Although everyone enjoys the end result of a beautiful landscape, few people love the process of choosing a competent contractor! Why would they do that? Hiring a contractor entails some risk. Fortunately, by following some sound recommendations, that danger may be considerably decreased, if not completely avoided!
What it takes: properly outlining your needs, doing background and reputation checks, and trusting your instincts will lead to a successful project. The temptation to employ merely on the basis of pricing must be tempered with some research so that you are aware of the firm with whom you may be doing business.
Your Landscape Concepts
Before you meet with any contractor, make sure you have a clear idea of the landscape setting you desire. This is the fun part: you may drive about your area or look for ideas for your own unique landscape on the internet (for example, the Association of Professional Landscape Designers’ landscape design checklist). Specifics regarding the materials or installation specifications may not be included in a clear vision. Prepare as much as you can, whether it’s photographed from a magazine, a brochure from your supplier, or a checklist of what you want to achieve so you can effectively express it to your potential contractors.
That description will be requested by good landscaping professionals, and the more information you can provide, the better. Contractors that are serious about their work will ask questions to ensure that they thoroughly get your idea. They will most likely present you with alternatives and possibilities to supplement your eyesight. Work with them to paint a comprehensive image because they know the area and will know what works best.
Consider employing a landscape architect if your property demands considerable planning. They’ll be able to draw out a precise plan for you and may even have ties with landscaping contractors.
Landscapers have been doing all of the work themselves for the previous few years. As the complexity of work has increased, this tendency has lately reversed. Many landscape professionals will do all of the work themselves, while others may subcontract specialty work to other contractors and others will simply do the job that they are familiar with. For irrigation, lighting, or water features, many landscapers choose to subcontract the irrigation system to a professional contractor.
The importance of reputation cannot be overstated! The most common customer complaint is a lack of response, followed by a lack of confidence that decent work will be done. Finding out what their clients think of their work and service is the best way to hire landscaping contractors.
Talking to people you know who have used the landscaping contractor you’re considering is an excellent tactic. Perhaps you already have a good relationship with a respected subcontractor, and you can ask them for referrals. Referrals might also be obtained from materials suppliers. Just keep in mind that a supplier will not (and should not) criticize a contractor.
If they are hesitant to recommend a contractor, it will show in their noncommittal, bland responses to your inquiries. Your favorite nursery owner, as well as your local Better Business Bureau or Small Business Development Center, may have useful leads. The worst strategy is to contact six contractors who appear at the top of the search engines – this testifies to their marketing.
Continue your study until you’ve identified 2-3 firms with a reputation you’re happy with. Then you’re ready to solicit bids from them. You may obtain contact information in the Yellow Pages and on the internet, but don’t assess a contractor only on the basis of their advertising! If the landscaper you’re considering hires subcontractors, you should find out who they are and assess their reputation.
Your Landscape Contractor Should Be Interviewed
When interviewing contractors, it’s critical to assess their responsiveness. What will happen when you have a problem or require assistance if they don’t respond appropriately when attempting to win your business? Listening is an important part of responsiveness: do you get the impression that the contractor is interested in what you’re saying or asking for?
First impressions are often correct: how the contractor appears, sounds and acts will reveal a lot about what you may expect if you hire them. While your choices should not be solely dependent on “gut instinct,” it can assist you in making the optimal option.
In order to ensure that the contractor is capable of handling your project, inquire about previous Landscape Contractors works they’ve completed that are comparable to yours. Get a few recommendations and call them. Many bigger contractors provide such information on their websites, and it is well worth your time to visit them. What if you’re thinking of hiring a fresh-faced young entrepreneur? He won’t have a huge record of recommendations for clients or finished work, obviously. He may perform admirably for you, but you will need to assess him differently. You could be prepared to take a bit more risk if you’ve established that he’s receptive and you’re comfortable with him.