National, Regional Or Local: What Type Of Commercial Landscape Firm Should You Hire?

Posted by
Kim Riebel on May 22, 2015 5:00:00 AM

how to hire a commercial landscape firmThe one sure thing about hiring a commercial landscape firm to care for your Chicago property is that there are lots of choices. In fact, determining which professional is the best match can be daunting.

The company you hire becomes a reflection of your organization, and their work is incredibly important to your image. The way they treat your property—their mindfulness of the environment, their skill in performing landscape maintenance tasks—says a lot about who you are.

Think of it this way: A landscape firm that pays attention to details, provides sustainable solutions for your lawn, and cares about the environment enough to operate only propane-powered mowers is making a positive impression on your property and the community. Isn’t that what you want at the end of the day?

As you consider commercial landscape maintenance providers, you’ll want to ask yourself these questions:

  • Will the landscaper have time to dedicate to your property?
  • Does the company have the resources to manage multiple locations? 
  • Will you see the same faces on your property every week? 
  • What processes, products and technology does the company use that makes it a better steward of the environment? 
  • Do the landscape firm’s core values align with your own? 

So now that you’re ready to begin interviewing landscape companies, you’ll run across three types of players in the green industry:

1) large national landscape companies

2) regional landscape companies

3) local landscape companies

What’s the best fit for your organization? Does the large national company really have more resources than a regional firm? And, does a local landscape company offer the level of service your property will require? Here are some key points to consider as you decide what type of company is the best fit for your commercial Chicago property.

National Landscape Companies

You’ve seen their trucks parked at big box stores in Chicagoland. These large national landscape companies bring a reputation for professionalism and will present themselves well on your property, wearing matching uniforms and driving trucks with recognizable logos.

They can handle commercial properties that have multiple locations, so there is no worry about staff for managing lots of ground. On the other hand, you might feel frustrated that the account manager you met (who you signed with) is not the same person you see on the property during the season and that turnover seems frequent.

The reasons to go with a national landscape company: brand recognition, professional appearance, ability to handle a large scope of work.

The cons: You’re one of many large accounts they handle, you may not actually get better pricing on multiple properties, and the people you get to know on your property may (or may not) be the same professionals who return year after year. Account managers move around in the company, and they move on (as with any big organization).  

Large national landscape companies are ideal for commercial property owners who are looking for landscape maintenance that meets standards for a large amount of acreage. You may already have a grounds crew in place for detail work and need the national landscape company for mowing and general lawn care—covering lots of ground.

Regional Landscape Companies

Hire a regional commercial landscape firmThere’s a lot to be said about choosing a locally owned and operated professional landscape company that has a regional reach. Companies like Sebert are large players in the Chicago market, and their goal is not to be the landscaper of choice in every U.S. market. They focus on serving clients in Illinois, making them regional specialists.

Because regional landscape companies are based here in Chicago, and have “grown up” here, they are rooted in the community and share your interest in supporting the local economy. They share your concern about the environmental impact of your commercial property on the community at large—because their people also live, work and play here.

Concerning resources, don’t be fooled by the term “regional.” The capabilities of regional landscape firms generally match those of national companies in terms of service and expertise. And they also bring a professional presence to your property: neat uniforms, clean trucks and a fleet of equipment to handle various jobs.  

What regional landscape companies can do that nationals cannot do is specialize. For instance, Sebert is known as a sustainable landscaping company that brings environmentally conscious solutions to clients.

Also, regional landscape companies often employ dedicated team members who grow with the company and are committed to the business. They’re part of why the firm is successful, so you’ll find less turnover and you’re likely to see the same account managers and crewmembers on your Chicago commercial property week after week—year after year. They’re proud of the attention to detail they offer commercial clients like you.

The cons of going with a regional company may be related to price. If you expect to get a bargain on your landscape maintenance, remember these companies are reputable firms staffed with professionals.

A regional landscaper might not be able to match the bid from a local outfit that has less overhead and may not be properly pricing jobs. However, regional landscape firms do focus on customizing maintenance packages to suit clients’ needs—there’s no one-size-fits-all, which makes tailoring the scope to the budget possible.

Local Landscape Companies

As with regional landscape companies, you support local business when you choose an local firm. And you can build a personal relationship with the owner because often these smaller landscape companies are headed up by a president who also serves as the key account manager (salesperson) and may also be performing some of the work.

Local landscape companies can provide great service and attention to detail. The question is, does the local have enough staff and resources to manage the scope of work on your commercial Chicago property? And how much of the job will the local company subcontract to other professionals?

There are benefits of going with an local firm: You get to know the owner, who is generally hands-on. And you’re buying local, which is important. But the cons are that the independent landscaper may not have the capability to deliver the service you need.

You might get the lowest bid from a local, but be sure that the pricing and services rendered match what other landscape companies propose. Often, there is a gap, and sometimes we find that local companies with less experience are not pricing jobs properly and you may end up paying more in the end.

If you have a small commercial property and wish to be hands-on with landscape maintenance needs, a local landscape company might be the choice for you.

Conclusion

Hire a Commercial landscape firm

Your first impression might be to go with the name you’ve heard on T.V. or choose the landscape company whose trucks park in front of the big box stores in town. (Surely, they must be equipped to handle your property, too, right?)

Or you may get a quote from an local landscape firm that is desirable and wonder why everyone else’s prices are so high. (What services will you actually get for that price?)

We know, deciding which landscape company will maintain your commercial landscape is a tough choice. But we advise you to dig deeper and find out if what the company delivers is what you want to “show” the community. Your landscape company is an extension of your team—their professionalism, skills and performance are a reflection of your own.

Let’s talk more. Call us any time at (630) 497-1000, or fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.   

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Topics: Landscape Maintenance

Written by Kim Riebel

Kim Riebel

Kim Riebel, Director of Marketing and Sales for Sebert Landscaping, oversees all new business development activities for the company’s lawn maintenance and snow removal services. Having joined Sebert in 2004, Kim helped create a new five-person business development team for the company.