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Not Feeling the Love from Your Landscape Contractor? Here’s How to Fix That.

Does this sound familiar to you?

“When they started, it was great. But over time, it’s like they just stopped caring. And now they’ve had so much turnover, I don’t even know who to call anymore.”


You hired a landscape company thinking it was going to be different this time. They talked a good game in the sales process, but now you’re just not feeling the love anymore.

We run into this problem all the time with prospective clients. You’ve been burned before, so your natural response is to be skeptical that we’ll be any different than the last landscape company (or the one before that... or the one before that). We understand. And you’re right to ask the question:

Six months down the road, when I’m not a new client anymore - when the sales guy has moved on to the next deal - am I still gonna be feeling the love from Yellowstone, or am I gonna be right back where I am today?

 

Here’s how we answer that:

Let’s start by acknowledging that there are a lot of reasons that a vendor-client partnership can go south: repeated service failures, personality conflicts, personnel changes, just to name a few.

But nothing is as damaging to a vendor-client partnership as when a vendor allows their client to stop feeling important.

You don’t get responses back from the vendor as quickly as you used to (or at all). Your weekly email updates stop. Your monthly property walks get rescheduled constantly. Routine preventative maintenance checks are replaced by frantic calls when something is broken.

As a client, you stop feeling important when your vendor stops communicating with you.

Because we understand that, this is how we handle our communication with our clients. We create weekly, monthly, and annual touchpoints to help measure how our clients feel about the services we’re performing for them over time.

Weekly. Every client is assigned a dedicated Account Manager. You’ll have their cell phone number and email, so you’ll always be able to reach them if you need anything. Every week your Account Manager and Branch Manager meet to discuss, in detail, everything that’s going on with your property. If there are any open issues, that’s when they’ll figure out how and when they’re going to fix them. Then they’ll relay the solution and the timeline to you. Some clients ask for formal reports each week, other prefer a short email on Friday afternoons. We tailor our communication methods to meet your schedule. What’s important is that you have the information you need. How we get that information to you is up to your personal preference.

Monthly. After the contract is signed, our salesperson doesn’t just shake your hand and run off to chase the next contract. For many clients, he or she will be in touch every month to check in and see how things are going. It might just be a phone call, a quick meeting in your office, or a lunch – whatever works best for your schedule. We want to make sure that our service teams are doing the things that were promised, and if we start to slip in any area, we want you to know that we’ll do all we can to make it right, as quickly as possible.

Annually. We send out a brief, but insightful survey to all of our clients every year. Our corporate Client Services team will send you a link to an online survey to measure how happy you are with our services. When all the responses are in, our company President and the entire Executive Team dedicate time to review every single response. If they see anything in your survey that tells them we’ve got an unhappy customer, they’ll be on the phone immediately with your Account Manager and their Branch Manager to see that it gets resolved.

So, if you currently find yourself not feeling appreciated by your current landscape contractor, start by defining a clear communication schedule. Bringing back that loving feeling may not be as simple as setting a recurring event on your calendar, but it’s a good start.

 

We began a recent post with the quote, “Consistently Communicate that you are Competent and you Care.” When your vendor starts their service philosophy from this mindset, it’s much easier to believe them when they say they’re going to be different than your last vendor, or the one before that.

If you’re ready for a competent, caring landscape partner, schedule a meeting with your local Yellowstone Landscape Professional. We’d love to meet you.

 

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Landscaping and Brand Image - What Is Your Curb Appeal Saying to Potential Customers?

Curb appeal is important for any business. Whether you have an apartment complex, office building or a public institution, you want to convey the right image to everyone driving by.

You don’t want people to steer clear of your organization because your landscape has fallen into a state of disarray. Consider what an outsider would think of your building just from looking at the surrounding property. Is it eye-catching? Is it representative of your business standards?

Following are some questions to consider when it comes to your office’s curb appeal.

What is Our “Personality”?

Many business owners have difficulty figuring out what kind of aesthetic they should go with for their property’s landscape. An easy place to start is with your company culture. A whimsical company may consider something outside the box and colorful. A more traditional firm might go for something clean cut and neutral. Whatever your culture, understand that a messy, unstructured landscape might inadvertently convey a lack of quality control to others.

