In just a couple of months, the busy season for landscapers will begin.  If you are a commercial property owner, now is the time to re-evaluate and truly define the scope for your property.  There are some critical questions to ask yourself before going out to bid for landscape maintenance services.

WHAT TO CONSIDER:

1. PROPERTY MAP AND MAINTENANCE LIST

a. Mowing & Lawn Care: How many times do you want the property mowed? How would you like the lawn to look?  Are you looking for basic fertilization for a healthy lawn or additional services that will make the lawn look flawless?

b. Mulching: Decide on the type of mulch you prefer, how much you will need and whether you want it blown in or hand-spread.

c. Annuals: Get specific on the number of plants you want, their size, how often you want them changed, and where they should be planted.

d. Weeding: Clarify whether you want to be 100% weed-free all the time or simply have a consistent weeding plan.

e. Pruning vs. Sheering: Are you seeking a natural or artificial look for your shrubs? Also, decide whether you want the shrubs hand-pruned and how often.

f.  Tree Care: Ask your potential contractor how they handle tall trees or rogue branches and whether they work with a licensed and insured tree company to help you maintain trees.

g. Cleanup: In the fall and spring, property cleanup can help maintain the lawn and landscaping.  How detailed would you like the cleanup to be and would you like to include edging of the beds?

2. SET EXPECTATIONS

A detailed scope of your property will allow contractors to quote accordingly and to your specifications.  Find out how long they will spend on your property.  Man-hours make a difference in the final quote.  A well-defined scope will lead to a better match with the right contractor.

3. PRICE

If you are looking to maintain your property based only on cost, this will impact your investment in the long run.  Going with a less expensive option will cost you time and money and create unnecessary frustration.  The benefits of working with a company that gives you better quality and service will outweigh the cost every time.

4. COMPANY REPUTATION

A company whose price matches their reputation will offer the following without hesitation.

a. MOD rating: This rating is based on the number and severity of incidents or accidents within a company.  It reflects the company’s safety practices.  The lower the rating, the better.  If a MOD rating is above 1.0, do your research on the company.

b. Certifications: Check on certifications related to the services they are offering such as fertilizer application licensing, proper pesticide training, and OSHA safety training.

c. Contractor coordination: If you are looking for maintenance of your entire property (not just landscape and lawn), you will need a contractor that has a network of reputable companies that can do the job.

d. Sustainability goals: A good contractor is always looking at ways to stay environmentally friendly and to save you money.

e. Corporate responsibility:  Does your contractor respect neighboring properties and act professional on the job?  Are they using EPA approved chemicals and aware of the impact their work can have on the environment?  Find out!

Hiring the right contractor will give you peace of mind.  Now is the time to take a good long look at your property scope and define the services you are looking for so you can hire a partner that is right for your business.