How to Manage Your Landscape Budget
When setting a budget in any aspect of business, the bottom line is always the most important overall financial figure. The details of the budget, however, are also critical in ensuring money is well spent and cost effective. This applies directly to commercial landscaping budgets. How money is spent during the year reflects how your landscaping is shaping up in terms of improving safety, increasing aesthetics, and improving the health of your property. Budgets allow data from previous years to be collected and analyzed in order to measure the return on investment for your landscaping services.
Some common questions that arise when planning a landscaping budget include: “Are you getting the most value from your current landscape provider?”; “Are the services up to your standards?”; “Are your landscaping needs being addressed?”; and/or “How much should you budget overall for landscaping and where should those funds be allocated?”
Here are five steps to manage your commercial landscaping budget that address these common questions and more:
Set Your Budget. The first step in developing any budget is to determine the total dollar amount to set aside for commercial landscaping. Your landscape provider should be providing you information for this task. Then decide which specific areas you want to allocate funds to while keeping the total budget amount in mind. You can look at numbers from previous years to get an idea of how much to designate for the upcoming year, as well as focus on any special projects needed. Make sure you also include enough to cover any unexpected costs that may arise during the year.
Identify Areas of Concern. The next step in budget planning is identifying any areas of concern, improvement, or renovation. Your landscaper can be a huge help in this area. Evaluate the needs of your property to decide which areas warrant repairs or improvements and then any areas that might require renovations. Investing in landscaping has been proven to improve property value so consider enhancements and improvements to increase your return on investment.
Prioritize Your Needs. Once you have identified improvements and enhancements needed, the next step is to prioritize which of these areas should be addressed first. Once again, your landscaper should be able to help determine which improvements are truly priorities and which might be able to be dealt with at a later date. Are there any areas that need repairs or pose safety hazards? These should likely be prioritized higher than others. Also make sure to include an allocation for common landscaping maintenance needs such as irrigation repairs, tree trimming, mulching, scalping & overseeding, aeration, and replacing plants, as these are ongoing services that carry over from year to year.
Solve Issues. Once you’ve prioritized your budget, the next step is to consult with your Account Manager to find solutions that add value to your property while still keeping the budget limitations in mind. You and your Account Manager can review the overall budget and list of priorities. A seasoned account manager that has an experienced eye can provide insight to ensure you are getting the most return on investment.
Create a Schedule. Once your budget allocations have been finalized, the last step in the budget planning process is to plan improvements and schedule those allocations throughout the upcoming year. Setting up a schedule can ensure that all projects are completed seasonally. Breaking down your budget monthly or even quarterly can also help ensure your allocations are spaced out appropriately and give you flexibility in the event of unexpected costs.
Creating a commercial landscaping budget allows you to see month by month what your landscaping expenses will be and how that money is being used, and provides a clear picture year over year of the investments made and how they fluctuate over time. By tracking these expenses, you can see that your landscape contractor is effectively managing your landscape and resources. It also allows for ease of communication when working with your Account Manager.