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How to Bid Your Next Commercial Lawn Care Contract

Published on December 4, 2018

Getting a commercial lawn care contract means one thing: big money.

But it can also mean a big headache if you do it wrong:

  • Charge too much, and you lose the contract.
  • Under bid, and you could lose money.

The goal is to WIN the account and make a PROFIT, right?

In this guide, I will show you EXACTLY how to bid (and win!) more commercial lawn care contracts FAST, which means big money for your lawn care company. Let's do this:

Your 1st Goal: Meet With the Decision Maker

Right now, your 1st goal is to simply get your foot in the door.

For small and medium lawn or landscaping companies, networking is the only reliable way to get a commercial lawn care contract. 

In other words, you have to approach them.

One solid strategy is to craft an email or a letter for each business you want to bid.

When you start sending these emails, try hanging them up in HOAs (Homeowner's Associations) to get your name into the right hands and get them to respond to you.

Another option is to head over to the right local networking events:

  • Local businesses: You'll get to talk directly to the owner (instead of a middleman), which makes sales and upsells easier.
  • HOAs: Talk to HOAs and other Real Estate groups. You can find these by searching “HOA or Real Estate Groups in [your city].”
  • BOMA: Set up a meeting with your city’s Building Owners and Managers Association.
  • Chamber of Commerce Meetings, CEO Forums, and other networking events will help you meet potential clients, especially if your town has a commercial district or sector with above average commercial density.

When all else fails…

… it's time for some cold, hard knocks.

Drive around and look for properties that need fixing. When you see a business that could use your services, go knock on their door and introduce yourself. This one works very well if you are good at in-person sales.

How "Professionals" a Win Commercial Lawn Care Contract

In the corporate world, looks matter.

To win the big accounts, you must look like someone who can handle the big accounts:

At Service Autopilot, we call that last one ‘Job Costing.’ 

Job Costing tells you how many labor hours it takes to do a job and how much you should charge to make a profit. It’s key to making money in this industry. 

If you don’t know exactly how much it time it takes to maintain a property, you will lose money on your services.


Do you KNOW if your jobs are PROFITABLE?

Here's a FREE pricing calculator to help you grow your lawn care business - so you can know that your jobs actually make money.

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.

5 Must-Know Questions Before You Bid on a Lawn Care Contract

1. [Critical] How Low Can I Bid Before I Lose Money?

Winning a bid is often a matter of offering the lowest prices. But some victories are not worth it.

Take the scientific approach.

Measure the property yourself.

Note all of the irregularities that will slow you down or cause you problems.

If you can’t win a bid without underpricing yourself, then it’s not worth it.

2. How Many Competitors Will Also Bid on This Job?

If there are a hundred lowballers clawing for this job, it might not be worth the effort.

Always do a double-take on the job to make sure it's worth your time so you don't end up losing money.

3. How “Warm” Is My Relationship With This Account?

Start finding new ways to immediately cultivate strong relationships with new potential clients.

As a result, when you make friends with the account owner, your chances of winning the commercial lawn care bid greatly improve.

4. Can I Upsell Work to Make a Profit on This Contract?

Maybe you lose money on the mowing, but you can make 200% on the fertilization package.

In this instance, you might be able to accept the job with the right upsells.

Keep in mind, even when you're dealing with a high-profit job, you should ALWAYS be looking for ways to upsell everyone.

A great job costing tool, like Service Autopilot, will be able to tell you if a job is worth it.

5. How Often Does the Account Typically Switch Lawn Care Contractors?

The truth is you WILL lose accounts because it's a part of the commercial lawn care game.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t win them back. Let me show you how… 

How to Win Back "Lost" Commercial Lawn Care Accounts

Some warnings for people starting out on commercial landscaping contracts: 

  • Do NOT price yourself out of profit.
  • Do NOT try to buy commercial jobs. This is a scam, and you will lose money on this. 
  • Do NOT depend on one account. You will lose accounts. Keep some steady residential accounts as a safety net. 

When you lose an account, don’t freak out. If your finances are straight, and you have back-ups, you will be fine.

But you don’t have to just accept the loss.

Here’s what you do:

Write up a ‘Thank You’ letter.

Be grateful, and use phrases like, “We want to thank you for giving us the opportunity… ” and, "It has been a great experience working with your team… "

Be polite on your way out, and there's a huge chance you'll get hired back when the next lawn care contractor messes up.

… and here’s the kicker:

When you write your "Thank You" letter, include one last counter offer.

Your professionalism + an irresistible offer will keep some businesses in your pocket. 

If they still don’t want you, then move on.

Chances are, they will switch landscape contractors again next year.

After all, you want them to remember your professionalism and high quality service, not your desperation.


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Win Your Next Commercial Lawn Care Contract Now!

Commercial lawn care contracts are a great way to crank up your yearly revenue.

This is because it's...

  • Stable
  • Surprisingly easy to win
  • And extremely profitable (when done right)

With this advice, you should be able to find more business owners who want your business.

And, once you get your foot in the door, you'll know exactly how to win your next commercial lawn care contract.

Related: Lawn Care Marketing: The Best 11.5 Ideas for Your Business

Originally published Dec 4, 2018 6:00 AM, updated March 23, 2021 10:31 AM

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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