Have You Considered Outdoor Meeting Areas?

Some businesses need to be straightforward and conduct all business inside. However, you should think about whether your company could benefit from some outdoor seating areas. Office buildings can promote a renewing lunch break for their employees by including some tables amongst shaded foliage. Corporate properties can welcome clients and guests with meeting spots on patios and in courtyards. Some other amenities to consider include umbrellas for shade and decorative fountains.

Does Your Landscape Work With or Against Signage?

While a properly maintained landscape is important, it is also vital that potential customers are able to see your business’s sign. It is possible to find plants that work well to complement any signage. Placing a sign in a flower bed delivers a bright and vibrant first impression for your company. Remember, you want the landscaping around your sign to be well maintained and not overgrown.

What’s Good for the Entire Year?

You don’t want the front of your property to only be attractive for half the year. You want something that is going to be manageable all year round. This means employing the proper maintenance practices for the season you’re in. For example, in cold weather, ensuring all your walkways are kept free of ice. A reliable landscape provider will offer a maintenance schedule that meets your needs in every season.
Every square foot of your property is a chance to create a positive impression for your business.

Yellowstone Landscape can help you achieve the perfect aesthetic to fit your business needs. Contact our team by calling 407.512.5714 today.

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Notes from our 2017 Leadership Forum

“You must Consistently Communicate that you are Competent and you Care.”

That’s what leadership expert John Spence calls “The 4 C’s of Trust”. And that awesomely simple sentence was just one of the many remarkable takeaways from our company’s 2017 Leadership Forum.

Last week, leaders from across our Yellowstone Landscape branches came together for three days of focus, fellowship, and fun. There were open, honest discussions about what we did well in 2016 and where we will improve in 2017. There were important lessons shared among friends and colleagues over lunches and dinners. There were moments of congratulations as we recognized the special successes of our 3 award-winning branches.

Here are a few of the highlights and lessons our leaders are taking back to their teams this week:

The week began with a State of the Company keynote from our CEO, Tim Portland, where we heard that our strategy remains the same as it’s always been:

Our goal is to be the best commercial landscaping company in the southern United States. And we define ‘best’ by measuring our performance in our five pillars of operational excellence: Safety, Customer Service Excellence, Financial Responsibility, Growth, and Team Building.”

We listened to the voice of our customers, as our EVP, Bill Dellecker, reviewed the results of our recently completed annual customer survey. While in many areas our customers told us we were doing a great job, when we analyze the results more deeply, we’ve found areas we can improve. Thank you to all of our customers who took the time to help us serve you better.

The highlight for most of our team was the workshop presented by international business leadership expert John Spence, where he shared his thoughts on the keys to excellence in customer service. His concept of “extreme client focus” has been a part of our company’s culture for a number of years, but through his workshop many of our branch leaders now have long lists of actionable items they will implement to make sure they’re serving our customers well.

Finally, there are three of our branches that are proudly displaying some new trophies in their offices this week.

Our first award given out was our Client Engagement Award, presented to the Charleston, SC Landscape Maintenance team. This award recognizes the branch location that had the highest scores on our annual client survey and has consistently served their clients well throughout the previous year.

The next award was presented to our North Houston Landscape Maintenance team; our Emerging Branch of the Year. The award recognizes their rapid year over year growth and the quality of service they are providing to all their clients.

Lastly, some special congratulations to our Branch of the Year for 2016, Houston Tree Care Services. Our Tree Care team in Houston had an amazing 2016, serving more than two thousand clients in the greater Houston area. Tree services are potentially a dangerous business, but our Houston Tree Care Team has proven that you can work safely and efficiently; in fact, those things go hand in hand.

After a special few days together, our branch leaders return home with a laser focus on providing customer service excellence in 2017 and with a clear definition of what Leadership means at Yellowstone Landscape:

“Leadership is driving ideas and changes to make improvements in important results.”

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5 Commercial Landscape Trends for 2017

2017 presents an opportunity to reflect on your business and see where you can improve. One area you don't want to overlook is your landscape. Think about the last time you had some maintenance done on the property.

