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property managers, contractors

Over the years the role of third-party property managers and landscape contractors have become very similar. Throughout my sixteen years in the service provider business, it’s amazing to see how similar they have become.

I would be interested in your thoughts on the following commonalities between the two roles (share in the comments below!).

Here are six reasons why property managers and landscape contractors are more similar than you think:


When you get down to it, from the standpoint of landscape contractors, it is very hard to differentiate your business by the “nuts and bolts” (mowing, pruning, weed control, seasonal color, etc.). In the Atlanta market, the consumer has many great companies to choose from, so it really comes down to communication and relationships as well as price.

The third-party property managers’ world is no different, as there is an abundant supply of companies (both local and national) that offer their service. I suspect price has something to do with the selection.

Price vs. service level

Over the years most costs associated with running a business have increased: salaries, insurance, utilities, (in our case) fuel, etc. However, pricing of services has gone down. How does this work?

If your overhead structure continues to rise, yet the price you sell your service at has gone down, one way to make this up is in increased market share. Thus, the portfolio load for our folks has increased in order to accommodate the “market driven” price.

The same concept can be seen with a property manager today. When I began my career, a typical portfolio manager might have five or six properties for which they are responsible. Today, many have double that (thank goodness they have double the salary!).

Dealing with expectations

For contractors and property managers alike, we are always dealing with expectations. Our clients want to be well informed, mitigate any issues, limit interruptions, and get the job done correctly the first time.

We know that there are going to be problems that need to be addressed; it’s how you address them that really shows your true nature. Do you run and hide or face the problem head-on? In order to be successful, the latter is the better choice.


It’s unfortunate, but most of the time in the parallel world that is third party management/contractor, no news is good news.

Typically, you won’t hear from a tenant that the lights turned on, the toilet flushed and the parking gate granted you access. At the same time, we won’t hear that the grass was neatly blown off the curb, the leaves never accumulated or that the irrigation system ran properly.


This is more a personal ownership rather than the ownership of a building or company. Taking ownership in a property is a trait that both property managers and contractors share. Otherwise, they would not last in this business if everyday feedback was needed to feel successful.


At the end of the day, property managers and contractors care about the job they have been entrusted with, almost to a fault. How many family dinners have been ruined because of something that happened on a property? I know they say that you are not supposed to take your work home with you; however, this must have been said by someone who is not in property management!

This post was written by Gib Durden, Highgrove Partners’ vice president / business development

Image credit: Glenn Switzer

Last modified: August 1, 2013