Contractors often return a bid in a nice folder prepared on a standard template that is used for bids. It is time to think outside of the box! You need to be sure that your formal bid addresses many of the concerns and needs that were brought to your attention during a fact finding session of your property . A customized cover letter of categories within the specifications should show your needs and concerns.Outline exactly what you expect such as mowing, edging, pruning, mulching. sometimes the bids will surprise surprise you because of the variation in pricing for what you believe are the same services. How can this be? Why is there such a price differential, and how do you know if what one company proposes for a higher price is more valuable than a less expensive bid? What can you, the property owner, do to make sure you get the landscape maintenance services you expect? There are two issues at consider…
- Labor Costs – Labor costs are higher for a legally documented workforce with competitive pay and benefits, and who adheres to strict safety standards. You get what you pay for so make sure you landscaping company has experienced, legal people and the right equipment for the job. A trained, experienced team delivers the best quality. As a property manager, can you afford to have a crew on your property that doesn’t meet these standards?
- Property Lines – Are all bids equal. Are all companies identifying the property lines correctly because it matters on how much materials they plan to use and the amount of maintenance needed.
Lets research a few facts about a realistic landscape maintenance cost per hour. And how much a commercial landscaping company should charge.
Personnel Makes All The Difference
It is critical from a liability perspective to hire legal workers. Just as important is an experienced, well-trained, safety-minded team. It does costs a little more to run landscape crews with legal, verified workers. Make sure the company you hire have the best people, individuals who have a vested interest in growing a landscaping career. Reliable people require better compensation. Reliable workers are critical—especially in the landscaping industry, which is impacted by weather. We need our people to do what is expected on time, on budget, safely and up to quality standards. You will benefit by hiring a landscaping company that has an experienced team of landscape maintenance professionals caring for your property.
Lawn Care is More Than Mowing
While lawn care does require frequent mowing, quality lawn care encompasses so much more than that. If you want a property that is truly beautiful, you can’t just cut the grass and call it a day. You need an experienced, professional lawn care company that will provide you with all the services your lawn needs to look its best, including mowers, trimmers, edgers, blowers, trailers, trucks and hand tools. The reliability of equipment directly impacts your service. The last thing you want to hear is that your property will not be maintained when expected because equipment is down and the company does not have a backup plan. Of course, equipment costs money and running reliable, efficient machines can increase the cost of service. Equipment that is on your property is a direct reflection of your brand and reputation.
Interpreting Bid Specifications
That low ball landscaping bid can be tempting! Maybe it promises to save you hundreds or even thousands, and who doesn’t want to cut costs? But there’s that voice in your head saying, “You get what you pay for!” And if it seems too good to be true, there’s a good chance it is. A company has to be cutting corners somewhere. Whether it’s with the quality of their work, the quality of mulch and plants that will used, not having insurance, or not having experienced well trained employees. Details make all the difference. What kind of mulch will be used, how frequently will the property be mowed, how far apart with annuls be spaced? What we’re saying is… ask for details and require vendors to provide exact specifications. When bid specifications are general, that’s when you can run into trouble. Be sure to clarify whether vendors should submit bids based on your specifications or based on the service currently being rendered on site.
Commercial Landscape Maintenance Cost per Hour
A solid, fair bid takes into consideration the pricing of quality people and the cost of hiring them. The experience they bring to your property, and equipment that is efficient and effective. The crew average wage calculates to about $15. The labor burden (FICA, FUTA, SUTA, WCI, GLI, vacations, holidays, PTO and medical insurance) is 20 percent. General and administrative overhead for the maintenance is $10 per man-hour. The cost per hour for the ¾-ton crew truck and trailer is near $15. The ride-on mower runs 5 hours per day at a CPH of say $15. The 48-inch walk-behind mower also runs for 5 hours per day at a CPH of $10. Edgers, trimmers, blowers, etc., run a total of 4 hours per day at a CPH of say $5 each. With all of this in mind, what should you actually be paying per hour for high-quality landscape maintenance? You can expect to pay between $30 and $40 per hour.
Most of the time, if you are collecting a number of bids, one will be much higher and one will be much lower with a normal variance of up to 20 percent. Our recommendation: Focus on those competitive bids in the middle with similar pricing, varying between 3 to 5 percent in cost. Then, analyze those bids carefully based on the insight here regarding people, equipment, safety, experience and specifications.
Call the pros at Outer Image Outdoor Services to help you do your landscaping right the first time! We help our residential and commercial clients with their landscaping everyday!
Contact us (859-689-0076) for a free consultation!
About Outer Image Outdoor Services
Outer Image Outdoor Services provides residential and commercial landscaping services to the Northern Kentucky & Greater Cincinnati Area and has more than 20+ years of experience. We provide prompt and thorough service to our customers and treat them like neighbors!
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