Blog

The Yellowstone Landscape Blog

Welcome to The Yellowstone Landscape Blog. Subscribe to be notified via email when a new post is published.

The Price of Admission in Commercial Landscaping

When I’m driving down the road, I notice every pickup truck with a trailer attached to it.  And when I see a mower or two on the trailer, my first instinct is to look for the company name on the door.

Why do I do that?

  1. Because landscape companies come up with some pretty funny names and some interesting logos. (Lawn and Order, Special Mowing Unit – that’s pretty clever, right?)
  2. Because I’m curious if the truck belongs to a new competitor that’s entered the market.

It seems like there are an endless number of landscaping companies out there. One study from 2015 estimated there were 466,768 landscape businesses. The same study found that these businesses employed 958,711 workers. That’s an average of 2.05 employees per company.

When you consider that the overwhelming majority of these businesses are serving residential clients, and the guy on the mower is also the guy who owns the company (sometimes affectionately referred to as “Chuck and a Truck”), it makes sense.

Another interesting fact - our industry’s trade association, the National Association of Landscape Professionals, estimates that 99% of landscape companies have annual revenues below $1 million.

Today there are more landscaping companies than ever before, and more of them are starting to market themselves to commercial clients.

This creates an interesting challenge, not just for the large, established commercial landscaping companies like Yellowstone, but for the property management professional looking for a new, reputable, experienced commercial landscaping partner.

How does a Property Manager weed out the best from the rest?

It starts with something we call “the price of admission”. And the price of admission in commercial landscaping is simple.

Make the landscape beautiful.

Somehow in the RFI/RFQ/RFP process this simple truth gets overlooked. We get asked about any and everything else imaginable.

  • How many locations do you have?
  • How many certified employees do you have on staff?
  • Provide your last 5 years of financial statements.

All important, but none of those questions answer your property’s most basic need. The reason you invest in commercial landscaping in the first place is because you want your grounds to be more beautiful.

If the landscape contractor you’re considering can’t prove that they can cover the “price of admission”, then they aren’t right for you. Move on to one of the other 466,767 companies out there.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a landscape contractor that’s paid the price of admission several times over, get in touch with your local Yellowstone Landscape office. We’d be glad to help you create the beautiful landscape that you and your property deserve.

Photo credit: The Daily Dot

Tags:
Continue reading
96 Hits

Who Really Notices Your Commercial Property’s Landscaping?

For a Commercial Property Manager, dealing with your commercial landscaping provider can be a hassle. From tenants complaining about dirt blow onto their cars, to noisy mowers and trimmers disrupting important morning meetings, commercial landscapers can have you wishing your building was somewhere in the middle of a downtown concrete jungle.

Sure, it looks nice when it’s done, but did you ever wonder who really notices your commercial property’s landscaping?

One property manager recently told us:

“I only pay attention to landscaping if it looks really good, or if it looks really bad. Everything else just kinda blends in.”

Yikes.

Is it worth all the trouble just to have someone say your landscaping “blends in”? Not to mention all the expense?

Of course not.

You deserve a landscape that gets noticed by the right people – for the right reasons.

And exactly who are the right people?

There are two kinds of people that will always notice your commercial property’s landscaping. They are the people you need to impress if you want to lease your space quickly, and keep it leased for years to come.

First, you should always make sure your prospective clients take note of your property’s landscaping.

You invest in quality commercial landscaping because you know that a great commercial property - one that’s fully leased for top dollar - starts from the second your prospective client lays eyes on your building. Your landscaping is the very first thing they will see.

If they’re looking at your listing online, the first photo is usually the exterior of the building, right? Wouldn’t it make sense to have some curb appeal to show off in the first photo of your slideshow?

If they’re driving up to your office building or retail center, it only makes sense to welcome them with a beautiful entry.

Your prospective clients are comparing yours to all the other available spaces they’re considering for their business. They’re imagining their business thriving and growing in your space. Does it fit the brand they’re trying to build?

Landscaping defines a commercial property just as dramatically as anything inside the building.

Is it upscale modern, with clean lines and intricate flower displays? Is it eco-friendly? Does it offer healthy amenities like outdoor seating for lunch breaks or walking trails around the grounds?

Prospective clients have a long list of things they need to check off before they decide to lease with you. Your landscaping can significantly impact their overall impression of your property and is often the deciding factor between yours and other similar spaces.

Once the client chooses your property, your landscaping’s work is just beginning.

The second group you need to impress, your client’s employees and customers, will also notice your commercial property’s landscaping.

Landscaping adds measurable value to retail centers. (Consumers reportedly pay up to 12% more for identical items in shopping centers with high quality landscaping.) It enhances the buyer’s perception of value and adds to the experience of buying your goods and services.

