How to Choose Your Landscaping Company

When you begin your search for a professional landscaper, look for indications that a company has integrity, provides value for money, treats every project with the same degree of attention to detail, delivers on time and is cost effective. Think about what you want from your outdoor space. Make sure you tell the landscaping company what you want your garden and property to look like. Share how you want to feel when you’re in it. Plant some great ideas and let your landscapers make the design come alive.

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  1. Start with some weeding and check credentials: You wouldn’t choose your home contractor without some research; select your landscaper the same way. Ask for references. Look at the gardens, walkways and stonework in and around your neighbourhood. Do you like the quality of the work you see? Prune away the companies you don’t want to use for sure. Word of mouth is still the best way to find out all about a company’s experience, years in business and size of company.
  2. Evaluate overall strengths: Assess design skills, quality of materials, level of craftsmanship and creative capabilities. Narrowed down your search yet? Check out the company online. Get a feel for the kind of work they do. Review the portfolio and services offered by the landscaper you choose.
  3. Compare quotes wisely: If you have shortlisted a few landscaping companies, ensure that you are comparing their estimates on common grounds – same quality and quantity of materials. Don’t settle for poor quality of landscaping products and materials at a lower price. Don’t assume either, that higher quality materials must always come at a higher price. Be aware that liability insurance is usually an integral part of a landscaping company’s quote.
  4. Ask about contract terms and warranties and get them in writing: Negotiate a contract that covers all the details you can think of. Get all the practical stuff written down. The industry standard is a minimum 1 year on craftsmanship. What does your landscaper’s warranty offer? Ask about the process to claim a warranty should you need it.
  5. Check certifications: If your landscapers or their team members are injured while on your property, you do not want to be liable. Avoid this by checking to see if the landscaping company you hire has coverage from the Worker’s Safety Insurance Board (WSIB). If they are professional contractors, they should have this in place.
  6. Find out about liability insurance: While WSIB clearance of “good standing” is important, it is not adequate. As a professional landscaping company, your contractor should carry a minimum $1,000,000 personal liability and property damage insurance on a per occurrence basis. In the absence of this, you as the home owner, become liable for any accidents caused by or to the landscaping company’s employees while on your property.
  7. Watch for pressure tactics: Contractors will typically try to speed up your decision by talking about scheduling difficulties in the future and current or immediate availability. Take your time to decide!
  8. Consider landscaping design: Ensure the contractor’s willingness to understand your design needs and aesthetic vision. See that they deliver design options to match your requirements before work begins.
  9. Budget and timelines: These are usually the worst hit! To ensure on time and within budget completion of your landscaping job, get dates and costs in writing.
  10. Know your single point of contact: Ask for full contact information of an individual who owns responsibility for the landscaping assignment. On-site workers may not always be the ones responsible for critical matters like material, timing and overall quality.

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