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Management Practices Featured

How to get commercial landscaping contracts

Read Time

12 minutes

Author

Gage Roberts

Published

Jan 12, 2023

How to get commercial landscaping contracts (+step by step)

As a landscape business, you probably built your company on the success of door-to-door sales within your local community.

Many landscaping businesses start in the residential field. Residential properties offer a lot of benefits to landscape contractor startups, such as:

  • Smaller in size
  • Straightforward needs
  • Relatively small teams can complete work with efficiency

But residential properties don’t always mean wide profit margins.

Tapping into the commercial landscaping market is a business path that every landscaping company explores at one point, and for a good reason. Commercial landscaping jobs have a lot to offer, such as:

  • Better margins
  • Higher chances of repeat business
  • Great marketing opportunities

So how does a company make that pivot? 

Building relationships empowers growth in new verticals and markets

When expanding your business, connections can mean everything. Knowing who to target and how to target them is vital to getting your new business model on the right footing.

So your first goal should be finding opportunities by targeting business owners who need your services. 

How do landscapers obtain commercial clients?

Obtaining commercial clients is challenging, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. There are two areas where you should concentrate:

  1. Outreach
  2. Marketing

Outreach is as simple as defining the type of customer you need and putting your name in front of them. 

Marketing requires a bit more investment, but the resources should already be available to you.

You have to invest in an online presence to connect with potential customers learning about your services.

This blog will cover each of these areas in more detail.

Connect with local business owners

When launching new services, you need to start with a list of possible leads. The goal is to build social proof behind your new vertical by landing one new customer in your new field of business. 

You might consider looking up business owners in the area with properties in need of your services. From there, you can put out cold emails or calls to the property manager.

Be intentional when gathering commercial property leads

Create your leads systematically based on the following:

  1. Specific needs with which your business can assist
  2. The likelihood they will respond to your offer.

This way, you can be specific in how you reach out rather than losing engagement by sending out broad and general intro calls or emails. 

Even if you don’t get the desired response, don’t instantly disregard the business as a future opportunity.

The list of leads you’re creating is only the beginning of your outreach strategy. Because as soon as you complete your first commercial landscaping job, you’ll now have the fuel you need to win over businesses that were initially skeptical.

You’ll need to deploy a system to organize your potential new customer lists. Aspire software makes organizing your outreach and communication efforts seamless. From one central hub, you can track who you’ve reached out to, how often, and if they responded. 

Market your landscaping and lawn care business

Of course, it’s paramount to have personnel who carry themselves with the same level of professionalism that you do. And while in-person networking events, working the phones, and email outreach might be a priority at this point – don’t look past the importance of digital marketing for landscape companies.

Everything from Google Ads to social media updates can assist your company in finding the right audience, which might include decision-makers prying into the digital world for the right landscape and lawn care company to deliver on their property’s needs.

Building a company presence

A part of building up your connections is creating a brand presence in the community. Your residential clients should be familiar with the value of your work, but connecting to the business community is a different challenge. 

You want people to recognize your name whether you’re reaching out to them or they’re coming to you. The good news is you already do have a community presence through your residential work. You just have to turn that experience into tangible value.

There’s no single marketing strategy to land commercial lawn care contracts

Marketing puts your company’s work in front of potential clients with paid advertising and an online presence to capture organic traffic from search engines. 

Some marketing strategies may include:

  • Share customer stories or case studies online
  • Ask residential clients to leave reviews on Yelp or Google
  • Create social media accounts to engage with other community pages and groups
  • Turn your testimonials into online ads

Even if your company doesn’t have much online capability, there is plenty you can do locally to get your name out there.

Getting involved in your community is a great way to build brand awareness and create buzz around your commercial work.

  • Get involved in nonprofit events and charity work
  • Host lectures and webinars catered to building owners' and managers' associations
  • Establish a business page on social media and LinkedIn
  • Build a community presence at the local chamber of commerce
  • Connect with your local commercial real estate groups and HOAs

These suggestions may not land you commercial landscaping contracts on the same day, but they will create organic momentum to win more bids in the upcoming weeks and months.

Encourage happy clients to leave reviews

Marketing might not sound up your alley. As a landscaping business owner, the last thing you probably considered in getting your company off the ground was online advertising.

→ You don’t need to go out and hire a team of experts to give your marketing momentum. 

User-generated content is your best friend. The best part about a testimonial is it never hurts to ask. You’re wasting business opportunities if you don’t give repeat clients a chance to leave feedback.

You can always frame the request as an opportunity to help your company grow. Customers love talking about what they enjoy about the services they pay for and what they wish the company could enhance. 

Incentive programs build brand loyalty and generate more high-quality accounts

The referral request could be in the form of a simple thank-you email post-completed job. Or you could leave them a form to submit or even offer a discount on the next job for anyone who submits a review.

→ Incentivize reviews in whichever way you can and start adding online content to your marketing efforts.

Your company’s internet presence should reflect your outstanding reputation in the communities you serve. Reviews from customers that mention the unique and innovative solutions your landscaping company offers will help boost your online footprint. 

