Some folks prefer to spend their time enjoying the outdoor areas around their homes while leaving the hard work of making them beautiful to the professionals. Others love the satisfaction of doing it for themselves and only turn to the professionals when they’re faced with a project they just can’t handle alone.
What do you need to know before you hire a landscape contractor? There are a lot of factors to consider when shopping for a professional landscaper to handle projects on your property. Many are related to the specific project that you have in mind. But some questions are important regardless of what kind of work you’re having done.
Before you pay someone to do work on your property, you should make sure that they have the knowledge and experience to complete the job successfully—and insurance to cover anything that might go wrong. Read on to learn about the five areas that you should factor into your consideration of a landscape contractor’s qualifications.
5 Key Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Landscape Contractor
The consequences of hiring an unqualified landscaper can range from flowers that don’t bloom all the way to someone getting injured on your property while performing work and you being held responsible. If you’re just looking for the cheapest worker around—you’d do well to remember that you get what you pay for.
Asking about the following items will help you make sure that you’re working with a true professional.
Almost every state requires landscaping professionals to have a Landscape Contractors License. The requirements for obtaining a license vary from state to state so you should investigate what your state’s licensing process tells you about a landscape contractor’s background and experience.
Another way to get a sense of a landscaper’s commitment to their profession is by inquiring about their membership in professional associations. Many national and international professional groups cater to landscaping professionals. There are also regional, state, and local organizations to consider.
Some of the most recognizable and prestigious national and international associations are:
- The National Association of Landscape Professionals
- The National Arborists Association
- The American Society of Landscape Architects
- The Association of Professional Landscape Designers
- The Indiana Association of Landscape Professionals
Any professional Landscape Contractor should be able to provide you with a certificate of insurance. This will give you the name of the insurance company, the contractor’s policy number, the policy limits, and the expiration date.
It’s also a good idea to inquire about any warranties or guarantees that the contractor provides for their workmanship or the products they’ll be installing on your property.
Obviously, you’ll want to make certain that you’re trusting your home’s landscaping to someone who knows what they’re doing. A professional landscaper should be familiar with a variety of landscapes and property types. It’s also important to verify that they have the local experience required to get the results you’re seeking on your property.
You should go a step further and ask if the contractor has any specializations. While you’re at it, ask if they plan to use any subcontractors on the job and if so, whether they can provide information on those workers’ qualifications.
Ask your contractor if they can provide you with a portfolio of their work or examples of projects similar to your own that they have completed recently and in your local area.
You can definitely access important information about a landscaping professional by visiting sites like Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau. But don’t be afraid to ask your contractor for references that you can contact directly to learn more about other people’s experiences working with them.
The other questions that we’ve advised you to ask are fairly straightforward. Either a contract is licensed by the state you live in or they’re not. They do have proof of insurance or they don’t. But when it comes to verifying their ability to do the job, sometimes subjective information is just as important.
All of the experience that your contractor claims in their portfolio will mean more to you if you can ask the clients from those jobs about their overall experience while working with the contractor.
- Were they easy to work with?
- Did they encounter any problems during the project?
- Was the project on-time and on-budget?
- Did the contractor deliver what was promised?
- Did they have a positive experience overall?
These are the kinds of questions that will help you get a sense of the professionalism and customer service that you can expect from the contractor if you hire them for your project. That kind of information can help you choose the best contractor for the job and the one that you’ll enjoy working with the most.
Making a Decision
Once you’ve asked these questions and gotten a sense of whether the contractor is qualified for the project you have in mind for them, you’ll want to get down to the business of discussing the budget, timetable, and specific elements of your project.
Assuming that you can come to terms with the costs, schedule, and particulars of the project, you will want to get a written contract in place before any work commences. The contract should lay out the specifics of the project in detail and you should review it carefully before signing it.
Moving through all of these steps before allowing the work to proceed can seem like a burden while you’re working through them. Trust us, you’ll be glad you took the time to proceed through each step. Even if everything with your project goes exactly according to plan, the extra confidence you have knowing that you’re working with a qualified professional will be worth it.
Knowing that you have qualified professionals working on your projects means that you’ll be able to relax and devote all of your attention to looking forward to enjoying the results.
South County Landscaping, Inc is an Experienced Professional Landscape Contractors in Northwest Indiana
If you have a landscaping project that you’d like to discuss with experienced local contractors, call South County Landscaping today. Our knowledgeable staff will be happy to answer all of your questions about landscaping in Northwest Indiana.