By Adam Chambliss
From the December 2023 Issue
In this challenging economic climate, with rising inflation and labor shortages, everyone is looking for new ways to grow their business, and build a pipeline of jobs that will create a steady stream of income throughout the year. How to solve this problem?
One answer is by winning more Government business. And to do this, landscaping businesses need the right technology to succeed.
Why Should You Be Trying To Win Government Business?
Supplementing your residential and commercial jobs with Government contracts is a great way to add an additional revenue stream to your business. And there’s a lot of money to be made: $159B in small business contracts were awarded in 2022 – out of an overall total of $620B+ in Government contracts.
While it can take much longer to win a Government contract, those businesses that do, find the wait is well worth it.
But while the size of the pie is massive, the ability for small business owners to get a piece of that pie is somewhat limited. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that only 23% of Government contracts are given to small and local businesses. In fact, the number of small businesses awarded Government contracts has shrunk 52% since 2010.
So while it can take much longer to win a Government contract, those businesses that do, find the wait is well worth it. Just like residential and other commercial clients, Government business is seasonal, but it’s also usually longer lasting.
Cities and counties put a lot of business out for bid annually, because a property’s maintenance needs are constant – but if your bid is competitive enough, you could earn a multi-year contract. Government contracts mean more work upfront to win, but the result is more regular schedules for your field team; reliable hassle -free payments; and ultimately more income for your business.
Finding Government Business & Helping It Find You
To win new business, you need to know where to find it. Understanding how Government contracts work is the first step. Landscape business owners should learn more about the structure of their state, local, and educational agencies, including the names of people who handle maintenance contracts in their municipalities, counties, independent school districts, public colleges, and universities.
Landscape business owners should learn more about the structure of their state, local, and educational agencies, including the names of people who handle maintenance contracts in their municipalities, counties, independent school districts, public colleges, and universities.
Once you know how government agencies work, you’ll need to know where to look for these contract tender opportunities. Here are all the places you can look:
- The Small Business Administration (SBA) will help you understand what government agencies are buying and how they find these services. The SBA also maintains a directory of federal government prime contractors with subcontracting plans. Federal business opportunities for contractors are listed on the System for Award Management (SAM) and all contracts over $25,000 must be advertised here.
- For subcontracting opportunities, SubNet is a database for large contractors looking for small business subcontractors. And the General Services Administration (GSA) also publishes a subcontracting directory for small businesses seeking subcontracting opportunities.
- For local opportunities, it pays to be involved in your local community. You can do this by attending city council meetings, joining local industry and Chamber of Commerce groups, and by supporting local events. Local media and industry publications are also invaluable for staying informed.
You also need to make sure that Government bodies can find your business when they are looking for a new supplier. The Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) is a database that Government agencies use to look for small business contractors for upcoming contracts. Register your business on the DSBS by creating a company profile on the System for Award Management (SAM).
Using Technology To Present A Professional Image
Once you have found an opportunity to bid, you need to ensure you’re putting your business’ best foot forward. Often contract tenders are unsuccessful because of a lack of credibility. If your company does not present a professional image online, it is very unlikely the Government entity will trust your business enough to award you the job.
Most landscaping businesses are already using technology to run their business day-to-day, but how many are leveraging digital marketing tools to make sure they deliver an exceptional customer experience? It’s no longer enough for landscaping businesses to have an experienced team of contractors; to offer online booking and payments; and professional estimates. Today’s successful businesses are doing all that and more, by running digital marketing campaigns for customers and prospects; investing in their website SEO and SEM, and social media presence; and gathering more 5-star reviews and testimonials from their customers.
Marketing automation technology was once only available to enterprise businesses, but with verticalized software solutions medium-sized businesses are using marketing automation tools to present a professional brand image online, upsell their services to customers, and attract new prospects more easily.
How does it work? The technology enables businesses to automate their digital marketing and CRM (Client Relationship Management) with:
- Smart audience segmentation, for sending more authentic messages based on customer behavior and preferences.
- Pre-built emails, texts and forms, and automated texts and emails, to speed campaign creation and simplify customer communications, and
- Real-time tracking and analytics for viewing open engagement and conversion rates to assess how a campaign is performing.
With the ability to create more touchpoints with customers and prospects, businesses are optimizing every stage of their customer lifecycle, building a reputable image, and delivering an experience that sets them apart from competitors – without all the manual, time-consuming tasks, switching between different systems, and duplicate data entry this previously involved. So, if you are not yet using digital marketing automation tools for your landscaping business, you should be.
Getting The Edge With The Right Business Software
Since there is a lot more work involved in bidding for Government contracts, it takes more time. Like a quote for a prospective customer, a contract is a formal invitation to trade, issued by Government agencies, asking for a comprehensive response.
This means more than just having your insurance, company registration, bonds, asset, and employee information ready to submit with your bid. You will also need to provide details of how your company plans to service this job, plus evidence on why they should choose your business, using customer case studies, testimonials, certifications, and team resumes.
Janna Bradley, co-founder and COO of Landscape Management Network (LMN), answers your questions about business growth and success. Read more…
Creating a custom bid that meets the needs of the contract tender takes time. Therefore, many landscaping businesses need to replace manual processes with automated technology to help leaders focus on winning valuable contracts.
Choosing the best lawn care scheduling software is also crucial to every landscaping business’ long-term success, profitability, and scalability. Lawn care management software is more innovative than ever, enabling businesses to simultaneously maximize time in the office and the field.
Look for technology solutions that will: help you keep your crews on track with flexible scheduling, GPS, and real-time job tracking; generate instant professional estimates and invoices on-the-go; allow same-day automated payments for boosting cashflow; and an app for streamlining communications between the office, field, and your customers.
All-in-one lawn care software solutions are improving every day, so find one that automates your business, so you can spend more time and present a more professional bid for that next Government contract.
Chambliss is the vice president of Sales, Field Services at Xplor Technologies, responsible for serving field service management companies across North America with all their business technology needs. With 10+ years’ experience in SaaS software sales, Chambliss is passionate about helping field service operators of all sizes use technology to transform their business, grow at scale, and deliver an exceptional customer experience. He leads the sales teams for FieldEdge by Xplor and Service Autopilot by Xplor and is responsible for over 7,000 customer locations and a team of 106 people.
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