Selecting a new vendor to work with can be challenging, and choosing the right commercial landscape company is no different. While it can be easy to focus on a few key criteria when selecting a landscaper, there are other important qualities that should not be overlooked. Be sure to avoid these common mistakes when choosing a San Diego commercial landscape company to manage your property.
1. Choosing a Landscape Company Based Strictly on Price
Everybody loves a great deal. This is a useful technique when shopping for products, but not when shopping for a service. Focus instead on the best solution, which isn’t always the least expensive option. While pricing can vary from one landscape company to another, you should be suspicious of “low-ball” proposals. A low-priced proposal can mean that the company is cutting corners somewhere in their service. For instance, the proposal might not include all services that the property needs, or include enough hours or manpower required for the job. Like many other services, price is generally tied to quality. So, if you are looking for high-quality results, you may need to consider increasing your monthly budget.
2. Hiring a Commercial Landscaper That is Not Licensed, Bonded and Insured
To protect yourself, your tenants and your property, your commercial landscape company should be licensed, bonded and insured. Be sure to confirm that your commercial landscaper has these three things, and that none have lapsed. You can check on the status of a company’s license by visiting the California State License Board website. Another way to vet a vendor is by reading reviews on the Better Business Bureau. All BBB Accredited Businesses must supply proof that they meet all licensing, bonding and insurance requirements.
3. Working with an Inexperienced Commercial Landscape Company
An established commercial landscape company likely employs people with certifications and many years of experience. Certified landscapers have a wealth of knowledge that is important when caring for and enhancing your commercial property. Certifications, like those received from the National Association of Landscape Professionals, often require hours of instruction followed by rigorous written and hands-on tests. When you hire a commercial landscape company with certified employees, you know that you’ll be getting highly trained experts you can trust to manage your landscape.
Generally, if you have a lawn mower and a leaf blower, you have yourself a business. Because of the low barrier to entry into the landscape industry, there is also a lot of competition. This means that many landscape companies are driven out of business within their first few years. As such, it is important that you choose an established commercial landscape company. Knowing that a company can withstand economic high’s and low’s – including recessions – is important to maintaining a stable and lasting relationship.
4. Not Knowing the Reputation of Your Landscaper
When you hire a commercial landscape company, you are trusting them with the look, health and safety of your property. But how do you know if the company is trustworthy? One of the best ways to learn about a company’s reputation is to read their client reviews on Google, Yelp or Facebook. You will learn firsthand about the satisfaction of the landscaper’s other customers, as well as learn about their quality and performance. Another way to understand the reputation of the company is to ask for references. There’s no better way to vet a company than to speak with one of their clients directly.
5. Difficulty with Communication & Flexibility
During the process of receiving a proposal from a service provider, you’ll get a glimpse into how flexible the company is and how well they communicate. Take notice of how timely they are with RFPs; how reachable they are via phone or email; and how flexible they are with scheduling meetings. If you’re having communication and scheduling issues with a company before you hire them, these problems will likely worsen once they become your service provider.
6. Not a Culture Fit
You may not think culture fit is important when choosing a commercial landscape company, but it can create conflict if your respective businesses operate on different principles. Is it important to you as a company to give back to your community? Do you strive to create a more sustainable workplace? Are you insistent that your business is run ethically and transparently? If you have strong principles that guide your company, you might have a more harmonious relationship when your vendor shares the same values.
7. Little Emphasis on Safety & Training
Commercial landscaping is a dangerous job. Therefore, safety training is important because it teaches team members the proper way to lift heavy items, stay cool and hydrated in hot weather, and safely use machinery such as hedge trimmers and lawn mowers. Safety should be a priority for both you and your service provider, and hiring a landscape company that emphasizes safety will help make sure that no one gets hurt on the job.
Use a Vendor Scorecard to Make Your Decision Easier
We created an easy-to-use vendor scorecard to help you select the right company to serve your landscape needs. Using a vendor scorecard offers a straightforward way to choose a service provider based on value, reputation, business practices and knowledge. It will help you make an unbiased and well-informed decision when it comes to selecting your new landscape service provider.