How to Bid a Profitable Landscape Job - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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How to Bid a Profitable Landscape Job


Do you find that too many of your design/build jobs have a low profit bar?

At the NALP Field Trip with Marty Grunder, Marty and Frank Mariani, of Mariani Landscapes in Oak Bluff, Illinois, shared some insights to help raise the bar and your bottom line:

  • Pick the right job and client. Start targeting and marketing to clients whose projects you can make money with and with whom you enjoy working. Then, have the confidence to sell to them and never, never apologize for your price. Treat them extremely well. Survey them. Ask yourself, too, will this work lead to more work?
  • Have a selling system. Make sure the person who handles your calls understands who your ideal client is and screens accordingly. Have a prospect call sheet that prompts the question: “Where did you hear about us?”
  • Learn to say no. Saying no to jobs is something most people find hard to do. Yet as companies grow, it becomes important to do just that. Saying yes to too many jobs that fall out of your company’s service offering strength can be both distracting and unprofitable.
  • Do you know your cost? An obvious question, but some projects, especially larger design build projects, have many moving parts. Great sales people can also be great train wrecks. Capture everything that goes into the job, all material and all labor and document it.
  • Team effort. Involve your entire team with the bid and follow a process with a bid sheet. Make sure to think through different scenarios and ask the question, what if??
  • Keep score. No matter how careful and detail minded you are, some jobs will get messed up. Learn from your mistakes. One important lesson many owners and managers learn is to review variances weekly. If you’re 15 percent over budget, find out why. Discuss that with your team and fix it. If you’re under by 20 percent, there may be a quality issue that needs some attention. In either case, remember that training is not an expense; it’s an investment.

Marty and Frank shared other business-building ideas with the 150-plus owners and managers who attended the NALP Field Trip with Marty Grunder. We’ll be sharing more in NALP publications.