It’s that time of year again … and it’s not one that many folks look forward to.
Dental cleaning and cavity filling? Root canal time? Your least favorite distant relative is coming to visit? And they want to stay with you for a week? Nope. None of the above! It’s landscape budget planning season. And some property managers say it’s even more dreadful than any painful dental visit or uncomfortable family get-together.
Why is this the worst time of year? Because it’s getting to be the busiest time of year as school starts soon and the holidays near, so momentum is building toward year’s end. At the same time, meeting or beating annual numbers is on everyone’s mind. Planning the next year’s budget amidst all of this activity is typically one of the least enjoyable aspects of your job.
Sometimes, though, we make the task worse on ourselves because we don’t take advantage of tools and tricks that can make it easier. You can avoid the many pain points of landscape budget planning by taking advantage of the wisdom of your landscape account manager.
Being Proactive is Better Than Being Reactive
Poor preparation can kill any project.
Unfortunately, you can’t expect to just sit down and knock out a budget. You have to consider a variety of factors in order to make a well-prepared budget that meets your goals for the year. Market conditions, economic forecasts and leasing and renting status can make a big impact on your building’s overall profitability budget. In the same way, not knowing your goals, what areas of your landscape need improvement and what outdoor projects can deliver the most value for the cost can impact your landscape budget.
Be proactive and ask your landscape professional for recommendations on how you can best prepare your budget. Since your landscape account manager knows your landscape so well from being on the property every week, he or she can have great insight on where you can cut costs and where you can invest.
Make Preparation Time Count
During budgeting season, talk to your landscape account manager and ask them to walk the property with you, pointing out areas of concern and areas that need improvement.
Spending an hour with your account manager can help you target dollars where you need them, gaining tremendous insight into areas of your property that you may not have noticed. For instance, your account manager can look at your largest expenses—water is a good example—and help you reduce those costs. One way to do this is by converting your old standard irrigation controllers to newer, smarter controllers that water more efficiently, thereby lowering your irrigation budget. Then you can take that saved money and move it into your enhancement budget to spruce up your outdated entryway. By making this budget preparation time count, you are essentially killing two birds with one stone, as they say, by saving money where you want to spend less and investing that money into something that will benefit your property.
Set Clear Objectives and Targets
Your landscape account manager can help you one step further by even providing you with proposals for any enhancements or capital improvements that you’ve had your eye on.
Armed with proposals in advance, you can confidently add these items into your budget for the year, knowing that when your building owner asks for specifics, you can provide all the data he or she needs. This shows the building owner you did your homework and helps you justify the expense for property improvement and curb appeal purposes. When you allocate $10,000 to capital improvement projects without details, it’s an easier item to cut. A building owner will have a harder time saying no when each budgeted expense is well-thought-out and planned for.
Budgeting Doesn’t Have to Feel Like Pulling Teeth
At Native, we offer budget planning assistance in our commercial property management contracts. It’s a service we feel that's important to provide to our busy property manager clients. Let us help take some of the stress away from your budgeting process. Contact us at 512-918-2270 or fill out our contact form online today.