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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.

 

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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

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Not Feeling the Love from Your Landscape Contractor? Here’s How to Fix That.

Does this sound familiar to you?

“When they started, it was great. But over time, it’s like they just stopped caring. And now they’ve had so much turnover, I don’t even know who to call anymore.”


You hired a landscape company thinking it was going to be different this time. They talked a good game in the sales process, but now you’re just not feeling the love anymore.

We run into this problem all the time with prospective clients. You’ve been burned before, so your natural response is to be skeptical that we’ll be any different than the last landscape company (or the one before that... or the one before that). We understand. And you’re right to ask the question:

Six months down the road, when I’m not a new client anymore - when the sales guy has moved on to the next deal - am I still gonna be feeling the love from Yellowstone, or am I gonna be right back where I am today?

 

Here’s how we answer that:

Let’s start by acknowledging that there are a lot of reasons that a vendor-client partnership can go south: repeated service failures, personality conflicts, personnel changes, just to name a few.

But nothing is as damaging to a vendor-client partnership as when a vendor allows their client to stop feeling important.

You don’t get responses back from the vendor as quickly as you used to (or at all). Your weekly email updates stop. Your monthly property walks get rescheduled constantly. Routine preventative maintenance checks are replaced by frantic calls when something is broken.

As a client, you stop feeling important when your vendor stops communicating with you.

Because we understand that, this is how we handle our communication with our clients. We create weekly, monthly, and annual touchpoints to help measure how our clients feel about the services we’re performing for them over time.

Weekly. Every client is assigned a dedicated Account Manager. You’ll have their cell phone number and email, so you’ll always be able to reach them if you need anything. Every week your Account Manager and Branch Manager meet to discuss, in detail, everything that’s going on with your property. If there are any open issues, that’s when they’ll figure out how and when they’re going to fix them. Then they’ll relay the solution and the timeline to you. Some clients ask for formal reports each week, other prefer a short email on Friday afternoons. We tailor our communication methods to meet your schedule. What’s important is that you have the information you need. How we get that information to you is up to your personal preference.

Monthly. After the contract is signed, our salesperson doesn’t just shake your hand and run off to chase the next contract. For many clients, he or she will be in touch every month to check in and see how things are going. It might just be a phone call, a quick meeting in your office, or a lunch – whatever works best for your schedule. We want to make sure that our service teams are doing the things that were promised, and if we start to slip in any area, we want you to know that we’ll do all we can to make it right, as quickly as possible.

Annually. We send out a brief, but insightful survey to all of our clients every year. Our corporate Client Services team will send you a link to an online survey to measure how happy you are with our services. When all the responses are in, our company President and the entire Executive Team dedicate time to review every single response. If they see anything in your survey that tells them we’ve got an unhappy customer, they’ll be on the phone immediately with your Account Manager and their Branch Manager to see that it gets resolved.

So, if you currently find yourself not feeling appreciated by your current landscape contractor, start by defining a clear communication schedule. Bringing back that loving feeling may not be as simple as setting a recurring event on your calendar, but it’s a good start.

 

We began a recent post with the quote, “Consistently Communicate that you are Competent and you Care.” When your vendor starts their service philosophy from this mindset, it’s much easier to believe them when they say they’re going to be different than your last vendor, or the one before that.

If you’re ready for a competent, caring landscape partner, schedule a meeting with your local Yellowstone Landscape Professional. We’d love to meet you.

 

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Landscaping and Brand Image - What Is Your Curb Appeal Saying to Potential Customers?

Curb appeal is important for any business. Whether you have an apartment complex, office building or a public institution, you want to convey the right image to everyone driving by.

You don’t want people to steer clear of your organization because your landscape has fallen into a state of disarray. Consider what an outsider would think of your building just from looking at the surrounding property. Is it eye-catching? Is it representative of your business standards?

Following are some questions to consider when it comes to your office’s curb appeal.

What is Our “Personality”?

Many business owners have difficulty figuring out what kind of aesthetic they should go with for their property’s landscape. An easy place to start is with your company culture. A whimsical company may consider something outside the box and colorful. A more traditional firm might go for something clean cut and neutral. Whatever your culture, understand that a messy, unstructured landscape might inadvertently convey a lack of quality control to others.

Have You Considered Outdoor Meeting Areas?

Some businesses need to be straightforward and conduct all business inside. However, you should think about whether your company could benefit from some outdoor seating areas. Office buildings can promote a renewing lunch break for their employees by including some tables amongst shaded foliage. Corporate properties can welcome clients and guests with meeting spots on patios and in courtyards. Some other amenities to consider include umbrellas for shade and decorative fountains.

Does Your Landscape Work With or Against Signage?

While a properly maintained landscape is important, it is also vital that potential customers are able to see your business’s sign. It is possible to find plants that work well to complement any signage. Placing a sign in a flower bed delivers a bright and vibrant first impression for your company. Remember, you want the landscaping around your sign to be well maintained and not overgrown.

What’s Good for the Entire Year?

You don’t want the front of your property to only be attractive for half the year. You want something that is going to be manageable all year round. This means employing the proper maintenance practices for the season you’re in. For example, in cold weather, ensuring all your walkways are kept free of ice. A reliable landscape provider will offer a maintenance schedule that meets your needs in every season.
Every square foot of your property is a chance to create a positive impression for your business.

Yellowstone Landscape can help you achieve the perfect aesthetic to fit your business needs. Contact our team by calling 407.512.5714 today.

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CORPORATE OFFICES

3235 North State Street
PO Box 849

Bunnell, FL 32110
877.785.6685

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