by DEE WARREN | Land Pride Marketing Manager
In today’s world of tight budgets and lean staffing, it is imperative that city, county, municipal and state agencies make the most of their grounds maintenance budgets with reliable equipment at reasonable prices. But how should you approach that? Requests for proposals are time consuming and chew up some of the precious dollars that are allocated in the budget and simply negotiating your best deal is not how government works.
So why not let someone else do the leg work? That’s where cooperative buying has a place in a grounds maintenance department. Generally speaking, purchases in these departments are big machines that can be a budget buster if you’re not careful.
If you’re a grounds maintenance manager looking to buy a rotary cutter or a seeder or a mower, cooperative buying can mean less time soliciting bids and more time actually doing the tasks associated with grounds maintenance. And today, many states and many more cities, counties and municipalities see that value and utilize a cooperative purchasing agency to maximize their time and their dollars.
So how does cooperative buying work?
It’s really quite simple: A cooperative model allows a manufacturer like Land Pride to respond to a RFP that covers a large group of buyers, and it allows a large group of buyers with similar interests to leverage their buying power to get great government discounts on products. By using a cooperative model, government agencies save time and effort because the process is simplified for the buyer.
Take for example a nearby state department of transportation that worked with Land Pride on a recent purchase. The fleet manager called Land Pride in need of rotary cutters for their roadside maintenance. He was looking for a solution that saved him time and money while still getting the brand that he and his crew wanted. Land Pride suggested using the competitively bid National Joint Powers Alliance cooperative-buying contract that Land Pride had to simplify the buying process.
In fairly short order, Land Pride quoted the rotary cutters that the state wanted with substantial discounts as outlined in the NJPA contract. State officials reviewed the quotes and issued purchase orders, and Land Pride built, shipped and invoiced the state. Within a few weeks, the process was complete.
What can cooperative buying do for you?
Once a manufacturer like Land Pride responds to an RFP and is awarded a contract by a designated public agency, members of the cooperative can purchase any number of products at substantial discount. Not every state, city or county has a need for a fleet of folding rotary cutters, and that’s OK. Many times, the manufacturer’s complete product line is available on the contract. In the case of Land Pride, that’s over 350 products that can be purchased by agencies across the United States.
And it’s not just states, cities and counties. Many school districts participate as well. With education budgets in many areas shrinking fast, cooperative buying can stretch dollars farther. The BuyBoard is a cooperative located in Texas and has a large number of schools and universities as members. For them, Land Pride’s contract has been very beneficial.
One Texas school district contacted Land Pride in need of an overseeder and core aerator to care for its sports fields. After talking to the grounds maintenance manager, Land Pride recommended an all-purpose seeder because there would be times that the district would be seeding new turf as well as overseeding existing turf. The district was grateful for the direction in the buying process, was happy with the price and had both pieces of equipment within six weeks of ordering them.
Guidance in the process
Enhanced customer service is one thing that sets cooperative buying apart from the bid process. When going out for bid, the agency has already made the decision on the equipment that will be purchased, but what if that’s not the best solution for the task?
Consider this: A local municipal golf course approached Land Pride about a quote on a commercial zero-turn mower to maintain its fairways. Being a return customer, Land Pride knew that the golf course owned a 39 HP compact tractor and suggested that a Land Pride All-Flex Mower would do a great job and cut down on mowing time. After reviewing the quote, the superintendent realized that the AFM4211 was indeed the way to go. The PO was issued and the golf course soon had its AFM4211 purchased at a substantial discount thanks to Land Pride’s NJPA contract.
Cooperative buying has options
There are many cooperative buying groups that government agencies can be a part of. Land Pride offers contracts with several, including NJPA and BuyBoard just to name two. But with so many cooperative contracts available, buyers need to choose the one that best meets their buying needs.
Organizations like NJPA and the BuyBoard make sure everything in transparent. They maintain all of the paperwork, and they are competitively solicited, evaluated and awarded by a public agency that is bound by laws regulating the process. Everything is available for public review.
By purchasing through a cooperative contract, grounds maintenance managers in many government agencies can take advantage of the time- and-money-saving benefits that the contracts provide. Buyers will have to do their homework, but they can certainly be confident that manufacturers like Land Pride are here to help with the process. Finding a contract and manufacturer that you like is better than trying to navigate the buying process alone.