10 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Landscaper
Finding the right professional contractor for any type of work to be done on a home or business is tough. That can even include finding a professional landscaper. We have heard from many people over the years who have hired companies to perform landscaping but fail to meet their expectations. These people tell us the reasons vary from a lack of knowledge and experience to a wide variety of other reasons. I’m sure you can think of an experience in which you wish you would have done more research prior to hiring for a professional service. This article focuses on how to avoid making that same type of mistake when hiring for landscape projects. Whether your project is a paver patio, fire pit, retaining wall, steps, deck, outdoor kitchen, pond, waterfall, planting bed, lawn seeding, etc. I have put together a list of 10 things you should consider before pulling the trigger with a landscaper.
Let’s start with the basics 1.) Have you heard of the company before? A company’s reputation is often easy to find out these days, whether it be by word-of-mouth or a click of the mouse in the form of online reviews. Just simply ask friends or family if they or anyone they know have dealt with the company. Chances are they have word-of-mouth knowledge that will assist you in your decision. Another thing to explore is the length of time they have been in business. You can once again ask friends or family for this information or turn on the computer and do some research online. Look at their website, assuming that they have one. The absence of one could tell you they are a newer company and maybe aren’t the one you want to take a chance with. There are other sources you can use such as google to find this information. Make sure that you pick someone with at least 15-20 years of experience. This should help to minimize any nuisances that may occur during the completion of your project.
Another thing you may want to consider is the other services offered by the company. This brings me to 2.) What sort of services do they offer? Many people choose a landscaper that does just landscaping. While that may be fine for small jobs, larger jobs could be a problem. Are they going to know about proper drainage techniques to keep water away from your house? I have seen way too many jobs that were performed that have water issues after the work is completed. If the company being considered doesn’t perform excavating as one of their services, they probably don’t know the importance of this for the longevity of both your home and the landscaping being done. Drainage is the most important part of landscaping in my opinion. You want the water to go far away from your house to avoid filling your basement with water or possibly even washing mulch away in your beds during a spring thaw, or a rainfall event. Another thing to consider, do they have enough knowledge in fixing your grass after the work is completed? Many times during the “tear-out” process of landscaping lawns can be ripped up, depending on the severity of the job. You want someone who is going to know how to get seed, sod or hydro-seed to grow quickly in disturbed areas before a rainfall has a chance to wash away your new turf. Choosing a full service company may also be cheaper if they can offer you all the services you are looking for especially for new construction. If you’re looking for excavating, landscaping, seeding and irrigation for a new home it will often be much cheaper to use one company. Plus, you will only have to deal with one person during the completion of the project and not have to be in contact with many companies.
Consider who is doing the actual work on your property or business. Is it 3.) the actual company you are hiring doing the work. Many times the company who is hired is actually just subcontracting the work out to another “guy” or small company. The company you are hiring gets to pocket the extra money while paying the other “guy” less and your more than likely getting subpar results in your project. Hiring a company that actually does the work also benefits you in communication. If you don’t like the way something is getting done or want something changed you can easy change it when the company you hired is on site. If subcontracted out, they will have to contact the contractor and get approval for changes. This could cost you both time and extra money for the completion of your project.
Once you have found a company that doesn’t subcontract the work out, ask yourself 4.) Are the owners involved directly in your project? If you are able to choose a landscaping company where the owners are directly involved in the project, more than likely your project will be a success. They are going to have knowledge and care the most about exceeding your expectations. This is especially true if they have been in business for a long period of time. They may catch something that they don’t like on the project, such as drainage concerns, design concerns, etc. They would then let you know and be able to make corrections quickly and efficiently without going through a long chain of individuals.
