How to Bid Lawn Care for Apartments in Bad Shape

Published on October 28, 2015

The gate creaks when you open it. Long grass whips at your ankles and bushes crawl all over the walls. A dirt patch, filled with weeds, starts rustling.

You're pretty sure something is living in that overgrowth.

There are no two ways about this: this apartment complex is in dire need of lawn care maintenance.

It's yours for the taking, but how do your price your lawn care services on a monstrosity like this?

Lawn Care Bidding for Overgrown Apartments

Overgrown apartments can be hard to price correctly. Shoot too high, and you'll likely not get the bid. Shoot too low, and you'll be losing money on the job. To ensure your profitability, separate the bidding process into three steps.

Step 1

Walk the property. While you can use our SmartMaps feature to get the square footage of any property, for seriously overgrown apartments you're going to need to look at every problem area with your own eyes. This is the best way to accurately judge the time, and therefore the cost, of your maintenance service.

  • Do they have tricky flower beds?
  • How many trees will need trimming?
  • Is there something wrong with the grass?

Break up the property into pieces - try to give an estimate for every single problem area. Beds, trees, edging, where do you have to blow, etc. Get on your feet, and show the apartment owners that you know what you're doing. When you put your face in front of them, and prove that you mean business, that's a really good way to secure your bid on any apartment complex.

Step 2

Create a maintenance contract as if the apartment grounds were already in perfect condition. Choose a timeline that works for you (most people take contracts for 12 months).

Ignore the fact that the weeds are climbing over everything, and the shrubs look like they're going to collapse under their own weight. Don't mind the dry turf and the messy beds.

Imagine the property ISN'T gnarly and overgrown. Imagine you've been doing maintenance on it for a few months, and now that you've cleaned up the place, it's much easier to maintain. This is the rate you want to bring to your client - because once you DO get the bid, you'll keep the place well maintained, so it won't take you 14 hours a day to fix it up. That way, next year, they'll remember the REAL price for the maintenance contract, and not the extra clean up fees you had to tack on.

Step 3

You are NOT giving away your cleanup services for free. If that apartment is overgrown, you better get paid for fixing it up, right?

This step is important to ensure that you keep your bid on the apartment, even next year.

When your contract is up, the apartment's purchasing manager might forget that you had to charge them a cleanup fee - so, in order to keep that fee OFF of a recurring contract, make it a separate charge.

Once you've created a "Make Ready" fee, you can give the apartment managers your bid, and explain to them why you have to keep the cleanup separate from ongoing maintenance.

Note: Cleanup is always harder than maintenance - do NOT undersell yourself on this. Make sure your estimate reflects the real cost of the service, or else you're just wasting your time. Often, a single overgrown area it will take 10-20% longer than it looks, so make sure you charge accordingly.

Walk the property, keep your initial cleanup fees separate, and create a contract as if you were already keeping the apartment grounds in top shape.

Your Recipe for "Bidding Success"

With these three steps, you'll be well on your way to winning more commercial contracts or apartment accounts, no matter how shabby or overgrown the property is.

Now, get out there, and start growing your company.

Related: How to Price Lawn Care Services that Sell

Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino is the Sr. Marketing Director for Service Autopilot. She uses her 17+ years in direct marketing, sales, and product development to push entrepreneurs beyond their limits. She's passionate about helping others grow their businesses through time-tested marketing techniques. When not writing, you can find her belting out a mean Stevie Nicks at a local karaoke night.


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