Landscaping is one of the most competitive residential and commercial sectors of its kind. Winning projects on a consistent basis begins and ends with presenting convincing proposals and accurate estimates.
Accuracy is essential, but so too is ensuring your quotations are viable. If you quote too little, you could be left out of pocket. But if your quote is too high, you could lose projects to competing contractors.
Striking the right balance typically begins with conducting competitor research. You need to know how much other landscaping businesses in your area are charging, in order to know what kind of price bracket to be aiming for. After which, you’ll find yourself in a much better position to come up with a winning quotation for a prospective client.
Of course, every landscaping job is different, with its own unique requirements. Even so, the same basic formula for calculating accurate estimates can be used for all landscaping jobs.
Marking and quoting software like ZapQuote can simplify the process of marking up PDF plans, streamlining the quotations process and reducing time spent on admin tasks.
Here is how to come up with the kinds of accurate and convincing landscaping estimates that win projects:
- Meet all prospective customers on-site
The quotations process should always begin with an on-site meeting and a detailed walk-thru of the work area. This will give your client the opportunity to ask you any questions they have and for you to discuss the logistics and the costs of the proposed project.
This initial meet-up also plays the most important role of all in establishing trust and building a good working relationship. You get to know the motivations and priorities of the client and they get to know your approach to landscaping.
If you make a good first impression and connect with your clients the right way, the rest takes care of itself. However, this is only true if you are both 100% clear and honest in your expectations and requirements from day one.
- Estimate time and labour costs
Estimating time and labour costs means carefully considering your own capabilities and those of anyone else you intend to hire to help with the project. Think about similar jobs you have conducted in the past and come up with a realistic time frame.
If you quote based on project duration (rather than a fixed project price), it is always better to be at least a little conservative with your estimate. Remember – it is better to slightly under-promise and over perform than to do things the other way around.
Should it be difficult to come up with an exact timescale for your project, be honest and open about this with the client. Let them know that there may be some level of variance involved that gives them a concrete assurance as to how much (say 10% or 20% either way of the estimated completion time).
- List your expenses in full
Coming up with a comprehensive list of all expenses for the duration of the project comes next. This includes every material and overhead, from taking on contractors right down to purchasing grass seeds.
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the smaller costs, or relying on potentially outdated price lists. In today’s economy, some once-inexpensive items and equipment have skyrocketed in price like never before.
You can only come up with an accurate estimate for a client after taking into account all of your costs. This includes business overheads like rental of premises, transportation, insurance, office utilities, marketing and so on. All of which need to be covered by the costs of the projects you undertake.
What’s important to bear in mind is how the professionalism of your proposals and the way you present your estimates can make or break any quotation you issue.
This is where a dynamic software suite can help, providing the tools and features you need to accelerate the PDF markup process and produce consistently convincing quotations.
For more information on the potential benefits of the ZapQuote app or to discuss your requirements in more detail, call anytime for an obligation-free chat with a member of our team.