Hiring a Professional Contractor

Landscape contracting is a licensed profession in many jurisdictions in the United States, with requirements varying, but including a combination of formal education, work experience, and/or apprenticeship of a certain time length, technical testing, posting a bond, and periodic renewal submittals. Landscape Contracting Associations offer ongoing education, specialty skills certifications, and recognition of outstanding professional accomplishments.

Tips on choosing a professional contractor

Is your prospect licensed? Ask to see if they have a federal identification number that designates it as a real business, whether they have completed any certification program offered in your state, and if they are insured. Their qualification statement should list references, licensing information and association membership.

Do they appear professional? The professional landscaping contractor arrives on time, takes pictures or draws sketches of your property while there, and uses uniformed workers and clean equipment.

What kind of services do they offer? Professional landscapers usually offer a variety of services, from landscape design and installation to irrigation systems that will keep your lawn looking green all year long.

How are their communication skills? It is important that you establish a good working relationship at the outset of the project. A positive approach to customer communications begins with a written estimate which explains what landscaping services and materials and plant sizes are provided, for what price, and includes the necessary details of weed control, edging, mulching and cleanup. Be sure to find out their anticipated work schedule, and any warranties for plants that die as a result of conditions within their control.

Do they give you a contract? A reputable landscaping firm provides you with a contract specifying start and completion dates. If a deposit is required, the contract could show that the money is held in escrow at a specific bank.

Can they provide customer references and referrals? Referrals can provide an independent source for the answers to such questions as, the number of years the landscape service has been in business, whether they use trained installers and the competence of the on-site supervisor. It is best that you visit a few sites they’ve worked on before committing to any landscape company. You want to hire a landscaping service that can supply fresh ideas and good maintenance tips, as well as install the proper gardens and accessories for your home or business. Take note of the company’s availability, hours, and quality of service before choosing a landscape service.

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