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Skaggs: Landscape professionals to learn cost estimating and job bidding
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In recent months, the landscape industry has been at the center of many news stories — primarily as it relates to the drought and its effect on business. However, with recent rains and the loosening of some water restrictions, many in the Green Industry are hopefully optimistic about their futures.

Regardless of weather conditions, landscape and lawn care company owners must also function as business managers and accountants. For many, cost estimating and job bidding are among the most perplexing and time-consuming tasks in a landscape business.

To assist with this, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is offering two cost estimating and job bidding workshops for landscape professionals, on March 13 and 14 in Athens and on March 20 and 21 in Brunswick.

This workshop, held in a computer lab, will provide the landscape business owner or manager a hands-on experience with two cost estimating software programs developed by faculty at the University of Georgia. Day one will focus on landscape installation cost estimating, and day two will focus on landscape maintenance cost estimating.

Attendees may choose to attend one day or both days. No prior computer experience with spreadsheet software is required to participate in the workshop. Due to space limitations in the labs, attendance each day is limited, so early registration is encouraged to assure a space in the class.

Landscape installers, landscape managers or anyone involved in cost estimating for commercial, municipal or recreational landscapes are encouraged to attend.

The software programs to be demonstrated provide a simple, straight-forward approach to estimating overhead, labor and equipment costs. Then, using industry average data, the user prepares a bid price on a job. The program also provides contract information to present to the client.

The software does not do payroll, cost accounting or other types of business management operations.

The cost to attend is $100 for one day or $150 for two days.

Included in the cost are refreshment breaks, lunch, handouts and take-home copies of the software demonstrated on the day(s) you attend. The ‘Hort Management’ and ‘Hort Scape’ software packages normally sell for $100 each. You must attend both days to receive both software programs.

Registration is limited, so early registration is encouraged to assure a space in the class.

To register online, visit and click on "Register On-line."

For more information, call 706-542-2861.

Billy Skaggs is Hall County extension agent. He can be reached at 770- 531-6988. His column appears biweekly and at