03 Feb

How to Succeed in Writing Grounds Maintenance Contracts

News

Everything you need to know to win grounds maintenance contracts

Grounds maintenance contracts are a great way to secure a long-term pipeline of work. Grounds maintenance is a service that is often regularly outsourced by both private and public organisations. This generally means there is a constant stream of contract opportunities.

Grounds maintenance contracts are often commissioned for both labour and grounds maintenance equipment. Contracts could include lawn care, hedge trimming, weed control and more. No two businesses will have the same needs. It’s vital that when writing your grounds maintenance contracts, you customise your response to the needs of the buyer.

Opportunities for SME’s

If you’re an SME who’s new to the tendering world, it can be tricky to know where to even begin. You might be wondering if there’s any point in applying for contracts when there are larger businesses out there. You shouldn’t be disheartened by this.

The UK government has implemented a scheme to award more work to SMEs. They have a target to see at least £1 in £3 being spent with SMEs. This means that public sector organisations are actively looking to award contracts to smaller businesses. This is great news, and it can be a lucrative opportunity if you’re able to secure a contract. Some grounds maintenance contracts last for several years at a time with the possibility of extension.

Below are some helpful tips on the types of things that are required for grounds maintenance contracts.

  1. Health and Safety

Health and safety are important aspects to consider within any tender. Buyers want to be confident that the work on their site is to the highest health and safety standards. You, no doubt, want to minimise the risk to your employees and the general public when working.

You may be asked what risk assessment practices and health and safety measures you have in place. These could be via:

  • CHAS (Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme)
  • RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations)
  1. Method statements

A method statement is a critical part of all grounds maintenance contracts. This is used to detail the way a task is to be completed. It should outline the hazards involved and include a step-by-step guide on how to do the job safely. Your statement should detail what controlled measures have been implemented to ensure the safety of all involved in the task. It must state how employees carry out work in a safe manner to prevent injury to themselves or others.

You will need to include a full list of machinery and equipment to be used within the contract. For example:

  • Hedge cutters
  • Lawn mowers
  • Leaf blowers
  • Fork
  • Blowers
  • Ladders.

Method statements may include how your organisation handles:

  • First aid
  • Manual handling
  • Material handling
  • Preparation and induction
  • Staff and training
  • Tools and electrical equipment
  • Welfare
  • Noise
  • Vibration
  • PPE.

Method statements allow you to detail how thorough your business is. It allows you the opportunity to prove why you are the best for the job. You need to demonstrate how you are better than your competitors when carrying out each task.

  1. Qualifications and accreditations

Your businesses’ qualifications and accreditations are highly relevant. You need to be able to demonstrate that you are qualified to undertake grounds maintenance contracts. Below are some of the general and industry specific qualifications and accreditations you may need:

  • ISO 9001; 14001; 18001
  • CHAS
  • BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries) accreditation
  • RHS (Royal Horticulture Society) training
  • IoG (Institute of Groundsmanship)
  • Constructionline
  • SSIP.
  1. Case Studies

There’s a great deal of healthy competition when applying for grounds maintenance contracts. Due to this, your level of experience and business capabilities matter. You don’t want to waste resources and time on tenders that your organisation has no chance of winning.

Generally speaking, you will always be required to provide up to three case studies of relevant completed contracts. If you can show a proven track record of projects of a similar stature, it’s a better indicator of capability. You should keep it relevant and include past work that is similar in scale, or geographical location.

You should include past case studies over the last five years, no later. When detailing previous case studies, it would also be a good idea to state any challenges you overcame. This enables you to demonstrate that you have taken the initiative to predict potential challenges and planned ahead.

  1. Social Value

Social value is ever important. UK government contracts now carry a compulsory 10% minimum weighting on social value. On some contracts, social value can be weighted up to 30% within the quality response. Contractors want to know what steps your organisation is taking to think beyond your own internal objectives. Public sector organisations want you to demonstrate that you’re committed to a sustainable future. Businesses will be impressed if your responses align with their own social value goals.

Social value in tender responses will be assessed on:

  • How your organisation supports COVID-19 recovery.
  • The equal opportunity policies you implement within your business.
  • How you are creating new jobs, skills to tackle economic inequality. You could do this via apprenticeships or workplace training, for example.
  • The environmental considerations you are taking to reduce waste and tackle climate change.