Here are a few trends poised to be very popular in the coming year. See if any of these trends spark your interest:

1. Bold
With so many landscaping options available these days, there is no reason to settle for the ordinary. Your commercial lawn can make a statement. Fully express what your company is all about while conveying overall brand image. Feel free to push the boundaries and go for something that is incredibly distinctive. When patrons look back on their time at your property, they are going to remember it.

2. Bright
In the past few years, bright colors have dominated landscaping conversations. One trend that is certain to make a splash in 2017 is the frequent decision to pair opposite colors. In the past, commercial managers would stick with colors that were fairly close together, such as red and pink. Now, commercial landscape owners are discovering the advantages of pairing colors that are complimentary, such as yellow and purple.

3. Contemporary
With many companies pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation, the same philosophy is being applied to landscapes. Contemporary designs include stacked layers and clean lines. Steel and glass are more frequently used in construction. This makes properties look right at home in the 21st century.

4. Versatile
Versatility is one of the most important aspects a landscape can have. It is great if you can effortlessly transform your commercial lawn into a quiet retreat during the fall, and a cheerful hosting space during the spring and summer. Perhaps your green space furnishings include shade and umbrellas during hotter months, and attractive patio heaters during cold months.

Likewise, your landscaping doesn't have to look barren in winter. A landscape maintenance provider understands which plants will stay attractive year-round. And potted plants can easily be moved or changed out temporarily to meet current needs.

5. Eco-Friendly
Commercial property owners look for ways to reduce impact on the environment. Consider opting for LED outdoor lighting or installing a newer, more efficient irrigation system. Going green also means creating a landscape that is well-suited for wildlife so that birds and other innocuous critters maintain a natural habitat, without feeling like pests.


These trends can be a fantastic jumping off point if you are ready for professional landscape design. Yellowstone Landscape can help manage and maintain your commercial landscape space. Give our expert team a call at 407.512.5714 to get started.

 

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6 from 2016 - Our Year in Review

With Christmas now past, we’re all eager to turn the calendar to a brand new year. But before we do that here at Yellowstone Landscape HQ, we wanted to take a few moments to revisit 6 big events that we shared with you in 2016.

Safety Works! Program Launches
In April, we announced the launch of our Safety Works! program. This program features team members out on our front line who are “caught in the act” of working safely. Since launching, we’ve recognized dozens of our Landscape Pros and rewarded them for keeping themselves, their colleagues, and our customers safe.

Lucky Number 13
In June, our industry trade magazines published their annual listing of the largest companies in the country. We were ranked number 13 this year, up two spots from where we’d been for the past two years. Growth is exciting for us, but it wouldn’t be possible without the hundreds of clients who trust us to care for their landscape service needs.

Why We Decided to Join Instagram
Instagram’s become the fastest growing and most popular social media platforms over the past few years. We’ve always tried to keep a presence on the social platforms relevant for our clients, and Instagram seemed a natural place for us to share the hundreds of great photos we’ve accumulated over the years. While we’re still figuring things out and building our following, we have really enjoyed all the support from those of you who’ve checked out what we’ve been sharing on our Instagram profile.

Yellowstone Landscape Brings Home 3 National Landscape Awards
Having our work recognized by our industry is always a thrill for us. We’ve been fortunate to have several of our clients’ properties earn Awards of Excellence from our national trade association. In 2016, three properties were presented with national awards. The Cane Island Amenity Village earned honors in the Landscape Installation category, while World Golf Village was recognized in Landscape Maintenance. The Swan and Dolphin Resort was given the awards program’s highest honor, a Grand Award, for Landscape Maintenance.

On 1000 Followers
In November, our company LinkedIn page passed a major milestone – 1000 followers, something we never expected when the year began. A year ago we had just over 300 followers, and most of those were employees. The interest that so many of you have taken in our company this year is truly humbling. We’ll strive to create more and better content to share with you in 2017.

Own It
This was an absolutely amazing honor to end a remarkable year in the history of Yellowstone Landscape. Our industry’s leading trade magazine, Lawn & Landscape, wrote a feature cover story about our firm for their December year-end edition. They did a great job telling our story, highlighting how we are a company built from the collaboration of several successful companies and owners, who have come together to create a company that offers comprehensive landscape services across the South.

