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7 Tips for Choosing a Commercial Landscaping Vendor

Monday, January 22, 2024

In the world of facility management, the significance of having an expertly designed landscape goes beyond mere aesthetic appeal. It plays a pivotal role in reinforcing an organization’s brand image and elevating the visitor experience.

However, finding the right commercial landscaping vendor can be difficult, especially when it comes to maintaining quality, cost-effective services across multiple buildings and locations.

With spring on the horizon and time running short, we created a list of top questions and considerations to aid facility and operations managers in their search for the perfect partner – one that fits their unique facility requirements and can uphold quality brand standards at scale.

A worker tends to exterior landscaping tasks

1. National Scale and Coverage

Does your business operate in more than one region? If yes, your commercial landscaping vendor should, too. That’s because if they offer national scale and coverage, they can better adapt to the diverse climates and regional aesthetics of your various facility locations.

National providers provide other benefits as well, including scalable resources, enterprise-class compliance processes, and continuous investments in cutting-edge technology and equipment. It is also important to seek a provider that also excels in tailoring services to meet local needs. This best-of-both-worlds style ensures that your organization benefits not only from expansive resources but also from a personalized approach that respects the unique characteristics of each of your sites.

2. Comprehensive Landscaping Services

Make sure to avoid one-trick ponies. Any vendor you’re considering should have the skill and expertise to provide comprehensive landscaping support, including turf care, fertilization, tree services, irrigation maintenance and repair, plant bed installation, and more.

Equally important is their ability to provide other exterior services like snow and ice removal and parking lot maintenance as the seasons change. This can help further reduce management headaches and substantially reduce your overall maintenance costs. If they also provide interior solutions, like janitorial services, that’s an added bonus as it represents the ability to bundle services and save even more.

3. Tech-enabled Service Verification

Even in something that is as manually intensive as commercial landscaping, advanced technology can play a crucial role in service delivery. Make sure your provider has made the right investments in technology, so their crews can efficiently track attendance, manage projects, and conduct audits and inspections on your behalf.

Perhaps the most important technology component is service verification – the ability to provide visual confirmation of completed services to the client using before-and-after photos. This should be non-negotiable. Your chosen vendor should be able to easily provide proof of service with status updates and photos via mobile access and a convenient online portal, so facility managers can rest assured the work is being performed across all locations. This is critical for guaranteeing transparency and accountability with the provider.

4. Risk Mitigation

Managing and reducing risk wherever possible is just good business. That’s why it’s critical the provider you work with has deep relationships with a nationwide network of licensed and insured full- service landscaping partners to ensure compliance and reduce risk. It’s also imperative these partners follow best practices when it comes to employment verification, background checks, drug screening, training and development, and other key areas when hiring contracted employees.

National companies like KBS can also provide additional layers of insurance on top of the insurance contracted partners carry, further reducing risk to your business and property.

5. Proven Success across Industries

Look for provider that has a proven track record in supporting regional and national clients: Do they provide active service for thousands of sites, or just dozens of locations? Don’t be shy about asking for references that you can contact directly. Moreover, make sure to confirm the vendor has a history of working with organizations just like yours. This ensures they possess the expertise needed to address the unique requirements of your business environment.

With lingering labor shortages, it’s also critical your landscaping service provider has a record of delivering exterior solutions at scale, across as many locations as needed. This not only attests to their operational efficiency but also underscores their commitment to meeting the evolving challenges of the industry.

"KBS has been a great partner over the years. We’ve seen a consistent level of service across the portfolio. Everybody is responsive, which is the most important thing to me along with their quality of services."

6. Responsive Customer Support

Nobody likes radio silence from their vendors. Look for a provider that offers dedicated account representatives, ensuring you have a direct and reliable point of contact throughout your engagement. This capability guarantees timely assistance without unnecessary delays. Bonus points if they are accessible 24/7 to address your inquiries and provide the necessary support.

Any potential vendor’s customer service department also needs to be supported by a strong communications infrastructure and processes that will meet the needs of your business. This includes a comprehensive escalation process, integration with major work order management systems, and easy access to service verification and performance reports, including roll-up data.

7. Cost Transparency

Don’t just take their word for it – ask the vendor if they can provide detailed cost breakdowns for additional transparency and visibility. Make sure they have financial reporting systems in place that can separate costs for different landscaping services, so you know exactly what you are paying for.

A key aspect of this breakdown should encompass out-of-scope costs, such as mulch installation, irrigation repairs, spring and fall cleanups, among others. This level of granularity not only provides a clear understanding of the financial landscape but also empowers you to make informed decisions regarding the specific services you are investing in.

Corporate landscaping provider

Why Work with KBS

Thinking through these considerations are critical for finding the right commercial landscaping partner for the coming spring.

KBS is the largest facility services provider in North America, with more than 100,000 active locations. Our Exterior Services team provides an array of landscaping services, including turf care, tree services, irrigation maintenance, and plant bed installation and maintenance, to industry leaders at more than 7,500 locations nationwide.

We use the latest technology and access to a nationwide network of insured partners to strike the right balance between cost and appearance. KBS also has a robust ESG program that prioritizes water - saving solutions, and tracks Tier 2 diversity spend as part of our commitment to supporting minority-owned businesses. To learn more, request a quote today!