Something I’ve heard said by property managers in the last few years is that they “need vendors to be an extension of the property management team.”
Here at Landscape America, we like hearing statements like this. We believe that whichever commercial landscape firm you choose to partner with needs to build a strong relationship with you as a property manager. And like any good relationship, communication, responsiveness and an alignment of values are key.
While spring may still feel far away, now is the time to plan. If you’re on the lookout for a new commercial landscape firm to partner with, here are five things to focus on.
Who: Know the Team You’re Partnering With
The team actually doing the maintenance work on your property needs to be communicative, courteous and responsive — whether managers, foremen or crew members.
Obviously, you aren’t going to meet every single person who’ll be on your property before signing the dotted line, but you can get a good taste for who you’ll be working with from the sales team.
We recommend finding out as much about the actual team as possible — and we say this because we are immensely proud of ours. From our Open-Book Management structure to our robust training program, five core values, and the fact that our own employees describe working here like “being part of a family” — we think we have something special going on.
Earlier this month, during a one-on-one meeting with our Business Developer, I asked what would make 2021 a great year. His answer?
“I want to create more jobs for people at Landscape America, because I think we have an opportunity to grow our company and our community, and help people find this great place to work.”
I think this is such an inspirational and unique way to think about sales and growth and I know it’s a perspective we all share here at Landscape America.
What: Define the Scope of Your Services
“Landscape maintenance” is a term that can mean a lot of things, especially on a commercial property. Your contract should clearly outline what it specifically includes for your property.
Look for the following:
- Mowing, including edging and blowing of clipping.
- Lawn care, including regular applications of pre-emergent weed killers and fertilizer, plus core aeration and overseeding.
- Garden care, including regular weeding, pruning, mulch, and fertilization.
- Irrigation system repairs & maintenance, including regular system inspections, audits and winterization.
- Snow & ice management, including weather monitoring, certified reporting and more.
Landscape maintenance contracts may also include lighting audits & maintenance, tree care, pest control and enhancements, but these aren’t “must-haves,” just “nice-to-haves.”
When: Determine Timing, Including Start & End Dates
Your contract should detail the timing for services throughout the seasons. Maybe you want certain parts of your property pruned on certain months. Other examples include:
Seasonal color (annual) installation and additional fertilization in the spring. Leaf clean-ups, perennial cutbacks and additional pruning in the fall. Dormant pruning in the winter.
Finally, your contract should have a clear start and end date, outline the renewal process and what might happen in the event of inclement weather.
Where: Get the Location Right
While your address is obviously on the contract, is it obvious where certain tasks need to happen on your site?
You might want annuals installed in certain areas on your property. Or, when it comes to snow & ice management, you might want the snow removed from your property or piled in a certain corner of your parking lot.
Some areas of your property might require extra attention or out-of-the-ordinary requests — anything like that should be detailed too. Discussing this with your account manager might feel like you’re both on the same page, but it’s best practice — and protects all parties — to put it in writing.
Why: Make the Benefits Clear
If the above four things haven’t been made clear before you sign a contract, you should treat it as a red flag. The benefits of working with your chosen landscape firm should be clear and obvious — helping to build a fruitful working relationship.
Curious about Landscape America’s commercial maintenance services and the team behind them? Reach out — we’d love to hear from you!