Maintain professionalism to drive referrals

There’s no denying the landscaping industry is crowded. But when the backbone of your services and brand is your integrity and work ethic, it won’t take long to stand out from the crowd.

Demonstrating professionalism comes with an “act like you’ve been there before” approach to branding.

Fostering professionalism within a commercial landscaping company begins with the following:

  • Creating a company culture
  • Establishing a mission to align everyone
  • Discussing how everyone in your organization–from back offices to crew members–should carry themselves

Once those are accomplished, match your professional attitude with a professional appearance to retain a competitive edge in commercial lawn care and landscaping.

Cohesive branding in every aspect of your organization builds awareness and generates word-of-mouth business in new service areas.

Ensure your logo and business name are everywhere:

  • Trucks and equipment
  • Uniforms
  • Estimates and invoices

As you scale your business, incorporating integrity and excellence into your company culture ensures that crews deliver work that exceeds client expectations.

Offer competitive prices

Landing commercial lawn care accounts is a deeply competitive market in which you can’t stand out by marketing alone. Being outstanding goes beyond quality work. You have to consider the amount of customer skepticism that comes with tapping into a new market.

Not everyone will take your residential history as enough to trust you with their commercial landscape maintenance contracts. So, you’ll need an edge to help you stand out in the beginning. 

Research is an essential part of getting commercial lawn accounts

Before you launch into commercial properties, you need to assess the market by doing the following:

  • Look into local competitors
  • Understand the commercial service offerings
  • Get a scope of the competitive pricing

Before you can shift into an unproven market, you need to know how viable it is for your margins.

→ You can’t just undercut competitors to win businesses, hoping it’ll pay off in the future. 

Assess how much you could sell your services for while still making a profit. Then, conduct market research to see how your prices compare to the competition.

If you can’t viably offer cheaper charges while still profiting, you may not be ready to shift into a new type of business. 

Find profitable access points to adding commercial landscaping contracts to your client base

If competitive pricing is the problem, there are solutions.

→ Offer new customers special offers at lower prices for commercial contracts, but only for a limited time.

→ Offer an in-season special only available for the upcoming season.

→ Remember to upsell with lower-priced contracts to demonstrate the value of your landscape and lawn maintenance services

Whatever strategy you use, make sure you have a tangible path back to your standard prices that customers will understand.

The goal is to win new customers with the quality of your work by getting them to buy in on a one-time offer.

Is your small business ready to expand into commercial work?

To lighten up your math homework, we engineered the Aspire software’s ROI calculator so you can better understand what areas of your business require investment.

This calculator gives you the insight you need to approach pricing in a new field. If you have the room to offer amazing prices, go for it. But if your margins are slim, be strategic.

Out-bid the competition

Once your company is off and running with commercial landscape maintenance contracts, it’s time to seize on the opportunities you worked so hard to earn.

Bids created through Aspire have a greater chance of being awarded because they include the following:

  • Company logos 
  • Site audit photos 
  • Thorough, detailed service description

Professional, software-generated bids show commercial accounts a breakdown of service types and pricing, building brand trust before a contract is signed.

Improve speed and accuracy in the bidding process

Delivering faster bids with proven margins give your organization a competitive advantage. Of course, there are several steps you’ll want to take for more successful landscape job bids, like highlighting special techniques and equipment your team uses.

You can position yourself at the leading edge of your market by having a system that can help you do the following:

  • Put together estimates efficiently
  • Job cost potential contracts with ease
  • Communicate with clients seamlessly

Showing your customers the efficacy of your processes, even in the early stages of winning their business, is huge for securing new customers. As fellow business owners, they’ll appreciate your professionalism and ability to deliver results. 

Secure more commercial accounts 

Once you’ve entered the commercial sphere, chances are you’ll want to continue marketing efforts to reach new potential customers while growing your business operations.

You don’t become a commercial landscaping company after winning a couple of accounts. Thinking outside the box, you might want to begin outreach in sectors you previously haven’t served before:

  • Condominiums
  • Schools and parks
  • Real estate agencies
  • Assisted living centers and healthcare facilities
  • Warehouses and manufacturing centers
  • Hospitality and retail chains
  • Churches and places of worship

Building up a new portfolio of work and properties will help your business stand out and expand beyond homeowners and residential accounts.

This isn’t to suggest businesses need to spend years trying to connect with new customers to build up a rapport.

→ Build a plan to win over repeat business opportunities to create stable profit margins. 

You want to be the team that local businesses trust with their properties – and you can count on Aspire software’s tools and integrations for measurements, site audits, job costing, and data reporting to help seal your deals.

Aspire’s cloud-based landscape business software provides all the tools you need to do the following:

  • Secure new business quickly
  • Increase efficiency in processes and labor
  • Drive increases in cash flow for an improved bottom line

Implement the only software platform that scales with your organization into new landscaping services, markets, and verticals—such as from residential to commercial. Centralize your operations with end-to-end software that includes the following capabilities:

Aspire allows you to create templated and streamlined workflows that you can begin deploying in your residential work and seamlessly carry over to commercial contracts.

These optimized workflows will enable you to cut down on management and day-to-day tediums that waste time and hurt profits. 

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