5 Red Flags Surrounding Lowball Landscaping Bids

That lowball landscaping bid looks so tempting. Maybe it promises to save you hundreds or even thousands, and who doesn’t want to cut costs?

But there’s that voice in your head saying, “You get what you pay for.” And if it seems too good to be true, there’s a good chance it is.

red flags for low ball landscape bids

A company has to be cutting corners somewhere — whether it’s with the quality of their work or not having insurance — to be able to offer you a really low price.

To keep you from falling into that trap, here are five red flags that surround lowball landscaping bids.

Lack of (or No) Insurance

We’ve all felt the pain of insurance prices going up. Imagine paying insurance for a company, its employees and to have liability coverage: It’s not cheap.

So if a company can give you a lowball bid, that could mean they aren’t paying for full-coverage insurance (or any at all).

If you hire a landscaper who doesn’t have liability insurance and an incident happens while they are on your property, you could be held accountable. And that small savings on services is out the window and into your lawyer’s pocket.

Low-Quality Equipment and Workforce

A Bentley costs a lot more than an old junk car, and that’s to be expected. So don’t think you’ll pay a low, junk price and get high-quality equipment and people on your property.

Having commercial-grade equipment and certified, experienced crews are going to cost a company more — making it difficult for them to lowball you and still make a profit.

Quality equipment will give your landscape a cleaner cut and also not break down as often. So, you won’t have to worry about the crew getting behind schedule while the equipment is in the shop.

The workers on your site are even more important than the equipment because they will be the ones performing the services and making sure there are no problems.

Fuzzy (or No) Contract

Contracts are designed to protect both parties, but they don’t do either side any good if they aren’t clear. And the only thing worse than a fuzzy contract is not having one at all.

A contract should be specific: For example, instead of saying they will provide “maintenance services,” it should say they will mow, edge, trim and blow each week for X amount of weeks.

There shouldn’t be any way for the information to be misconstrued. Make sure everything is included in the contract and not left up for interpretation.

Request for Change Orders

A qualified company will know exactly what it will take to maintain and enhance your landscape — from services to materials.

But one that is lowballing you might lack the knowledge to understand what all your property requires and not include everything in the original agreement.

That means they’ll send you request for change orders because they didn’t cover their bases.

Not Enough Employees

When a company is paying five employees for work that really requires 10 people, they save money. But their savings mean less-than-stellar results for your property.

Not having enough workers will mean the work quality suffers, things fall through the cracks and problem areas are missed. You want the company to have enough employees to properly manage your landscape, instead of ones who are stretched thin.

How To Compare Companies (And Not Just Prices)

Everywhere you look, there are deals, savings and discounts. So it’s easy to see why our culture has come to value and expect the lowest possible price.

But saving a little bit of money on landscaping isn’t always the best option, especially if it means you will end up spending more down the road to have someone fix what was done.

Here are some of the costly consequences to making a decision only based on the bid amount:

  • Accidents, safety concerns and liabilities issues from work not being done correctly (caused from lights not being replaced, areas becoming overgrown, allowing surfaces to become uneven, etc.)
  • Paying fines because landscape isn’t up to code
  • Losing tenants, employees and visitors because the property looks rundown and unsafe

You obviously want to avoid all of those situations, so how do you compare companies and bids without just looking at the price?

Use an objective system to analyze the bids, and do your homework, instead of making an emotional decision based on a low price.

There are several ways to do that, like giving each answer on a company’s bid points and then adding those up at the end to see how they compare to the others.

You’ll also want to make sure their bids address everything that was on your RFP so you can reach. Also, call some of their references to see what you can expect if you choose them.

Here’s the bottom line: You’re only going to have an unhappy contract experience by going with a cheap landscaper, and you probably aren’t going to end up saving money anyway because you’ll have to get the work redone.

So if you want the work done right from the start, give us a call at 478-750-7733 in Macon or 478-272-3878 in East Dublin. You can also fill out a form online to see how we can help you reach your goals.

New Call-to-action