There are a lot of landscapers out there, from huge inter-state corporations to local outfits with just a truck and a mower. We’re somewhere in between, as we service Vancouver, Portland, and much of the surrounding area. Whether the company (or the project) is big or small, here are are a few questions we recommend you take into consideration before you hire a landscaper.
Will you offer me a detailed proposal or estimate for this work?
The goal here is simple. When you’re hiring a landscape company to work for you, the project they think they’re doing for you and the vision you have of it need to match up. This sounds like an obvious consideration, but look to the estimate they give you for guidance. Is it specific and clear on more than just the main components or distinct features of the project? The estimate is key, because it should reflect the project you’re actually looking to do, and it needs to be more than a laundry or checklist style document. It’s great that your landscaper remembered you wanted new grass but it’s much better when it has been planted in the right place.
Try to eliminate ambiguity and the potential for misunderstandings. For example, depending on where you live, a term as simple as mulch could mean any one of three things! We hear all of these here in the Vancouver area. Mulch could describe medium fir bark dust, leaf compost, or even grass clippings that haven’t been picked up for awhile.
There are many other factors in selecting a company to take on that landscape project. If you’re talking to multiple companies in order to find the right fit, any number of things could take precedence depending on your needs and preferences. Price and the value being offered by a company are really important for any project, but they cannot be your only considerations. Here are the three questions that many people just don’t ask often enough.
- Are you licensed and bonded?
- Are you insured?
- Are your employees covered by worker’s comp?
A lot of homeowners don’t know the burden of liability they could share in the event an accident happens on their property– if the landscaper you hire isn’t protecting their crews, properly licensed, bonded, and insured, your homeowner’s insurance could take the hit, or you could be sued. Not all landscapers understand that these are true costs of doing business, and they’re willing to take that risk at your (and their company’s) expense.
Make an educated choice and work with a company that chooses to invest in a reputation and proper practices. Whoever that may be, they’re more likely to bring those values to work.
Looking for more information? The state of Oregon requires landscape contractors working in Oregon to be registered with them. Check out the OLCB here!