• Brittney Ramsay

6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Land Services Provider

There are a few of us out there! How do you choose a land services provider that is the best fit for you?! Throughout our 31 years of experience we have learnt a few things about what makes for a great partnership between our clients and us. We care more about finding clients that are the right fit than any fit. Why? It makes them successful which ultimately makes us successful – we are in this together. Here are the top takeaways we’ve learned…

1. People

Service providers are an extension of you, especially in land. We are often the face of the projects and the first point of contact for your stakeholders. Who you choose to work with and how they represent you is critical. Who is working on your team and what can they bring to your project’s success? It’s all about trust – do you know them, do you like them, do you trust them? What are they doing to build trust with you…and within their own team? It's rare that service providers have teams of skilled talent sitting idly by, so it's also important to understand how they recruit. Do they have a robust process in place to ensure they have access to and hire the best talent? As a service provider our key asset* is our people; ensuring they love what they do, why they do it, and with whom is critical to a long-term relationship and success for us both.

*Referring to people as an asset feels trivial. They are so much more than that….in fact they are the lifeblood of our company. Our people come first, yes, even before our clients. Because we know that if we put our people first they will, in turn, go the extra mile for you.

2. Alignment on Core Values & Culture

Digging deeper into the first point, does your service provider have core values they actually live? Does everyone on their team know and live them? Is the culture strong, is it aligned with your culture and values? This is important as core values translate into daily behaviours. Strong values and culture are a compass to determine how the service provider will connect with you, your team and your stakeholders. If there isn’t an alignment of core values and culture ultimately your projects, team, stakeholders and bottom line may suffer.

3. Skills Match

Certain projects require certain skillsets, hands-on experience, knowledge and learnings from previous trial and error. Does your service provider have the skills needed for your project’s success? Again, it’s about the people. It is ensuring the people at your service provider focus on getting the job done right daily and have a sense of commitment to the process of improving how the job gets done. Everyone says they learn from mistakes – understand how your service provider actually does this. How do they share knowledge? What is their onboarding and training like? If skills vital to your project leave the company how will your service provider ensure they are covered off and your project doesn’t suffer?

4. Location, Location, Location

Does your service provider know the area and have relationships with key stakeholders and Indigenous communities? Is local knowledge important for your project? Each location you work in has its own challenges/opportunities, risks to mitigate, specific regional processes/requirements, land value, regulatory requirements, etc. Having a local agent and team, or one who knows the landscape, challenges and stakeholders in an area, can make a huge difference on the efficiency, timelines and cost of your project.

5. Cost/Pricing

What is your budget? Service providers will typically try to work within it if they know it…or be able to tell you if it’s way off. Setting realistic expectations up front, and then delivering, is a great way to build trust in a relationship. If you aren’t sure, ask for estimates before the work starts. A good service provider needs to know what questions to ask to scope your potential project accurately. Is there a billing model that works better for your project or cost sensitivity? Some projects work well being time and material billed, while others are better being fixed priced; there are pros and cons to each approach. Land service providers are an asset and investment in your project and the proper provider is focused on your project’s and company’s success. It’s not all about the hourly rates, but the overall value you are getting for what you are paying. With land services, as with any service or product, you get what you pay for.

6. Value Delivery

What are you actually looking for? Are you clear on this? Do you need a quick transactional task completed? Or are you looking at building a long-term partnership. Ensuring your needs are met is a baseline (or should be). Can the service provider also meet your wants – strategic value is added when your wants are exceeded, and a transformation occurs – taking you from where you are now to where you want to be. This means being nimble and adaptive; one size doesn’t fit all. A progressive services provider will uncover what works best for you then deliver what you want, in a way that fits for you. If innovation, a focus on solutions and going above and beyond are important to you, make sure your service provider knows that and can deliver. Land often adheres to tried-and-true practices, if you want a different result you need to look for a service provider who is different, and does things differently.

At BRITT we’ve worked hard to develop an outstanding team and culture, and we are passionate about sharing our knowledge with our clients. For more information on this article, contact us at info@brittland.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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© 2019 by BRITT Land & Engagement

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