4 Storm Response Questions To Ask Your Commercial Landscaping Company

Posted by Joseph Barnes on Oct 7, 2020 10:03:30 AM

As much as we’d like to avoid them, storms are inevitable. Depending upon where you live in the country, you might be more likely to be impacted by one type of storm than another, but every area has its own risks. Whether it’s hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, or even just thunderstorms, Mother Nature can do some serious damage.

We’ve talked before about how important storm preparedness can be. But we want to help further prepare you by equipping you with the right questions to ask your commercial landscaping company about your storm cleanup contract.

Knowing what to ask about storm cleanup services will help you feel confident your commercial property is prepared for the worst-case-scenario storm situations.

Not only are we telling you what questions to ask, but we’re sharing how Yellowstone Landscape would answer them. These are questions commonly posed to us and we want you to know how we’d respond.

1. How quickly can you get people here after a storm to clean up and how will you prioritize your response?

When it comes to choosing a commercial landscaping company, you likely want to know how quickly they’ll be able to mobilize a response and how they’ll prioritize the properties that they need to service. This is an important conversation to have up front so that you can have some idea of what to expect after a storm does occur. It also never helps to start a relationship with a landscape company with misconceptions or unclear expectations about what their response will be like. Getting clear answers now will help give you peace of mind when a storm is imminent.

Yellowstone’s Answer:
This question is one that we receive a lot and we often find that there are some misconceptions surrounding it. We’ve had people say, “I’m probably not a huge customer, will that mean I’m last on your list?”

On the flipside, we’ve also been asked, “Since we’re likely one of your big clients, does that mean we’re first?”

But the truth is, client size is not how we triage our storm response.

After a storm, we’re always going to prioritize accessibility, first. If there is a client who has a fallen tree that’s preventing emergency vehicles from getting in and out, then that site will be a priority.

Following accessibility, we’re going to look at imminent danger. Is there a tree limb that’s now hanging near an electric wire? Is there a tree that looks like it’s at risk of falling over? This would be next.

Finally, we’ll address the more cosmetic or aesthetic damage that needs repair. If you have lots of fallen branches and leaves, but there’s not an emergency situation, you might be asked to wait while we assist other properties who are dealing with emergencies.
commercial tree service crew cleaning up fallen tree limbs
Of course, that’s not to say that you’re going to be waiting long. One thing that sets Yellowstone Landscape apart is our size and therefore our ability to take a robust approach to storm response. The fact that we are a large company that has branch locations outside of just a single area or region allows us to bring in extra teams when they’re needed.

This “staging” ahead of a storm is critical.

Whenever possible, we’re bringing in equipment and people that we might need before the storm. With everything in place, we’ll be geared up and ready to make as quick a response as possible.

2. If I have an emergency after hours, whom do I call?

It’s important that you know who you should plan to call in the event of an after-hours emergency. The first call is always going to be to your account manager. From the time you sign the contract, you should have his or her cell phone number, email address, and access to a phone tree (that will tell you who to call next if your account manager is unavailable).

Yellowstone’s Answer:
For Yellowstone Landscape, a differentiator is the fact that we’re calling our clients right away. We’re not waiting for them to call us, we’re calling them. In general, that’s the difference between an average company and a proactive one.

3. Does it cost extra to clean up after a storm?

It’s also important to be clear, ahead of time, what’s included (and what isn’t) in your contract. The vast majority of the time, storm cleanup services are going to include costs outside of your normal landscape maintenance agreement, however, it will depend upon how severe the damage is. If it was a relatively minor event and there are just a few tree limbs down or some extra leaves in the street, that might not be extra.

However, if it’s extra work beyond what your commercial landscaping company typically does, it will probably fall outside the scope of services included in your agreement and result in additional costs.

Yellowstone’s Answer:
At Yellowstone Landscape, we’re all about transparency. We don’t believe that our clients should experience any surprises and it’s no different with storm cleanup services.

We will have all of our services listed as part of the RFP along with what our after-hour man hour labor rates are, if you require extra work after a storm.

One common misconception that we want to clear up is that when you pay for landscaping services, you’re just paying a group of workers for a block of time. When people think that, they assume they can just switch out what services they’re doing after a storm in order not to incur any upcharges. For instance, they might ask if we can skip mowing to bring in chainsaws and a tree chipper and deal with fallen trees.

But the fact is, that’s a specialized service that requires specialized equipment—and it’s often delivered a different price point than normal maintenance services.

commercial tree service crew using a chainsaw to cut up fallen tree limbs

4. Do you have the equipment that can quickly and safely clean up a storm?

It’s also important to choose a commercial landscape company who is able to provide storm cleanup services as a result of having the equipment needed to quickly and safely clean up after a storm.

There can be a wide breadth of services that encompass successful storm cleanup and you want to make sure that your landscape contractor is fully able to handle all of them.

  • Can they handle tree care and can remove limbs safely?
  • Can they take down a whole tree?
  • Do they have an irrigation team and can fix broken lines?

While all companies might be able to handle these services by subbing them out or renting equipment, you want to know that they can handle it all in-house, as this will mean faster service.

If your commercial landscape company is accustomed to performing these services, it will also mean safer work, because they’ve done it before. The last thing that you want is a company making a mistake because they’re not accustomed to performing storm cleanup services. When you’re working with hazardous trees or around power lines, it can admittedly be quite dangerous. You want to know that your commercial landscape company is up to the task.

Yellowstone’s Answer:
One of the major advantages to hiring Yellowstone Landscape is the fact that we’re a large company that has the capacity to handle storm cleanup services in-house. We have the equipment, the people, and the know-how.

commercial tree service crew using a tree chipper for storm cleanup

Choosing a Commercial Landscape Company Who Can Fully Handle Storm Cleanup Services

Hopefully these questions will provide a good sense of what your commercial landscape company should be doing to ensure you are fully prepared for storms. The choices that you make now can make a huge difference when disaster strikes.

If you’re someone who is concerned about storm cleanup, and how it will be handled (and we’re guessing you are, since you’re reading this article), then you’ll want to consider choosing a larger company who has the actual capacity to handle these events.

There are a few key things that set Yellowstone Landscape apart when it comes to storm cleanup services. Let’s reiterate what they are.

  1. When a storm is coming we bring in teams from other areas to help. We’re staging ahead of a storm so that we have not only the labor but also the equipment to support our cleanup efforts.
  2. We’re proactive about contacting our clients. We’re not waiting to hear from you but instead calling right away to find out what your damage was like. We’re triaging properties to be able to respond to those emergencies that need immediate response first. But we’re also large enough that we’re getting to everybody quickly.
  3. We’re experienced and have the equipment and the people in-house to respond to a storm. We’re not having to subcontract out a bunch of services to other companies.

All of these factors are equally important. The better prepared you are, the better your commercial property will fare. It ultimately comes down to peace of mind. You deserve to know that you’ve chosen a commercial landscape company that can step in and handle whatever Mother Nature throws at you.

Are you ready to feel confident that your commercial landscaping company will help you prepare and recover from a storm? Request a consultation today. We’ll meet to learn more about your property and its challenges and come up with a comprehensive plan to take care of all of the details for you.

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Joseph Barnes

About The Author

Joseph Barnes

Joseph Barnes has served as Marketing Manager of Yellowstone Landscape since 2013. He writes on a variety of topics related to the commercial landscaping industry.