ACM News

Prepare For a Great 2017 Landscaping Season

Posted on February 27, 2017

By: Sherm M. Fields, Vice President – Acres Group

With approximately one month to go before the start of most landscape maintenance contracts, we would like to offer a few suggestions to kick the season off right.

  1. Schedule a pre-season meeting with your landscaper – preferably on-site in case there are areas in question or with a special need that should be inspected before work starts. Some items to cover during the meeting.
    • Share contact information including cell phone and email
      1. Landscape Account Manager
      2. Landscape Account Managers Supervisor in case of illness, vacation, etc.
      3. Property Manager
      4. Property Managers Supervisor in case of illness, vacation, etc.
      5. Board of Director’s/Landscape Committee email addresses. We recommend that the Board/Committee be copied on landscaper emails along with Property Management to share monthly inspection reports/photos/documentation. This closed loop reporting will provide contractor accountability and will drive communication efficiency
  2. Schedule an “A” and “B” date for the spring walk/inspection. Normally held in April/May. With spring rains, having a “B” date is handy in case it is raining on the “A” date. It would also be a good idea to set dates for mid-season or fall walk/inspections if desired.
  3. Review an Executive Summary of the landscape specifications and timing of standard services.
  4. Discuss Property Management/Board/Committee expectations for both contract work and landscape enhancement work. Also, discuss any past concerns or “pain points” that will need special attention.
    • It is important to discuss the handling of turf repairs and new plantings. Hoping that we receive enough rain is not a good strategy. If we find that rain is not sufficient – discuss the plan of action.
  5. Review and discuss any landscape proposals that are under consideration. Prompt decisions are key in proper planning and execution. With the warm winter & below average snow cover, we can expect an early spring. Anticipate more disease and insect activity – earlier than normal. If foliar diseases are a concern: Apple Scab, Rhizosphere, Diplodia – those proposals should be signed to ensure treatments are completed within the horticultural windows. Preventative grub treatments are encouraged to be completed by the first week in July.
  6. Don’t be afraid to discuss budgets with your contractor. A good contractor will work within budget requirements – focusing on the highest and best use of the Associations investment.
  7. We all want “happy homeowners” and to that end, how do we want to handle individual homeowner landscape requests and work orders? What is the standard operating procedure?
  8. How do we provide homeowners with important information and answer their questions regarding service? Website, newsletter, door hangers, mailings, club house notices, community meetings?

While some of these recommendations are very basic, they are essential elements of working together as a team. They build trust, accountability, communication, and client satisfaction. Ultimately ensuring the best quality and results for an association’s landscape budget.

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