How to Read Commercial Landscape Maintenance Contracts or Proposals

Michael Hatcher

Feb 3, 2020 8:50:02 AM

When you feel like cuddling up with some light reading, you probably don’t grab a commercial landscape maintenance contract.

All that talk about mowing, edging, leaf removal, and shrub pruning isn’t exactly edge-of-your-seat reading.

Still, there’s some good stuff in there. 

And if you’re a property or facilities manager in Memphis, TN or Northern Mississippi, understanding your commercial landscape maintenance contract is crucial. 

man signing commercial landscape maintenance contract

You don’t want to miss anything. Misunderstandings could cost you time and money, and create problems on your property.

How to read commercial landscape maintenance contracts? 

Jim Williams, Director of Sales and Relationships for Commercial Maintenance at Michael Hatcher & Associates, offers some tips. 

Don’t Just Skip to the Price in a Commercial Landscape Maintenance Contract

“The first thing most people do is look for the price,” Williams says. “I understand that. We all want the best deal.”

But don’t be lured by an unusually low commercial landscape maintenance contract bid.

Chances are when you compare bids from a handful of qualified commercial landscape maintenance companies, their estimates should be in the same range. If they know what they’re doing, they know what it takes to care for your property and will give you a fair price.

If one bid is significantly low, that’s a red flag. Are they cutting corners? What important services are they not including in that low price? The last thing you want is for your property to suffer because of the shortcuts they’re taking to keep their prices unusually low.

“Don’t just look at how much it costs,” Williams says. “Look in depth at the details. It’s all about the details.”

If your contract is skimpy on details, that’s another red flag.

Looking for Details in Commercial Landscape Maintenance Contracts

What kinds of details is Williams talking about? A few examples:

  • How many times a year do they install seasonal color?
  • How many times will they perform routine services like mowing, fertilizing, weed control?
  • How many times will they mow before there’s an extra charge? 
  • Will they clear debris from your turf before mowing?
  • How often will they apply mulch?
  • Do they specify how deep the mulch will be? 

“If not, they might add a half-inch, which won’t do you any good for weed control or to retain moisture,” Williams says. “That’s basically just a top dressing, and that’s less expensive to apply.”

You want one to two inches of mulch on existing beds, he says. And if it’s a brand new bed that’s never been mulched, he recommends three inches.

A good contract will spell out these kinds of details, so you know exactly what services you’ll get, how often and for what cost. 

Payment Terms for Commercial Landscape Maintenance Contracts

Your contract should be crystal clear about pricing. 

When are payments due? Are there late fees? Be sure you understand the terms to help avoid any disputes later. 

Check References for Commercial Landscape Maintenance Companies

You probably won’t see references in the actual contract, but absolutely ask for them, Williams says.

If the company balks at offering them, be suspicious.

A reputable company that does quality work should want you to talk to their happy customers.

Check for Experienced Commercial Landscape Maintenance Companies

Make sure the commercial landscape maintenance companies you’re considering have experience in your type of property, Williams says.

“If you’re an HOA, make sure the contractor has experience with HOAs,” he says. “That’s a different type of client than a warehouse. You actually have many different homeowner clients.”

Read Thoroughly Before You Sign

Anxious to get your commercial landscape maintenance contract signed and get on with your day? 

Understandable. But take the time to thoroughly read your contract before you sign it.

Not quite sure about something? Please, ask. A reputable company will be happy to explain or elaborate for you. 

Beyond the Commercial Landscape Maintenance Contract

All those details in writing are important. But a successful partnership goes beyond your commercial landscape maintenance contract, Williams says.

“It’s all about the relationship,” he says. ”You want to feel you can trust that contractor. Do they do their work with honor and integrity?

“In the end, the contractor you choose is representing your property to every person who drives past it.”

Trust Your Commercial Landscape Maintenance Contract to Hatcher 

Questions about your commercial landscape maintenance contract?

Just ask.

commercial landscape maintenance manager speaking with customer

“At Michael Hatcher & Associates, our goal is to make things simpler,” Williams says. “And to eliminate landscaping as a concern.”

We know you appreciate commercial landscape maintenance companies that offer clear, concise contracts with all the details spelled out.

You want to know exactly what you’re getting.

Are you ready to sign a commercial landscape maintenance contract that makes you feel confident about the care your Memphis, TN or Northern MS property will get? Talk to one of our commercial landscaping experts today! We’ll meet at your property, create a custom plan, and get you on your way to enjoying a beautiful, worry-free property.

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Michael Hatcher

Written by Michael Hatcher

Michael Hatcher is president of Michael Hatcher & Associates.