review commercial landscape maintenance contracts closely to identify red flagsAs a commercial property manager, part of your job is to oversee the property’s landscaping services. Keeping track of what your landscaping is delivering compared to what’s promised in your contract.

Is the work up to your standards? Are there landscaping services you assumed were in your contract … only to find out down the road these services come at an additional price?

If it’s time to renew your contract or find a new vendor, ask these five questions to easily identify red flags when evaluating a current or proposed commercial landscape maintenance contract.

What should always be included in a Florida commercial landscape contract?

A Florida commercial landscape contract should include standard legal language. Our contracts are specific to what the state of Florida requires, including the contract terms, amounts to be paid, and the payment schedule.

We break down the yearly payment into 12 monthly installments to make budgeting easier for the customer. GreenEarth offers commercial landscaping clients a one or three year contract, since we firmly believe that customers get the best value by having one company complete a yearly cycle of maintenance activities.

What services might a lower quality commercial landscaper skimp on when drafting a contract?

licensing is required for palm tree trimmingLower quality commercial landscapers may try to pull the wool over your eyes by offering irrigation, chemical applications and palm tree trimming services that they’re not licensed to do. Licensing is expensive and requires a commitment to the service quality.

In return, though, you know you’re hiring a company that’s certified to do the work properly, and insured should something go wrong.

GreenEarth, for example, has the proper licensure for working with irrigation equipment and chemicals, so clients can rest assured that they’re working with a knowledgeable and professional company.

For taller palm trees, we subcontract those trimming services. We’re up front with our clients about that, providing them with the trimming company’s references on request, as well as copies of the vendor’s licenses and insurance certificates.

Why would we subcontract? Palm tree trimmers specialize in this type of work, making it safer for everyone. We vet the vendors we use, and make the process seamless for our clients, taking care of all the logistics so the client has a one-stop shop to work with.

What happens when plant and turf health is suffering?

landscapers typically can guarantee plants and maintenance done by another contractor

When getting a maintenance contract set up, you should talk to the landscape company about what will happen if the property’s plant or turf health is suffering.

When we begin a contract with a new property, we take initial photos. We develop an action plan starting with the present condition, and explain where we expect to see the property’s landscaping in six to 12 months.

No matter how good the landscaper is, the property’s health won’t change overnight. It’s important to set reasonable milestones and expectations.

Does the landscaping company offer a guarantee or warranty on the work?

When we install landscaping, we offer a one year warranty on our work if you’re our maintenance customer. If we don’t install the landscaping, we unfortunately can’t offer that type of clause, since we work with the landscaping that’s already there, and we can’t guarantee plants and maintenance done by another vendor.

Some plants won’t improve when another company takes over, especially if the previous vendor neglected the landscaping. You may need to redo some of the landscaping to bring it back to the quality you want.

Is your landscape maintenance contract clear and defined?

make sure your commercial landscape maintenance contract is clear and well definedYou can learn a lot about a commercial landscape contractor by seeing whether their scope of work is clear and defined. We offer our clients a complete description of the services we’ll provide, as well as the time of year they’ll be provided. This is our service schedule.

Our customers find that the GreenEarth contracts are more comprehensive than other companies. This gives both the customer and GreenEarth a clear understanding of what will be provided so there are no questions, and so we can live up to our contract.

The customer then knows what they’re paying for and what they can expect. Services might include regular shrub pruning to horticultural standards, mowing, flower planting, adding pine straw and applying chemicals. We break out services that are used less frequently, such as removing palm trees or doing a comprehensive pruning or hard cut-back that might only happen every five to ten years.

If budget is a concern, be upfront about that and tell the landscaping professional during the quote process. There might be areas you can do yourself, like buying and laying down pine straw if you have someone on staff to do that.

You can also hire your own subcontractors like palm tree trimmers, to shave a little off you budget. GreenEarth is happy to provide a contract that breaks out all items by line and cost, or one that is more compact.

Let GreenEarth Give You a Commercial Landscape Maintenance Quote

Our clients know that we’re a quality vendor, and that we’re honest in our dealings. At GreenEarth, we know the importance of maintaining your commercial landscaping and appreciate the trust that property managers place in us to make their properties look their best.

We find that when property managers have the chance to see what we can do for their property, they become long-term customers.

If you’d like a consultation or want to know what we can do to help you, give us a call at our Panama City Beach office at (850) 236-1959, or call our Santa Rosa Beach office at (850) 267-0010 to set up an appointment. You can also fill out the online form on our website to schedule a consultation.

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Images: Red flag, Contract