03 Jun How to Choose a Commercial Landscaper
How To Choose A Commercial Landscaper
If you’re a property manager or commercial building owner, I’m sure you go through a lot of headaches when the warm weather hits. Cleanup from the winter, spring storms and possible flooding of your commercial landscape means big lawn care bills, slow business and an unappealing building.
Remember: the trick to adding curb appeal to your commercial building, is to create a landscape design that draws people into your building. You want several landscaping elements working together to create an aesthetically pleasing property that all will enjoy – and the right people to accomplish that job.
Hello there. I’m Kent Gliadon – owner and operator of KG Management in Minneapolis, Minnesota. If you’re having trouble in your search for the best commercial landscaping company for your mall, apartment, office building or any other commercial property, I’m here to tell you how to find the right one for you.
As a landscaping expert and owner of a commercial landscaping company, I get asked this question a lot. There are a few specific considerations that I explain to those that ask, so I thought I’d share them with everyone. Let’s go through a few things to ask yourself as we help you choose a commercial landscaper.
1) A Commercial Landscaper’s Reputation
When looking for the perfect landscaper for your commercial property, you want to consider the reputation of the companies around town.
In Minneapolis, as well as other cities, landscapers seem to come and go. Usually, a family-owned and operated company will stay in business for a few years, and get swallowed up by the big guy. If a family-owned landscaper manages to stick around, you know they’re services are valuable. If they can last for more than a decade, they are definitely doing something right that pleases their customers.
You want to search for a group of landscapers that are familiar with the territory they serve. That way, they are more accustomed to the characteristics of climate, environment and weather, and have developed each of their services accordingly. You don’t want someone from Scottsdale attempting to grow lush green grass for your Minnesota lawn.
A great way to find out whether or not a commercial landscaper has a great reputation around your town, is to simply type their name into a Google search bar. The reviews that come up from Google Plus will offer great insight into how trustworthy real consumers think the company is. You can even tell if the landscaping contractor truly cares about their customers by their response to a bad review.
2) Commercial Landscaping Services Offered
After you’ve narrowed down your options and pinpointed a landscaping company or two that would fit your commercial property, it’s time to dig deeper into the services offered.
Any good landscaper or lawn care company will offer more than simply “lawn mowing.” They should understand everything from proper lawn care, planting and hardscaping techniques, to a great design and detail.
Ideal landscaping services that should be offered by any outstanding commercial landscaper include:
- High-quality lawn care
- Weed control
- Fertilization and thatching
- Retaining wall and walkway construction
- Sprinkler and irrigation installation and maintenance
- Patio and firepit construction
- Water feature installation
Don’t just look for the amount of services, but the variety as well. It’s important that the commercial landscaping contractor you choose doesn’t simply specialize in lawn, but maintenance, planting and construction as well. This will help to break up your landscape design, highlight the best aspects of the building and keep your landscape beautiful all year round.
3) Capabilities Of Your Commercial Landscaper
After you understand the services of the commercial landscapers you’re considering, take into account their capabilities.
How does their staff look? Are they obviously proud of their employees? If they talk about their hiring process on their website, you know they consider their employees assets and not liabilities.
With all of the questionable landscapers out there, it’s nice when you come across a lawn care company that hires only drug-free, reliable and professional employees. Additionally, make sure they don’t rotate their staff often, meaning they don’t “hire and fire.” Look instead for a team. A place that people want to work for and stick around once on staff.
Make sure you’re getting the workers you want. Ask the landscaper if they hire their work out to subcontractors. Even if they subcontract just some of their work, it could be risky to go with that landscaper. Only because you’ll never know who exactly will be showing up to work on your acreage.
Another capability you should look for is technology. If the business seems forward-thinking, they will invest in the best landscaping technology in the industry. This way, you know that they are consistently investing in themselves and care about the growth and future of their own company. They might even bundle their commercial fertilization and weed control lawn care services with commercial snow removal services.
