Does Your Commercial Landscape Contractor Check Off All the Boxes?
Managing a property’s landscape is just one element you’re responsible for, when managing commercial real estate or HOA communities. But with an overwhelming amount of options and competition in the industry, it can be difficult and time-consuming to award your property’s maintenance to a landscape contractor, when they range significantly in size, price, years of experience, local versus national…and the list goes on.
We’re here to help; a checklist, if you will – of all the qualities you should look for in your current or potential landscape maintenance provider – so that you can easily identify and select a stand-out company…giving you more time to manage all other aspects of your property or community.
How a landscape company operates ultimately determines the level of service you’ll receive. You want a contractor that’s capable and experienced enough to handle the largest projects, yet small enough to deliver personal, consistent communication and attention, with company culture and values that uphold the highest service standards.
Award-winning, Certified, High-Performer in Industry.
It’s equally important to hire a landscape contractor that’s QUALIFIED. Does the company invest in its team members, offering up-to-date certifications and ongoing training in all areas of landscape maintenance? This allows for a team that’s knowledgeable in ALL areas of landscape – from water to pesticides, to trees and sustainability. Has the company won awards for its service? All good questions to ask a potential contractor.
Diverse Portfolio of Projects
A company’s project portfolio says a lot about its capabilities. If they are able to effectively manage small-scale communities to large-scale commercial real estate, unique projects (the San Diego Zoo, for example!), and everything in between – then you can be confident that the company is fully qualified and capable of any-sized project, with the skills needed to make assessments, knowledgeable recommendations, manage the property efficiently – ultimately adding value to the property, making your job easier!
Low Employee Turnover
Employees’ tenure with a business really speaks to the type of company you’re hiring, for a few reasons; but mostly to provide the best possible service by offering long-standing managers, field crews that are familiar with your property – that all take ownership and pride in the work they do.
Quality Control Program
How a company operates determines how successfully and efficiently your property will be maintained. Things to look for: start-up plans when awarding a new maintenance contract, site assessments that address ALL areas of a property, routine (monthly is ideal) property walk-throughs, safety guidelines and procedures, and processes in place to hold employees accountable to the conditions of the property (i.e. incentive or bonus-based plans from upper management to field-level crews), so that each individual involved in your property’s landscape maintenance takes ownership in the service they provide.
Certified Water Managers
Proper water usage is a crucial aspect in your property looking AND functioning at its best. Having certified water managers on staff, who undergo a testing and monitoring program administered by the CLCA, ensure that the plants on your property are getting the amount of water they need based on plant requirements and soil type, resulting not only in landscape that looks good, but also landscape that saves you money on water expenses.
Fair, Competitive Pricing
You’ve heard the saying, you get what you pay for. While not always the case, companies offering “something for nothing” may upsell in other areas (i.e. enhancements) to compensate for low-cost maintenance, or your service will directly reflect the price. Essentially, landscape maintenance is a function of hours – how much you pay directly reflects the time that goes into maintaining your property. Expectations should be established during the negotiating process and carried out once service begins.
It’s also important to consider factors affecting service costs that businesses in the industry are subject to – minimum wage increases, for example – that are out of the scope of a company’s control. It’s a constantly moving target so being prepared for changes in price can eliminate surprises, set expectations, and keep satisfaction high. Clear, consistent communication between all parties is key!
Landscape is a multi-faceted industry and not all elements can be controlled; living plants, for example, evolve, grow, and struggle (just like people). So before terminating a partnership that you’ve invested time and energy into, consider working though any issues.