Business owners know that the first impression is everything! Now that the Maine winter is finally behind us, it is time to take a walk around your commercial property to assess any winter damage, and spruce things up for spring. Besides always wanting your business to look inviting to your customers, it’s important to make sure your building and grounds are safe and accessible. Even if you lease your business location, you know your surroundings better than anyone, so alert your property manager of these important issues.
Assess & Prioritize
The first thing to do is walk your entire property, notepad and camera in hand, and inspect the buildings and grounds for any damage or hazardous issues. Common building issues include damaged siding and roofing, missing or damaged window screens and entrance doors, and peeling paint. Landscaping always takes a beating in the winter, so look for loose walkway pavers, fallen debris, and missing chunks of ground. These items not only look bad, but affect the longevity of the building materials, so addressing them on an annual basis is good risk management.
Make a list of things that need to be repaired or replaced, and get on the schedules of your contractors. Of course, any safety hazard is a top priority to get resolved quickly, but even landscaping has a big effect on your appeal and property value. You won’t be the only property owner facing a list of needs, so making your calls early ensures you will get on the schedules of repair companies in a reasonable timeframe.
Getting any debris such as branches, leaves and trash raked up is a quick and easy improvement, and also encourages healthy early grass growth. Most professional landscapers have a “spring cleanup” offering, and these professionals will come with all the right equipment, and can also sweep up the sand left from winter.
Make sure all your parking areas and walkways are clean, and in good condition. An annual power-washing of surfaces, of your building and hardscaped areas, will make your place look its best. When you make your business look like someone cares, you send a message to your customers about your level of attention to detail.
Pay careful attention to the travel path of your clients – from car to footpath entrance – and make this your first focus of attention. Once walkways are clear of any debris, parking spaces should be made easily accessible. Also, consider the special needs of your customers by making sure paths are level, and that railings and other appropriate safety precautions are in place.
HVAC Inspection & Maintenance
With winter heating season behind us, attention now turns to air conditioning systems. These should be serviced annually to inspect the coils, drainage and replace filters. If your property has a sprinkler or irrigation system, this too needs an annual maintenance inspection for any leaks, blockages, or damage.
Sometimes, we don’t consider our commercial property’s “curb appeal” as much as we do our residences, but the visual impression you make on your customers says a world not only about how much you care about quality, but also about your worth (read: pricing and value).
If your exterior and landscaping has become run down over the years, or is minimalist, this may be the year to plan some exterior improvements. Really look at your property from an outsider’s viewpoint: what is messy, faded, or rundown looking? Re-sod your grassy areas and keep them mowed nicely. Grass needs annual fertilizing and weed/insect control measures, and during the spring growth is the perfect time to catch an issue early. Keep your shrubs and trees pruned and cut back from walkways and parking spots. Have landscaped beds cleaned of old mulch, and add a new layer. Don’t skimp on mulching – it not only makes everything look much better, but it cuts back on the need for weeding and watering. Adding some hardy perennials or annual flowers to your planting beds will provide the finishing touch of color to improving your visual appeal.