So you have made the decision to create the landscape of your dreams! There are a lot of choices to make before the shovel goes into the ground. Such as who to pick for a landscape contractor?
What plants to choose?
Where to put the focus?
How will the sun affect the look and feel?
Do we include structures? Seating?
Will it be an extension of the indoors? Or a separate space all together?
All good questions and things to consider…but who will be doing the work?
In a world of glitz and glam we often gravitate to the pretty things, but there is more to a landscape contractor than a fancy truck and new equipment. “Perception is everything” it is a great quote and holds weight, but a snake in the grass is still beautiful to look at. There are people in the world that know how to act, look and talk to get your hard earned dollars. Too many times I have heard the horror stories about contractors walking away with people’s money and have nothing to show for it besides a ripped up landscape (if they even got that far).
So how can you trust someone you don’t know with your money and your home? That is a hard one, but you can narrow down your choices by asking some good questions.
Top 9 questions to ask a landscape contractor
- How long have you been in business? Its good to hear their back story and how they got to where they are today. But don’t base your decision on this question. There are a lot of talented startups out there.
- Are you insured? Everyone that steps onto your property needs to be insured. It covers them and you!
- Do you have samples of your work? Ask to see photos, websites or other marketing materials they may have.
- Can you make a design plan? Whether it is to scale or not, having a plan and working out the details before the shovel goes in the ground is important. And if they can’t make a design perhaps have a landscape designer create one.
- Can you provide references? All good landscape companies will have references lined up, ask for them and call them!
- Can we see some of your work? Ask to see a recent landscape they installed. Most happy clients will be proud to have you walk through a beautiful landscape.
- When can you start and what is your timeline? On large jobs if the contractor can start ‘tomorrow’ it is usually a sign they are not busy. If they are good they should be booked up. One or two day jobs are good fillers for contractors and may be able to start right away. Also, making sure they have a detailed timeline on what is happening and when shows organization.
- What is the payment process? Normally contractors will ask for 30-50% upfront. This will cover the material costs; it protects the contractor…there are deadbeat clients out there too! After the initial payment 2-3 draws are normal, with the remainder upon completion. Always hold back a little until you are happy with the results. All too many times clients will pay upfront before work is even done.
- Do you warranty your work? A good contractor will warranty their work for at least one year. This shows care and quality and gives you peace of mind.
I am sure you will have many more questions to ask your contractor, but this is a good start to protect yourself and your landscape dreams. If your prospective contractor cannot answer these questions honestly then it is probably a good idea to move on.
Contact Blue Mountain Four Season for your landscape needs.