To find the right partner to meet your commercial landscaping needs at your properties, a strategically developed request for proposal (RFP) is essential. In general, the more detailed your RFP, the more helpful and thorough the responses you’ll get from vendors.
There are a few important elements you’ll want to include—as well as questions beyond the general RFP scope you may want to ask—to ensure you receive the highest-quality responses.
What to include in your commercial landscaping RFP
Start with your complete site list. To provide an accurate response to your commercial landscaping RFP, potential vendors need a complete list of all of your sites, with addresses as well as maps if available. This helps prospective vendors better understand your locations and your needs, and even helps them get a better understanding of the climate to estimate how weather may potentially impact landscaping needs. They can also use tools like Google Maps to gain visual insight into your locations to be sure all landscaping elements are addressed appropriately.
Dig into the details. The “meat” of the RFP is found in your scope of requested services. A detailed scope tells potential commercial landscaping partners what services you’ll be expecting them to complete and when, from clean-up, weeding and mulching, to irrigation start-up, mowing, parking lot sweeping and so on.
Separate requested services from expectations. Providing details doesn’t end with your scope of work. To ensure potential vendors truly understand your needs, it’s helpful to share your service-level agreements (SLA) as well. An SLA lays out your expectations of the service as well as how you'll measure whether they've been met and any penalties for not doing so. For example, if you’re including weeding management in your landscaping RFP, you’ll want to detail what level of services you are expecting, whether it’s strictly turf and flower beds or crack weeds as well. The more information you can provide in terms of how you manage your landscaping program and what the SLAs are for your sites, the better equipped prospective vendors will be to confidently price them out for you.
Creative questions to ask on your landscaping RFP
Vendors typically provide details about their business and the services they offer, but just as you want to give them a clear picture of your needs, it’s always helpful to get a better look at what they’re about as well. Adding three key requests to your landscaping RFP can help you do just that.
1. Tell us about your company/introduce yourselves
Asking vendors for a more detailed introduction of who they are beyond the services they provide can be particularly helpful. This allows you to get acquainted with companies that may be lesser known in the industry but that are still competitive and can provide the level of service you need. What are they bringing to the table that might be unique? Who is their team? What is their history? This should include details on their individual and collective experience, and it’s an opportunity that many companies often neglect in their RFP process.
2. What's your service delivery model?
Is the vendor self-performing, subcontracting or a combination of the two (hybrid)? Do they have boots on the ground via regional service centers where they can more efficiently provide service? Understanding their delivery model will increase your confidence in their ability to provide the services you’re seeking.
3. How do you ensure satisfactory service?
How does the prospective partner provide quality control and oversight? Do they take before and after photos, use geo-tracking software and clock in/out times on property? Along those lines, do they have software that either integrates into your existing system or provide a solution for you to access the information at your convenience? Knowing the services have been completed as outlined provides you with peace of mind and keeps your properties looking their best.
Getting the word out to new potential vendors
Here’s one final factor to keep in mind as part of your overall commercial landscaping RFP process, and it’s an important one: ensuring that your RFP reaches all the potential vendors you want to consider. If you use sourcing platforms like Coupa or K2, you can specifically add a potential vendor into your channel or system, so they’re able to review your RFP and provide a thorough and timely response. It can also be beneficial to keep a running list of prospective vendors you learn about via advertising, tradeshows, emails, social media and other forms of marketing.
Add MCS to Your RFP Process
Consider including MCS in your commercial property landscaping RFP process for 2023. With boots on the ground via our regional service centers across the U.S. and an extensive, qualified service partner network, MCS is able to provide consistently high-quality work to effectively meet all of your commercial landscaping needs. You can also request a quote today.