Finding a new landscaper can take time and effort. Be sure to know the right questions to ask to ensure that you find the right contractor for you. We have taken the time to compile 5 simple questions that everyone should ask a new potential commercial landscape company in the Sacramento area.
1) Are you Licensed and Insured?
This question is first on the list because it really narrows down who is a serious company, and who is trying make a quick buck pushing a lawn mower. Any reputable company should be willing to share their licensing information with you, as well as their insurance information. This is important to you as a commercial building owner, property manger, homeowner, board member, or tenant because it protects you and your assets in the case of any major problems that could arise. Yes, often times unlicensed contractors might be able to offer better pricing, but they certainly don’t offer the same protection.
2) How do you communicate?
Your property likely has its unique history, and likely some maintenance problems might occur throughout the year. A tree branch might fall down. A sprinkler head might break creating a geyser in the middle of your lawn. A shrub might die. Things happen! It is important to know how the commercial landscape maintenance company plans to let you know about these issues that pop up. Will they call you? Will they wait until you call them? Will they ignore the problem because they are short staffed? Will they hope you don’t notice? Make sure to ask how issues are communicated. There should be an easy, regular stream of communication coming from your landscape maintenance provider. After all, they might be visiting the property more than you are, and their insight can be invaluable.
3) How many man hours do you plan to spend here?
You might have recieved two bids that say the same thing: weekly landscape maintenance. But why is one bid so much higher or lower than the other? Often times it comes down to man hours allocated for the job.
Example: A company that wants to “mow, blow, and go” might say your job will take them 4 man hours a week and they propose a relatively low price in comparison to another company that will provide full service landscape maintenance , and say they propose 7 man hours a week. The two companies probably have relatively similar hourly rates, but one bid appears much more expensive than the other simply because they have more man hours allocated.
Don’t be afraid to ask how many hours they are planning on spending there, because that will give you better insight on the quality of work they will be preforming. The more man hours, the higher the level of detailed care tends to be.
4) How much should I budget this year for landscaping?
If you have ever dealt with maintaining your commercial landscape before, you know that the weekly maintenance is just a part of the annual cost of taking care of your landscaping needs. Even if you have a bare bones budget, things will come up. Sprinklers will break. Plants may die. Turf may be vandalised. Tree branches might fall or pose safety risks. There are so many potential expenses that will come up throughout the year, and it is important to have some budgetary numbers for them. Be sure to ask your landscaper how the budget should be managed. Want to add new bark around your property at some point? A professional commercial landscape maintenance company should be able to help you plan for those types of expenses months in advance.
5) How do you handle irrigation issues?
In a place like Sacramento, irrigation is a critical part of a well managed landscape. Finding a landscape maintenance provider that can handle your irrigation issues will help you manage your landscape assets, and ensure that your maintenance goals line up with water usage goals. Be sure to ask how your landscaper will handle various irrigation issues. Ask them a few scenarios:
1) What happens when a simple sprinkler breaks? Do you send out a irrigation tech or does the weekly maintenance crew handle it? How much does it cost?
2) Does your company take over the management of the irrigation controller?
3) Do you have 24/7 emergency repair services?
In summary, there are so many things to consider when looking for a new landscape maintenance company. Be sure to come prepared with these questions and more when you talk to a potential provider. Taking the time now to pick the right contractor now could save hours of headaches and problems later.
Vista Landscape Management would be happy to talk about how our approach of quality sets us apart from our competitor, and our unique “Weekly Property Reports”, Landscape Improvement Report and Annual Budgeting, and cost effective approach at irrigation management can add value to your commercial property and bottom line.
Call us today to schedule your free consultation (916) 226-6559