Looking to hire a landscaping contractor to renovate your landscape?
It’s true, it can be difficult to find good, reliable help these days.
But there are some strategies you can use to find a solid landscaping contractor for your next landscape project.
Below we will cover 5 timesaving steps you can use to hire a solid contractor.
As well as which landscaper contractors YOU SHOULD CUT to avoid contractor scams.
5 Steps To Finding the Perfect Landscaping Contractor
Enough delay, let’s find that landscape contractor who is going to take your lawn to the next level!
Step #1 Start With An Idea of What You Want
Before you start the hunt for the perfect landscape contractor. You need to have some idea of what you are looking to do with your landscape. And more importantly, you need to have your budget set before you ever talk to anyone.
Look, you can always change your budget later. But if you don’t have an idea of your budget, you are more likely to get taken advantage of by a landscape contractor.
Once you have your budget set, you want to consider hiring a landscape architect first.
“My recommendation is if your project is over $20k, that an independent 3rd party Landscape Architect needs to be commissioned.”
Decide Whether or Not You Will Work With a Landscape Architect
Here’s the deal, ideally you will already have a landscape architect that has helped you build the vision of your future landscape on paper (or digitally of course).
If you have not, you really should start there.
Look, hiring a landscape architect is not always necessary. However, there are a lot of landscape design ideas out there and it can be overwhelming!
Fortunately, a good architect can help you get the most out of your space.
For more on budgeting and hiring a landscape designer check out our article on how to plan out your future landscape.
In this article, we will focus mainly on selecting the right contractor.
Step #2 Search for Landscape Contractors
The next step to finding the perfect landscape contractor is to start searching.
Simple enough right?
Create a list of at least 3 landscape contractors that you think might be a good fit, and be prepared to cut anyone of them if something doesn’t seem right.
You can find great landscape contractor leads by:
Searching on Google:
A quick Google search and reading reviews online is a good place to start. Not only will you find some of the best landscape contractors in your area, but you can also read reviews.
Asking for Recommendations on Facebook and Next Door
If you aren’t already in them, join your area's local Facebook groups and ask for recommendations. That is likely where you are going to find the best recommendations for contractors in your area.
You are likely to find some great contractors that mainly get work by word of mouth.
Additionally, some landscape contractors advertise on NextDoor, which is also another great place to ask for recommendations.
Checking with Your Green Pal Lawn Service Provider
Finally, if you haven’t already, sign up for GreenPal to get free lawn care bids.
Many of the lawn care pros on our platform are also landscape contractors, or at the very least can refer you to one they recommend.
Ask Your GreenPal lawn service provider if they can do the job or refer you to someone who can.
Step #3 Whittle Down the Pack
Ok, now that you are armed with your list of at least 3 contractors, it's time to do some research and whittle down the pack.
Check for Online Reviews
There are tons of great online resources you can use to find reviews of landscape contractors in your area.
While one or two negative reviews may not accurately define the character of a landscape contractor. They can show you if there is a pattern of bad behavior that you should avoid.
Check for reviews on:
And the Better Business Bureau.
CUT A CONTRACTOR! If you see a pattern of complaints in online reviews.
Make Sure They are Licensed and Insured
Look, not every state requires landscape contractors to be licensed, but they should always be insured.
ESPECIALLY if there will be digging or excavation involved in the landscape project.
Make sure that any landscaper you are considering is insured, and licensed if required by your state.
CUT A CONTRACTOR! If they are not insured.
Find Proof of Past Projects
Online reviews can be faked, and having a license doesn’t actually mean the contractor has real-world experience.
Therefore you want to get proof of past work by looking for pictures of past work.
If the landscaper doesn’t have a website, they should still be able to send you photos of their past work.
Pro TIp! Use a reverse image search on proof of work photos. Scammers often steal images from online searches, and a reverse image search can save you a lot of trouble.
CUT A CONTRACTOR! If they fail to produce photographs of past projects or use stolen images.
Step #4 Interview Contractors and Get Quotes
Ok, we are getting close! Now that you have done the leg work, we are getting to the fun part.
Interview Contractor On the Phone and Schedule Meeting
Now that you have a list of solid, legitimate landscape contractors in your area, it's time to interview them on the phone.
Some questions you may want to ask each potential contractor is:
What sort of landscaping do you have experience with?
How long have you been in business?
Do you have a satisfaction guarantee/warranty?
How big are the projects you work on?
If everything checks out during your phone interview, it’s time to schedule an in-person meeting and get a quote.
Meet the contractor at the job site, and talk to them about the project. This may be the best time to find the one contractor that stands out from the pack.
At your in-person meeting make sure that the contractor:
Understands your needs,
Is someone you get along with,
Is someone you trust.
Once you get the quotes from your remaining candidates, compare them to make sure everything adds up.
CUT A CONTRACTOR! If he doesn’t understand your needs, or you don’t get along with them. Especially if you project it sizable. Keep in mind you are going to be dealing with this person often, and if you don’t get along, it can be a painful process.
Step #5 Picking the ONE
Ok, so ideally you have a good idea of the contractor you want to work with by now. After all, there can only be one.
Here are a few last things to keep in mind. CUT A CONTRACTOR if:
They won’t sign an agreement: Don’t accept a verbal agreement, get it in writing.
Want full payment in advance: Contractors will often ask for 50% upfront, but never more.
Openly offer cash discounts: Cash can be a great way to get paid, but cash payments are harder to prove. It can also be a sign of a deeper pattern of shady behavior. It's safest to pay by check or card.
When it comes down to it, you may just have to “use the force” and go with the contractor that feels right.
Selecting the Perfect Landscape Contractor At The End of the Day
There are a lot of ways to determine which landscape contractor is right for the job, and by following the guidelines above. You can find the perfect contractor for your project.
At the end of the day, trust your intuition to make the final choice.
And when your landscape project finally gets completed, share it with us on Twitter @YourGreenPal, we would love to see the results!
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