/* */
Upload Photos Refer a PRO

Business Owners & Managers

How to Get Property Management Landscape Contracts

Private residential landscaping contracts have been good for your company, but you feel like it's time to add on business clients. So, the question on your mind may be how to gain property management landscaping contracts.

Getting ready to expand into commercial landscaping requires more than increasing staff and equipment. You also need to visualize how to make the transition.

Some first steps include: getting connected through networking; understanding differences between residential and commercial jobs; analyzing size and types of commercial jobs; and updating the online side of your business management tools.

Face-to-Face Networking

It's a digital world. We've all heard a lot about the importance of mobile marketing and social media presence.

Yet landscaping is a high-touch business, and in-person networking is an effective high-touch approach to marketing your services. You can meet potential customers at business gatherings held by the Chamber of Commerce and local branches of commercial builder organizations such as:

Networking with real estate and property management professionals is another excellent choice. The Balance lists a number of related organizations including BOMA - the Building Owners and Managers Association.

Residential & Commercial Differences

Aside from differences in equipment, some of the key contrasts between residential and commercial landscaping include access to the property owner, forming contracts, different kinds of insurance, and profit margins.

Landscapers usually are in contact with building owners for residential work. But you should expect to deal with property managers, general contractors and other go-betweens for commercial jobs. Old-fashioned handshake agreements may work with some homeowners, but commercial contracts need to be in writing and specify expectations -- yours as well as the clients.

A major commercial expectation is liability insurance. Some business clients may require up to $2 million in coverage.

As for profit, often you can expect a lower margin but steadier work from commercial clients.

Size and Type of Jobs

When first expanding your business, be realistic about the commercial jobs you bid. Ask yourself what types and number of commercial jobs your company is currently equipped to handle.

Think big, but start small to do your best work and gain references that will lead to more and larger contracts. For example, attractively landscaping strip malls can eventually lead to ongoing contracts with larger shopping centers.

Take photos of your work and ask satisfied customers for testimonials to share with potential clients in person and on your company website.

Before bidding, determine company costs, such as: labor; insurance (medical, workmen's comp, liability); equipment, hardscape materials; seed, soil and plants; and transportation. Don't forget to add a margin for profit.

Software Solutions

Despite being high touch, the landscaping business also has to be high tech these days to succeed. Apps on a smartphone may be all the digital help a residential landscaper needs when getting started.

However, business growth requires the support of an integrated software management system to cover tasks ranging from estimation of bids to tracking your supply chain.

When tracking the growth of your business, remember to budget time and money for someone on staff -- or an online tracking service -- to manage this software. It may be difficult for you to wear the IT hat along with all the others in your landscaping closet.

By applying these tips, and keeping your ear to the ground on how other pros have made the jump for homeowners to commercial property, you too can start to make inroads into this new market.

Have you had success in attracting commercial clients? Join our forum to share your tips or ask other pros for ideas.