How to Choose a Landscape Designer Or Landscaping Company and Save You Time & Money
Choosing the right landscape designer or landscaping company isn’t always easy.
Why? Because you may be bombarded with misleading claims, confusing advertising, or simply bad information.
You see, making the decision to hire a landscape designer can be a daunting task. There are so many designers and landscape companies hustling for your business. On the surface, they may all appear to be pretty much the same. But often times by simply digging a little bit deeper and knowing what to look for, you’ll be much better prepared to make the right decision.
Whether you’ve hired a Landscape Company in the past, or if you’re searching for the perfect designer for the very first time, this information will save you some time and money…maybe even a headache or two.
Below are 5 Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring A Landscape Company:
1) Is the company properly licensed and insured?
This first seemingly obvious thing to consider when hiring any landscape company. Let’s talk about licensing first. Sure, you want to hire a landscape company that’s licensed, but what does that really mean?
Through countless conversations with prospects and clients over the years, I’ve discovered that most people aren’t even aware of the different licenses that landscape companies are required to have–much less whether or not they have them.
Did you know there are different licenses that landscapers in Texas may be required to carry? a) General Liability Insurance, b) Texas Nursery/ Floral Certificate from Department of Agriculture, c) Irrigation License from Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Any company without the proper licenses could present a potential liability issue for you. You’ll certainly want to hire a company that is insured. Always insist on certificates of liability; it’s also a good idea to be asked as “additional insured.”
2) Are quoted prices fixed or just cost estimates?
A low price can often be presented in the form of an “estimate” Always be cautious of these. Instead, insist on a firm proposal which details the service to be provided and sets forth fixed pricing for those services. Unless a significant amount of excavation is involved, an experienced landscape company should not have a problem with this type of arrangement.
It’s no secret–professional landscape companies base their pricing on three basic factors: labor, equipment, materials and profit. However, there are also overhead costs that you may not realize. Things like employee uniforms, the employee training programs, and many other expenses that go into bringing you a high level of service. If you expect a professional company with great quality and great customer service, the it’s unlikely you’ll be happy with a landscape company offering the lowest “rock-bottom” pricing.
Keep this in mind when comparing prices and proposals. Quite often what appears to be the low price can be deceiving. It is critical for you to clarify and understand exactly what’s included and what’s required to achieve your desired outcome.
Once you are comfortable with a proposal, you’ll want to get a signed contract that will legally document the terms and scope of work agreed upon by both parties.
3) Will you be able to talk to other clients who have used the landscape company for similar projects?
Any landscape company can make comments regarding their company practices and quality of their work. Unfortunately, some of what they say may not be completely accurate.
Established companies will be able to offer you plenty of testimonials and references from current AND past clients–if they cannot, then it is probably a good idea to keep looking. It is also important to personally contact a few of those references, and if possible to get out and take a look at their properties. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau and get the customer’s rating.
Be sure to ask for references from other customers whose properties are similar in size and and scope of work to that of your own. A landscape company who specializes in maintenance and has a great reputation in that regard may not be your best choice for a comprehensive landscape installation project.
When gathering feedback from other customers, make certain you ask about the level of communication offered by the landscaper, their reliability and overall quality of work and if their project was finished on time and within budget.
4) What will be your line of communication with the company while your project is underway?
As with any relationship, an open line of communication is critical to a successful relationship with your landscape contractor. The ability to effectively communicate with you, the client, AND the crew that is working is essential should unexpected circumstances arise.
The labor force within the landscape industry today is made up in large of Hispanics–often non English speaking individuals. This could pose a problem.
It is always a good idea to confirm with any landscape company that there will be someone on your project that understands and speaks fluent English–this way you can communicate with them.
Be sure to ask about communications and who your point of contact within the company will be. This way, you’ll be in the best position to handle issues that may come up.
A professional company should report to you the progress of each days work and a plan for the next day. This could be done verbally or documented as a written report.
5) What type of guarantees will the company offer on your project?
Any company should be full accountable for their performance on your property and plantings or other products they install. This seems fairly straightforward, right? However, not all landscape companies offer a guarantee–and if they do, they’re not all created equal. You should look for guarantees for 100% satisfaction for their product.
Answering these questions give you a level of confidence when choosing a quality landscape company. You’ll have peace of mind; save yourself time and money in the long run and know exactly what to expect.
Great landscape designers and landscape companies should be able to specify plants and trees that will work for your specific region. For example, landscaping in Austin TX can be tricky when choosing the right plants. The soil requirements as well as the abundant deer population make the plant selection not as easy as looking in a plant book under Zone 8. However, a knowledgeable and reputable landscaping company can make the right design selections and have your yard looking great with little or no hassle.
Choose wisely and be thorough when selecting a landscape company. You’ll be glad you went through the extra effort. Good Luck!
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