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With several bids on the table to maintain your homeowners association (HOA) landscape, now you must drill down and make a decision. Because no two contracts are worded exactly the same, comparing apples-to-apples can be challenging.

Ultimately, you want to hire a company that holds the same high standards for its employees and performance that you do for your own personnel. The landscape firm you hire will be a partner — an extension of your team that cares for your property.

So, if you feel some pressure with this bid decision, we understand.

In our experience working in the green industry for more than 25 years, we know there are certain red flags to watch for in an HOA landscape maintenance bid. Here are our Top 7.

No Specific Project Scope

Mowing, edging and cleanups are generally included in a contract. But how often are these services performed? And, does the company go the extra mile and provide services like bed cultivation and spade edging?

Beware of bids that contain overly simplified service descriptions (as in, mowing — period). What you need are specifications. What services will the landscape maintenance contract include, and how often will those services be performed on your HOA property?


Ask for numbers. Dig deeper than the basic services, and find out what additional value the landscaping firm will bring to the commercial property. You want to avoid getting nickeled and dimed for basic service requests (edging, pruning) that should be included in the maintenance contract.

Missing References

There’s nothing like honest feedback from another customer who hired the landscape firm you’re considering for their own HOA property. Reputable landscape maintenance firms offer a list of references you can call. Reconsider hiring any contractor that does not include references in the bid or brushes off your request if you ask, “What other properties do you service so we can get their insight?”

When you do obtain references, be diligent and call them. Ask them what they liked best about working with the landscape maintenance company. Find out what they wish the contractor did better. Lastly, outright ask if they will hire the company again for services.

Remember, a quality landscape contractor will be transparent and offer to share referrals that support the business.

The Price Seems Too Low

Staying within budget is crucial — we understand. But if a landscape maintenance seems too low, then it probably is too “good” to be true. There are plenty of players in the green industry that price gouge and lowball to get an attractive HOA property like yours.

But does the contractor really have the resources to deliver on promises. What services are they not including in that low price that you expect? A quality landscape maintenance firm simply cannot operate a successful business by low-balling. As a result, your property will suffer because of shortcuts made to keep the account “on budget.”


This goes back to specifications. Always find out what services are included in the proposed maintenance contract price, and compare those side by side with the proposals you receive from higher priced contractors. You will notice gaps in services offered. Also remember that inexperienced contractors tend to underbid projects.

Fails to Prove Licensing and Insurance

The landscape maintenance companies you’re considering for hire should offer proof of their workers’ compensation insurance, general liability insurance and state licensing. Find out about the company’s safety record while you’re at it — and find out if the landscape contractor has professional affiliations, such as membership in landscape industry associations.

The reality is, insurance is a costly business expense. So, fly-by-night operations might not bother to carry protection. These are not companies you want to deal with.

Absence of Loss Prevention

Related to credentialing, be sure the landscape maintenance company has appropriate loss prevention in place. Accidents happen. While no HOA wants to go into a contract assuming the worst, it’s a good idea to approach the bid process with that mindset and ask yourself, “What if?”

Loss prevention assures the contractor is responsible and covered.

Does Not Include Seasonal Enhancements

If you have to pay more for landscaping services every time your property needs sprucing up, your budget will suffer — and so will the appearance of your HOA property. Ideally, seasonal enhancements such as spring annual plantings and fall color change-outs should be included in the landscape maintenance contract.

seasonal enhancements

If these and other seasonal services you desire are missing, ask the landscape contractor to edit the bid to include enhancements.

No Mention of Dedicated Contact Person

Who is the account manager that will oversee the landscape maintenance on your HOA property? What is the name of the individual you will call for anything — questions, additional service needs, etc.?

Beware of landscape companies that are not perfectly clear about who will be the point person representing their firm on your property. You want a landscape company that takes ownership and pride in the work they perform on your grounds. To do so, they should provide a dedicated contact person so you can ask questions about the bid and anything related to the service if you decide to hire the company.

Diligence Pays Off When Reviewing Landscape Maintenance HOA Bids

You can never ask too many questions. There’s no such thing as gathering too much information when you review landscape maintenance bids for your HOA property. We love when a potential HOA client drills down and analyzes the bids we offer.

Because we are transparent and act as a partner while walking HOA property managers through the bidding process, we build a great trust before we even step foot on the property. That’s the way the bidding process should be.

We’d be happy to answer questions about any landscape maintenance bid your HOA has collected. What’s missing? What information do you need to make a wise decision? Let’s talk about it.

Call us at 678-298-0550, or fill out this simple contact form.


Last modified: July 19, 2016

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