Questions to ask your Landscaping Contractor

The biggest decision you can ever make in regard to renovating your landscape is whether it is feasible and worthwhile to hire a landscaping contractor for the job. Selecting a professional and reputable contractor can be quite a daunting task as there are so called landscaping companies that promise to offer quality landscaping services just because they have the equipment, but only fail to deliver resulting in loss of money and disappointment for you. You may even spend more than you bargained for.  

Before taking the giant leap into a full fledged project, you need to ask yourself some questions to help you determine if you are really serious about landscaping your outdoor space.
  • Firstly, will the company be willing to take a landscaping project within my budget and justify my needs however big or small?
  • Secondly, what would be the kind of landscaping required based on my lifestyle?
  • Thirdly, what kind of services will the company offer in terms of technical expertise and initiation of the project?
If you feel that you can go ahead with the renovation project after finding suitable answers to the above questions, you can start thinking in terms of whom to hire, project’s size, complexity of design, timeline and the stipulated budget. You also need to know if the contractor is receptive to your project schedule, ideas and goals. It’s important to establish communication with one another with respect to getting to know the space for landscaping, how it is used, the kind of things you like and the personality it should evoke at the end. 

Even if you are incredibly skilled as a gardener and possess a green thumb, it’s better to take expert advice from a landscaping professional before you start tearing up your garden or yard. Only an expert can create a master plan with the design and budget to suit your requirements without making it too complicated. Creating the perfect landscape is a back breaking effort and calls for more effort than just planting a flower bed. A landscape contractor will possess artistic vision and a decent level of expertise. 

Some of the questions that you can ask a landscape contractor before commencing work on your residential or commercial property are listed below:-
  • Is the contractor licensed?
Licensed contractors are subject to laws that are created to protect the consumer. Even if an unlicensed contractor quotes a low bid, the risks of legal or financial consequences far outweigh any benefits. Unlicensed contractors are also not held to the state’s high standards and the contractors’ board may not be able to offer assistance for any complaint from your side.
  • Does the landscaping contractor carry Workmen's Comp?
If a crew member suffers an injury or has an untoward accident while working at your site, a Workmen's comp will protect you. It is like an insurance which will not put you or your assets at risk, so make sure your contractor carries one.
  • Do you have protection for your property?
In the unlikely case of property damage, you need to make certain that the contractor carries a policy that has a general liability aggregate limit of $1,000,000.
  • Is the contractor a member of the Association of Professional Landscapers (ALPD) and the respective state’s contractor association?
Landscape companies with high standards are the only ones allowed to be registered with the respective associations and qualified to participate.
  • Is the contractor registered with the Better Business Bureau?
Only if the contractor is confident about his services will he will be registered with the Better Business Bureau. This is because no one will be part of an association that makes complaints by consumers visible to anyone who inquires. This will be a vital step that protects you as a consumer.
  • What other types of jobs has the contractor worked on?
Make sure that the contractor and his crew show their portfolio as proof for any projects done previously. You will definitely not want to take their word for it.
  • Will there be a guarantee in writing on materials used?
You need to follow up with the contractor to make sure that the yard and materials will last well into the future.
  • Does the contracting firm commit itself to Code of Ethics for the safety of your property and its assets?
This is where you can get referrals from someone who has recently done a project and has positive feedback about the work done.
  • Will you be getting a thorough breakdown of what you will be getting for your money’s worth like the quantity and quality of materials used, clean-up after the work, etc.?
This is very critical as you want to make sure that you are paying good money for what you are getting and not some cheap materials and shoddy workmanship.
  • Does the contractor know the region’s soil type?
It’s important that the contractor does some soil analysis before commencing work as if there is any lack in this area, you can be certain that the materials and plants used for the project will not survive for long.
  • Is the contractor well qualified?
You need to make sure who will design and install the project. Don't mistake and compare a contractor’s number of years in the business to his expertise. Take steps to find out what the contractor and the crew have specialized in. This will help you in avoiding any fu ture problems that may occur.