Choosing a landscaping company for your HOA or condo association might not be your favorite thing.
We understand. It’s a big decision, and you have a lot of choices.
How do you know if a company will meet your needs, communicate well, follow landscaping guidelines for HOAs, and look out for your best interests?
Ashley Owens, business development manager at Level Green Landscaping, knows landscaping responsibilities for HOAs can be daunting.
How to choose the best company?
Owens shares some tips, and key questions you should ask.
Do Your Research
You should be able to learn a lot about good landscaping companies without even calling them, Owens says.
Visit their websites.
Some offer educational blog posts, like this one, designed to help and engage customers.
Look for ways the company approaches its work.
“Their mindset should be on ways to bring in potential buyers for you, not just fulfilling a list of duties,” Owens says.
Ask About Communication
This is a big one. Ask about how the company will communicate with you, and how often.
Level Green can set up an online customer portal, Owens says, designed to connect an HOA or condo association property manager or board member with their Level Green account manager.
“It collects all the information you need about your landscaping services in one place and gives you a bird’s eye view of what’s going on,” she says. “It’s like a security blanket. You know your account manager is looking at it. If you have drainage issues in your backyard, it helps you feel confident that it will be addressed.“
Ask if communication includes service reports after visits.
Level Green’s digital property service reports detail exactly what services were performed when. Were flower beds weeded? Trees pruned? Mulch delivered? Irrigation checked?
There’s no mystery — it’s all outlined for you, in a snap. It might include a photo, too. Crews might show you a hole they discovered on your property that should be filled in so nobody twists their ankle.
Will They Attend Your Meetings?
Will the company send a representative to your board meetings?
“It’s a chance for us to field questions from board members, to give seasonal updates on our work, to find out about any big events coming up, like summer picnics, block parties, Christmas events,” Owens says.
“If we have access to the community’s calendar, we can make sure our visits don’t fall on these days, so we interrupt as little as possible.”
Landscaping guidelines for HOAs include a lot of details. Meeting regularly in person makes sure everybody’s on the same page.
Will They Look Out for All Your Needs?
Any decent commercial landscaping company will mow your grass, trim your weeds, and clear your leaves away in the fall.
Is that enough for you? It shouldn’t be.
Make sure they’ll also recommend ways to make your community even better.
Your residents want to be proud of the landscaping and amenities in your HOA or condo association.
And in today’s competitive market, you need perks that will attract new buyers.
You want a commercial landscaping company that will suggest wow-worthy enhancements, from nature-based walking trails to community fire pits and grilling stations.
These days, landscaping for HOAs and condo associations goes beyond the pretty flowers at the entrance.
Ask for references. Commercial landscaping companies with great HOA landscaping experience should be able to refer you to happy HOA customers.
Are they satisfied? How’s the company’s communication? What have they suggested and done that really improved the community?
And if something went wrong, how did they handle it?
Ask Why They’re a Great Landscaping Company
Give the landscaping company you’re considering a chance to brag a bit.
Why should you choose them over the other guys? They should have plenty of good answers.
Are They Eager to Come Over?
A good commercial landscaping company should be happy to stop over and stroll your property with you to get a sense of your community and your landscaping needs.
Do they have lots of questions for you? They should.
Consider More Than Price
We know — you want a fair price.
But don’t be swayed by an enticingly low bid.
If one company offers a bid that’s much lower than the others, be suspicious.
Why are they so much lower? Are they cutting corners to save money? Or maybe they don’t have a good handle on what it takes to thoroughly handle landscaping for HOA and condo associations.
Either way, that’s a problem.
Will They Make a Smooth Transition?
“Change can be scary,” Owens says. “Choose a company who will make that change as smooth as possible.”
When will their first visit be? Will there be a meeting with board members?
If there’s an intricate irrigation system, do they offer to meet with the previous contractor, so they know all the ins and outs?
Will They Learn Ordinances and Rules?
Some HOA’s, or the municipalities they’re in, have noise ordinances or other community rules that affect landscaping work.
“On a retail site, if we show up at 6:30 am and start blowing leaves, it’s no big deal,” Owens says. “But at an HOA, that’s not the right approach. You start out quietly pulling weeds or pruning, doing things that make a difference but don’t make noise.”
Do They Understand Your Concerns?
Owens says almost every HOA board she’s met with has asked one question: “How fast do you mow?”
“Safety is paramount to boards when children and pets are involved,” Owens says. “Our mowers don’t go faster than a brisk walking pace. We’re not zipping through leaving tire ruts.”
She explains how using the right size mower in the right area is important, too.
“A mower that’s too big might make ruts, or spit grass on the driveways or sidewalks,” she says. “Using the right mower in the right spot involves weight issues, so you don’t rip up the turf when you turn.”
It’s the kind of info you learn from a good walk around with a landscaping company rep. Landscaping responsibilities for HOAs include safety issues, not just beautification details. Be sure your company takes it seriously.
Do they Care About the Environment?
“It’s something a board might not think to ask, but once they think about it, they realize it really is important to them,” Owens says.
Does the company recycle their green debris or just dump it in a landfill?
Do they have experience with environmental issues?
“We deal with quite a few HOAs that are near bodies of water, in protected areas, or who are looking to replace annual flower beds with native plants and grasses to lower the amount of maintenance needed,” Owens says.
“If your HOA is close to water, is the company aware of chemicals they can and can’t use? Do they know how to correctly deal with invasive species?“
This is a big decision, so take your time. Get bids from at least three commercial landscaping companies that sound good to you.
Trust Your HOA Landscaping to Level Green
“With an HOA, you don’t have one customer — you have 150 customers,” Owens says.
It’s a great way to keep a landscaping company on its toes, she says. If you miss a spot mowing or let leaves pile up, somebody’s going to notice.
We’re sticklers for details.
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.