As grounds maintenance is based within the natural environment, you will need to demonstrate you have robust environmental awareness. This could include your commitment to using environmentally friendly consumables or strict waste management procedures for example. Can you provide evidence to support these claims? You could try to calculate the specific environmental impacts of your service for the buyer. For example, how much less waste will go to landfill than your potential competitors?

Ultimately, your business should be committed to reducing any negative environmental impact. This could be done via:

  • Reducing consumption
  • Increasing recycling
  • Reconsidering how you manage activities
  • Encouraging biodiversity.
  1. Innovation

Contractors are looking for suppliers to deliver a better service to both themselves and their customers. Most grounds maintenance contracts will include questions for suppliers to demonstrate innovative solutions to everyday problems. They want to know what improvements you can deliver over the contract term. You will want to show supporting evidence of how your innovative methods have been used to save previous clients’ money. You could also state how such innovative solutions have delivered better quality.

Such increased interest in innovation and sustainability coincides with the increase of interest in social value. For example, some businesses have invested in battery powered equipment over petrol/diesel machinery in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions.

Landscaping contracts 

If you’re bidding on grounds maintenance contracts, you may specialise in landscaping. You may be wondering how to bid on landscaping jobs, and you aren’t alone. Bidding on landscaping jobs can have advantages and enable you to secure a pipeline of work for your business.

Buyers may release tenders for landscaping services that cover a range of work such as:

  • Grounds maintenance
  • Grass cutting
  • Trimming hedges
  • Weed removal
  • Tree trimming
  • Debris removal
  • Tree stump removal.

If you’ve never tendered before, you may be confused about where to begin. Procurement methods can vary, and different buyers will ask for different things depending on their needs.

It is likely that to bid on landscaping jobs, you will need to detail the same information above. This includes your business’:

  • Health and safety policies and procedures
  • Method statements
  • Relevant qualifications and accreditations
  • Social value responses

Below are some more things that you can expect to see when you bid on landscaping jobs:

Site visits

When you bid on landscaping jobs, you may have the opportunity to conduct a site visit. Depending on the buyer and the site, they may be optional or compulsory. However, it will be detailed within the tender documentsSite visits can be greatly beneficial to your bid response. They’re a great opportunity to go and see the proposed working environment for yourself.

It’s strongly advised that if there’s an option to conduct a site visit, that you participate. They allow you to gain an insight into the buyer, accessing information you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. It may even result in you being able to price your services more accurately.

Framework agreements

One thing that you can expect when you bid on landscaping jobs is that it is part of a wider framework agreement.

A framework agreement is a multi-supplier agreement used by the public sector to procure a range of goods and services. They are frequently used within the grounds maintenance sector. The length of a framework can vary from a few months, but landscaping frameworks more often run for years. Due to this, securing a place on a framework agreement can be a lucrative opportunity for your business.

Framework agreements are split into different lots. Each lot can either be a specific good, service, work or geographical location. They allow suppliers to apply to be part of a wider contract without needing to supply all areas. The number of suppliers for each lot varies and can be anything from four suppliers for one lot to ten. Suppliers need only apply for the specific lot[s] they specialise in.

Depending on the buyer, suppliers may be able to bid on any or all of the framework lots available. This will be stated within the tender documents and tender specification released by the buyer. If this is an option, a supplier must be able to demonstrate that they’re able to undertake all works. They must have the appropriate capacity and resources to undertake the works across all selected respective lots.

A higher weighting on price

When you bid on landscaping jobs, it’s not unexpected for the price to be weighted more than quality. However, that doesn’t mean a buyer doesn’t care about the quality of your response. In fact, it means quite the opposite. You should always put your all into your quality response when you bid on landscaping jobs.

Remember:

Hit as close to the word/page/character count as possible

It’s there for a reason. If a buyer is expecting a 1,000-word response, simply writing 200 words won’t suffice. The same applies to writing a 1,500-word response. Follow the instructions given.

Avoid overly technical jargon

A lot of the time, a buyer isn’t an expert in your area, hence why they’re outsourcing for a solution. They won’t necessarily understand what you’re talking about. So, using laymen’s terms is the way forward.

