Choosing any sort of contractor can be a difficult experience, wrought with worry and frustration. Choosing a landscape contractor can be especially frustrating because the industry is filled with so many different types of companies. Here are a few tips for selecting the company that is right for you.
1. Look for a company that is locally licensed and bonded. States have different laws pertaining to the amount of insurance bond a landscape contractor must carry. No matter what, the company you use should be licensed to operate in your municipality.
2. Pay attention to the amount of time a company has been in business and what sort of reputation they have. A good contractor has been in business for a number of years and guarantees their work. Don’t be surprised if a contractor is booked out several weeks or even months in the Spring or Fall. Those are the busy seasons for garden installation and a reputable company will often have several jobs in queue.
3. Ask for references and check with the local Better Business Bureau. It’s good to ask for references from customers who have projects similar to yours, but also ask for other references. Perhaps the company has installed a different type of project that you never considered for yourself. It could open your eyes to other options and opportunities for your landscape.
4. Are communication and follow-up good? Often the landscape installation will occur while you are at work. You need to have an installation company that you feel comfortable talking with and leaving directions for. It is always preferable to have a contractor that will assign a foreman and project manager. If you have trouble getting a bid back in a timely manner, it can be an indication of the general level of customer service that a company offers.
5. Ask for a contract or bid and read it! Depending on the project, a contract specifying that you will be paying for time and materials is adequate. Many companies will offer you a bid. Whether it’s time and materials or a bid, the type of work, type of materials & expectations for the finished project should be laid out in writing. The more detail on the contract, the better. Any reputable company will not hesitate to lay everything down in a contract.
Landscaping can increase your home value by as much as 15%. Having a yard, garden or outdoor living space that you love is priceless. If you enter into the process with the right company it will be satisfying and possibly even fun.