How to Hire a Landscaping Contractor – Forbes Advisor


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A landscaping contractor is responsible for the installation and maintenance of outdoor plants and other landscaping elements on residential and commercial properties. How you go about hiring a landscaping contractor depends on several factors, including budget, schedule, and the size of your project. Additionally, the landscape professional must also have the appropriate qualifications, licenses and insurance.

Follow these steps to learn how to hire a landscape contractor.

Services provided by a landscape contractor

Landscape contractors don’t just mow lawns and install plants. Here are some of the different services a landscaper can provide:

  • Cleared and level ground
  • Build landscaping features such as decks, patios, masonry walls, water features, install pavers, etc.
  • Install and manage irrigation systems
  • Install landscape lighting
  • Apply pesticides and herbicides

1. Start with a plan

The main question to ask yourself is whether you need a full service or landscape maintenance company. Since landscaping professionals offer several services, it is a good idea to narrow down your selection according to the scope of your project. Once you know what you need, finding the right company is easier.

Full service or maintenance company

  • A full-service landscape company provides design, installation and maintenance work. They will have designers, account managers and a team that can provide everything you need, from landscape design and construction to plant installation and maintenance services.
  • Maintenance companies generally only provide lawn services (mowing, weeding, cleaning of borders, leaves and light trimming of shrubs). You will find many sole proprietors who operate lawn care services.

2. Look for landscape contractors

Now that you know what kind of services you need, you can start looking for contractors. Start by reading reviews online from trusted sources. The best contractor for the job should have experience with the landscaping project you need and a long list of satisfied clients. To narrow down the list, the landscape contractor must have, at a minimum, a current license and insurance coverage.

3. Get referrals

Many landscape lawn service contractors are small, local businesses. Full-service companies cover a variety of services, and the cost will vary depending on the size or size of the job. One of the best ways to find a landscape contractor is to personally refer. Ask friends and family who have recently done landscaping work. Local online community forums are also a great place to get leads.

4. Interview landscape contractors

To help you narrow down your choices, you can conduct interviews by email or phone.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • How long have you been in the industry?
  • Are you bonded and fully insured? Please provide your contractor’s license number and certificate of insurance (licensing requirements for landscaping contractors vary by state).
  • Will you share references of some projects similar to mine?
  • Do you use subcontractors?
  • Do you have photos of finished projects that you are ready to share?
  • Who is responsible for obtaining the required permits for a project?
  • Do you provide a drawing of your plans?
  • Will you provide care instructions for plants on my property?
  • Do you offer a warranty for plant material and workmanship?
  • What are your payment expectations?

5. Examine your best prospects

Once you have your shortlist of contractors, do some quick interviews from the references the company gives you. Some questions to ask references are:

  • Did they complete the project on time?
  • Did the quality of their work meet your expectations?
  • Did your project stay on budget?
  • Was the team professional and courteous?
  • Would you hire them again?

6. Get estimates in writing

Get estimates from at least three contractors for your project. If you are doing installation or landscaping work, the company should send a representative to your home to take measurements and discuss with you the types of plants that will work for your space. The contractor should always send you a quote in writing. The quote should include:

  • Contact information. Company name, address, telephone number and website.
  • Total cost including taxes. Some companies cannot provide final cost information due to labor variables. Be sure to specify how the final cost may vary from the estimate.
  • Scope of the project. Should include what will be installed (landscapes and/or plants).
  • Maintenance schedule. A detailed plan for the duration of the project, including a start and end date.
  • Factory specifications. What types of annuals or perennials, trees or shrubs will be used, as well as the cost and number of plants that will be used.
  • Terms and conditions. Payment terms should be clear and easy to understand.
  • Warranty information. Including information for work and plant material.

The total cost of your project can be one of the biggest deciding factors, but you should also consider the company’s experience, track record of getting the job done on time and on budget, and testimonials. from their previous clients. Using these items as a reference will help you choose the best landscape contractor for your project.

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