Also, commercial contracts are usually much larger and more unusual than a residential gig. In this case, you want a landscaper who has invested in large, high-quality mowers that will cover the many acres you need tended. Consider pre-drafting capabilities as well. Is the commercial landscape maintenance company you’re interested in have the ability to draw up plans for you to see prior to landscape construction?
4) Qualifications Of Your Commercial Landscaper
Once you know your commercial landscaper’s capabilities match up with your needs, you can then move on to researching their qualifications.
A good landscaper becomes a good landscaper not just out of luck. No, they’ve spent years in school, training to gain the skills needed to perform outstanding work at every single job. If the landscaping contractor you’re looking at doesn’t have a form of high education in landscape design, they probably won’t be able to meet your expectations. A degree similar to landscape design, horticulture or turf science should be mandatory. Experience or degrees along the lines of management and business are huge bonuses.
You also want to consider accreditations and community involvement. Any good landscaping business knows to reinvest in the community that lets them thrive. Look for things like memberships and non-profit contributions to know whether or not a landscaper truly cares about the community they work for.
5) Customer Service From Your Commercial Landscaper
Once you’ve got the curb appeal qualifications squared away, you want to understand how the logistics of the customer service department operates.
Customer service is often overlooked when trying to choose a commercial landscaper, because it’s after the point of purchase. But believe me when I say that nothing beats a landscaping company that goes above and beyond for you when issues arise.
Is their account management team diligent? What types of hours do they work? Do they even have an account management team? A great landscape design company will have a single, knowledgeable person in charge of your account to develop a sense of trust while they service your requests. They may even go above-and-beyond by being available around the clock, should any emergency pop up.
Consider the laborers’ customer service skills as well. When they get done with a job, do they stick around to make sure everything looks great? They should be cleaning up after themselves during the job and after it’s complete. They might even pick up trash that careless visitors leave behind. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can really make a difference in a commercial landscaper.
6) References Of Your Commercial Landscaper
Now that the stars are aligning and you’re zoning in on your commercial landscaping company of choice, you want to find some references to reaffirm your decision.
Look into their landscaping portfolio or past work experience. If they’ve worked on some big accounts, then you know that they’re most likely a trustworthy choice. If you really want to get an honest opinion, try calling one or two of these places and speak to the client themselves. If the landscaper of choice really cares, they may even provide you with references themselves.
The past accounts they have serviced are your best bet at understanding the quality of commercial lawn care they provide. If they have one or two commercial projects, but dozens of residential accounts, then I would stay clear. The two different property types are completely different beasts and require different skillsets and equipment. Make sure they have a lot of commercial landscape experience under their belt to receive the highest-quality landscaping services.
7) How Do They Bid For Your Commercial Landscape Contract?
The final element in our how to choose a commercial landscaper guide is the bidding. Do they bid by quality or price, and which one of those fits best with your situation?
Some commercial landscaping contractors will usually have enough experience and clout to bid by quality of services offered alone. But, this isn’t necessarily the best route, because not everyone has the money on hand to afford the biggest landscapers out there.
On the other hand, if you’re looking at a commercial landscaping contractor that bids based on price alone, you will get poor-quality services and experience, because they simply won’t have the resources to support your expectations.
To meet the needs of a property manager who can’t break the bank, but still wants to cultivate a beautiful landscape, a smaller, family-owned landscaping company is the company to turn to. This type of commercial landscaper will base their bids on both quality and price, finding a good middle-ground for both of you. This way, you will receive the benefits of a high-quality landscape, at an affordable price – and great customer service to boot.
Hiring the Best Commercial Landscaper
The trick to hiring the best commercial landscaper for your property, is to decide what is most important to you. Whether it be price, customer service, capabilities or quality, your decision will hinder on your current situation. If during your search, any more questions arise, feel free to give me a call directly and I can answer any questions for you: 763-568-7251.
I hope you liked KG Landscape Management’s guide to choosing the best commercial landscaper for your property. If you have any of your own commercial landscape tips, feel free to share them with us on Houzz, Google Plus or in the comments section below!
Thanks for reading, and good luck!