Once you have decided to invest in a landscape project at your home or place of business, the tricky part really begins…how do you choose between all of the different landscape companies out there? Most projects are a serious investment and something you want to last for as long as you are in your home. Making an educated and well thought out choice is extremely important. These are the items we would suggest to consider:
- Check out their websites
- These days, digital information is king. Check out the websites of each of the companies you are considering. Look at their work portfolio-are these projects they have actually done or are they just stock photos of what they ‘could’ do? Read reviews on the website AND on google and facebook. Look at if they post blogs that offer valuable content and information from their experts-not just trying to sell. Does the work they show line up with what you are looking for?
- Confirm credentials
- Look on the company’s websites and see what credentials they have. Are they members of the state and national Landscaping Associations? Go to the websites and check to see if they actually are members- if their site says they are members and they actually are not-that tells you a lot about their company already. Are they BOTH licensed and insured?
- Ask around
- The best landscape companies get most of their business from referrals. This means people were so happy with the work that was done that they talked to others about it. Isn’t this what you would want to be able to do after your project is installed?
- Are the bids apples to apples?
- Since the bids are coming from two or more different companies, the bids are likely a bit different. Remember each designer will present their own ideas to you. Each company has different equipment, staffing, and capabilities. Line the bids up next to each other, highlight what is most important to you, and make sure it is clear in both bids.
- Did the designer listen to what you wanted?
- This is one of the most important items in our opinion. This is YOUR project that you are paying for. Many designers have ideas in mind that are great, but not great for you. An excellent designer and company is going to hear your ideas and bring them to life.
- Communication with the companies
- When you call, do they answer the phone? What is the person who answers the phone like? Do you get a call back in a reasonable amount of time? If these things are not present in the bidding process, don’t expect them in the installation process either!
- Is price the most important consideration to you? If it is, then you can guarantee that certain companies are going to be ruled out automatically. It is important and valid to ask companies what goes into their estimating procedure, how do they figure out how much each item costs. Your excellent companies are going to have a specific program and be able to answer this question for you easily. Remember- the three most important things to people when hiring for a service are cost, service, or speed. You are likely to only get two out of the three, so what is most important to you for this project?
- Equipment and experience
- What type of equipment will they be using? Will the company be digging your base for your patio completely by hand? Is this the first time they have installed a patio? Feel free to ask these questions during the bidding process.
- Is the work warrantied?
- This item really speaks to the quality of the project. A trustworthy company will offer some sort of warranty on their work. This is an important question to ask.
Selecting a landscape contractor is a big decision. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to be sure you are selecting the right company for you!