Do you feel that 5.) the company is passionate about what they do? A company that is truly passionate about beautifying your outdoor space through landscaping will give the best results. Passion should start with the owners of the company. They should have been very compassionate and eager to transform your space into your vision during the estimate phase. Passion from owners is typically “contagious” to the employees of that company. If you feel that after receiving the estimate, the bidder truly understood and was genuinely excited about completing your project, that should say a lot about the company and its employees. Passionate owners and employees will go out of their way to exceed your expectations. Companies that lack this important trait are going to give rise to less than desired results. They are not going to go out of their way to make sure you get everything you want and more at the completion of your landscaping project.
Another thing that seems to tie all of the previously mentioned considerations is 6.) Do they have a physical location? Are they operating out of a garage or storage unit or do they have a Nursey and/or Garden Center. If the company has a Nursery and/or Garden Center, then visit it before hiring the company. You can find out some of the previous things I have mentioned so far in a short period of time. Are the owners there operating the business? Do you see the owners working alongside of their employees? Do you see passion from the employees? Talk to the employees and ask questions to understand how knowledgeable and passionate they are. How about the cleanliness of the place? Is it clean, neat and very well organized? If the Nursery or Garden Center is all of those things, they are likely going to give you top-notch work on your landscaping project.
While you’re visiting the Garden Center and/or Nursery, if they have one, 7.) find out what sort of supplies they offer. Do they have professional grade supplies? Look at the supplies that will be used during your project, whether that is edging, plastic, fabric, plants, topsoil, mulch, rock, etc. You want to make sure they aren’t supplies from “big box retailers” since these supplies are often very poor in quality, especially edging, plastics and fabrics. If they don’t have a Garden Center or Nursery, then you will either need to use their website if they have one and hope they list supplies on it or talk to them personally. The importance of the product grade comes down to longevity and maintenance. For instance, edging that is Professional “High-Test” is going to resist movement in winter freeze-thaw and be able to take a beating from a lawn mower due to its design and thickness. Fabric and Plastic used under mulch and rock, respectively, also needs to be professional grade. Profession grade will be thicker and be harder for holes to get put in them during both installation and after project completion. A thick product will also prevent weeds under the bed from growing through and making your nice planting bed into a weed bed in the coming years.
Yet another thing to look at while visiting the property or possibly from pictures they may have on their website 8.) how does the vehicles and equipment they own look? How well a company takes care of their vehicles and equipment can tell you a lot about the company. If you can tell that they are kept clean and look to be in great condition. Then they must have pride in not only their vehicles and equipment, but also the work they perform.
Can you find information out easily on the internet? 9.) Do they have a great website? Since the invention of the internet, this has been one of the best sources of information for all information, this includes landscaping. Once you find the website, if they have one then start with basic information. Look at how the company started, who are the key players, etc. Then you should be able to have access to previous work they have done, whether that be from pictures or testimonials from previous customers. You should also be able to see the other services they provide and products they use. While websites can be a great source of information, just remember that the company can put anything on them. You may have to trust your instinct when it comes to deciding if the pictures and information are genuine.
The last and most important consideration: 10.) Do you feel 100% comfortable with the company after reviewing all the above information? You need to have total trust in the company that is going to be performing the landscaping work on your property or business. When you leave for work or leave the house for the day while they are working, do you trust that they can provide you with no headaches when you return home? No one wants to come home to see their new blacktop driveway damaged by an untrained and unsupervised employee attempting to use a piece of equipment or debris and supplies scattered all over your lawn, street and driveway. When the landscaping project is complete, hopefully you will have found this article to be very useful in assisting in your decision to choose the best landscape professional in the area.
LAKE KOUNTRY INC., IS A FULL SERVICE LANDSCAPE COMPANY. LOCATED JUST MINUTES FROM NEW RICHMOND, WI , SOMERSET, WI , OSCEOLA, WI , AND AMERY, WI . WE CARRY A FULL SELECTION OF LANDSCAPE SERVICES AND LANDSCAPE SUPPLIES, PLUS A FULL SELECTION OF ANNUALS, PERENNIALS, SHRUBS, TREES AND GIFT ITEMS AVAILABLE FROM OUR NURSERY/GARDEN CENTER.