  • Keep the quality of your work as high as possible. Strive to exceed expectations. Survey your clients after every project to see if your business met their expectations. 
  • Always maintain transparency in client communication. A client would rather know in advance that you’re running behind than find out at the last minute before a catered outdoor celebration. 
  • Develop a reputation as a community authority in your industry. People will seek you out when they have questions or work. A strong website and social media presence will help with this quest. 
  • Become a treasured resource for your clients. Help them find rare materials. Give them the names of reliable professionals they might need for related jobs. These might include experts for swimming pool installations or equestrian fencing. 

The point above can work in reverse. For instance, develop strong relationships with architects, contractors, fencing experts, and barn builders. They are always looking for landscaping professionals to refer to clients. Other good sources include real estate agents, property managers, and developers. 

Top Takeaway Tips for Bidding on Landscaping Jobs 

Do you have a bid you’re working on now or in the near future? Here are some final suggestions to get the job: 

  • Learn where to find clients accepting landscaping bids. Your local government and Chamber of Commerce are good places to start. publishes federal opportunities. Thumbtack and Angi are a solid source for homeowners looking for landscapers. 
  • When preparing cost estimates, don’t overlook less obvious expenses. You need to build in overhead costs like travel to the job site and insurance. Do you have to rent any equipment or purchase special tools? Remember, you don’t want to shortchange your profits. 
  • Can you bundle in another service to make your business more attractive to the client? Maybe they need existing trees trimmed or mentioned always wanting a vegetable garden. Could you do the landscaping for their neighbors too, which would be economical enough to give each a discount? 
  • Think carefully about how you calculate your rates. Are you charging by the hour or by a flat rate? If by the hour, can you give the client a cap for peace of mind? 
  • Once you’ve installed landscaping, can you retain the client by helping them maintain it? Even if they don’t need weekly lawn care, they might want seasonal assistance.
  • They may appreciate the one-stop-shopping approach if you add that to your proposal. 
  • Don’t forget to follow up on proposals once your bid has been submitted. Track your successes and defeats so you can analyze them. Use your findings to improve your future bids. 

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Write a Landscaping Contract (Template)