What To Include on Proposals
Written by Eric Petersen, CIC
When creating a proposal to sell tree work, it’s essential to outline the terms and conditions clearly to avoid any misunderstandings. While this list may not be all encompassing, here are some key elements to include in your proposal.
Scope of Work – Obviously, clearly defining the specific tree care services that will be provided on which trees is vital for the proposal. Be as detailed as you can about the type of service, the number of visits it will take to complete, and any limitations or restrictions that you may encounter along the way.
Estimated Completion Date – This may sound elementary, but since most tree care companies have a work backlog, communicating this to the prospect right away starts to build trust. Of course, you don’t want to underestimate this completion date as that can hurt your relationship as they will be expecting the work to be done by then, regardless of the extenuating circumstances that have arisen.
Exclusions – Clearly state any services that you are not performing or didn’t perform when creating this proposal. This is a very key part of the proposal as it will limit your liability if included and give you a chance to sell additional work in the future. Phrases like…
“This proposal was based upon a visual inspection of the tree from the ground. For a more complete tree risk assessment/appraisal contact your sales arborist to schedule with our team.” – OR – “This proposal only addresses the trees that are mentioned above and does not include recommendations on any additional trees that are on the property.”
Additional Services – I like to call this the Amazon Method section. If there are any additional services that customers typically buy together (think fertilization program with pruning services or planting a new tree after a removal, etc.) use this section of your proposal to show the customer what other people like them have purchased in addition to the described service on the proposal. Make sure it is clear that these additional services are only included for an additional fee so they do not think they are getting these for free.
Terms and Conditions – Include your terms and conditions within the proposal, so the prospect knows what items this proposal are contingent upon and what they will be responsible for. If you have any warranties/guarantees outline what is expected of the customer for these to be valid (think watering requirements for newly planted trees) and what the limitations are.
Insurance – This is a great way to showcase why your professional tree care company may be the better fit for your customer. Specify the insurance coverage that you carry and state that a Certificate of Liability Insurance can be provided upon request.
Signatures and Date – Ensure that both parties sign the proposal and include the date of signing.
Lastly, it is crucial to have an attorney review your proposal template to ensure it complies with local laws and regulations and protects the interests of both the tree care company and the customer. Remember, the proposal is going to be the document that your crew and the customer rely on to achieve a positive outcome on the project, so the more of these elements you can include, the better experience your customer will have.
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