The Best Way to Win Commercial Landscape Contracts & Lawn Accounts

Picture this:

You’re in a large, open field.

The grass reaches almost up to your knees. An office building sits … maybe 300 feet from you. To most people, this overgrown lot smells like dirt and fresh air.

But to you, the landscaping pro, it smells like money.

This guide will show you how to win all the Commercial Landscaping Contracts you can handle:

Network Smarter and Get More Commercial Landscaping Contracts

For small and medium landscaping companies, networking is the only reliable way to get more commercial accounts.

YOU have to approach THEM.

Research the properties in your area and find a way to talk to an owner (or the main decision maker).

Here’s a quick list of great local networking options:

  • Hunt down locally-owned businesses. You will get to talk directly to the owner, instead of a middleman. This makes sales and upsells easier.
  • Talk to Homeowner’s Association (HOA’s) and other Real Estate groups. You can find these by searching “HOA or Real Estate Groups in [your city].”
  • Contact your city’s Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).
  • 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.
  • 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.

Also, check out the Lawn Care Marketing Expert’s guide – he talks a bit about how to actually talk to your commercial contacts:

Once you get your foot in the door, you have a great leg up on the competition. Find the decision maker, get nice with them, and sell. That’s your primary goal.

Be a Professional

In the corporate world, looks matter.

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

  • Do you have the right uniforms?
  • Are your trucks painted or wrapped?
  • Do you have a professional website?
    • Businesses will judge you by your website. Your website doesn’t need to be “the Facebook of Landscaping.” Keep it professional and clean.
  • Can your equipment do the job in time to make you money?

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.

Need tools to Price and Cost your Jobs? Service Autopilot’s management and scheduling software is your solution.

Join our FREE Lawn Care Webinar to see how Service Autopilot will upgrade your business today.

How to Bid (and Win) a Commercial Landscaping Contract

Here’s the ugly side of Commercial Landscaping:

The commercial world is focused on “the bottom line.” They will try to skim you. They will only care about how much it costs… unless you can sell them better services.

When you talk to the decision maker, here are some ways you can actually win the bid:

  • 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 Commercial Landscaping Contracts, 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 Landscaping Contracts:

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, 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.

3. How “warm” is my relationship with this account? Make friends with the account owner, and your chances of winning the bid greatly improve.

4. How can I upsell on this Contract? Maybe you lose money on the mowing, but you can make 200% on the fertilization package. Again, good job costing tools will tell you if this is worth it.

5. How often does the account typically switch landscape contractors?

Bad news: you WILL lose accounts.

That’s part of the commercial game. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t fight back…

Lose Your Accounts with Grace … Then, Win Them Back.

Some warnings for people starting out on commercial landscaping contracts:

  • Do NOT try to buy commercial jobs. This is a scam. You will lose money on this.
  • Do NOT price yourself out of profit.
  • 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 “just take it.”

Here’s what you do: Write up a ‘Thank You’ letter.

Yes, that’s right. Be grateful. Use phrases like “We want to thank you for giving us the opportunity…”

The more pleasing you are on the way out, the more likely you are to get hired back.

Here’s the kicker: include one last counter offer in your letter. Your professionalism + an irresistible offer will keep some businesses in your pocket.

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

Chances are, they will switch landscape contractors again next year. You want them to remember your professionalism and high quality service, not your desperation.

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

With this advice, you should be able to network your way into the right circles, and sell to the right people. Good luck, and go make some money!

Related: The Best 9.5 Ways to Market Your Landscaping or Lawn Care Business 


Patrick Hoffman

Patrick Hoffman is the lead marketing writer for Service Autopilot. He writes about growing healthier Service Businesses - primarily for the Lawn Care, Landscaping, and Cleaning Industries. When he's not writing, he's probably reading: books on marketing, self-improvement, or science fiction. Contact Patrick:

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