Wrong Ways Lawn and Landscape Contractors Bid Jobs and How to Bid Correctly

The Importance of Accurate Job Bidding in the Lawn and Landscape Business

Bidding jobs is the number one most important and critical part of ANY business. If you can’t do this correctly, it doesn’t matter how hard you work, how much you love it, or how much money you put in it, you will not survive for long. Imagine going to work every day and working for $10/hour and working 24 hours. You would be making money by working all day long, however, if your cost was at $11/hour you would still be losing money. The crazy thing about it is, there are so many lawn and landscape companies out there that are living this scenario and think they are doing well because they are making $200,000 a year when actually they spent $200,001 that same year. If you want to get out of this cycle that will eventually lead to your business going under, you need to figure out your costs. 

Common and Risky Methods of Job Bidding

While figuring out your costs is essential, let’s talk about all the ways lawn and landscape companies bid jobs that aren’t based on THEIR cost. There are so many different ways that this can be done. Some bidding methods are quite comical while others may seem like a good idea but will actually just lead to your prices being higher than necessary which won’t allow you to compete or too low which will lead to you losing money.

In today’s world, social media plays a big role in the lawn and landscape industry. There are endless Facebook pages, Facebook groups, TikTok influencers, coaches, consultants, etc who share information. Unfortunately, this information is not always great information. It is being shared by those who don’t really have the experience or the knowledge of how to really run a successful lawn and landscape company. They don’t have bad intentions, they just don’t know what they don’t know and then they share that with people who also don’t know and that spreads the problems even deeper in the industry. My biggest piece of advice for you in the lawn and landscape industry is to use social media for your business as a marketing and branding tool, not a research and information tool. If you’re looking for real help, invest in a coach or consultant who you’ve researched, has a lot of experience, and has helped out people in the past. Too many influencers or social media heroes want to tell you how to bid a job, but they themselves don’t have a real method for accurate and professional bidding. 

To get into it, here are a few ways to absolutely NEVER bid jobs if you’re in the lawn and landscape industry and want to have a successful business. One common method for bidding lawn and landscape  jobs is using the competition’s price to set your own. You find a high price and a low price and set yours in the middle assuming it sounds reasonable. This is VERY common and VERY dangerous.One of the most comical methods for bidding jobs is what I call the dart board method. This is when you get a dart board filled with prices and throw a dart and that is your price for the day. This may sound insane or funny, but it is as reliable a method as any that aren’t based on your cost. Another bidding method is the flinch method. This means you keep going up on your price until the potential customer flinches. Sounds funny but have you ever done this to test the market? When you don’t know your cost, it is easy to do this because you are trying to get all you can without really knowing what it costs you to get the work done. 

How to Improve Your Bidding Strategy

Those bidding methods are just a few of the inaccurate and incorrect ways to bid jobs. Implementing these methods will cause you to have a quick exit from your lawn and landscape business. These methods will cause you to either overbid or underbid, either way leading to failure within your business. 

The key is finding your cost and setting your price based on it. That means you use YOUR business’ numbers- indirect cost, direct cost, and additional overhead. This includes equipment cost, labor costs, insurance, rent, uniforms, pens, gas, and on and on. It takes a little bit of upfront work, but once you get it figured out, your confidence will go through the roof when selling jobs. You’ll understand that you simply have to pass on a job if the lead isn’t willing to pay your price. You’ll also have the confidence to sell at your cost because you know how you established it!

If you don’t know how to find your cost, check out our Know Why You Charge What You Charge. It is a simple spreadsheet that takes into account YOUR business’ costs. Many of the “cost calculators” on the market just say “put your cost here”, but we actually help you find that number!

With over 40 years of experience in the lawn and landscape business, we can help you find your cost based on your company’s specifics. For more crazy bidding methods people use to bid jobs, check out our video above!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the importance of accurate job bidding in the lawn and landscape business?

Accurate job bidding is critical for the survival and success of any lawn and landscape business. If you don’t bid correctly, you risk losing money regardless of how hard you work or how much you invest in your business. Many contractors believe they are accurately bidding but are actually losing money. 

What are some common and risky methods of job bidding in the lawn and landscape industry?

Some risky methods include using the competition’s price to set your own, the dart board method where you randomly set your price, and the flinch method where you keep raising your price until the customer reacts. These are all incorrect and inaccurate. If it isn’t based off your business’ costs, it’s not accurate.

Why is using social media for research and information in the lawn and landscape industry not recommended?

While social media is a great tool for marketing and branding, it’s not always reliable for research and information. The information shared may come from those without the necessary experience or knowledge to run a successful lawn and landscape company.

How can incorrect job bidding methods impact my lawn and landscape business?

Incorrect job bidding methods can lead to overbidding or underbidding, both of which can lead to business failure. It’s crucial to base your bids on your actual costs to ensure profitability.

What costs should be considered when bidding for a job in the lawn and landscape industry?

Your bid should consider all your business’ costs, including indirect and direct costs and additional overhead. This includes equipment cost, labor costs, insurance, rent, uniforms, gas, and more.

How can I improve my bidding strategy in the lawn and landscape industry?

The key to improving your bidding strategy is to find your cost and set your price based on it. This will give you the confidence to pass on a job if the lead isn’t willing to pay your price.

Where can I find help to calculate my costs for bidding in the lawn and landscape industry?

There are resources like the “Know Why You Charge What You Charge” spreadsheet from Profits Unlimited that can help you calculate your business’ costs to figure out your cost per hour of operation. It’s also beneficial to seek help from experienced consultants in the lawn and landscape business such as Wayne Volz of Profits Unlimited who has over 40 years of lawn and landscape industry experience, over 30 years of consulting experience, and has helped thousands of lawn and landsacspe contractors.