John Janes | Landscaping Marketing Manager
The first step in any landscape construction project is the design phase. Bill and his team prefer to be brought in as early as possible in the design process. This helps them understand exposure, drainage and the intent of the building, which also means they can address any of these elements up front and avoid costly changes down the road.
Since timelines are ever changing, each new landscape construction project calls for a good grasp of logistics, scheduling and who the other contractors are on-site.
“We make regular site visits during each job so we can make sure we’re not running into any inefficiencies or overruns,” says Bill.
They also use this time to prep their supplies. They get any plants or other materials they'll need well in advance of the project start date but don’t have them delivered until just prior to starting. Making sure their equipment is in working order and ready to use is another key step.
“Compact equipment is our bread and butter, particularly compact track loaders,” Bill notes. “We have one at every branch and use them with attachments like graders, tillers and augers, among others. We like to supplement our equipment with rentals, so we’ll bring in backhoe loaders and wheel loaders for larger projects.”
And finally, one of the most important parts of the prepping process is ensuring that your estimating, sales and production teams have coordinated to convey assumptions, client expectations and commitments.
Commercial landscape construction has some pretty big differences from residential projects, the most obvious being the scale of the work. While residential customers might place more value on a good experience working with a particular landscape company, commercial clients are focused on efficient timelines and meeting budgets. The working process itself is different, too.
“With a commercial project, we’re usually working with a site superintendent who is overseeing the project and directing all the subcontractors,” says Bill. “The design and vision were developed for the property years in advance. On a residential site, we’re working with the homeowner and a landscape designer to bring the vision to life in a collaborative effort.”
This difference in process makes the prep stage all that much more important for commercial landscape construction jobs, and means you need someone on the team with the skills to take that on.
If you’re looking to expand your current landscaping offerings to include landscape construction on commercial sites, Bill notes a few different things you should keep in mind:
“Commercial landscaping work is a big undertaking,” Bill advises. “But if you have the right personality for the work, it can make all the difference!”
Landscaping Marketing Manager
John Janes has been bringing his diversified expertise to sales and marketing initiatives at Caterpillar for more than a decade. Not only does he hold an LIC certification from the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), CSP and ASM certifications from the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA), but Janes also serves as an American Concrete Institute (ACI)-certified concrete flatwork technician.
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