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Schill Grounds Management Blog

Why Landscape Maintenance Contracts Are Priced Differently

Choosing a commercial landscape maintenance contract

Have you ever compared two landscape maintenance proposals and wondered, “Are they talking about the same property?”

We often get the question: Why does this landscape contract cost more than that one? Why is there such a big price difference?

Aren’t we talking about the same services, here?

The short answer: No.

That’s why we’re addressing the Price Gap so you can understand what actually goes into the pricing of your commercial landscape maintenance contract. The fact is, there’s a lot that goes into the number at the bottom line.

That includes: services rendered and frequency of visits; the size and scope of your property; and enhancements that go beyond maintenance tasks.

Contract prices look different because what those contracts promises is different. The problem is, many contracts don’t clearly spell out the services promised, so it’s unclear that the lower-priced contract does not include the services you need and quality you expect. It goes back to the old saying, “You get what you pay for.”

So, let’s address this Price Gap head-on so you can enter into an agreement with a full understanding of what services are included, service frequency and expectations for quality. Following are some important points to consider when reviewing landscape maintenance contracts for your Ohio property.

Set Expectations

No two commercial properties are the same. Talk openly about expectations for landscape maintenance before the proposal process beings. Be sure your Request for Proposal (RFP) is updated to reflect your needs. Be clear about the number of visits you expect and what services you want.

What happens when we don’t clearly communicate expectations before entering into a landscape service agreement? A contract will not fully meet your needs. The price from one vendor might be much lower priced (because of fewer services, less frequency). Meanwhile, the higher-priced vendor is quoting on the services you need.

Variables that Impact Pricing

Here are three service variables that can drive up the price of landscape services, or reduce the contract price.

  • Scope of Services: The contract should include the size of your property and list of services required to maintain it. Provide a landscape map and mark service areas.
  • Frequency of Service: This addresses the actual number of visits that will be provided. Keep in mind, Ohio’s landscape maintenance season is typically 38 to 40 weeks long. A lawn will not require mowing every week. But you can bet that there will be a significant price different between a contract that includes 28 visits vs. 32 visits. Pay attention to this number—it’s often the reason for the Price Gap among service contracts.
  • Safety and Integrity: You can’t put a price on safety. When companies cut prices down to compete, they could be sacrificing important in-house programs that benefit you, the property manager. Find out about your contractor’s safety record, and ask for proof. As for integrity, we often find that companies will underbid services to win a contract, and then they’ll increase the price later on. So, find out about future pricing.

 Look Beyond the Price

Pricing is important—but it’s not everything. Go beyond price and find out how the landscape provider will deliver service. How will the contractor address issues when they arise? (No provider is perfect.) How focused quality is the landscape company’s team—the people who will actually be on your property performing the work?

Also, look for a landscape provider that is accessible and has communication systems in place to make contacting the company easy and efficient. Ask about certifications. This is an indication of a contractor’s integrity, quality and commitment to education. Always ask for referrals.

Long-term vendor relationships begin honesty, and that includes transparency regarding how the price of a contract is built. It can be tough to navigate service providers’ contracts because of the Price Gap, but these pointers will set you up to compare agreements fairly. 

>>Next, we’ll address how a basic landscape maintenance contract is structured so you can get a grip on the services and number of visits your property needs. 

Learn more about the Price Gap and get a free copy of Your Guide to Commercial Landscape Pricing by contacting Schill Grounds Management or calling 440.327.3030. A Client Care Specialist will give you honest answers to your questions.

 

Topics: Landscape Maintenance

Jerry Schill

Written by Jerry Schill

Jerry Schill is president and co-owner of Schill Grounds Management. He's received numerous accolades for his leadership in the Northeast Ohio business community and the commercial landscaping and snow management industry, including the National Leadership Award from SNOW Magazine and Lawn and Landscape Magazine. He is an active member of the Legislative Committee for the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA) and the Snow and Ice Committee for the Ohio Landscapers Association (OLA).

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