It’s been a challenge just to survive lately, but if you’re a property manager you’ve had a few more challenges on top of that. 

Level Green surveyed our property manager customers to find out about their top challenges this year. 

What hurdles are you facing? What’s got you tearing your hair out? 

Here are the survey results, along with thoughts from Adam Smith, Level Green Business Development Manager, whose job is to show property managers how a good landscaping company can ease some of those headaches. 

Are you struggling with these challenges, too? We’d love to help make your job easier.

1. Rank the following challenges when managing commercial properties in 2021?


1. Budgeting/Controlling Costs
2. Finding Quality Vendors
3. Finding & Keeping Quality Tenants
4. Time Management/Bandwidth
5. Something Else


Budgeting is all about planning ahead, and COVID made that nearly impossible for property managers, Smith says.

“Would they have access to a revenue stream? How would it be impacted?” he says. 

“Commercial real estate didn’t know how they were going to accommodate existing tenants,” Smith says. “They might have had tenants taking up 10,000 square feet, but suddenly, because of working remotely, they might need only 3,000 square feet. What would they do with the extra space? How would this impact cash flow?”

Meanwhile, things like landscaping often had to take a back seat to more pressing issues. 


“Many have had to forego any landscaping company partnership — they did it all in house,” Smith says. “Now they need help again from a professional partner. They want to maintain their brand image.”

How Can Level Green Help?

“We can help them look at key impact areas on their property and help them get the most from every dollar spent,” Smith says. “We can give them a program that incrementally increases their spend, so they can do it gradually.”

2. What is the biggest hurdle in controlling costs in 2021?

Survey Says:

  • Unexpected maintenance (36%)
  • Reduced budgets (36%)
  • Changing lifestyles (9%)
  • Continued virus waves (9%)
  • Other: Knowing when tenants come back to work (9%)

    controlling cost-1

The series of snowstorms that struck the Mid-Atlantic in February is a great example of unexpected maintenance, Smith says. 

“Sometimes in commercial real estate you’ve made all the adjustments to scope, then you get hit with weeklong ice and snow, like this year,” he says. 


But other landscaping surprises pop up, too, from dead trees to lawn diseases. 

How Can Level Green Help?

“Stick tight to preventive maintenance,” Smith says. It’s cheaper to be proactive with lawn and plant health than to deal with expensive fixes down the road.

Adding a few key landscaping services to your contract can help avoid unpleasant surprise costs:

  • Aeration to avoid compacted soil
  • Pruning to prevent damage from falling tree limbs 
  • Lime treatments to balance your soil pH, so your lawn can actually use that fertilizer you’re paying for. 
  • Drainage work to avoid surprise water management repairs. 

3. How easy or difficult is it to find a quality vendor compared to years past?


  • Easy (9%)
  • About the Same (81%)
  • Difficult (9%)


Covid affected landscaping companies, too, Smith said. 

“Some smaller landscaping companies didn’t have the ability to stay in business,” he says. “Some larger companies didn’t take enough Covid safety precautions in time and had a substantial portion of their work force out sick. So they couldn’t meet their customers‘ expectations. That responsibility starts at the top, with changes to operating procedures.”

How Can Level Green Help?

Our stringent Covid safety protocols have ranged from limiting the number of people riding in work trucks together to switching operations managers to remote scheduling, which limits the number of people gathering in the yard at one time.

It means our team is healthy, safe, and ready to tackle our customers’ evolving needs.

4. What is the biggest issue or pain point when it comes to time management?

  • Too many plates in the air/Trying to do too many things at once (72%)
  • Work/Lifestyle changes brought on by the pandemic (18%)
  • Having to babysit vendors/tenants (9.09%)
  • Lack of technological advances needed for the job (0%)
  • Other (0%)


Property managers have always had too many spinning plates in the air, but Covid added some bowls, platters, and pitchers to the mix.

“Some had to do all their landscaping in house,” Smith says. “Someone who was never assigned that responsibility before was suddenly in charge of the landscaping.”

best trees for large planters

Layoffs at some companies means fewer employees to do the same amount of work, he says, “which puts additional responsibilities on others.”

How Can Level Green Help?

You can breathe easier. We’ll grab that spinning plate called landscaping right out of the air. 

No need to worry or wonder if your landscaping company showed up or what they did, because you’ll always be in the know. Our digital property service reports detail exactly what services were performed for you when. Were flower beds weeded? Mulch delivered? Irrigation checked? 

Our proactive communication means we answer your questions before you need to ask them. 

What does this mean for you? More time to focus on your business and customers. Confidence that your property is impressive and safe. Peace of mind.

5. Compared to the past 5 years, how easy or difficult do you think it will be to find quality tenants?

  • About The Same (66%)
  • Difficult (33%)
  • Easy (0%)


“Commercial real estate wants to keep their tenants, but some have gone out of business,” Smith says. “They need to lease that additional space. Tenants are still hard to find.

On the retail side, that’s a huge issue. They need to fill that space quickly.”

How Can Level Green Help?

“Bringing their property back to market standards, or exceeding market standards, is 

important to our clients,” Smith says. 

Curb appeal matters. 

  • Bright, welcoming flowers at key spots like entrances and signage 
  • Healthy green turf
  • Rejuvenation pruning to remove old, overgrown limbs so shrubs can grow new, vigorous branches in their place. 

“We’re attentive, proactive, and available to make recommendations,” Smith says. 

We Know Your Challenges: Now What? 

A survey is only valuable if it leads to action. 

Thanks to the property managers who took time to weigh in, we can better meet their needs.

“This gives us real time information,” Smith says.  “We want to understand any shifts in property managers’ thought process, so we can shift and pivot on their behalf and add value that way.”

Let us help. 

“We want to know what their business objectives are, what they need in order to be a highly functioning business,” he says. “It’s an operational partnership as opposed to just being a vendor and customer.

“Flexibility and communication are both key,” Smith says. “It’s been an opportunity for us to build great loyalty by helping our customers through this.”

Tackle Your Property Challenges with Help from Level Green

We’d love to continue this conversation.

What do you need to bring your property back to competitive shape?

How can we grab a few of those spinning plates out of the air? 

If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers. Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.

Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.

We’d love to hear from you.

Request a Consultation