Choosing a Landscape Contractor: Factors to Consider

Choosing a landscape contracting company to assist you in transforming your property into a dream landscape can be, at times, mystifying. We may not know what we want, what plants are appropriate for our location, or even what it might cost us. Here are a few factors to consider as you begin searching for a company that works well with and for you!

References

  • Contact others who have used the contractor.
  • Determine whether your project is similar in size and quality.
  • Determine what reputation the contractor has earned for:
    • dependability
    • capacity
    • ability
    • timeliness of response
  • Ask to see corporate brochures and work portfolios.

Professional Memberships

Ask the contractor for a list of professional activities and affiliations and awards to demonstrate that he or she has an interest in promoting professional growth and has a commitment to excellence. In Ohio ask whether the contractor is a member of any of the following:

  • The Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association (ONLA)
  • The Ohio Landscapers Associations (OLA)
  • County or City Landscape Associations (such as the Columbus Landscapers Association)

Professional Certification

Ask whether the contractor has been professionally certified in any way. Has the contractor earned certification from reputable programs such as:

Licensing

Check to see whether your state requires any of the following licenses for landscape contractors:

  • State contractors license
  • License to sell and purchase nursery stock
  • Pesticide license
  • CDL drivers license

Insurance

Require the contractor to submit certificates showing that he or she complies with all relevant:

  • Insurance Programs
  • Workers’ Compensation Programs
  • Safety Programs
  • Drug & Alcohol Testing Programs

Personnel & Equipment

  • Determine whether the contractor employs people qualified in each particular area of expertise.
  • Determine if the contractor employs sufficient numbers of field and office staff.
  • Determine whether the contractor has sufficient equipment to execute your job without having to rent more equipment or rely on others to supply the equipment.
  • Determine whether the contractor’s personnel and equipment reflect a safe and professional appearance (company uniforms, trucks are clean, trucks are all of a uniform color).

Communications

  • Determine whether the contractor has an office and an answering service or voice mail.
  • Determine whether the contractor’s sales and service trucks are equipped with 2-way radios and cellular phones so that immediate response to customers is possible.
  • Determine whether the contractor returns telephone calls within 24 hours.

Value

Your choice of a contractor should be based primarily on the creativity of the design presented, the salesmanship demonstrated by the contractor, and the contractor’s reputation. Do not base your decision solely on the lowest bid or because one landscape plan includes more plants than another.

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2 Responses to “Choosing a Landscape Contractor: Factors to Consider”

  1. I like your tip on looking for references when hiring a landscaping contractor. I would imagine that talking to other people who have hired a contractor would be a good way to know what you should look for. My wife and I are looking for a landscaping company to hire so we’ll have to ask people who have hired a contractor before to know what to look for.

  2. The point that you make about checking the references to determine if the landscaper might be a good fit makes a lot of sense to me. In addition, I would also like to see a portfolio of past work like you mentioned in the post. I imagine that seeing a portfolio would be a good indicator if you like their work and if they are right for the job you have in mind. Thanks for this info and I will be sure to utilize these criteria as I search for a great landscaper in my area.

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