Commercial Landscape Management Value

 

Commercial Landscape Management Value

We’re often asked to comment on the cost of our commercial landscape management services. That’s a fair question that we are happy to answer.

Better still would be an inquiry of the value of well-maintained landscapes for the occupants and visitors of commercial properties. As living beings our connection with the natural environment is undeniable. And that’s why people appreciate well-designed and properly maintained landscapes.

National Landscape Management Week

Our National Association of Landscape Professionals reminds us this is National Landscape Management Week. It’s timely for us in the DC metro area because now is the heart of our landscape planning and development season.

Here’s a link to an infographic that accurately depicts the many benefits of commercial landscapes, including cleaner air, more oxygen in the environment, and pollution and noise control.

The demand for professional landscaping services would not exist if personal well-being was not a significant measure of the value of beautifully maintained landscapes. The obvious alternative is to do nothing and save the investment or direct it elsewhere.

Measuring employee and tenant happiness and productivity is subjective, but it’s readily apparent to anyone paying attention. People need time and an appropriate environment to rejuvenate, and we take pride in helping businesses achieve that objective because we believe in its value.

If you would like to share this, please use the social share buttons below. And please use the hashtag #landscapemanagementweek.

About the Author: Fred Peratt is head coach and owner of Environmental Enhancements, Inc, a Sterling, VA-based commercial landscape management company serving the Washington D.C. Metro Area. He is also the Education Advisory Council Chair for the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

Hidden Contract Costs that Wreck Budgets

Hidden Costs that Wreck Budgets

It’s that time of the year when we start gearing up for budget reviews and planning.

More than half of the landscape season is now being behind us. So you’ve got a pretty good idea where you stand.

You’ll get to the numbers, but if I asked you right now, you could easily grade the performance of your landscape service provider.

The reason for this is you have internalized the true costs. The contract price isn’t the true cost. That’s what you pay in dollars.

There can also be hidden contract costs, such as time wondering and worrying, not to mention hoping you don’t encounter any unforeseen what if’s?

Landscaping is an easy business if you can get all the business activities systematized.

  • Phone calls answered in a timely fashion
  • Accurate invoicing
  • Doing the work as promised
  • Doing the work that came up unexpectedly too
  • Fully insuring you against potential what if’s

Your most valuable resource is time. That’s why you hire services like ours. You don’t want to worry, wonder, or hope that everything works out.

That’s wasted time that wrecks budgets.

You just want to get and keep your commercial properties beautiful and safe so that you can do what you do best.

We understand.

And we’re here to help with that. All of us.

Let’s talk about it.

About the Author: Fred Peratt is head coach and owner of Environmental Enhancements, Inc, a Sterling, VA-based commercial landscape management company serving the Washington D.C. Metro Area. He is also the Education Advisory Council Chair for the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

Grade Your Commercial Properties for Springtime Appearance, Health, and Safety

Grade Your Commercial Properties for Springtime Appearance, Health, and Safety

At this time of the year, your commercial properties should be looking their very best. Spring conditions are nearly always kind to landscapes, especially after a winter with lots of protective snow cover to minimize the damaging effects of freeze-thaw cycles.

What’s the point?

If your commercial properties do not earn at least a B grade at this time of the year, it may be time to sit down with your current service provider to learn more.

Ask specific questions and evaluate the responses against agreed expectations.

  • Your concerns should be acknowledged and noted.
  • You should be discovering plans for improvement are already in motion.
  • The timetable for remedying situations should be definitive and clear

Be opened minded because every business experiences its challenges from time to time.

One that is currently widespread in our industry is attracting and retaining skilled and experienced team members. However, the truth is we’ve seen this coming for years and it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.

That’s the second point.

The challenges we face in this industry never change. Here are five that come to mind.

1. Communication
2. Safety
3. Labor
4. Training and Education
5. Capacity

Every single one of these is greatly improved with planning and desire, and that’s my final point.

When a company truly enjoys enhancing outdoor environments it finds ways to get things done for you, no matter what. If you think about it, that may be the difference maker you are looking for.

About the Author: Fred Peratt is head coach and owner of Environmental Enhancements, Inc, a Sterling, VA based commercial landscape management company serving the Washington D.C. Metro Area. He is also the Education Advisory Council Chair for the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

3 Post-Event Snow Safety Tips for Property Managers

When it comes to snow safety and risk management, there is always more to do until warmer weather brings the site back to bare, dry pavement.

Here are 3 post-storm safety measures property managers can take today to ensure the safety of their properties.

3 Post-Event Snow Safety Tips for Property Managers

 

1. Update Snow Response and Site Engineering Plans

If you have snow response and snow site engineering plans every storm is a test of their accuracy. In all likelihood, you can make modifications to improve them. If you do not have these plans in place, now is a perfect time to get started.

You’ve probably noticed these so-called 100-year storms seem to show up about every 5-10 years. Isn’t it best to plan on them happening again soon?

Learn more about snow response and site engineering plans from this article.

2. Vigilantly Monitor Melting and Refreezing

Melting and refreezing conditions are the leading sources of slip and fall accidents. Preventing them starts with following plans to minimize or eliminate them.

If you have problem areas that cannot be completely mitigated, they should be monitored and addressed with supplemental measures, with those activities documented in detail.

3. Take Extra Snow Safety Measures

Property managers are responsible for: “… taking reasonable care to maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition in view of all circumstances that can be reasonably expected.”

Note the emphasis on being reasonable, which of course is subject to interpretation. If there are measures that could have been taken but were not, it’s likely a judge will rule against you in a slip and fall lawsuit.