For a commercial office property, landscaping impacts the employees who work there in a number of very important ways. First, landscaping inspires creativity. Colorful flowers, manicured bright green grass, healthy trees, and manicured shrubs stimulate the mind and enhance worker performance.  Landscapes also impact the job satisfaction that employees feel. By providing employees a well maintained outdoor environment, the opinion of the employer and opinions about how the employer values their employees increases exponentially. When given a beautiful environment to work in, employees are more likely to show up and be productive every day. They take fewer sick days remain at their companies longer.

Happy, productive employees build successful companies. Those companies become highly desirable clients for commercial property managers.

So, does landscaping really matter that much to your clients and their employees?

Yes, we know it does.  We’ve had so many Property Managers tell us that by simply keeping their grounds beautiful and tidy, we’ve made their job so much easier.

They lease their spaces faster and keep their clients in those spaces once they’re leased.

No matter what type of commercial property you manage, your landscape does make an impression. Make sure it’s a good one.

 

Continue reading
189 Hits

6 Landscaping Amenities to Consider for Your Commercial Property

With regular lawn maintenance, your commercial property is going to look stunning. However, a few extra amenities can take it to the next level by creating an area tenants, employees and guests can enjoy. Whether you’re working within a city setting with limited space, or a large corporate office campus, the right landscape partner will have solutions that make your outdoor space inviting.

 

Consider adding some of the following useful and appealing touches to your commercial green space:

 

The First Amenity to Always Consider - Furniture

Encourage people to enjoy their lunches or breaks outside with sufficient furniture. You can acquire some amazing patio sets so that groups of individuals can get together. You can also add benches where people can relax for a few moments.

Nothing beats having a barbecue in the middle of summer. Your tenants will love having an area to grill burgers and hot dogs, especially if it is an apartment complex where they would be unable to have a grill otherwise. Professional offices might find a grilling space useful for team outings in the summer.

Make Your Landscape Shine with Thoughtful Lighting

While the sun lights the way during the day, you want something that will allow people to enjoy the scenery on cloudy days and evenings as well. Consider an energy efficient lighting option so that you do not increase your monthly electric bills too much.

Pathway lighting adds that extra touch that takes your landscape from pretty to sophisticated.

Yellowstone Landscape Path Lighting

Combat High Water Usage with a Cistern

You need an irrigation system in place that allows you to keep trees and flowers growing healthily. However, constantly having the sprinklers running can quickly add up and is not great for the environment. By installing a cistern on your commercial property, you can easily collect rainwater, and use that to water your foliage.

Consider a Decorative Fire Pit for Function and Style

Many different variations exist for fire pits. Consider a gas pit with decorative stone and cozy seating. Numerous styles exist for these pits, so you can find one that perfectly complements the rest of your property’s aesthetic. Allow users to control gas fire pits with a timer. This also ensures that it will not stay on all night when people head home.

Could Fencing be That Finishing Touch?

A fence around your commercial property does more than just add an attractive flourish to the edges of your beautiful green space. It also adds some security. Wood or metal? Security, aesthetics, or both? Your landscape designer will help you choose a fence that flows well with your overall look.

A Water Fixture Takes Your Space to the Next Level

Ponds and fountains are calming and eye-catching features. People can gather around and enjoy the soothing sound of running water. Worried about keeping up with this substantial addition? Leave it to your landscaper who will include fountain maintenance in the regular maintenance plan.

Partner with the Right Landscape Provider

From start to finish, design to regular maintenance, Yellowstone Landscape offers first-class commercial landscaping services. Get in touch with our team today by calling 407.512.5714. We look forward to working together to achieve the ultimate look for your property.

 

Continue reading
168 Hits

Great Commercial Landscaping Starts with a Great Account Manager

When you hire a commercial landscape company to care for your property, there could be up to a dozen different specialties that have a role in your landscape’s success. 

Here’s a list of some of the different positions that are part of our landscape maintenance teams:
1. Crew Leader
2. Mow Crew Team Member
3. Detail Crew Team Member
4. Irrigation Technician
5. Spray Application Technician
6. Landscape Designer
7. Arborist
8. Business Development Manager
9. Branch Manager
10. Office Manager
11. Accounting Technician
…and last, but certainly not least….
12. Account Manager

Out of all these different roles, responsibilities, and specialists, why is the Account Manager the key to a great looking commercial landscape? 

Imagine an Olympic rowing team for a moment. Can you see them all paddling in unison, gliding along the water? It looks so effortless, doesn’t it?

It looks so easy because there’s a guy (or gal) at the front of the boat, calling out instructions - keeping them all in line. Their job is to make sure their team is working together to get from start to finish as quickly, and as smoothly, as possible. If even one team member is out of sync, the whole boat will be thrown into chaos, and the race will be lost.

Your Account Manager is the guy (or gal) at the front of the boat, calling out the instructions.

Account Managers don’t have a specific list of tasks in their job description.

They know how to mow the grass and prune the shrubs, but you rarely see them on a mower or with shears in their hands.

They know how to design flower displays and how to optimize an irrigation system, but you won’t usually find them planting annuals or adjusting sprinkler heads.