2016 was filled with some great moments, but as we turn the page to 2017, we can’t help but feel very excited about all that is to come for us in the New Year.

Thank you all for being a part of our story in 2016. Without our clients, employees, vendors, and supporters, Yellowstone would not be able to deliver our mission:
Creating premier properties.
Building lasting relationships.

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Houston Branches Celebrate Seasonal Employees’ Contributions

Our Houston branches recently came together to celebrate the valuable contributions made by our seasonal employees, before they return home for the winter off-season.

The event was a joint effort between our Landscape Maintenance and our Landscape Construction teams, and was hosted at our Central Houston branch location. More than 200 of our Landscape Professionals were honored at the luncheon, which included a traditional menu of fajitas and rice. The chefs for the day were Jim Sivils, Regional VP, Jon Richardson, VP of Construction, and Andy Reeves, Branch Manager.

In addition to the great food and fellowship, we awarded raffle prizes to several lucky employees, including sports gear, music players, a TV, gift cards, and one very special cash prize.

“We normally have a Christmas Party for our workforce in mid-December. These parties did not include the H-2B Visa workers as the latest seasonal exit dates are earlier than that”, said Jon Richardson, VP of Construction. “This year we wanted to include everyone that is out there driving our success and growth.”

We are proud to acknowledge our seasonal workforce’s role in our company and wish them all a safe journey home and a happy holiday season spent with their families. Until next spring, we say, “Gracias por su servicio.”

Yellowstone Landscape has participated in the H-2B Visa program for the past 20 years to staff vitally important peak season labor positions in our company that cannot be filled by the locally available workforce. Working in partnership with our national trade association, NALP, we seek to educate lawmakers and the public on the importance of this gust worker program for the landscape industry. Approximately 80% of the seasonal workers we employ will return to their positions in the spring, as the growing season begins, and remain with us until the fall when growth slows and their services are no longer necessary. This program allows us to preserve and create more full time positions for our American Landscape Professionals, and thereby serve our clients more effectively.

For more information about the H-2B program, including a 2-minute video explaining the program and an infographic that details the application process, please visit h2bworkforcecoalition.com.

 

H2B BBQ2

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On 1000 Followers

Our LinkedIn company page recently hit a major milestone, passing 1000 followers. We are absolutely humbled that so many of you have taken an interest in our firm and the content we share. The last eighteen months have seen many exciting and positive changes for us as a company, and we’ve enjoyed sharing them with you.

From the beginning, we’ve viewed our blog and social media channels as an extension of how we serve our clients. One of our core beliefs is that our clients deserve regular, thoughtful communication. We feel it’s our responsibility to make sure that our clients know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

Since it’s also the time of year when we’re starting to look ahead to 2017, it seems appropriate to pause and reflect about what types of updates we provide, and to ask you, what else would you like us to share in the coming months?

Over the past year, we’ve tried to create posts that would serve two primary purposes:

  1. We write and share original articles that we hope are of value to our clients and prospective clients - property management and commercial real estate professionals.
  2. We publish news and updates about what’s happening inside our company and our industry, including the events we attend and the causes we support.

In 2017, we’re going to work even harder to create more original articles to help our clients and prospective clients fully understand the valuable services that commercial landscaping companies, like us, offer. We’ll dive a little deeper into some of the best practices we employ in our landscape service operations, and explain how those processes benefit our clients.

We’ll also share more updates about what’s happening inside our company. As we continue our rapid growth and expand to new service areas, we meet people who are curious about our firm. They want to know what we stand for, and what makes us different than the other commercial landscaping firms they’ve worked with before.

We’ll also continue to highlight our employees and shine a light on their achievements. We’re blessed to work with more than 1800 of the most talented Landscape Professionals in the country, and we’re excited to share their stories with you.

So that’s a little about what we’re planning for next year, but now we’d like to hear from you.

