The people who enjoy budgeting are few and far between. It’s like doing taxes — we do it because we have to, and it’s generally a good idea. Sometimes, budgeting feels like going to the dentist. If you don’t get your teeth looked after and maintained, you’ll pay for it in the long run. It’s the same with your business’s or your property’s expenses: if you don’t plan how the money is going to be spent, you can easily get off track and end up having more expenses than you’d like to!
When it comes to landscaping, you want your contractor to give you good value for money while still being reliable. Do you draft a landscaping maintenance budget for your property each year, only to continuously face unexpected costs? We believe that budgeting is massively important and it doesn’t need to feel like pulling teeth. So here are some tips to help you budget your property for landscape maintenance — and come in under budget at the end of the fiscal year!
Budget enough for regular maintenance, and be specific: When you’re gathering bids to hire a landscaping firm, be sure to include your minimum requirements for maintenance and the scope of the work that you’re looking to get done. Details are crucial — a warehouse may have less landscaping needs than, say, a library or grocery store, due to the amount of guests it will receive each day. It’s also critical to know how much the regular, standard upkeep of your property is going to cost — regular maintenance should make up 80% of your total expenses. The other 20% can be made up of annual improvements or unexpected expenses.
Plan for improvements: Standard maintenance is a major expense and makes up most of the budget, but there should still be room in your budget for improvements on your property! Maybe you’d like to update the flowers in a garden, or plant some new trees on the property. How about a new, more efficient irrigation system or a walkway? Maintenance budgets that go above and beyond regular expenditures are sure to be looked upon favorably by condo boards and residents at the end of the day.
Expect the unexpected: Always leave a little wiggle room — maybe 5% out of the 20% — for emergencies. There’s bound to be something that goes wrong, or an expense that you didn’t expect popping up. The best plans are balanced, being as proactive as they can possibly be, while still leaving space to be reactive and respond to unexpected costs. Emergencies can include anything from a diseased tree needing to be removed, parking lots that need to be repaired, or irrigation systems that aren’t functioning properly.
Keep a long-term, strategic plan in mind: Focusing entirely on cutting costs won’t lead to a well-maintained property. Think strategically about investing in your property and you’ll reap the rewards. A prime example of this is the installation of an entirely new irrigation system — while it may cost a lot at the outset, it can pay for itself in saved water costs in a few years!
When you’ve completed your yearly budget, don’t be afraid to show it to the contractors who are trying to get your bid! In fact, we’d encourage involving your contractor directly in the budgeting process. At Landscape America, we get excited about getting to know our clients on a human level, because it means we can bring the best possible service to them. If you choose to work with us, we promise to show excitement and an eagerness to please. We like to think we can communicate your property’s best interests to you — and do it in a way that aligns with your yearly and long-term budgets!