The installation of new landscaping features or the enhancement of any existing features can be a very important investment. There’s tremendous potential to boost your property’s value and to establish a more comfortable, enjoyable and accommodating environment for you and everyone in the home, so it’s absolutely essential to find the best company for this project.
When connecting with any landscaping company, never hang up your phone until you’ve made sure to ask whether or not this entity is properly licensed and insured for performing the type of work you want. Many states have professional licensing programs for landscapers, and when these exist, it is mandatory that every landscaping company in the region be licensed. If no such program exists in your area, learn more about the training that landscapers have received, the degrees or certificates that they’ve earned, and any memberships that they may have with professional landscape organizations or associations. Before finalizing your hiring decision, request a copy of the most recent insurance certificates and company license, and then call the numbers on these documents to make sure that they are valid and current.
Experienced Landscapers And Their Work History
Asking family members and friends for referrals is an excellent way to get started, but you can also be on the lookout for new landscaping while driving about town so that you can learn more about the landscapers that handled these projects. The landscaping company in charge of any major job will often post a sign nearby that includes their web address, phone number, and other relevant info.
Local nurseries have also been known to recommend reliable landscapers to their clients. A landscaping company will usually meet with you one time for free in order to review the details of your project and to possibly offer you a free, no-obligation estimate as well.
Interviewing Landscapers And Choosing One
Try finding between three and four landscapers to set up initial consultations so that you can talk about your needs and learn more about their services. Ask each landscaping company to bring photos of their completed landscape jobs and keep a list of questions on hand that cover each of these subjects:
Number Of Years In Operation
Although landscapers with many years or even decades of experience tend to have good track records and reputations, new landscapers with lesser experience can have fresh, innovative ideas and they may even cost less to work with given that they’re just getting started.
Find out whether or not a landscaping company has any project-specific experience. This is equally important to their overall industry experience. The more specialized your design ideas or project happen to be; the more diligent you’ll need to be when it comes to checking for job-specific credentials.
How Projects Are Approached
This is going to give you a deeper sense of the type of people you are dealing with, and their level of overall competence concerning the specific type of work and results you want. Someone who’s willing to offer detailed answers and who has an obvious passion for landscaping will probably be the best match.
Whether Or Not Subcontractors Are Used
Find out whether or not a landscaping company will need to hire subcontractors to handle any portion of your project. Ask how issues with subcontractors will be dealt with and find out how subcontracting, in general, might affect your project timeline and your final budget. Needing just one to two subcontractors for a highly specialized element might not be a red flag, but needing lots of contractors for a single job could mean that a landscaping company is not as experienced or knowledgeable as it claims to be.
Knowledge Of Permitting Process
Every landscaping company should know what requires a permit and what does not. In many areas, this will include gazebos, decks, fences, pools, and sheds. Being familiar with this particular aspect is a good sign of sufficient industry experience.
Don’t hold a landscaping company to it, but you do want an idea of what the overall project cost might be. Find out what landscapers have charged for comparable scopes of work in the past.
How Long Will It Take To Complete Your Project?
Major landscaping projects can totally disrupt your life – for a short time, your yard might look like a bomb has just gone off, and even your driveway could be blocked – it can be loud, and workers will be invading your outdoor areas. Ultimately, this type of work can have a significant impact on your life, and you’ll want to make sure that your landscaping company is both communicative and flexible enough to work with you on establishing the right schedule, and on staying in action until the work is fully done, without breaking for two weeks at a time to handle outside projects.
It’s best when the very same landscapers who’ve installed your landscaping are also capable of maintaining it, given that they’ll already know all of the details and nuances of your yard that newcomers do not. If maintenance service isn’t provided by your landscaping company, however, this isn’t a reason to not hire them; it’s just something that you definitely want to know upfront.
Making Your Final Hiring Decision
Listen to the responses that landscapers provide to find out more about their overall personalities, competence, and professionalism. Trust your instincts, but also try to get the contact information of former customers for reference purposes.
You might decide to submit formal requests for quotes from every company that you feel confident about – but avoid wasting time on any businesses that seem overzealous in selling their services, or that make you feel uncomfortable. Ultimately, find the most competitive prices and the best-qualified candidate with references that have confirmed their ability to make timely and professional completion of your project.
Once you have received a written quote from a landscaping company, read this document over carefully and pay attention to the fine print. This should lay out the scope of the project step-by-step, from the grading and clearing at the beginning of the job, to the clean-up and removal of all resulting debris.
In ideal cases, each step of the work will have numbers correlating to the materials and labor that the contract specifies. It should also state that the contractor in question will obtain all required permits unless alternative agreements have already been made. Finally, the timeline for the work should be spelled out in the contract, along with the schedule for payment.
Thinks like irrigation systems, patios and decks should include a warranty for improper installation or defective craftsmanship. Plants aren’t likely to be covered by these guarantees given that they are naturally subject to things like disease, pests, weather, and other elements that lie outside of the control of landscapers. Just make sure that warranties or guarantees are very clear about what’s covered and what’s not.