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A small error, a misplaced decimal point, recently cost a contractor to lose a municipal landscape contract. ABLE Industries in Visalia, California, entered a bid of .0925 cents per square foot to do mowing and other landscaping for 535,192 square feet (12.28 acres) of municipal property in Visalia, California.

The bid would have cost the city $49,505 per month, more than 10 times more expensive than the lowest winning bid for the project. The company said that it should have entered .00925 cents per square foot. Even though ABLE Industries listed a total monthly price of $4,125 for the work, the city’s policy requires the use of the cost per square foot.

ABLE Industries is a non-profit agency that provides developmentally disabled adults with jobs and job training, including landscaping and janitorial work. After city officials discovered the error, rules prevented the council members from altering their procedure and they awarded the bid to another company.

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