Your new landscape installation shouldn’t be a painful process.
You are finally going to have the outdoor living space of which you have always dreamed. You envision spending all spring sitting around a crisp fire with friends and family while you watch the kids play on your new immaculate lawn. To make your dreams a reality, you search online for a list of landscape contractors to start the lawn renovation process. Once you pick a contractor, you start to work with a designer and come up with a plan to make all your dreams come true. Things seem great and you are excited to get started. You awake on the scheduled construction day, ready to meet with the landscape crew that will be initiating your landscape project to find the company absent.
That is only the beginning of your frustration and road to disaster. With a call to the landscape company, someone you have not talked to before greets your call and responds that the representative assisting you, who you inquire of, isn’t available, but he can help you. They inform you that they are running a little bit behind schedule on a job, they should be finished soon, and you are up next on the list. After a couple of weeks and a few more delays, you hear some large trucks outside your house and printed on the side is “Acme Landscaping Co”. Yet you hired “ABC Landscape”. So after placing a call into ABC landscaping, you learn from one of the nameless employees that sometimes they use sub-contractors to keep up with demand. The landscaping project does finally conclude, however, with a broken window, the wrong color pavers, months delay, and a lawn that looks like it may have more weeds than grass. After all the headache you are just happy that they are not taking up residence at your house anymore. Throughout the summer you notice that some lights are no longer working, some of the pavers are misshaped, and part of the work is sinking or not draining well. A call into “ABC Landscape” results in an apology, a promise to take care of it as soon as possible, and yet no one ever shows up to correct one issue.
Installing or renovating your landscaping is supposed to be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, we hear countless clients’ stories like the one above all the time. Some of our clients need help fixing the lack of expertise, knowledge, and certification shown by their previous contractor. We hear the same complaints over and over again, but it shouldn’t be this way. In an attempt to help you avoid a situation like the one mentioned above we have composed a list of questions that will help you avoid potentially disastrous situations so that you can reap the benefits of your new landscaping without the headaches.
- 1. Do you have a portfolio of recent work?
Ask if the contractor specializes in the project type you want to pursue, and if they have completed projects to show representing the same scope. The quality of the images they display is a representation of their quality of work. If you notice high-quality professional pictures or videos, it should be an indication that the contractor takes pride in their work and wants to display the same details and quality in their projects.
- What qualifications or certifications qualify your company?
Other landscape companies may have the best price in town but that’s not always the only evaluation in qualifying lawn and landscaping. Making sure your chosen company has proper training and certifications for their area of expertise will save you short-term and long-term headaches even years after your current landscape project. Making sure you test the company’s best practices will ensure you avoid issues with your project in the years after completion.
- Do you have the capability in-house or will you be using subcontractors?
While large projects encompass different fields of expertise and multiple contractors, such as electricians, carpenters, or plumbers, it is valuable to have a contractor that performs all desired landscaping work. If a contractor cannot keep up with a project’s demand, the solution is often to take on the added project, but then sub-contract the work out to another company. If a landscape provider uses sub-contractors to complete their projects, it can be hard to ensure a consistent level of quality and service.
- Can you provide a scaled design plan for my project?
A drawing of your outdoor space can be the best way to visualize your project. It also provides you the ability to make sure everything will work according to plan. Having a visual drawing is also a great way to be certain your project and quotes are comparable.
- Are you fully licensed, bonded, and insured?
This should be one of the most important questions you ask. In our experience, accidents are rare but do happen. If your contractor does not have the proper insurance, it could end up costing more than your budget initially allowed.
- Do you offer any warranty or guarantees on products and labor?
Warranties on workmanship and products are standard procedure for reputable landscape providers. The terms and coverages will vary from company to company. Be certain to clarify what is and isn’t covered and what is the duration of coverage. If a company is not willing to offer any warranty on performed work, that should be a red flag in your selection process that they do not validate and trust their work.
- Will I have a dedicated contact person for the entire project?
Great customer service is essential to maintaining clear, constant communication. Choosing a landscape provider whose process involves delegating an account representative will make your experience more enjoyable and less complicated. If your project has one contact person in the company, there is less of a chance of miscommunication, and your project can get the attention and execution it requires and deserves.
Ask the Tough Questions
Don’t give your contractor the benefit of the doubt. While getting the answers to the questions above is important to the success of your project it should just be the beginning to your list of questions. If you need more ideas of questions to ask take a look at out our FAQ’s section here.