  • What are the landscaping topics you’d like to see us cover in greater detail?
  • What advice, suggestions, or resources can we offer to make you more effective as a property management or commercial real estate professional?
  • What about Yellowstone Landscape, or commercial landscaping companies in general, would you like to know more about?

Please offer your comments and suggestions on our blog, or you can add your comments to the LinkedIn post for this article.

If you’d prefer, you can also send me your thoughts privately This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I promise to respond to each message. I will use your feedback to make our content even better and more useful in the coming months.

Finally, to the more than 1000 of you out there that have chosen to follow our updates on LinkedIn, “Thank you!”

It’s truly an honor to have you on the journey with us.

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Yellowstone Landscape Brings Home 3 National Landscape Awards

At last month’s LANDSCAPES, our industry’s largest tradeshow and learning event, three Yellowstone Landscape projects were recognized with National Landscape Awards of Excellence.

The awards program, judged by a panel of landscape industry experts, was created to highlight the professionalism of the industry’s elite contractors and increase public awareness of commercial and residential landscape companies, and our work.

The first of the three projects recognized was an installation project, completed by our Houston, Texas Landscape Construction team – Cane Island Amenity Village. The Cane Island development team’s intent for their newest master planned community is to be a place where residents can escape the hustle of everyday life and retreat home to the Texas prairielands. The 1000-acre development, located in Katy, Texas, just outside Houston, is still in its early stages, but the developer’s vision to create a haven for families looking for something a little different is already evident. The unique features of Cane Island are apparent from the moment you enter the community and continue right into the community’s most delightfully unexpected surprise, the Cane Island Amenity Village. You can view photos and further details of the project here.

The first of two commercial landscape maintenance projects recognized was World Golf Village, located in St. Augustine, Florida, and maintained by our Jacksonville, Florida Landscape Maintenance team. World Golf Village is a 6,300-acre development that includes the World Golf Hall of Fame, 2 world-class golf courses, a luxury resort hotel, commercial office and retail spaces, and dozens of residential neighborhoods. The client’s goal for World Golf Village is the same today as it has been since the development was opened in the late 1990’s; provide residents and visitors with a beautiful community that links the history of golf with the rich history of the St. Augustine area, while preserving the natural beauty of North Florida. Photos and more details about World Golf Village can be found here.

The final project honored this year was presented with a Grand Award, the awards program’s highest distinction. The Swan and Dolphin Resort, located in the heart of Orlando’s most famous attraction, is maintained by our North Orlando branch’s Landscape Maintenance team. The 87-acre property includes the two world-renowned resort hotels, connected by a central causeway, lined with 50-foot-tall palm trees. The resorts’ 2267 rooms are filled nearly every night of the year with guests from around the globe. Our objective is to provide guests with a magical experience, which begins upon arrival by greeting the guests with a pristine and beautifully maintained landscape. More than 15,000 annual flowers, rotated 5 times per year, provide vibrant color to guest welcome and feature areas throughout the grounds. Our crews work seven days a week at The Swan and Dolphin, inspecting the grounds, clearing pathways, raking the beach areas, removing lake debris, replacing mulch, and repairing any damage done by guest foot traffic; all before 10am. Photos and more information about our team’s award-winning work can be found here.

Congratulations to everyone at Yellowstone who had a role in making these 3 projects the remarkable success that they are, and to the clients that have entrusted us to create and care for these amazing landscapes.

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Following in Many Footsteps at Yellowstone Landscape

This is a guest post, written by Melanie, about her recent intern experience with us.

As an intern at the Orlando South Branch, I was exposed to the many landscape services provided by Yellowstone Landscape and obtained valuable skills that will aid me throughout my career. I worked with; irrigation, fert-chem, installation, detail, maintenance, and the mechanic, receiving valuable hands-on experience. I also gained experience and knowledge on the business side by working with the Business Development Manager, Landscape Designer, and Account Managers.

Through the internship program I designed, bid and installed a landscape enhancement for four homes on one of Yellowstone’s premier properties. By shadowing an Account Manager I was able to observe the approach taken when they begin managing a new property. I participated in a walkthrough of the property and prepared a list of potential enhancements to renew and create a beautiful, functional landscape.

