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Success Is Working A Season Ahead

October 31, 2019 4:30 PM | Deleted user

Sherm M. Fields – Acres Group

Planning and preparation are the key ingredients for success. “Chasing it” more often than not dooms you to failure.

On 11/25/18, the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning as Winter Storm Bruce barreled his way into Chicagoland. This storm delivered heavy, wet, snow accumulations between 4 – 12” with wind gusts of 35 – 45MPH. Following the snowfall, temperatures plummeted and turned all residual moisture into ice.

Can you believe that on 11/23 & 11/24 we received numerous bid requests for a snow contract? We attempted to help where we could, but regardless of which contractor took on that work, can you imagine that it went well? It often times did not. I can share that we worked our butts off to take care of those last minute clients, but it did not go as well as we or anyone else would like. It was painful. I heard similar stories throughout the industry.

I give our team a lot of credit for never quitting and getting the job done. This came at a great cost to the team. Not to mention little to no profit for the hard work in horrible conditions.

No contractor can provide great service with no time for proper staffing, equipment management, on-site inspections, logistical planning, and client meeting. Consequently, our recommendation is that if you have not signed your snow contract – do it today! Consider this as very urgent.

Success is working a season ahead.

Moving forward, it is time to begin planning and preparation for upcoming winter and spring landscaping services. Yep – time to think spring!

In the winter months, you may want to consider having your landscaping contractor provide dormant pruning to your shrubs and trees.

Dormant shrub pruning selectively removes dead, diseased, and crossing branches -generally removing approximately 1/3 of the plant. Some shrubs benefit more from rejuvenation pruning (spireas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, weigela) which reduces the shrub to within 6 – 10” of the ground.

The pruning benefits include but are not limited to:

·         Extends the life of the plant
·         Reduces the size of plant to fit compact areas – especially important in preparation of rapid spring growth
·         Improved shrub health
·         Better branching habits & aesthetics
·         Reduces the risk of disease transmission

Dormant tree pruning is equally important and carries similar benefits as dormant shrub pruning. Factoid: Many experts recommend to extend the life and enhance the health of trees, that they should receive 5 pruning’s in the first 25 years of life.

The winter is a great time for contractors and clients to complete a landscape success plan.

Items to be reviewed and discussed include:

·         Primary and secondary contact information
·         Communication protocol
·         Special needs addresses
·         Garbage day and service day
·         Spring walk inspection date(s) “A” & “B” date to account for inclement weather
·         Executive summary of landscaping specifications
·         Discussion of client expectations and priorities
·         Transparent discussion of landscape enhancement budget with a goal of utilizing that investment on the “highest” and “best use” of that budget
·         Contract grown annual flowers ordered no later than mid-January

This pre-season work between Association Decision Makers, Property Management, and Contractor will enhance teamwork, performance, quality, and potential cost savings.

A pro-active approach will also reduce communication issues, frustration, and problems. It is also a lot more fun to be ahead of it (winning), rather than “chasing it” (losing).

In the words of World Series Champion Manager Ozzie Guillen, “Fun is winning – winning is fun”.  Don’t know about you, but I am already looking forward to the season ahead! Go Sox!

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