If you have recently been elected or appointed to the Board of your Homeowners Association here in North Carolina (or elsewhere), you may be tasked with selecting new vendors - like commercial landscaping companies - for the work that is needed in your community. While many management companies will send out requests for bids or make recommendations, it can be overwhelming to work through the proposals that come your way.
Many of the commercial landscaping proposals you will receive look very similar in terms of the services that are provided. But selecting a landscaping company simply based on price is not always the best idea. Here are some things to look for as you work through the selection process, as well as some questions we recommend you ask before making your final selection:
- Detail what is included in the proposal and what charges are add-ons. Is fertilization included? Are treatments for lawn diseases like brown patch included? Is mulch included? For items not included but expected to be necessary, what will the charges be? You want to be certain you are comparing apples-to-apples and ensure you budget correctly for landscaping expenses.
- How does the company ensure communications with your HOA and/or property management company?
- How long has the landscaping company been in business? Do they have trained horticulture and floriculture specialists on staff? What kind of training and experience do the crew members have who will be working on your property?
- Is the landscaping company large enough to handle your property? Are additional crews available to handle your neighborhood in the event of crew illness or equipment breakdown? If you have a lot of common space, or if your HOA fees include landscape maintenance for all homes in the community, a smaller company may not be staffed or have the equipment needed to do the job.
- Will you have one primary point of contact to manage your property? Will they be able to help with other community projects, such as irrigation wells, fencing, playground equipment, etc., through contract trade agreements?
- Does the company have a construction enhancements department to handle other needs like planting, drainage, irrigation and hardscape?
- Does the company have licensed irrigation contractors on staff (required in North Carolina)? Is the irrigation team separate from the regular maintenance crews to ensure faster service?
- What other properties does the commercial landscape contractor manage in the area? We recommend you drive by a few of them and take a look at the landscaping. You may also want to ask them if they have specific recommendations for your property to improve your landscaping.
- How would a new landscape provider handle your greatest frustrations today?
- How do the company’s values line up with the community’s values?
Finally, one of the most important things you can do is to ask for and contact references for each of the landscape companies who make it to the final round of your evaluation process. Ask them how long the landscaping company has handled their property; how easy it is to get in touch with their contact to get questions answered or issues resolved; and have them rate their satisfaction level on a scale of 1 to 10.
There are a lot of landscaping companies out there, and you want to choose one that will be responsive to your needs and make your community look the best that it can. Greenscape Inc has been in the commercial landscape business in the Raleigh-Durham area for more than 30 years and we have worked with many HOA’s to improve and maintain their common spaces. If you have questions about choosing a commercial landscaper for your HOA, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greenscape Inc. was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Holly Springs, NC, outside of Raleigh. Greenscape’s Green Team consists of professional landscape architects, designers and horticulturists who specialize in residential and commercial landscape design/build, landscape management, and landscape specialty services including irrigation and landscape lighting. Under the Weed Man brand, Greenscape provides a full range of lawn care services customized for each property, including weed, insect and disease management, as well as aeration and seeding. Greenscape owns Weed Man® franchises in the Triangle area and Wilmington, North Carolina. www.greenscapeinc.com