Through my internship with Yellowstone Landscape, I witnessed and experienced what makes this company successful; a commitment to building lasting relationships with their clients and their team. Yellowstone Landscape’s focus on communication and being proactive in addressing issues before they become a problem is truly impressive. I feel very fortunate to be given this internship opportunity and look forward to starting a new chapter with them as I move into a supervisory role at the Orlando South Branch.

Congratulations, Melanie!

 

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Tricks and Treats of Commercial Landscaping

With Halloween right around the corner, we thought we’d share a few of the tricks and treats that commercial landscaping companies have to offer our clients.

Whether you’ve used a large, national provider, or a local owner-operator, chances are that at one time or another you’ve had some challenges working with your landscaper. But we also hope that you’ve had some good moments, when you were surprised and delighted by the service you received.

Up first, our top 3 tricks of commercial landscaping:

Trick #1: “Are you sure you called the right number?”

Sadly, this trick isn’t limited to landscape contractors. It’s the number one complaint that clients have about any service based business. You have a question, or even worse, an emergency, but when you call your landscaper, it goes straight to voicemail. Texts go unanswered. Emails sent without a reply. Nothing is more frustrating than an unresponsive contractor.

Trick #2: “There’s no way we did that.”

Mistakes happen. Especially in landscaping. Rocks fly up into windshields. Screens get sliced. Sprinkler heads get run over. Acknowledging the error and fixing the issue is the smart thing to do in most cases, but so many times landscape contractors immediately deny responsibility. They don’t want to admit mistakes made by their employees. It’s frustrating for clients and creates an immediate distrust in the contractor-client relationship that may never be healed.

Trick #3: “That’s not included in your contract.”

This is the worst trick of all. We hear horror stories from clients that have been burned by this one all the time. They hire a landscape contractor (usually the one that was at a substantially lower price than the rest) expecting to get a great looking landscape. A few months into the service agreement, they start to notice areas that aren’t getting mowed or trimmed often enough. They wait and wait for mulch or pine straw installations. They see annual beds with wilted flowers. When they’ve finally had enough and ask what’s going on, they hear, “That’s not included in your contract. We’d have to charge you extra for that”. Queue the reddening of the Property Manager’s face and step back as the steam starts to blow out their ears.

Those are three pretty awful tricks that no client wants from their landscape contractor. Now let us give you a few examples of our favorite treats.

Here are the top 3 ways that commercial landscape companies surprise and delight our clients:

Treat #1: “We went ahead and took care of that for you.”

A proactive contractor can be a huge benefit for a property manager. And nothing is as valuable in the client-vendor relationship as trust. Trust is built by doing the right thing for your client, before they have to ask. It's why we train our staff that, “Responsive is good, but proactive is better”. Taking care of an issue before it becomes a problem shows ownership and a sense of responsibility. Something we think every client can appreciate.

Treat #2: “We have some ideas for you to look at.”

In every landscape, there are problem areas. It might be something small, like a drainage problem on the back side of a building, or it might be something big, like an overall lack of curb appeal at your front entrance. Whatever the problem, it’s important that you have a landscape partner that offers solutions to your problems. There are thousands of companies that can cut grass. What separates the best from the rest is the ability to bring in additional resources and specialists to help you overcome your property’s biggest challenges.

Treat #3: “Is there anything else we can do for you while we’re here?”

Sometimes what surprises and delights a client the most can be the simplest thing. We once had a client tell us that what she most appreciated about our service was this one simple question we asked when our crew arrived at her site each week. Just popping in to her office to ask, “Is there anything else we can do for you while we’re here?” For her, that was like getting a full size Kit-Kat bar in her Halloween treat bag.

As a property manager, you might feel like it’s all on your shoulders. As your service partner, it’s our job to take some of that responsibility off of you and put it on ourselves. And that might just be the best treat of all.

Happy Halloween!

 

Jack-o-latern image courtesy Petr Kratochvil.

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CORPORATE OFFICES

3235 North State Street
PO Box 849

Bunnell, FL 32110
877.785.6685

 Customer Rating : 4.5 / 5Based on 57 ratings 

Creating premier properties.
Building lasting relationships.