How to Find a Good Landscaping Contractor

Landscape Contractors

Whether your a new homeowner or an existing one or perhaps your a business owner with some bushes and hedges, you might need a landscaping contractor if you ever decide to remake or redo your landscaping. So, how do you go about finding a good landscaping contractor?

Most people begin by asking their family and friends or maybe some nearby neighbors who recently had their lawn landscaped. But what if your new to the neighborhood? While you might be tempted to pick a random landscaping contractor out of the phone book, you might unintentionally hit upon an unreliable and/or poor landscaping contractor. Many people have had success using online directories like SmartGuy.com, which lists thousands of local professionals many with ratings you can verify. Regardless, here are a few things that will help you along in find a good landscaping contractor.

Get Organized
Before you began make sure of the landscaping changes you want to make. It’s one thing if you want to plant a few trees or put down some mulch, but if you’re doing your whole yard or property with many different features, that will require more planning. Start out by asking around for a landscaping contractor. Some good places to start is by asking your local garden store or nursery for referrals. You can also check with your local chamber of commerce. In order to minimize your costs, you want to do it right the first time. 

Secure a few estimates
Seek a written detailed estimate from each of the landscaping contractors. The landscaping estimate should include a summary of labor, material costs, the specific brand of materials, and details of the scope of the job. Ask for a detailed line item cost for the project from each of the landscaping contractors that you talk to. This will help you compare the estimates side by side to help narrow your search.

Look into references and past jobs
Ask for a list of past clients from each landscaping contractors and contact them to see how they performed, how long it took them to complete the job and if they experienced any setbacks or issues working with the landscaping contractors. You might want to even ask them for references of a few jobs they did some years earlier to see how they are holding up and if they’re still consistent in their work. It may be a red flag if a contractor has a hard time providing references. You want to hire a landscaping contractor who is knowledgeable, easy to work with and reliable.

Look into reviews
Before hiring a landscaping contractor, look and see if they have Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating or SmartGuy rating. You can also enter the landscaping contractor's name or the company name followed by the words “rip off” or “scam” online and see if anything negative comes up. You might also find some information on their company at your state’s Contractors License Reference Site.

Request a detailed contract
Make sure everything that is discussed pertaining to job is in writing. The contract needs to include all the landscaping contractor’s information, including: name, address, office and cell numbers, and license number, plus whatever details were in the estimate. It is important that the contract clearly states what is and is not to be included in the job and an approximate time when the job will be completed.

Get a copy of the landscaping contractor’s liability and workers’ compensation insurance certificates
Landscape contractors have licenses regulated by the state. Additionally, your town may have additional requirements for a contractor performing work. Be careful If he tells you that he doesn’t have coverage. If something goes wrong, you could be responsible. For example, if a worker gets hurt or resulting in damage to your property. Always ask to see the certificate of insurance.

Request a guarantee
Any good landscaping contractor should be confident of his or her work and should be more than happy to provide a guarantee after the job is done at no or little cost which is usually a common practice.

Finally, make sure to never give more than 10% to 20% in advance. You don’t want the money your paying him to go to bills from his last job or for materials on another current job, rather than for your job and materials. Also, don’t pay him the last 20% until the entire job is done to your satisfaction.

When wanting to find a good landscaping contractor, it most definitely pays to take the right steps.