As of this writing, we have 33 Yellowstone Landscape branch locations across 8 states. That doesn’t make us anywhere near the biggest firm in the green industry, but it’s not exactly small either. So it might seem odd that a large company, with operations from North Carolina to Nevada, and a couple of dozen other points in between, would write an article about why “local” matters in commercial landscaping.
In Part 1 of this article, we looked at 3 very logical and very valid reasons that some clients believe choosing a local, owner-operator landscape company will yield a better result than a large, national company. But none of those 3 reasons got to the real “local” that matters in commercial landscaping.
When it comes to creating and caring for a commercial landscape, the only thing “local” that really matters is local expertise.
Does it matter to you if the landscape firm has a great national reputation, but the local team that will care for your property doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing? Of course not.
The team you choose to create or care for your landscape has to be made up of Landscape Professionals who know exactly what plants will thrive in your environment, in each season. As conditions change, your landscaper’s team must diagnose and resolve any number of challenges that will present themselves through the course of the year.
Clients we work with across different areas of the country expect us to be experts in the needs of their properties’ landscapes, no matter how diverse those landscapes are. They expect that their property in Santa Fe, New Mexico will be maintained at the same quality standard as their property in Sarasota, Florida. Having been to both, I can tell you that those two landscapes could not look any more different, and the local expertise required to care for each couldn’t be any more specialized.
If the only “local” that matters is local expertise, then how can you, as a buyer of landscape services, know if the local team that will service your property is any good?
There are two pieces of advice that we give to each prospective client to help them feel confident in their selection of a landscape partner:
First, meet the local team that you would be working with. Have them come out to your property and walk it with you. Have them tell you what they would do to give you the landscape you want. If you want a second opinion about a problem area or issue you’ve been having in your landscape, ask them how they would handle it for you. There is no substitute for a face to face meeting. It’s the only way to really get a sense of what it would be like to work with them after the contract is signed. And anyone that won’t make the time to meet with you in person, or doesn't have time to walk your grounds with you, is probably not the right choice for a landscape partner.
Second, ask the landscape company to provide references in your local area. Then, go look at those properties. But be very specific about the references you ask for. Every commercial landscape company has at least one or two marquee properties that we plaster all over our websites and our sales brochures. But unless your property is like one of those large and recognizable ones, those pictures shouldn’t really impress you too much. When you ask for references, always make sure that the company gives you a list of properties that are similar in size and scale to yours. You want to find out how they take care of all their clients, not just the most famous ones. If they can’t (or won’t) give you references that look like the property you manage, then it should be a cause for concern, and may indicate they’re not the right landscape partner for you.
Does “local” matter in commercial landscaping? Yes. We can tell you that it absolutely does matter.
Nothing will ensure your satisfaction with your property’s landscape like the skill and expertise of the local Landscape Professionals that will be working at your property. So take the time to meet with the local teams from any landscape company that you're considering. Large and national, or small and local, it's the people that make the difference in your property's landscape, not the size of the company.