Be detailed in your response

The devil is in the detail. Buyers are often expecting you to break down your answer and have detailed responses. The best tender responses will include a step-by-step response if they’re asking how you do a certain process. The more in-depth the better (within the word/page/character count).

Break up the text format

If a question is asking three things within it, break it up. Make the main points subheadings. This will help both you and the evaluator to signpost you have answered every aspect of the question. Put yourself in the evaluator’s shoes. If you’re confronted with pages of block text you aren’t going to favour it over one that’s broken up. Using bullet points, subheadings, tables and graphs can help.

Stick to the guidelines

Make sure you’re adhering to the formatting guidelines within the specification. Contracting authorities can be very strict with this. To avoid being rejected over a small matter, read the specification carefully. Before you submit, make sure you have the correct font, size of the font and anything else they note.

If you follow this advice, you’ll be well on your way to securing your next landscaping job. If you need any support writing your next bid for landscaping jobs – we can help.

Bid Writing Support

Are you new to tendering? Do you struggle to see success from your tendering efforts? If you answered yes to either of the above questions, then you may be interested in our bid writing service.

Our Bid Writers have an 87% success rate. They have over 60 years of experience and are more than happy to help you with your grounds maintenance contacts. Whether you’re a first-time tenderer, or simply need advice on improving your success rate – we can help. We offer four bid writing packages:

Tender Ready

The Tender Ready programme takes place over 4-weeks. It’s perfect for those who are completely new to the tendering process. Our Bid Writers will help you with your corporate literature and identifying opportunities.

Tender Improvement

The Tender Improvement package is for businesses that aren’t seeing success from their tendering applications. Our Bid Writers will assess a tender you’ve written and work with you to improve the content.

Tender Writing

Simply send the tender specification to our Bid Writers. They’ll write the responses and even submit it on your behalf leaving you time to focus on your business.

Tender Mentor

Our Bid Writing Team will analyse your grounds maintenance contract. Through Tender Mentor, they’ll then give you guidance and feedback noting any errors before you submit.

Where can I find grounds maintenance contracts?

So, you’ve taken all of the above into consideration. Now is the perfect time to start searching for grounds maintenance contracts. We get that you’re busy. You don’t want to be searching through thousands of different websites to find a suitable opportunity. That’s where we come in!

Our goal is to save you both time and money. We do this by manually searching for new business opportunities for you. We then publish them all on our sector-specific Facilities Tenders portal.

You can search for new opportunities via keyword, location or budget. This means you don’t have to rely on incorrectly labelled CPV codes. This allows you to access all private and public grounds maintenance contracts easily.

We’ll even send you daily alerts when new grounds maintenance contracts are released. You’ll have 24-hour access to the portal and a dedicated Account Manager on hand to help.

Below are some past examples of ground maintenance contracts and landscaping jobs we’ve sourced on our portal:

GB-Consett: Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance

Durham Aged Mineworkers Homes Association- North East- Budget: £500,000

06-01-2021

Grounds Maintenance Service

NHS Golden Jubilee- Scotland- Budget: Undisclosed

22-01-2021

Leaseholder Grounds Maintenance

Accent Housing- Yorkshire and Humber- Budget: Undisclosed

19-01-2021

Pickering & Ferens Homes – Grounds Maintenance

Pickering & Ferens Homes- Yorkshire and Humber- Budget: Undisclosed

18-01-2021

Grass Cutting and Landscape Maintenance Contract

Hjaltland Housing Association Ltd- Scotland- Budget: £105,000

15-01-2021

Adam & Eve Hard Landscaping

University of Winchester- South East- Budget: Undisclosed

Barcud – Landscaping 2021-2022

Barcud Cyf- Wales- Budget: Undisclosed

Land West of Woodhouse Lane, Hedge End: Construction of Natural Turf Sports Pitches, Footways and Landscaping

Eastleigh Borough Council- South East- Budget: Undisclosed

Landscaping Project Phase 1 at St Peter’s Garden

Chalfont St Peter Parish Council- South East- Budget: Undisclosed

Landscaping Services – Lot 3 Argyll and the Islands

Highlands and Islands Enterprise- Scotland- Budget: £101,250

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