Outlet Mall Bid Suggestions

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by coachtmoore, May 1, 2007.

  1. coachtmoore

    coachtmoore LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to present a bid for a large commercial project. My specialty has been residential. A typical project for me will run $5000 to $20,000 dollars. I have been in the landscape business for 8 years. This is my biggest bid so far. Potentially $55,000 to $65,000. Here is my plan so far:

    1. Provide actual plants for potential customer to see on site.
    2. Provide a 2D drawing of plan.
    3. Show a 3D walkthrough of plan.
    4. Break the bid into parts (like a menu). There are 5 main areas to the landscaping bid.

    My questions are:
    1. How do you dress? Does it matter. Landscaping clothes or semi-dress.
    2. Is there anything specific you say to peak a customer's interest?
    3. Do you mention the competition and their work?
    4. Have I missed something?
  2. Guzman Properties

    Guzman Properties LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 443

    First thing to do is pretend you are the customer. What would you want to see or hear?

    Well dressed professional? or shorts and a tee? (remember, if you get the job, you can always show off your shirts and tee) Polo shirt with company logo and name, and khakis never hurt.

    Change your vocabulary from "I" to "we".

    Competition, bad, good, same, better? Just let them know what you have to offer.

    Always have extra business cards to hand out during the proposal process, you never know how many of there may be.
  3. Mike Fronczak

    Mike Fronczak LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    Is this new build or renovation work? If it new build, just submit a bid, the builder doesn't care as long as it done (cheap) & good enough that he gets paid. If existing (doing it for owner) probably pretty close to same. Are you doing the design work also, or working off a print, that will be your first clue.
  4. coachtmoore

    coachtmoore LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    I am doing everything except the irrigation work. I will sub that out. The place has been bought out about 1 year ago and they are trying to attract new customers. Old landscape is washing out in places and most evergreens are dead. It needs a complete overhaul. If they go cheap on this it will look like it. I like to think we do higher end work, they might be thinking of only the bottom line. Do I go in and say this is the design and this is the price (with confidence and not arrogance).

    Thanks for the comments so far.

  5. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    I would ask to see what there landscape budget is. I would try to feel them out to see if they are searching for the lowest bid... or have the funds to really set it off.
  6. green horizons

    green horizons LawnSite Member
    from zone 5
    Messages: 144

    I would approach it from a budget standpoint. I wouldn't give specifics, just basics. Talk about whan can be done, what can be saved, what can be omitted in a pinch, talk about budget. What are the needs, desires, budget? Is timing negotiable or critical? Are specs. negotiable or critical? Is budget...? 55-65k is a sizable job, budget should be discussed. Sounds fun, good luck.
  7. coachtmoore

    coachtmoore LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    I want to make sure we are on the same page. You guys are say NOT to develop a specific plan yet. Instead I should go back to my contact person and press for some specific budget guidlines. (I did the first time, but they wanted to see what we would come up with.) I would hate to create a sophisticated plan, then not get the bid. However, I do not want to go in and show them nothing.

    My opinion through my conversations is that they are open to suggestions. No specs were given. They know they need some retaining walls to stop erosion and add class. They want me to provide the plants at cost (Not installation labor) at cost. In return I would get free advertisement in a high traffic area.

    Should I shoot a ballbark figure, then design? HELP!!!
  8. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    You should get a contract to do the design efore you do the design. Real estate developers understand that there are a lot of people out there who look at such a project as "the big break I need to grow" and they harness that. They could go out and hire a well established design firm that has the proven experience both in designing and project managing this type of project. Instead, they are contacting smaller residental landscape companies.

    Think about it. What do you as a developer gain by using such a company? Well, if you can get them so horny to get the job that they will draw a plan, draw up walk through sketches, and bring them examples of plants before they even get the job, then there might be good reason. That is a couple of thousand dollars worth of work for free, if it is a good sized outlet mall.

    Clearly, they want someone who will invest more in this job more than they are willing to do. You are being used, in my opinion. They would rather get all of their design concepts done for free from people who have no experience in commercial design for free. That should tell you that they are more interested in saving money than bringing the right people in to guaranty the success of the project. It should then follow that they will do the same when it comes to the installation phase. They will take your plans, or the ideas from them and hire the cheapest guys around, or their own staff to install it. Or do you think they will all of a sudden think "let's invest in the right people" after that.

    I don't want to be negative, but I've been around this long enough to know how it is.

    Look how much you are going out of your way and looking to go even further. You are seeing a big budget and cutting your profit right off to get at it. It makes no sense.
  9. coachtmoore

    coachtmoore LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    AGLA, thank you for your frankness.

    It is true that I really would like to get this bid. However, I do not plan on compromising my standards and do a cheap job cheaply. It is true that there are many things I still don't know about the landscaping business. I would compare my design and retaining wall work with anyone. My biggest weakness is the "business" side.

    The thing about this bid is that if we don't get it someone else will, whether they are a large commercial contractor or small residential outfit. I need help competing.

    If you were in my shoes. Besides walking away from this project, how would you go about selling your landscaping vision without being used?

  10. SOMM

    SOMM LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 425

    AGLA is way, wicked-right, right on-the-money!

    Put the shirt & tie on, bring a yellow pad and a few pens to scribble and make notes of what is said, and get to a meeting soon with ALL (not 2 out of 5) ALL Principals in their deci$ion-making process. At the meeting first smile, tell some jokes or make some friendly baseball opening season comments to get everyone thinking that you put your pants on the same way they do and are basically a decent guy. Next -show pictoral examples of your finished work over the past decade (- as you say your experience timeframe spans - or at least some full color brochures or pictures from your suppliers) and then WITHOUT SAYING ONE OTHER THING: request a 10% (APPLICABLE TO THE PROJECT) Design Fee UP FRONT prior ANY more negotiations with these saavy smartazzed individuals. LET THE SILENCE BECOME ABSOLUTELY DEAFENING!! That's Right, IF YOU SPEAK FIRST - YOU LOSE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    SHUT UP - AND LET THEM ANTE-UP FIRST to your level - or else you'll NEVER be anybody in this business. It's called Professional Posture, and it's not willy-nilly or whamby-pamby. Be a Champion - eye-of-the-Tiger-look-'em-in-the-eye - because you truly ARE The Someone they've been looking for that they can depend upon to do what you say and say what you do - and MEAN IT, from the get-go!

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