If you’ve ever played the telephone game, you know how easily messages can get misconstrued. The same thing can happen if you don’t have a solid plan for communicating with your landscape company.
To have a good working relationship, you need to know how to clearly get your message across. That will make sure you are both on the same page and also get any issues resolved quickly.
But how can you open those lines of communication?
Here’s a guide on how to communicate with your landscape company.
Start from the Beginning
You need to set up your communication standards from the first conversation you have.
Begin by asking who will be your point of contact within the company. Once you make that connection, see what’s the best way to reach them and how often they will be calling with project reports.
You should also have one point person in your company who will direct and approve all of the changes and work. This person can make sure you don’t go beyond the budget and the landscaping company doesn’t do unauthorized work.
Once you have your points of contact, have an in-person meeting with the landscaping company to start building that relationship. Be clear, and let them know exactly what you want. That will help them deliver the results you expect.
If you’ve had issues with other contractors on the property in the past, make sure to let them know during this time. Many times, that will help them to make sure they aren’t creating the same mistake — saving you future headaches.
Beyond the initial meeting, you should have regular communication with the company, whether that’s weekly or monthly. They can give you progress reports during these meetings, and you can express any concerns you have. We have found consistent, recurring updates help to keep everyone on the same page and make us more successful meeting your requirements.
With regular updates, you can both take a proactive approach to maintaining your property. You should have an ongoing relationship with your contact and the company, not just one initial conversation.
Keep record of when you talk with your landscape company and what all you discuss. That will give you something to reference if you have questions or problems later on. You can use an Excel spreadsheet, Google document or whatever format works best for you.
For example, if the company says they will do something on a certain date during a call, make a note of it or have them send you a summary of the tasks assigned from the call or meeting.
Then, you’ll know when to expect work to be done and also have record of it if something isn’t completed as scheduled. You can also ask the landscape company to send you service summaries to track your property’s progress.
Use Digital Tools
There are several websites and mobile apps that can help you better communicate with your account manager.
Both emails and text messages can be useful tools to reach your company contact, and they give you digital records of your conversations in case you ever need to reference them.
As we have all had larger and larger amounts of digital information coming our way in the past few years, other methods of information management have become popular supplementing the typical text and email.
If you have questions or concerns that require you to send a lot of photos or files, you can use file-sharing sites like Dropbox, Skydrive, Box and Google Drive. You’ll be able to access them from your computer or mobile device.
There are also other applications like Evernote, OneNote, Google Keep, Simple Note and Springpad.
If you have a method you suggest to the contractor, they might be able to continue to utilize something you are already familiar with, easing your ability to communicate with about the property or project.
Many of these newer methods of information management can make it easier to recall previous conversations about various aspects of the project, without needing to dig through tons of emails from the past.
Some companies also have their own communication apps or customer portals, giving property managers a direct way to reach them. Make sure you get a good demo of these applications to see if they are right for you. Some forward-thinking contractors might have a method that works for the other people in your office trying to manage large amounts of data.
Find a Company You Can Trust
Even the best communication plan won’t do you any good if you’re working with a landscape company that isn’t dedicated to its customers.
You can get a good feel for how the company will communicate with you from the start. Do they respond quickly when you reach out for more information or an estimate? Can you easily get in touch with them? Are they proactive? These can be indicators of what to expect going forward.
At Native Land Design, we know how important it is to keep open lines of communication with property managers. Questions, issues and general concerns can come up, and we will be there to address all of them. We make each customer and his or her property a priority.
Test our communication skills by contacting us online or at 512-918-2270.