So you've decided to do some landscaping in your yard. Whether it be lawn care, gardening, installing some new plants, or maybe even just helping you come up with a landscape design, the point is that you have no inclination of doing this work yourself. There's no shame in that, however, there is something that you now have to decide– who are you going to hire to do this work?
There are a lot of different landscape companies out there. A lot of people have decided that planting shrubs seems like an easy job, a lot of people out there who will try and take your money, a lot of people who will only put half of their heart into a job. But then there are the ones who love their work, who landscape because they have a passion for it, who are contractor masters of landscape design, lawn care, gardening– true dynamos in the landscaping business.
So, how can you tell one from the other? The contenders from the pretenders? The princes from the paupers? The truth is there is no true way of knowing right when you meet these people, however, there are some pieces of due diligence when hiring a landscaper. Good and bad things that the average person can look out for when they are looking to go into business with a contractor.
Here are just a couple of things:
These are the things that a person should look out for that the company does well. Chances are if they do these things, they are going to do a good job in your yard.
We should all try doing things local in general, but that is especially true when hiring a landscaper. Someone who has done your neighbor's beautiful garden, the one you slow down to stare at when driving. Hiring a local landscaper isn't just a great way to drive up the local economy and impress your neighbors, it also means the job can be done promptly. A local landscape business means less travel time, which means more time spent on your yard.
Hire with good reviews.
Speaking of "choosing the ones your neighbors chose" references are important when choosing a landscape company. Luckily, we live in a world where references are plenty– visit the landscaping company's website. Then check out their name on Google reviews. Then, check out any social media the company may have– Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, these are all good tools for gauging whether or not the company is reputable, what kind of jobs they have done, as well as the quality of those jobs.
Hire those that put everything in writing.
The big difference between good and bad landscapers is this– what do they put in writing when they are given a job. Do they give you a clear timeline as to when this should be finished? Have they told you what kind of work is exactly going to go into the job? How much personnel is going to be used? What is the cost breakdown (who is going to be paying for what)? What about permits? Cleanup? Warranties? It's not just enough for a landscaping business to tell you "yeah there's a warranty on these cedars", the best ones will put it all in the contract.
Hire those that are insured.
There are a lot of dangers that go into landscaping. It may not seem like it, but with so much sharp equipment going around, branches falling, prickly bushes doing what they do best– someone is bound to get hurt if the right precautions are not taken. Ask the landscaper if they have general liability insurance, which will protect homeowners from accidents that happen on their property. They should also probably have workers’ compensation insurance so that their workers are covered if they get injured on the job site. Remember, a contractor who has insurance doesn't just care about their employees, they care about their customers as well.
Here are some things to watch out for when hiring a landscaping business. These are the red flags of the trade– avoid these companies like the plague.
Steer clear of those that don't have details.
A landscaper should be able to answer any question a client has about their job. After the landscaping business has gotten the job, they should be able to figure it out inside and out, which means any clarifying that needs to be done should be answered. Also, knowing details about a job is going to prove to clients that the landscaper is in the know, and that the client is in good hands. Those who don't know the answer to details or try to avoid answering questions that seem like they should be easy– AVOID!
Steer clear of those who say the job's price is "subject to escalation"
Always get a fixed price when hiring a landscaping company. When a landscaper says that "a job's price is subject to escalation" will always end up escalating the price of that job. Whether it's gardening, just landscape design, or whatever, make sure that the price agreed to be paid in the contract is the price that you are paying.
Steer clear of those who don't present themselves in a professional manner.
Listen, they're a landscaper, they don't have to show up in a suit and tie. However, if they are unkempt, if they are covered from head to toe in sweat and dirt, and especially if they show up intoxicated– steer clear. They didn't care enough to take a five-second shower at home, why would they care about your property?
And so, our article about choosing the right landscaping company comes to an end. We went through the good of the companies– hiring local, hiring a company with good reviews, hiring people who put everything in writing, hiring those that are insured. Then we went over the bad. At the end of the day, you should remember this above everything– go with your gut. If you put in the due diligence, then all that's left is the feeling.