You don’t want to hire just any property maintenance company. Any commercial maintenance company can get the job done (for the most part), that’s why there are several other elements to consider when hiring a company to take care of your property.
You want to hire a landscape design firm that listens to your needs AND wants, and creates a plan that stays within your budget. You want a company that will consider your yard their own. Unfortunately, not every commercial landscaping company puts their customers first. That’s why it’s important to do your research before committing to a contract, so your landscape and your wallet doesn’t fall victim to the same common mistakes.
Many landscaping vendors will quote low prices to get your business, only to inflate prices the following year, and there are several places within contracts where hidden costs can slide through. Being blindsided by sneaky, unseen costs is a tale as old as time. But with solid due diligence, you can ensure you select the right vendor.
That’s why Procare, a commercial landscaping company based in West Michigan, put together this definitive guide to help you make sure you know EXACTLY what you’re paying for before signing a contract.
Learn how a reputable commercial grounds maintenance contractor asks the right questions to provide you with the most accurate and comprehensive quote, the first time and every time.
In this article we help you identify and understand:
- The four necessary components of any commercial lawn service contract
- The three service variables that will impact your pricing
- How to customize a lawn maintenance program
The 4 Key Parts of a Commercial Lawn Service Contract
Your landscape maintenance contract should include four columns of information so you can easily review and compare prices.
- Description of services
- Cost per service
- Annual cost
If a contract is missing one of the categories below, ask for the information! It is your right as a property manager to have all of the details about the landscape maintenance you’re about to invest in.
Description of services
State the size of your property and exactly what services you want done and where.
Determine the number of visits and detail what services each visit will entail. Keep in mind the length of seasons and what should happen if a visit is missed or skipped.
Tip: Ask for a seasonal calendar that specifies the expected delivery of services.
Cost per service
Define what work is expected to be done in each visit. This makes sure you are getting what you pay for.
Make sure you understand cost expectations for the future. Don’t get blindsided—it is common for companies to inflate the cost after the first year to make up for the low prices originally proposed.
The 3 Largest Factors Affecting Commercial Lawn Service Costs
One of the first questions many businesses want to know when searching for a commercial landscaping company is how much it’s going to cost. Much like buying a car, there are a lot of additional services and extras that you can add on that will affect the overall price. Here are the three biggest factors that affect the cost of services:
- The scope of work
- The frequency of your lawn service
- Safety and integrity
The Scope of the Work
The size of the property and level of difficulty to manage are the most visible cost factors. Determining exactly what work you want to be done and where it ensures that your expectations are met. It also allows the landscaping personal to devise a clear plan and provide you the most accurate cost estimate. The more specific you are the better.
Questions to consider: Does one area need more attention than another? How do you want those spaces maintained? How might that change from season to season?
The Frequency of Your Lawn Service
Remember that with each visit, you are paying for the gas, time, equipment, expertise and number of crew members needed to maintain the landscape.
Another important factor to consider when creating a service calendar is the day AND time of day that you’re requesting service, as this also affects the cost.
Safety and Integrity
Any landscaping company can mow stripes into your lawn, offer cheap prices, or flaunt their advanced equipment. But that doesn’t mean your landscape will get the quality of work or attention it deserves. What separates an excellent provider from the rest is its commitment to quality work and transparency.
Great landscaping is the result of implementing the proper protocols. For example, Procare has been a successful company for over 30 years because they hire expert personal agents, abide by industry standards, and obtain the appropriate certifications. They provide honest and transparent costs and guarantee the safety of their employees and patrons who encounter the landscape.
Tighten Budgets With Customized Landscape Services
With budget restrictions, it’s unlikely you’ll get everything you want, but you can get pretty close if you get creative. First, you should start by dividing your landscape services into needs and wants.
Your needs are the non-negotiables: quality, health, and appearance. These are the most important elements in your contract and include services like mowing, trimming, weed control, etc. Your wants are going to be the components that add value and character to your property, like flora choices, design elements, etc. Intertwining your wants with your needs can be difficult, but there are some clever ways you can do so.
Commercial landscaping companies often hear the question: How can you make the price lower?
Apart from working closely with property managers to find ways to meet their needs and wants, there are a few ways that the costs of a seasonal landscape contract can be reduced:
- Reduce service frequency
- Consider material alternatives
- Ask about a basic maintenance program
Reduce Service Frequency
In all likelihood, complete landscape maintenance isn’t required for each visit. By reducing the number of service visits, you can dramatically reduce your cost. You can also define what work needs to be done each visit, that way you can spread services out over multiple visits and achieve the same great results at a lower price.
Consider Material Alternatives
There are usually a number of material options that you can choose from for your landscape. When working with a limited budget, you’ll get more value by carefully considering what each different material has to offer.
For example, choosing native plants for your landscape will reduce the amount of maintenance required because they are predisposed to care for themselves in your environment.
When making design decisions, consider xeriscaping. By eliminating the need for supplemental water for irrigation, xeriscaping reduces the hours of maintenance needed.
Ask About a Basic Maintenance Program
Basic commercial lawn care programs cover… well, the basics: mowing, trimming, weed control, etc. But basic maintenance doesn’t condemn you to a basic landscape.
Even if you have high standards, you can make basic maintenance packages work for you by planting flora that doesn’t need to be replaced every year.
Getting the best property maintenance contract can be tricky, so be aware of fishy commercial property maintenance companies, and beware of sneaky costs. In other words, make sure you know your bases before you show up at the ball-game.
Remember: there are a lot of moving parts and details to consider when outlining your contract. Before you commit to a contract:
- Define your needs and wants
- Consider the variables that will impact pricing
- Know how you can customize your plan
- Find a balance between value and price
We hope this guide helps you make the best decision when choosing a commercial property maintenance contract! Bookmark this for later, so that you have it at your fingertips for reference the next time you go to sign a contract.