Whether you’re a new commercial property owner looking for a landscape management provider for the first time or you’re simply unhappy with the services of your current provider, finding the right one takes a bit of work. Signing a contract with a company on which you have failed to research could get you right back at the starting gate, with wasted time and money. Do the homework and you’ll find a provider that meets your expectations and with whom you’ll enjoy a long-lasting work relationship.
Assess Your Needs
Before you begin your search, you must first assess the needs of your property. If you are a large campus or have several locations that need to be serviced, for example, you’ll want to focus your search on providers who have the experience, equipment, and manpower to handle jobs of that size. Ask yourself these questions and make a list of your answers.
Is my campus large?
Do I have several locations to service?
What are the unique needs of my property?
Do I need a provider with certain certified specialists?
Do I need a provider to design my landscape as well as maintain it?
What are the specific services I need to be performed on my property?
Once you have detailed answers to these questions, you can begin your search for a landscape management provider that meets your needs. The best place to start is by looking at well-landscaped properties in the area that are similar in size and needs to yours and inquiring as to who they use and what their experiences with their provider are. Ask if they are satisfied with not only the work that the onsite crews provide but also with their customer service representatives.
With the names of a few landscape management companies in hand, do a little research online. Check out their website for services provided to make sure they offer all of the services that meet your needs and search for them on the Better Business Bureau’s site. Look for online reviews but understand that, in general, people are more compelled to leave a review if they’ve had bad service as opposed to good. It can be useful to see how the provider rectified the problem, however, if there is no response, it may be that the provider simply didn’t see the complaint. This is why it’s better to ask similar companies who they use rather than rely on online reviews.
Important Things to Ask
What kind of insurance do you have?
Your landscape management provider should be fully insured to cover their own crews in case of injury, as well as liability insurance to cover their clients if there is damage done to the property.
What kinds of licenses and certifications do you have?
If the crews and management teams hold licenses and certifications, it means as a company, they take great care in ensuring they have the proper training to take care of your property safely and efficiently. Some important certifications include pesticide application, horticulture, turf, aquatics application, and safety certifications. Ask if they provide safety training on an ongoing basis. If you are in need of snow removal services, ask if the company is certified in snow removal as well.
Do you have enough staff and the right equipment for my campus?
Currently, in the labor market, there is a lack of workers which is why many landscape companies often rely on immigrants to do the work. Immigration policies, however, have been unpredictable which puts great pressure on landscape companies to fill the gap. How is the company dealing with this issue? Do they have mechanics on staff to service their equipment?
Don’t assume that if you’re a large campus, you need a large provider with big crews. Bigger isn’t necessarily better. If you have a 20,000 square-foot lawn and have a crew of 4 showing up each week to mow it, it may be done quickly but it will be expensive and unnecessary.
Are you available for emergency services?
Emergencies may not be that common in the landscape industry but they do occur. You’ll want to be assured that if you have a downed tree or a burst pipe in your irrigation system that there will be someone to answer your call and take care of the problem quickly.
Do you use sustainable practices?
This is more than just about providing services in a way that is better for the environment (although that should be enough!), it’s also about saving you money. Smart irrigation systems that use less water will be more cost-effective. Using native plants, mulch, and utilizing landscape designs that reduce runoff are ways to make your property more efficient and use less water and energy.
Will I have my own Account Manager?
Don’t underestimate the importance of good customer service. If you’re hiring a company whose owner is on a crew, you may not get the same quick response to issues as with a company that uses dedicated account managers to service their clients. Your account manager will know your property well and be able to handle any questions or concerns you may have, as well as have suggestions on how to best service your property. Having an account manager that is just a phone call away creates open communication which is the key to success in any business.
Be upfront with your expectations of your landscape management provider’s services. In fact, you should have them in writing as part of your contract so there’s no miscommunication. However, it’s important to have realistic expectations. You often get what you pay for. Paying crews a good wage, insuring the company, maintaining equipment, and buying supplies for the upcoming seasons are expensive, and if the provider bids too low, they may be cutting back on those necessities which will cost you more money in the long run. But don’t assume the highest bidder will provide the best service. Bids should be detailed so you have a clear picture of what you’re paying for and that you’re not being over or undercharged.
Show up for your initial meeting with a list of exactly what services you need for your property so the provider can tell you if they’re achievable expectations. You may need to look elsewhere or you may need to lower your expectations. If everyone’s on the same page, no one gets let down.
Understand that it may take some time for your property to be that beautiful showcase you have in mind, especially if you’re getting a new landscape company because your last one did a poor job. It takes time to bring it up to that standard, but if you’ve picked the right company, it will!
At Bluegrass Landscape and Snow Management, we’re a one-stop company for all your landscaping needs. Your account manager will fully manage your landscape from design to maintenance, making sure it meets your expectations in all seasons throughout the year, giving you the professional landscape you envisioned.
Call Bluegrass today at (314) 770-2828. Your beautiful landscape awaits!