Ask your lawn care people to keep you informed about the lawn, landscaping, building exteriors, visible foundation changes and structural cracks, fence line changes or violations and all details of found trash. Lawn care personnel know a lot about your property. They walk the entire property every week or two and know the fence line, buildings, ditches where the sewer empties and a number of other things they observe that most others that work for you never see. They can tell you a number of things about your property if you ask them to watch for these things and report them to you.
Questions for your lawn-care vendor and its employees about observations of the buildings, grounds, specific items of trash and evidence of theft or mischief.
- Drainage or pipe problems: When you are mowing, is there any area of the property that is continually wet or soggy? (possible pipe leak or water or sewer break)
- Break-ins, fence damage, perimeter disturbances: When you mow or weed-eat along the wire fence-line, do you notice any places where the fence has been cut or damaged or looks like it has been forcibly opened? This may signal signs of potential break-ins or theft after hours. Thieves will cut fences and then wire them back to be used until later. Someone mowing will be able to spot this if you ask them to watch for these signs.
- Vagrants, suspicious vehicles outside your facilities: While your lawn people are on the property, they are outside where most of your employees are not. For a few hours, they get to notice people, trucks and cars that seem out of place or suspicious while they are working. Ask them about this. They may have no comments and notice nothing or they tell you about issues you may wish to pursue. It does not hurt to ask these contractors what they observe and invite their comments for you if anything in the future arises. Invite them to note vehicle descriptions, license plate numbers and people’s descriptions for any suspicious activities.
- Stolen company materials or products: When cutting trees or shrubs, do you ever find company products or remnants in the bushes? Thieves may drop your company’s product on the way out to their cars on evening and night shifts not knowing they left anything behind. This could include any type of product or company property carried out the door and put in personal cars. Have your property maintenance personnel watch for these signs of theft left outside on the property, mistakenly dropped or tossed at the last minute. Otherwise, they will walk past them, toss the items in the trash, or take them home never knowing why they were left in the company’s yard.
- Slab or foundation problems, cracks, brick or mortar breaks: When you are outside and trimming along the building, do you see any water running down the wall, new breaks or cracks appearing in brick-lines, or crumbling of the foundation or slab cracks along the flowerbeds and ground-line?
- Infestation, rodent, termite problems: Do you see signs of squirrels, snakes or other rodents or pests left in the lawn? Do you notice any evidence along the roof lines or near entrances to buildings? These are signs that indicate the possibility you may have these creatures in the ceilings or attics of your buildings. This should also help you to analyze the pest infestation and will trigger you to schedule a pest control visit and necessary treatment.
Remember that 99% of your full-time employees come to work and never notice anything after they get out of the car and get to their work station or desk. They have their minds on work and tasks to do for the day and never see a fence break-in or notice something stolen or lying in the yard. They walk right past it. Items that are stolen only are noticed gone when they cannot be located. Most of your employees are oblivious to anything outside of their job duties because of the regularity of their jobs and they are numb to anything minutely different. Because of this, encourage and use the observations of your contractors and invite those to keep you informed of anything that occurs out of the ordinary in the course of their work. Remind them they cannot tell you anything that is not important; their observations and information they gather will always be welcome.