Now that summer is here, the grass is growing taller and the plants are blooming, which means that it’s time for your landscape to receive some maintenance. With over 30 years of experience in the landscaping industry, we’re all too familiar with the mistakes business owners make when choosing a landscaping company, and we want to make sure you don’t repeat them.
There are multiple factors to consider when making a decision, such as a price, service offerings, timelines, and much more. With so many pieces to consider, it’s easy to make a mistake, which is why we’ve put together this guide to educate you on the top 5 mistakes most companies make when choosing a landscaper for their business.
Whether you are comparing bids for a new location, expanding on your existing property, or just looking to improve your curb appeal, you can use this list to help you pick the right company for the job.
Here are the most common mistakes we see business owners make when hiring a landscaping company:
#1 Hiring the wrong type of landscaper.
Residential and commercial landscapers have different skill sets; therefore they are equipped to perform different projects. Your business has different landscaping needs than your residence, and you don’t want to get stuck with a landscaping company that isn’t prepared, or able, to meet your demands.
There are a few common differences between residential and commercial landscaping companies to consider:
- Residential contractors tend to emphasize style and layout. They are more flexible in their designs, cost less, and can typically work on short notice. They often specialize more narrowly, offering some services (such as lawn care or driveway paving) but not others.
- Commercial contractors tend to deal with much bigger landscapes that require special equipment. They’re usually more expensive. They cover more area and are rigorously judged for their work. They often have more standardized plans that they apply to their various clients. Monthly contracts are more common than one-time projects. Fewer, but larger clients tend to be the norm, which is why these are often full-service firms offering a wide range of services.
It’s important to consider what approaches commercial and residential landscaping companies take in relation to the goals your landscape needs to achieve. Feel confident that the company you choose is well qualified and evaluated for the job before signing any contract.
#2 Paying for too much service, too often.
How frequently you need service depends on the type of project. Make sure you understand how much, and how often your landscape really requires service. For example, hedge trimming requires recurring service, but a one-time design of your property will not need recurring work. Many homeowners find a single landscaper for both one-time projects and weekly or monthly work.
Pro tip: by reducing the number of service visits, you can dramatically reduce your cost.
Each year, call your landscaper out to your property for an annual checkup. Your professional can assess your lawn and tell you what needs more or less care and can provide you with tips for managing the lawn throughout the year to keep it looking exactly how you want it to.
Understanding how frequent your landscape really needs services can put money back in your pocket, and your landscape can take a break from being over-managed.
#3 Paying for services you don’t need.
When you choose to work with a company or professional who can accomplish multiple services, buying bundle deals seem like a great option.
In some cases you can save money, planning is easier, and you get to stick with an expert your trust. However, because bundle deals are so attractive, it’s tempting to buy-in even when you don’t need the service.
For example, you might be able to combine general landscaping work with the installation of a sprinkler system even though you already have one. If your sprinkler system works well and covers the new items the landscaper added to your property, then the sprinkler system was an unnecessary cost.
Paying for services you don’t need is also common during regular maintenance visits. In all likelihood, complete landscape maintenance isn’t required for each visit. When you consider what services you can spread out over multiple visits, you can achieve the same great results at a lower price.
#4 Not asking the right questions
Before you hire a professional, make sure you have all of the information that you need. Take time to ask relevant questions to ensure credibility and find the right fit for you.
During your initial phone call, start with some general questions:
- What commercial landscaping services do you offer?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Do you offer a free consultation?
- What’s your guarantee for quality work?
- What sets your company apart from other landscaping services?
- Do you have client references from a project similar to mine that I can follow up with?
If you decide to move forward with the company, follow up with questions pertaining to specific details about the project and their method during the consultation.
Specific questions to ask:
- What ideas do you have for my property?
- Will you complete the work yourself, or contract some of it out?
- What do I need to know about maintenance after the project?
- How do you charge (hourly or by the project), and what is your rate?
- How long will the installation take?
- Can I save money by bundling services or promising future work?
The conversations with your contractor are like a two-way street. In addition to learning about your contractor, you should also communicate your needs. A credible professional will let you know whether your expectations are realistic and a good fit for their services.
#5 Ignoring Experience & Reputation
Too often we see companies choose one bid over another because it’s cheaper, not realizing the road of headaches and extra expenses they paved in their future. Selecting the landscaping bid with the lowest price comes with its consequences.
What they do not realize is that the lowest bidder is usually the same contractor who:
- Incorrectly calculates costs or estimates
- Isn’t licensed or insured
- Is consistently behind schedule
That’s why its crucial to take a look at the full picture when evaluating commercial landscape companies. How long have they been in business? What other businesses do they provide landscaping services for? How long do they typically keep customers?
Unfortunately for many companies who choose their landscaping contractor based on price, they soon find themselves over budget and disappointed, as the work didn’t even come close to their expectations.
As a family-owned business since 1989, PROCARE Landscape Management now employs over 25 full time employees and up to 80 seasonal employees. Our client list expands throughout the Greater Grand Rapids Area, where from day one we exceed expectations. Our crew of experts and dedication to customer service is why we’re proud to say our client retention is much higher than the competition.
For help with your commercial landscaping project, contact one of our experts today!