Now is the time to address groundskeeping issues

As people increasingly go back to the office on a more regular basis, corporate property owners are again seeing the value in investing in the grounds of their facilities for the benefit of their employees. It presents to them, as well as to prospective employees, a place that’s clean, professional and attractive to work, says Massimo Asturi, owner of Asturi Landscape Group.

“Companies are certainly seeing the value in groundskeeping,” he says. “And they’re budgeting not just for basic maintenance, but for enhancements and improvements. Many companies scaled back on their landscaping services over the past five years because so much work was being done at individuals’ homes. Now companies are catching back up on what they put off for all those years.”

Smart Business spoke with Asturi about changing groundskeeping trends and what corporate property owners should be ready to do now.

What should corporate property owners be doing now?

Now is a good time for businesses to review how their winter went. Particularly, they should review their experience when there was heavy snow and the level of service from their snow removal vendor to see if anything needs to change. That’s important now because at this time of the year, not only is the experience still fresh, it’s also the perfect time to make adjustments — either to start procuring a new vendor for next season, or updating contracts and the scope of work for the next winter season. 

This also is a great time of the year to get a head start on the major landscape changes that would need to happen to the facility. For example, it’s a time to remove dead shrubs or other plants that are unsightly, or remove dead trees that can be unsightly, as well as a major a safety hazard and liability.

This is also a time for basic spring services such as spring cleanup. That could include redefining the flower beds on the property, mulching, laying down an initial application of fertilizer and weed control on properties that have grass or turf — those are all critical services that, if done well and at the right time, will keep everything looking nice for the rest of the season.

What should companies look for in a vendor?

Businesses that have a need for a groundskeeping vendor should work to find a contractor now as the workload these contractors experience is very frontloaded this time of year. There’s a lot of work that needs to get accomplished, so contractors are generally very busy from now through April. So now is the time to put effort into finding and procuring a reputable contractor to take care of their site. 

In that process, it’’ important for companies to ask for references from companies that have properties that are of a similar size and scope. They should also get a good understanding of who their account manager will be and whether they’ll have one point of contact. Also determine what the vendor capable of doing. For instance, some vendors might only handle mowing but not landscaping. Some have a tree crew and others do not. Those are all significant questions to ask because those are things that they’re going to simplify either the company’s life or their facility manager’s life by having one vendor to deal with instead of five.

How does this work benefit a business?

Owners of corporate property are spending money and time to make sure their facilities look good. That’s important from a property value perspective, as landscaping makes a big difference in the overall curb appeal, which can boost property value. But many companies also have sustainability goals that are tied to their LEED certification, and those can include initiatives outside the building — from the trees to the landscaping and even the parking lot.

Businesses that don’t already have a vendor in place to handle their spring groundskeeping certainly should work to get one in place soon. With focused effort now, corporatse property owners will see their investment pay off throughout the warm seasons. 

Massimo Asturi



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