17 January 2017

Tips for Successful Commercial Landscape RFPs

As an organization, you need a landscaping company that can provide quality landscaping installation and maintenance services. By using a request for proposal or an RFP, you can tell prospective landscape contractors what you are looking for, who you are, and what your budget is.

Why You Need an RFP

If you’re not sure why an RFP is necessary for hiring a commercial landscaping company, then consider this: using an RFP to hire a landscaper is akin to using an application to hire an employee.

The same is true when you’re hiring a commercial landscaper. It’s essentially a job application for a long-term commitment. The application or RFP should allow potential applicants to:

  • Get to know who you are and what you’re looking for and why
  • Know what kind of fixed or flexible budget you have
  • Understand what materials are needed for a successful applicant to be considered.

RFPs also help you and potential landscaping companies vet one another. Your RFP clarifies the scope of your expectations and lets potential applicants decide whether they want your project or if they can handle it.

Tell Your Story

Before you launch into submission guidelines, your RFP should have a clear, concise introduction that tells your story. This is important because it helps companies get to know you, your goals, and your expectations. If you are a luxurious condominium complex or an exotic resort, applicants need to know that.

Clearly State Your Selection Criteria

Another part of the introduction should establish your selection criteria or objectives. Clearly state what you are looking for in a successful applicant. Most applicants assume that the budget is the bottom line, and for a lot of companies, this is true; however, budget should never be the end-all variable because you really do get what you pay for. Instead, highlight important qualifications that you are looking for such as:

  • So many years of quality landscaping work with similar organizations
  • Range of services available such as lighting, irrigation, hardscapes, etc.
  • Number of employees or service providers
  • Timeliness, competency, etc. of services provided

Robust selection criteria will help to weed out unqualified candidates right away.

Specify Submission Requirements

The goal of your RFP is to get essential information from commercial landscaping companies to determine which company is the best for your needs and your budget. Have a tight set of submission guidelines. Things to include are:

  • Specific format and submission date; having a specific submission format will make it easier to compare applications.
  • Insurance information including certificate of insurance requirement
  • The length of the proposed contract including when services commence
  • Proof of the applicant’s fiscal stability
  • A detailed description of the applicant’s proposed services to be provided
  • References for the applicant from similar clients
  • A brief description of the applicant’s staffing with summaries of the staff’s experience / special expertise related to the task.

Read RFP Submissions Between the Lines

Once you are ready to send the RFP, decide on an appropriate time frame to get quality responses. Give landscape contractors at least a month to put together a quality proposal.

This level of professionalism in your hiring process will give you extra information about an applicant because if a prospective landscape company can’t stick to the submission guidelines, required RFP format, or make the submission deadline, then you can’t expect them to provide timely, quality services. A client’s response to the RFP says a lot about the quality of their landscaping installation and maintenance services.

RFPs help you equitably vet commercial landscape companies. They help save you time and effort while getting the best company for your organization’s landscaping installation and maintenance needs and budget.


GPL Landscaping is a commercial landscaping installation and maintenance company with over 10 years’ experience servicing the South Walton County area.

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