You've done the unthinkable! You just hired a landscaper and they made a complete mess of your property. You don't want to take the credit when your new landscaping job goes very, very wrong so it's easiest to blame the contractor that did that awful (and expensive) job in your back yard. I agree with you. That the darned landscaper that you hired, created one hell of a little landscaping nightmare for you, but the landscaper may not be the real problem.
Instead of blaming the landscaper, let's rethink your hiring methods.
I have put together 10 very simple guidelines to follow when you hire your next landscape contractor. It you do your homework, even you can have the landscape paradise of your dreams, and on budget to I might add.
These recommendations are based on my over 20 years of landscape construction experience, and are definitely a very valuable resource when hiring your next construction professional. I hope my landscaping recommendations are of help to you, and make your next landscape hiring decision a lot less stressful. Also your completed landscaping job something you will be proud of, because you took the time to do your homework.
1. Home much experience does your landscape contractor have
If your landscaper does not have at least 10 or more years of provable professional landscaping background, I would throw him or her back.
2. Does he have good personal, and business references.
Always do your homework, when hiring any landscape contractor, and make sure he has excellent local references to back up his years of landscaping experience. I have also found that contractors who have good business references, and are personally connected to a wide range of reputable local businesses, are usually just that themselves “reputable businesses, that have happy customers, and do great work”
3. Your landscape contractor should show you his jobs
He should be able to show you a wide range of before and after pictures of the work he has completed. If he can not show you lots of before and after pictures that are very closely related to the work that you need done, He or she is probable not the landscaper you need to hire.
4. Can he show you local testimonials
Not every landscaper will have testimonials, but this is a excellent way for you to check how professional, or on the ball he is not only as a business person, but as a professional landscaper. It is vitally important what other local clients of his have to say about his overall landscaping work, from: landscape design, the actual landscape construction, to after the landscape work is done, services, “does he stand behind his job”. Can he properly do landscape maintenance after the sale.
5. FREE estimates a must
If your landscape contractor is not willing to give you a fast FREE estimate, you should probably take the time to find a contractor who will not only get you a FREE estimate in a few days, but show up on time for the estimate. He should be prepared to show you his work, and product samples that are applicable to your landscaping job.
6. He should be extremely knowledgeable
Your Landscape Contractor should be quick to give you recommendations, about your landscaping job. He should understand drainage, and be able to in depth make recommendations about how his landscaping company will get your job done.
7. Get a comprehensive blueprint
It is very important that you have a accurate landscape design, even if you have to pay for a landscape design, the facts are if your job is more than a few thousand dollars worth of work. You better know exactly what you are paying for, and a detailed landscaping blueprint is the only way to get this done. This will save you loads of trauma down the road, and will give you ammunition if you do not get your landscaping job done the way that both you and your contractor agreed to.
8. Get a job start & job completion date
No body wants their job to go on for ever. You need to get these things out in the open, and put in writing in the landscaping bid you receive. Their should be no gray area
9. Get a detailed exact bid on the job plus a warranty
You are either going to hire your contractor by the hour, or by a fixed bid, and if you do decide to get a fixed bid on the work to be done, which I strongly recommend. Make very sure that your fixed bid is just that. A fixed price, to do an agreed fixed amount of work, that is written out in detail in a contract which both you and your landscape contractor sign. I totally disagree with any price over runs, if you have a tight contract. If your contractor says he under bid the job, or materials cost more than he thought, that’s his fault, and not a reason for you to pay out extra money. If you add things to the contract, that is the only time for the job price to go up, and this should be detailed in the contract as a fixed hourly wage.
Make sure you get a writing a warranty, for your completed job, so you have some peace of mind, that you will be taken care of if something goes wrong. Don’t forget if you have to ask for a warranty, that could be a red flag.
10. Watch the job
Now if you have followed even half of the guidelines listed above, you will be 100 times ahead of your average customer. The only last thing I would recommend is to, “ if you have the time” to watch your job being done, or at the very least, pop in on your lunch break, to inspect you landscaping job in progress. This will not only give you very valuable knowledge about your job, but will help prevent any mistakes from occurring on your job, or catch these mistakes before they become huge mistakes. I know all of this seems like a lot of work on your part, but my hope is that you will not only be able to hire a good, but a great garden landscaping contractor, on your next project.
Please contact Ace Landscaping if you would like more detailed information on: landscaping, or any other landscape questions you may have. We would like the chance to earn your business for years to come.
Thanks for reading my landscaping blog!