ACM News

How Far In Advance Should You Plan Your Association Maintenance Services?

Posted on October 13, 2015

We live in an instant gratification world, where we want results now. That includes the meal we chose at a restaurant, the Amazon order we placed a minute ago, even the promotion we’re hoping for at work.

We get it—waiting is frustrating.

We admit, we’re also guilty of wanting results now, especially when we are planting native landscapes and we can’t wait to see how the new surroundings will impact an Association’s ecology. Or, when we have a landscape design plan that’s truly special and we just can’t wait to complete it so we can turn that vision into a reality.

But we have to press pause. We must plan, and that requires time.

We know that plants don’t grow overnight—they need water, sunlight, nutrition and time. They need care—and care takes time. We also know that the best commercial landscape service providers dedicate a great deal of time to logistics like routing, materials selection, training crews and other activities that raise the bar.

All of this stuff takes time. Results happen…after time.

That’s all well and good, but what you really want to know is how much time to plan in advance when scheduling commercial landscape maintenance or snow removal? How much time does a commercial landscape maintenance firm need to get you on the schedule? You want a contract that secures services.

Is there time?

We’ll answer that question here, and hopefully provide you with some reasons why waiting is a good thing—and why planning enough time before you want services is necessary if you expect quality results.

Plan Ahead 6 Months

Did that headline shock you? Yes, we highly suggest planning six months prior to the season start for services including landscape maintenance and snow removal.

That means you’re thinking about snow in the summer, and you’re focused on plants in winter. We know, this mindset sounds odd—it’s a shift from what’s expected.

There are plenty of Associations who procrastinate hiring a snow and ice management company until right before the weather turns. They’re just not thinking about cold weather when the temperatures are near 90 F, and the biggest concern is whether plants on their grounds are getting enough water.

We understand that.

But think about this: While crews are mowing, pruning, planting and installing landscapes in summer, staff at headquarters is also planning in advance for winter. That means securing equipment and labor, planning routes and acquiring necessary materials like ice melting products.

We’re doing summer while we think winter.

And, if you can adopt a similar mentality, our worlds will align. What that means is, your Chicago property will be properly routed and the appropriate resources will be dedicated to ensure the job is done right.

If you wait until, say, 30 days before the snow season starts, then scheduling and allocating resources does happen—but those who were first in line do tend to become priority.

The six-month rule applies to all maintenance services (landscape, snow removal). Six months is ideal, but it’s not always possible to plan this far ahead, and that’s O.K. A well-prepared landscape firm will know how to get your property on track.

And, keep in mind if you do call a company last-minute that promises instant service, you might be disappointed with delays or lack of service down the road. Timing is always a balance, but here are some key points to consider as you plan for coming seasons.

Larger Projects Require More Planning

When Associations come to us with landscape enhancement projects or design/build requests, we share that excitement with them.

These are  homeowners associations that want to increase property value, better serve their clients and improve the environment. Yes—we’re definitely excited!

But these plans take time. (We know, this is a buzz kill.) The larger the project, the more planning that is required.

When Associations can be strategic about planning a year in advance for design/build projects, they can allocate proper funding to ensure that the end result matches their vision. Advance planning allows for better budgeting and coordinating resources.

While you may think a season ahead for maintenance services, we advise thinking a year in advance for enhancements and design/build projects.

Plan Now To Secure Quality Services

A lot goes into preparing an Association for the start of a maintenance season, whether landscape or snow.

Not only is there scheduling, routing and staffing to consider, but also dedicating time to nurturing that relationship and truly understanding what each client’s goals are for their properties.

There should be time to conduct thorough property assessments and discuss budgeting strategies. When there is ample time to plan, the outcome of services and projects will meet the highest standards.



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