Tips for Community Management: Selecting a Landscaping Partner for Your Property
The best property management companies agree that meticulously groomed landscaping is vital to enhance your property’s curb appeal. Industry research shows that investing in green spaces is among the top five property improvements that increase return on investment for homeowners, communities and homeowner associations. It is clear that selecting the proper landscaping company is of the utmost importance, but how do you determine which company is right for your community?
Make a ChecklistThe first step in the selection process is developing a checklist for evaluating prospective companies. This checklist should include a list of questions to conider when selecting the right landscaping company for your community. Some important questions to ask are:
- Is there a photo gallery of current and past projects? A good landscaping company should be able to provide you with before-and- after photos that clearly show the landscaping company’s improvements.This could also help to see if they have serviced a community with needs similar to your own.
- Is the company a member of any local or national industry associations? Memberships in trade associations demonstrate professionalism and accountability within the landscaping industry.
- Is the company insured and bonded? Financially stable companies provide protection for clients and pursue responsible internal growth.
- Are employees provided uniforms and are vehicles branded and well maintained? Professional presentations reflect your property values. Plus, uniforms and vehicles with the landscaping company’s name or logo serve as a safety precaution to identify these employees working within your community.
- Does the company own or lease equipment? It is critical that your landscaping partner has contingency plans for equipment failure and replacement.
- What type of employee training and certification process does the company utilize? The chosen vendor should have experienced and skilled team members trained in multiple disciplines that include, amongst others, water features, stone and paving techniques, lighting, irrigation and city and community-specific landscaping restrictions. Team members should also be trained to follow good safety practices to minimize hazards to others in the community.
Navigating the Bidding Process
When choosing a landscaping vendor for your community, you should obtain bids from multiple companies. Although price is an important consideration for every community, it must not be the only consideration. There are several aspects of the bidding process that you should pay particular attention to. Look for clues during the property inspection that signal the company is capable of meeting your community’s needs.
In order to provide your community with an accurate bid, the landscaping company should:
- Measure open green spaces, turf, and bedding areas
- Make notations of mulch requirements (depth, surface area, materials)
- Be sure that there is adequate fertilization included in the bid
- Address arbor care management plans (specifically include tree trimming)
- Provide a flowering plant replacement schedule – including price per unit
- Evaluate irrigation systems and capabilities, including water features and equipment maintenance
- Ask questions to determine your community’s objectives and goals
- Provide a detailed cost estimate
- Take photographs of the overall property, including trouble spots and key features
- Discuss soil replenishment, aeration and turf health management practices
How a Professional Property Management Company Can Help
If the bidding and selection process seems overwhelming, you might consider enlisting the assistance of a professional property management company. The right residential management company will provide you with a selection of potential vendors that are well suited to your community’s needs and budget.
Furthermore, a professional management company will not only find the best landscape vendors for you and guide you in the selection process, but will also supervise their work to ensure your community is deriving the most benefit from the service. They should also be proactive in ensuring the best value for your community.
If you feel your community would benefit from a partnership with a professional property management company, contact FirstService Residential, North America’s leading residential property management company.