You only get one chance to make a first impression, and for businesses, the property’s landscape provides that initial introduction to customers, according to Kathryn Harper, a commercial property manager since 2005.
“The first impression of driving into a property also tells people how good a job you’re doing as the property manager,” said Harper, who manages a portfolio of mixed-use properties for Gatski Commercial Real Estate in Southern Nevada. “A well-maintained landscape is a true reflection of my job as a property manager.”
A longtime Nevada resident, Harper began noticing that many of the older properties she represents were looking dated and unkempt. The culprit: spotty, aging grass.
“When these older properties were built, the grass looked great. But 30 years later, you’re looking at blotchy, dry grass. It’s an eyesore, and if anything is more unappealing to customers, it’s a tired landscape,” Harper said. “Grass is a huge water and money sucker. It’s old, and it makes properties look old.”
When Harper joined Gatski Commercial Real Estate two years ago, she added a number of mature business complexes to her portfolio. The blotchy grass was noticeable, and she started looking into options to help update the properties. She learned about the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) Water Smart Landscapes rebate and decided to convert her private residential landscape first to learn about the process.
“I wanted to make sure that this was something I could get behind before recommending it,” Harper said. Not only did her landscape look better, but her summer water bills dropped from about $300 per month to less than $75. She also nearly eliminated landscape maintenance costs. “I was really delighted with the results.”
Harper said the process to apply for the SNWA landscape rebate was very simple and much of it could be competed online. SNWA staff visit the property to measure the grass areas and determine the amount of the cash incentive. The rebate offers up to $3 a square foot of grass replaced with a water-smart, drip-irrigated landscape.
“It’s a flawless way to transform a property to a beautiful thing to look at,” Harper said, adding that the water bills for the six properties she manages that participated in the SNWA rebate have dropped from about $1,400 a month to $400 at each property. The businesses also saw their landscape maintenance costs reduced by 75 percent. “My clients are more profitable because they’ve been able to reduce these costs.”
According to Harper, the SNWA makes the process simple and provides helpful resources, including a list of Water Smart contractors who can transform the tired grass areas into an attractive, updated landscape.
“The contractors, like our very own Gastki commercial building and landscape maintenance staff, know about the rebate program and what’s required – the number of plants per square feet, the irrigation system components, etc. They have it all figured out,” Harper said, adding that for each landscape upgrade project she bid out the project and developed a proposal. “With the rebate, these conversions cost next to nothing. When my clients found out the conversions wouldn’t cost them hardly anything, they were really on board.”
The end result has been a modernized look with lower water bills and maintenance costs at each of the properties that have participated in the rebate.
“As a property manager, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Harper insisted, noting that you may apply for the rebate to determine the estimated cash incentive and then get a proposal for the landscape conversion. “If it doesn’t comp out financially, you’re under no obligation to move forward.”
The benefits of a property facelift, operating cost reductions, cash incentives and a simple process supported by helpful SNWA staff makes participating in the Water Smart Landscape rebate program a win-win for the property manager, the client and the community, according to Harper.
“And, everybody seems to love the appearance of the upgraded landscapes,” Harpers said.
Find out how you can modernize your business property and reduce operating costs through water conservation projects by contacting one of SNWA’s business experts at snwa.com to learn more.
Members of the editorial and news staff of the Las Vegas Review-Journal were not involved in the creation of this content.