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Commercial Lawn Care Contracts: How to Price, Bid, and Win Them

April 16, 2024 9 min. read
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Getting into commercial lawn care will allow you to secure bigger, more consistent, and higher-paying jobs. However, to be successful, you’ll need to know how to write a lawn care contract and price your commercial lawn care services for profit. 

Read on to learn how to get commercial lawn contracts, figure out prices, bid for jobs, and create contracts to help you get more customers.

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What is a commercial lawn care contract?

Commercial lawn care contracts are formal and binding agreements between your company and a commercial customer for services to be delivered over a specific period. They outline your lawn services, schedules, pricing, and payment details. 

Commercial clients can be more complex and harder to get than residential ones. They require heavier-duty equipment, a wider range of tasks, and extra safety and accessibility measures. But they can be worth it because these accounts offer many added benefits.

Benefits of commercial lawn accounts

  • Guaranteed work. Contracts typically cover longer periods, which means consistent, ongoing work.
  • More revenue. You can charge more for commercial lawn care services as the jobs are usually larger. 
  • Clearer expectations. Commercial clients often outline their exact expectations in the contract, making the work relatively straightforward.
  • Less individual requests. You’ll more than likely work with property managers and real estate boards. So, you can expect fewer special requests, which is typical of working with individual homeowner accounts.

How to get commercial contracts

Winning commercial contracts is all about building relationships. Your best bet to source these clients is to get to know commercial property managers and real estate board members in your service area.

Lawn care pro Chase Stetson from Mikes Lawn Care Service recommends partnering with a property manager who manages several different accounts so they can start consistently throwing potential clients your way.

The best way to find and build these relationships: 

1. Research and build a prospects list

If you don’t already have relationships with property managers or commercial clients, you’ll need to create a list of people to contact. 

Start by doing a local Google search for property managers in your area. You can also ask your residential clients. Chances are they know businesses that could use your services (or even be business owners themselves).   

2. Start reaching out

After you’ve built your prospects list, reach out to these contacts to introduce your business and your commercial lawn care services. You can do this through phone calls, emails, LinkedIn, postcards and flyers, or meetings. 

Even though some commercial property managers won’t be looking for a contractor right now, they might in the future. The objective is to make the connection and build a relationship so you’re the one who gets the job when the time comes.

Lawn care expert Ed Ramsden of Enviro Masters Lawn Care recommends a softer way to make these connections. Instead of starting with your sales pitch, reach out and ask if they’d be willing to give you some advice. See what they like and don’t like about their current providers and if they have any tips for getting started with commercial clients.

3. Ask for referrals

Once you start building relationships and securing contracts, referrals and references will be your biggest source of leads for new commercial clients.

Many property managers know each other and manage multiple properties. Once you’ve got your foot in the door and made a name for yourself with one client, ask them to connect you with others in their network. 

Bids for commercial contracts can be competitive and driven mainly by price, so the more you focus on building relationships and your reputation, the more success you’ll find in this space.

READ MORE: How to Get Commercial Lawn Accounts in 6 Steps

The bigger you get in terms of the size of contracts you’re getting, it goes from transactional to relational, and then you have to feed those relationships over time, or else you’ll lose them to somebody else who’s being relational too.

Adam Sylvester Charlottesville Lawn Care 

Learn from the Masters of Home Service Pros:

How to price commercial lawn care contracts

The main difference between pricing commercial and residential contracts is the heavier equipment needed to perform the job. 

Your approach to pricing doesn’t differ much from that of residential jobs. You still need to account for time, labor, and equipment—it’s just on a larger scale. 

Before sending in a lawn care bid, you must fully understand the job and know what you need to charge for your services

Focus on these three areas to price your commercial lawn services effectively.

1. Time

Whether it’s a multi-property job on a new development or a lawn maintenance job for a business block, knowing how much time to commit to the job is essential.

Your first step should be a walkthrough of the property. It will help you understand the client’s needs and any special procedures the property might require. If they have many requirements, you might discover that the job takes longer, even if the square footage isn’t huge.

2. Labor

Due to the scale of projects, commercial jobs tend to require more on-site staff. This huge component of pricing out a job is often overlooked by lawn care companies breaking into the commercial space. 

Before proceeding, make sure you know how many people you’ll need to complete a day’s work.

