When it comes time to select a landscape contractor, there are a few key things that you should look for. Some of these may be less important than others, but they’re all good information to know before signing on the dotted line.
1) Insured and licensed
Before hiring any contractor, whether or not that’s a landscaper or an electrician or a plumber, make sure first and foremost that they have both insurance and a license – if required by your state/province.
This is really first and foremost because without those two items, you won’t actually be able to bring a legal action against them if something goes wrong during the course of their work – it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on legal fees because you just won’t have a case at all.
2) Reviews and referrals from friends and family
Don’t just take a contractor’s word for it – ask your friends, family, and neighbors if they used them before. In addition to being great references, this can be a way to weed out potentially shady companies who may have been able to advertise themselves well enough to simply get new customers without having any sort of track record or history with past clientele.
You should also check online reviews on sites like Yelp! and Google+ Local; both also indicate if people are happy with their work so you know what kind of standard your future landscaper is likely working towards.
3) The property assessment
Most reputable landscape contractors provide an estimate based not only on the number of shrubs and trees that you want planted, but also the quality and size of them as well as how much ground preparation (i.e., grading) must be done in order to make sure they’ll be healthy once they’re out in the open with nothing to block sunlight from reaching their roots or absorb water.
While most will offer a fixed price for this service, some may instead provide an estimate based upon the size of your yard (or multiple yards if their company works in landscaping with multiple clients).
4) Solid insurance for temporary fencing
If you need temporary fencing put up where your landscaper is working in order to keep pets or kids or others away from potential hazards like lawnmowers or power tools, then you should make sure that your landscaper is providing that fencing.
Most reputable landscape companies will bring their own temporary fences to use when they’re working on a property, but in some cases, you may need to provide it yourself if you live in an area where this isn’t commonplace.
5) Solid contracts
A good landscape contractor won’t promise everything under the sun just so he can get his foot in the door for a bid – instead, they’ll have a reasonably sized contract which spells out clearly what has been specified, down to every last detail of size, shape, color, quantity – all that sort of thing.
6) Solid warranty
A solid warranty should come with your landscaper’s service – either through them directly or through the company they work for.
If you receive one independently, then it’s good at least as far as the individual contractor is concerned; if you receive one from a company that your landscaper works for or with, then it would be at least as good as any other landscape contractor who does similar work in your area. If not, then remember: buyer beware!
7) Show up in person
Some of the best landscape contractors won’t even bother with low-ball bids because they know that their work is too good for that – but will still try to find some way to undercut the competition. In some cases, this means hiring cheap labor from other countries where it’s legal for them to work here, but not legal enough for them or their company to actually hire on as a full-time job.
Instead, these workers are hired as independent contractors and brought over on tourist visas for a short period of time – long enough to do a specific job and no more.
8) Show up with a crew
If you’re hiring a decent landscape company, then it shouldn’t matter whether your project takes an hour or two days to complete because most reputable landscape companies don’t rely upon independent contractors alone.
When it comes time to find a landscape company for your business or property, always remember to look at these three things before making any decisions: 1) Do they have an address? 2) Do they have a valid business license? 3) What are other people saying about them online?
If you answered yes to all three questions, then chances are good that you’ve found yourself a reputable contractor who will provide quality service every time – but if not, then it’s probably best to try someone else!