The Secret to Managing Multiple Providers
June 24, 2014
In the world of commercial real estate, more properties = more success. As a top manager with a corporate portfolio, you’re the chief executive on the ground when it comes to daily operations. But as you know, more properties also equal more responsibility. Especially if you’re a smart business person who doesn’t want to add overhead by hiring an extensive support staff.
Chances are, you’ve solved this problem by outsourcing your operational work to multiple providers. A janitorial staff, a general contractor, a landscaping company, and perhaps an accounting firm or office management staff (depending on the size of your internal organization). These relationships can be great assets to your company, but you’re the one responsible for managing them all. And that can get overwhelming, especially if you’ve got multiple providers serving multiple properties in multiple locations.
We understand this problem from the other side of the equation: as landscape providers for some of America’s largest companies, we deal with professionals like you who’re trying to juggle full-service grounds care for facilities all over the country. And since service is our most important business principle, we’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to help them. We’d like to share some insights that we’ve learned from our 28 years in the industry.
Here are some helpful tips for dealing with multiple providers at your various locations:
• Reduce your number of contacts. Dealing with several companies servicing different facilities gets easier if you don’t have to talk to a million people. Try to find providers who offer you a single point of contact for all your properties, so you’re always talking to one person who understands your situation. At U.S. Lawns, we always assign an Account Manager to our multi-property managers, to make communication easier. So, even if you’re talking to us about 20 different properties, you’re always doing business with the same person. Companies in other industries use this model as well, including facilities maintenance and general contracting. Hiring a partner who does will make your job a whole lot easier.
• Make sure you’re in the loop. Some providers like to do their work and assume everything’s okay—until there’s a problem. Unfortunately, when you’re managing multiple providers (on top of all your other responsibilities), you simply don’t have time to chase after them and check their progress. Our philosophy at U.S. Lawns is that you shouldn’t have to. Top regional and national companies should always keep you informed. That’s why we offer regular reports, emails, weather tracking alerts, dedicated Account Managers, and even personal contact from our local providers themselves. Our responsive customer service philosophy means we’re always communicating with you—and if there’s a problem, you’ll know it as soon as we do.
• Consolidate paperwork. This one’s a no-brainer. Nothing is worse than a company who can’t get their billing together for all your locations. If your provider isn’t giving you one, single monthly invoice for every job on every property, that’s an unprofessional hassle you don’t need. Also completely unnecessary is a provider who doesn’t have a dedicated accounting staff for your business—meaning you have to call around to different people in order to resolve any billing issues. At U.S. Lawns, we give all our clients one invoice, and one accounting team with a phone number they can call directly.
• Build a relationship. Working with a provider is like working with anyone—it’s always easier when you’re dealing with real people, on a face-to-face level. We recognize that most companies you deal with are national companies—and with 270 locations in 44 states, so are we. But because we’re a franchise, each location is locally owned. That means your local owner will probably take time to check up on you, get to know your business, and make sure you’re happy with the service. Plus, as we mentioned, you’ll have an Account Manager who’s responsible for your entire portfolio.
Bottom line: personal service leads to better service. And that makes everyone’s life easier. We’re always looking for ways to help you succeed, because we’re more than a commercial landscaper—we’re a business partner. If you’d like to see why our easy, efficient, personal service has made U.S. Lawns #1 in the commercial landscape industry, contact us today.