In addition to the wage you want to pay your workers, you also need to add your hourly rate as the business owner.

For example, you charge $45 an hour for each employee. They take home $20, you take home $20, and allocate $5 for business costs.

3. Equipment

Equipment costs are a big consideration when determining pricing. Commercial lawn care equipment is typically more expensive than residential equipment. It needs to be able to handle larger-scale jobs at different job sites, and maintenance and repairs should always be at the top of mind.

According to Ed, you can (and should) charge an equipment fee (as a flat rate or percentage) on top of every job.

You also need to price in the labor required to run that equipment. Eventually, you’ll need new equipment, so you must build enough profit from your current equipment to pay for it. This should cover maintenance, repairs, and eventual replacement of the equipment you’re using.

READ MORE: How to price lawn care services [pricing chart and formula]

How to bid commercial lawn care contracts

Property managers or businesses looking for lawn care services will invite commercial lawn care companies to bid on a contract that outlines the scope of work, pricing, and terms of an agreement. To bid on a commercial property, you need to submit a formal quote (or proposal), and understanding the process will put you in a better position to win these jobs. 

Commercial lawn care bids work like this:

1.  Conduct a walkthrough

An important first step is to tour the client’s property. Use this time to ask questions about the services they’re looking for and get an accurate understanding of what’s needed to complete the job. 

2. Create and submit your proposal

You’ll need to create a proposal that includes all services discussed during your walkthrough, as well as taxes, fees, discounts, etc.

Don’t overlook the importance of providing an accurate quote during this process. Your quote will set the price for the entire contract. If you’re off by a couple of dollars, you could lose a lot of money throughout the job.

After creating your quote, you’ll send it to the client for review. 

3. Stay tuned for contract decision

The property manager reviews proposals from every service provider and uses the quotes to determine the best bid for their budget. If you’re awarded the bid, they’ll have you sign a contract they supply before you start.

Commercial accounts often prioritize pricing, but if you’ve set your prices correctly, you’ll know which customers are not worth it, and you won’t feel too bad if you lose a bid. To differentiate yourself, build solid relationships, and let your reputation speak for itself.

How to create a commercial lawn care contract

To create your contract, you can use a pre-built lawn care contract template or make your own with tools like Jobber and DocuSign. Jobber’s DocuSign integration lets you automatically draft a commercial lawn care agreement that clients can digitally sign. 

Creating a commercial contract using the Jobber DocuSign integration

Start by creating a basic contract template from within DocuSign. 

Here’s how:

  1. From the Templates page in DocuSign, click NEW and select Create Template
  2. Next, the prepare view appears
  3. Enter a name and description 
  4. Customize the template to meet your needs
  5. When you’re finished with the template, click SAVE AND CLOSE

Then, after connecting Jobber to DocuSign and allowing access, edit the template you created, drag and drop details from your Jobber account into the commercial contract, and save your changes.

Drag and drop custom fields DocuSign Jobber integration.

You can then automatically draft a commercial contract in DocuSign by checking the box for “contract required” when creating a quote in Jobber.

image of client file in Jobber and option to view contract in DocuSign

Learn more about Jobber and DocuSign

What to include in commercial mowing contracts

Regardless of what approach you take when building your contract template, you’ll want to be sure you have these areas covered:

  • Your business information
  • Client details
  • Scope of the services you’ll provide
  • Your proposed lawn care maintenance schedule
  • Pricing and payment terms
  • General terms and conditions
  • Space for signatures

READ MORE: Lawn care contracts: what to include and how to send

How to keep commercial clients happy

Winning commercial accounts means bigger payouts and consistent, ongoing work. So, focusing on keeping these clients happy is important, especially when lower prices can sway them. 

Follow these tips to keep your commercial lawn care clients for the long term (and get more):

  • Demonstrate you care. Showing genuine interest in your clients’ needs and concerns builds trust, and they’ll be more satisfied.
  • Use quoting software. Streamline your quoting process with tools like Jobber, which allows you to add materials, services, and labor as you go.
  • Get a CRM to bring it all together. Your secret weapon in keeping your client happy will undoubtedly be your CRM (to keep notes on your client accounts) and job checklist (to ensure quality of work for each site visit). That way, you never miss a step with each phone call, email, or site visit.

Originally published in December 2019. Last updated on April 16, 2024.


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