How to estimate landscaping jobs


Are your estimates based on square footage of service areas on the maps? 🧐

I was talking to Michael Mayberry the other day. He’s the CTO at Level Green Landscaping. We were looking at how the BDs at Level Green were using square footage of the property and production rates to arrive at estimates - and we discovered something very disturbing. 🤐


They use Aspire to do their estimates and SiteRecon for takeoffs. After using a landscaping estimate software and an landscaping measurement tool, the estimates still aren’t accurate! 🙁 I know I’m sounding like a broken record saying the same thing over and over but it needs to be said.  

Why aren’t the estimates accurate? 🧐

Because guesswork still remains a big part of the process.

Here’s what I mean:

Let’s talk about turf measurements for a second. If you ordered turf measurements from SiteRecon or any other takeoff tool for that matter, you would get total turf measurements for the property.

However, different turf areas on the map need to be serviced with different types of mowers (60”, 32”, 21” etc.). Your estimating software - Aspire, for instance - would ask you what is the area that should be attributed to these different types of mowers. 

This becomes a bit problematic. 😒


Because the BDs get total turf area from their takeoff tool and they try to guess what portion of that area should be attributed to different types of mowers. (Note that we’re talking about turf here but this applies to beds, trees, parking lots and other property assets as well).

Because of this guesswork, the estimates aren’t often accurate.

We realized we had to work on the platform to reduce the gap between the takeoffs we created on SiteRecon and the estimates created on estimating tools (Aspire/BOSS/LMN etc.).

So we figured out a better way:

Enter Estimation View 🛠️

Once you get back the takeoffs you ordered, this feature lets you break out the turf area into service specs linked to your estimates such as type of mower, frequency of mowing, type of turf, etc.

For instance => help you break down turf polygons on the map into service items. For instance, a 65,000 sq ft turf can be broken down into 30,000 sq. ft. with 48” mower, 20,000 sq ft. with 36” mower, and 15,000 sq. ft. with 21” mower.

It’ll look something like this on the platform. 

Why is this important? ❗❗❗

1️⃣ This will eliminate all the guesswork from the workflow entirely and make your estimates tighter. 

2️⃣ This will ensure you see the same numbers on the map as you see on the estimating tool. Anytime you wonder if the areas entered on the estimating tool are right or not, you can easily check that on the map. Increases accountability too. 

What's more.. 👁️👁️

These maps are service area maps => they refer to the areas where the crew would do specific services.

Once you win the job, these service area maps become the base on which you can start planning your jobs, drawing path of motion maps. 

Want to learn how you can use the ‘Service Items’ feature as part of your estimating process? 😎


Miles to go.. 🚗

Even with this improvement, estimates still remain broken. 😭 For most companies, updating production rates is a once in a decade process. Even when they are updated, time studies aren’t done and production rates shared by consultants are used.

Time studies are a time suck. 🥴

The only way to update production rates annually is by attaching sensors with your equipment to measure utilization. If a 21’’ mower was used for 1 hour 15 mins on a 10 acre HOA, you get a sense of productivity since you would know the deployment area for this mower from the map.

Next step => repeat the exercise for all equipment and services on multiple properties to arrive at an average.

Let us know if this is a priority for you and we would love to help out select the right sensor for the job. 👊

In a meme

When the estimates aren't based on square footage of service areas.

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