How To Hire A Landscaping Contractor – Forbes Advisor

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A landscaper is responsible for installing and maintaining outdoor facilities and other hardscape elements on residential and commercial properties. How you hire a landscaper depends on several factors, including your budget, schedule, and the size of your project. In addition, the landscaper should also have the right qualifications, licenses and insurance.

Follow these steps to find out how to hire a landscaper.

Landscaping services

Landscapers do more than mow the lawn and install plants. Here are some of the different services a landscape designer can offer:

  • Clear and straighten land
  • Build hardscape elements such as decks, patios, masonry, water features, install paving stones, etc.
  • Install and manage irrigation systems
  • Install landscape lighting
  • Apply pesticides and herbicides

1. Start with a plan

The most important question to ask yourself is whether you need a full service or maintenance company. Since landscape architects offer multiple services, it is a good idea to narrow down your choices based on the scope of your project. Once you know what you need, it is easier to find the right company.

Full service vs. company maintenance landscape

  • A full-service landscaping company offers planning, installation and maintenance work. They have designers, account managers and a crew who can provide everything you need, from designing and building hardscapes to installing equipment and maintenance services.
  • Maintenance companies usually only offer lawn services (mowing, weeding, edging, leaf cleaning and light shrub pruning). You will find many sole proprietorships running lawn care services.

2. Contractor of the research landscape

Now that you know what type of services you need, you can start looking for contractors. Start by reading online reviews from reputable sources. The best contractor for the job should be experienced with the landscape project you need to complete and a long list of satisfied clients. To narrow the list, the landscaper should at least have a license and current insurance coverage.

3. Get referrals

Many providers of lawn service landscapes are small, local companies. Full-service companies cover a wide variety of services, and costs vary depending on how big or small the job is. One of the best ways to find a landscaper is with personal recommendations. Check with friends and family who have recently done landscaping. Local online community boards are also a great place to get leads.

4. Interview with landscapers

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

Here are a few questions to ask:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have liability insurance and are you fully insured? Please include your contractor’s license number and proof of insurance (licensing requirements for landscaping companies vary by state).
  • Will you be sharing references from some projects similar to mine?
  • Do you use subcontractors?
  • Do you have pictures of finished projects that you want to share?
  • Who is responsible for obtaining the necessary permits for a project?
  • Do you provide a drawing of your plans?
  • Do you provide care instructions for the plants installed on my property?
  • Do you offer a guarantee for plant material and processing?
  • What are your payment expectations?

5. Review your top prospects

Once you have your shortlist of contractors, conduct brief interviews based on the references the company gives you. Some questions for references are:

  • Did you complete the project on time?
  • Did the quality of your work meet your expectations?
  • Has your project stayed on budget?
  • Was the team professional and courteous?
  • Would you hire her again?

6. Obtain estimates in writing

Get estimates from at least three contractors for your project. If you’re doing installation or hardscape work, the company should send a representative to your home to take measurements and discuss the types of plants that are suitable for your space. The contractor should always send you a written cost estimate. The cost estimate must contain:

  • Contact information. Company name, address, phone number and website.
  • Total costs including taxes. Some companies are unable to provide final cost information due to variables at work. Make sure you clarify how much the final cost may differ from the estimate.
  • Scope of the project. Should include what will be installed (hardscapes and / or plants).
  • Maintenance schedule. A detailed plan of how long the project will last, including a set start and finish date.
  • Plant specifications. What types of annual or perennial plants, trees, or shrubs are used, and 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 working and plant material.

The total cost of your project can be one of the most important deciding factors, but you should also consider the company’s experience, its track record of getting jobs done on time and on budget, and testimonials from previous clients. Using these elements as a foundation will help you choose the best landscaper for your project.

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