Should you have to defend against a slip and fall lawsuit you can favorably influence the judge by showing you took every available measure to ensure the safety of your property.

This requires detailed documentation of conditions and when specific operations were completed. Supportive photos and videos are invaluable.

Here are some supplemental measures for minimizing melting and refreezing hazards you should consider.

a. Fence off unsafe areas
b. Apply additional deicers
c. Clear drainage areas

As a last resort, you may have to transport snow offsite. While expensive, it’s cheaper than defending a lawsuit.

About the Author: Fred Peratt is head coach and owner of Environmental Enhancements, Inc, a Sterling, VA based commercial landscape management company serving the Washington D.C. Metro Area. He is also the Education Advisory Council Chair for the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

5 Snow and Ice Tips for Property Managers

Contracts may be signed, but there is more that property managers can and should do to prepare for snow and ice events.

Take the time to thoroughly review how the work will be accomplished. These 5 tips will help you work with your snow service provider to maximize the most favorable outcomes for any type of storm.

5 Snow and Ice Tips for Property Managers

#1 – Snow Response Plan

You need a written plan for the numberless circumstances and conditions that affect the snow and ice management of your commercial properties. Start with the basics, such as agreement terms, insurance, your expectations, communication methods, etc.

Then work with your provider to plan for every conceivable storm scenario, including blizzards. It can take years to get this right, and it will be different for every property. So, start where you are and record information that will make future storm preparedness better.

#2 – Snow Site Engineering

Plan where and how to stack snow. Consider line-of-sight visibility and minimizing melting/refreezing hazards, with the latter being one of the most common liability issues related to slip and fall lawsuits.

#3 – Attention to Priority and Cautionary Areas

Every site has priority areas such as entrances, intersections, and circulation areas. Account for these priority areas and any obstacles, which can include fire hydrants, bicycle and shopping cart racks, and unusual parking islands.

#4 – Accurate and Detailed Recording

Information is king when it comes to protecting you and your service provider in the event of a slip and fall incident. It’s essential to prove that everything that could be done to ensure safety was in fact done, and done right.

#5 – Backup Measures

Winter storms are full of surprises, and the best offense is a good defense: resource reserves. This includes sufficient inventory of deicers, as well as backup sources of labor and equipment.

Here in the DC Metro area we’ve learned that planning for the worst gives us confidence for dealing with the most unexpected snow and ice storms.

Good luck this winter.

Environmental Enhancements Inc works with leading DC Metro area commerical property managers to conserve resources while enhancing their outdoor environments.

Photo Credit

Our Founders Landscaping Journey

It has been said that all experience has meaning if you simply inquire.

In looking back on his journey to leading Environmental Enhancements, Inc here in Northern Virginia, our founder Fred Peratt realizes there are many people and places in the rearview mirror that continue to influence his work today.

International and Local Inspiration

Environmental Enhancements Landscapoing FounderWhile growing up, Fred lived around the world, with many of those years in Euorope where he had the opportunity to experience and appreciate iconic gardens in Holland, Morocco, Portugal and Spain. After returning to the states, his fascination with the richness of these landscapes endured, and that led to studying landscape design and horticulture at the University of Arkansas.

While in college Fred worked for the former president of Ford Motor Company managing the magnificent grounds of his estate. That experience provided many lessons in accountability and attention to detail at its highest level. 

Soon thereafter, Fred worked for a food processing company in which 90% of the employees were women. He was not aware of it at the time, but this interesting dynamic helped to shape his colaborative leadership style.

After graduating from college Fred took a job with Sequoia Management Company, a subsidiary of the Sequoia Building Company. He managed 40 commercial properties for several years before accepting positions working for Chapel Valley Landscapes and Scapes Spring Gardens, both in Maryland.

After working briefly for Environmental Enhancements Landscaping, Fred recognized an opportunity to take a company that was struggling at times, to its current status as a well-managed and profitable business.

Shortly after that was accomplished, Fred assumed full ownership of the business, thereby commencing ambitious plans to become the authority in the Northern Virginia area for landscape property management, enhancements and snow service.

It is that vision that drives the company to this day.

Resource Conservation: The Future of Landscape Management

Resource Conservation: The Future of Landscape Management

If you have been reading the news lately, you are aware of the fact that the state of California isn’t the only state in a desperate situation with regards to water supply. Those of us in the green industry know that this is not an uncommon situation. Other states in the south and the west have experienced similar drought situations that have led to substantial economic and natural resource losses.

In addition to water supply pest and diseases of all kinds have majorly impacted native and ornamental plantings across the United States. In the west, the bark beetle destroyed millions of conifers, just as the emerald ash for is doing for green ash in the mid-Western states.

Planning Creates Readiness

As a property manager or building engineer, you know that advance planning is the best approach for being ready for what may or may not occur. The truth is, none of us know what circumstances we will be faced with in regards to the outdoor environment. Nevertheless, it’s smart to understand how to manage our budgets, risk and time for many potential situations as possible.

At Environmental Enhancements, Inc, we can help. The combined experience of our managers, designers, and planners is available for you. As you may know, one component of our Enhanced Landscaping Process™ is a collaboration with each and every one of our clients.

If you’re not a client, we welcome the opportunity to discuss a budget friendly site assessment study that will pay for itself in a short period of time, thereafter building up savings in multiple areas of property management.

If you never want to hear the words I told you so, please give us a call.

About the Author: Fred Peratt is head coach and owner of Environmental Enhancements, Inc, a Sterling, VA based commercial landscape management company serving the Washington D.C. Metro Area. He is also the Education Advisory Council Chair for the National Association of Landscape Professionals.