Hiring a landscaing contractor is the first step to something very important – which requires an investment of time and money.
Consider the following when hiring a contractor for landscaping services:
- How long has the contractor been operating their business under the same company name and phone number? It is very common to have gypsy contractors migrate into town for one to three years and then move on again. Many times installation deficiencies will not be discovered for one to three years after installation.
- How many years of experience does the contractor have in the industry?
- If your project involves several trades of work, how many trades can the contractor perform or manage? If they are going to sub-contract out any work, who will manage the sub-contractors? What are the qualifications of the sub-contractors?
- Does the contractor have any formal, accredited industry education? Every contractor that comes out to give an estimate for you will tell you they are qualified to do your project, but do they have verification from any accredited organizations or license boards backing their claims? Are you willing to risk thousands of dollars on nothing more than a contractor’s opinion?
- Is the contractor Board certified or licensed for the trades that they are performing? Have you verified their licenses and certifications or are you just taking their word for it? Warning: When most contractors say they are “licensed and insured” they are usually referring to a business license and liability insurance. Anyone with $10.00 can have a business license; there are no qualifications or exams to take. Many trades of work require licensing and permitting. If you hire a contractor that performs work illegally and the code enforcement office or licensure board finds out, you will may be given a Cease & Desist Order from the State Attorney General’s Office and you as the property owner may be responsible for the expense of having the work re-done by a qualified and licensed professional.
- Does the contractor have at least $1,000,000.00 in liability insurance, workers compensation insurance, and automobile insurance? Did you know that if contractor is not insured and is working on your property and an accident occurs, that you are responsible for the damages or injury if they do not have the proper insurance. It is important for your protection that they have coverage for Liability, Auto, and worker’s compensation; not just Liability coverage.
- How qualified is the person that will be supervising your project? Once most companies become successful, the owner (the one with all the credentials, experience, and talent that made the company successful) removes themselves from the field to run the company from their office. They will then hire in-expensive and un-qualified labor to replace themselves in the field.
- What warranties does the contractor offer? Most contractors use cheap materials that offer little or no warranty (for price competitiveness) and their workmanship will be at most one year.
- Does the contractor have sufficient performance references such as Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau that you have verified?