That’s because more important than knowing how to do all these tasks themselves, they need to be able to teach others how to do all the things that keep a landscape looking its best.

In fact, if you really think about it, the Account Manager’s job could be summed up with this simple instruction: “Make sure your people are happy.”  Sounds easy, but it’s remarkably difficult.

It’s hard because Account Managers have two groups of people that they always need to keep happy. First, they are responsible for hiring, scheduling, and overseeing the work of their service crews. Their service teams must be organized, outfitted, and supervised every day.  They need the right gear to get their jobs done safely and efficiently. They need crystal clear instructions to make sure they are doing the work in the way we’ve committed to doing it.

The second group of people Account Managers need to keep happy is the Client. Clients need to be informed about when their properties are going to be serviced, and what we’ll be doing when we get there. Clients need to be reassured that any problem areas are being taken care of, and that we’re living up to the promises we’ve made in our service agreement. Account Managers (the really good ones, at least) become trusted members of their Clients’ team, ready to jump in and help at a moment’s notice, no matter what time of day or night.

At Yellowstone Landscape, we’re fortunate to have a great group of Account Managers. We’re not all perfect, and we certainly make mistakes from time to time. But we’re always training and striving to get better.

With spring’s arrival, this year’s training sessions and workshops are coming to an end. It’s time for our Account Managers to get back out in the field and manage our clients’ landscapes through the tough spring and summer growing seasons.

So remember, the next time you see a great looking commercial landscape, thanks should go straight to the guy (or gal) at the front of the boat, keeping their team in sync. It’s a lot harder than it looks.

 

Photo Credit: Joe Brunton, via Wikimedia Commons

Continue reading
275 Hits

Secrets of an Effective HOA Landscape Maintenance Committee

HOAs.

Love them or loathe them, more than 68 million Americans now live in community associations.

Most residents (87% according to CAI) report being satisfied with the job that their association does to maintain their home’s value. However, in spite of our best efforts, the image most often associated with a monthly HOA meeting is a very vocal, very dissatisfied resident arguing with the members of the Board.

Any guesses about the topic most likely to be at the center of that argument?

Ding, ding, ding. If you said “landscaping”, you’re 100% correct.

And that’s exactly why it’s critically important that your HOA has an effective Landscape Maintenance Committee in place.

Regardless of the size of your community’s common areas, or the dollar amount of your HOA’s landscape maintenance budget, a committee formed with the sole purpose of watching over your landscape (and your commercial landscape contractor) is a huge asset to your association.

 

Structure

Landscape maintenance committees are typically assembled as a “standing” committee, meaning that they will regularly meet to handle ongoing tasks.  For a specific, landscaping-related project, especially one with a significant price tag attached to it, like a large-scale rejuvenation and replanting project, you may wish to consider forming a special “ad hoc” committee, which only exists for the duration of that project.

While landscape maintenance committees aren’t required to include a member of the elected HOA board, having an elected community leader in the group will create a more effective committee. Including a Board Member will help the committee stay within its defined responsibilities, and keep it from being pulled off task by other volunteer members coming to the group with their own agendas and aesthetic preferences.

The size of the committee can vary widely, but for even the largest communities there is rarely a need for more than 5 members in a landscape maintenance committee. Members of the committee are free to contribute as much time as their schedules allow, but the most effective committees will hold formal meetings where they discuss their findings, outside of the monthly HOA Board meeting. If volunteers can’t commit the time that will be needed, it’s best to keep the group smaller and filled with only the most engaged members.

 

Responsibilities

Your landscape maintenance committee should be created by your elected Board with an explicit purpose to execute a specific set of duties. Committees operate best when given a defined set of tasks for which they are responsible each month.  While they don’t have the authority to act without the Board’s approval, they are still very important to the association, especially when you consider that for most community associations, landscaping and grounds maintenance is the largest annually budgeted expense.

Some of the responsibilities often assigned to Landscape Committees include:

  • Creating recommendations for the Board on landscaping improvements within the community.
  • Communicating with representatives from the community’s landscape maintenance provider.
  • Inspecting the work performed by the community’s landscape maintenance provider.
  • Suggesting additions and amendments to the community’s landscape maintenance program.
  • Evaluating RFP responses, checking references, and conducting contractor interviews when selecting a new commercial landscape maintenance provider for the community.
  • Providing monthly summary updates to the Board on landscaping and grounds maintenance issues.

 

While a landscape maintenance committee doesn’t remove the ultimate responsibility for the appearance of the community’s landscape from the Board, an effective landscape committee can certainly make the Board’s job much easier.

 

For more ideas on HOA Committees, this article from First Service Residential is a great resource.

Photo image credit: Pixabay

Continue reading
429 Hits

CORPORATE OFFICES

3235 North State Street
PO Box 849

Bunnell, FL 32110
877.785.6685

 Customer Rating : 4.5 / 5Based on 57 ratings 

Creating premier properties.
Building lasting relationships.