When Comparing Bids, Lower Prices Often Don’t Tell the Whole Story


Everyone has been in a competitive bid situation before.  And we understand that providing value to building ownership is a top priority, while at the same time upholding and maintaining expected standards on building appearance.  Often only one factor determines a winning bid – lowest price.  Selecting a landscape contractor on lowest price alone, without reviewing bids to make sure you have a true apples-to-apples comparison, can set you up for failure.  When comparing bids, here are some easy guidelines to ensure all companies are truly offering you the same level of products and service.

  1.  Are the plants the same size?    A lot of companies will use smaller plant sizes to reduce the cost of their bid.  If a company is proposing 400 standard annuals for your summer rotation, are those flowers 4.5” or 6” in size?  Installing smaller 4.5” flowers usually results in plantings that are spaced very far apart, and containers and beds that have a sparse and unfinished look.  In the end, companies end up spending more money than originally planned to purchase additional flowers to supplement for the deficiency in the contractor specs.
  2. Does the contractor really understand my property?  Does the contractor have detailed measurements of all planting areas, including spacing of the plants themselves?  Have they completed a thorough walk-through of your property prior to bid submission?  Can they tell you how many bags of mulch or fertilizer you will need over the course of your contract?  A good landscape contractor can and isn’t afraid to lay out detailed calculations in their bid to back up their pricing.
  3. Don’t get surprised by extra or additional charges.  Does the contractor offer a warranty for the flowers and plants covered under your contract or are you responsible for replacement charges?  What about supplemental watering during the summer months?  Ensure there are clear-cut and concise terms, including a maintenance schedule, that the contractor must adhere to.  Incidental charges can bust your budget if not plainly spelled out and agreed to from the beginning.
  4. Get references and check insurance and licensing.  It is not inexpensive to operate a legal, fully licensed and insured landscape contracting business in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.  Before signing any contract make sure a potential vendor can produce any licenses, certificate of insurance requirements, W9 or tax identification forms.  And always ask for references.  Any reputable contractor should be proud to provide you with a list of clients you can contact.

We are always available to facilitate a complimentary walk-through of your space and provide a free estimate of our services.  You can reach us at 240-531-2066 or sales@superiorplantings.com.  We look forward to becoming your partner in creating beautiful spaces!

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