So, you’ve decided to hire a landscaping company to design and build your landscape project – great! Now you will need to choose the landscape company that best meets your requirements – what’s the best way to do that? There are a few general rules of thumb that you should follow when picking a company. If you use these criteria during your assessment of potential companies, you will be able to make a clear comparison of them. And remember, if a company is not forthcoming with any of these basic assessment criteria – scratch them off your list! Any reputable company would be happy to share this information with you.
What Is The Reputation Of The Landscape Company?
A reputation is built over time and through experience. You want to make sure that a company has a proven track record of projects that produced satisfied customers. A good first stop is to check with the Better Business Bureau to see what their rating is regarding service and satisfaction levels.
Next, find out how long they have been in business and ask for the contact information for references ie) former clients that you can contact about their experience working with the company. Pictures of past projects are good but speaking to references can give you SO much more information.
Speaking directly with references allows you to ask questions about lots of things:
- their satisfaction levels with the design process,
- the professionalism of the entire crew,
- daily clean up practices (i.e.- safety hazards left on site at night or weekends),
- quality of materials used,
- quality of work done,
- did they finish on time? (why/why not?)
- did they finish on budget? (why/why not?)
- were you satisfied?
- would you hire them again?
When you speak to these references ask if you can view the work the company did for them. You’d be surprised how many people are open to a visit – remember they’ve been in your shoes and know how it feels to be selecting the right company…
How Do They Do What They Do?
Ask to see samples of their designs. Many companies will take before and after photos on job sites. You can see how accurately their designs were reflected in the final project results. Ask how much these projects costs so you can begin to get a feel of what range you should expect to spend for your project. Understanding what things cost can be extremely helpful in assisting you to refine the size of your budget to get the result you want. Materials and scope of a project can dramatically impact a project.
Stuff Happens… Then what?
Anyone who has ever done any projects around their home knows that, despite the best planning, there can be unexpected developments. Ask the company if there are any potential issues that could be encountered on the project such as: drainage issues, tree roots, water or power lines in the area that may need to be addressed to complete your project. Any experienced company should be able to identify any possible threats to a project and describe a solution and potential budget impact.
And finally, you need to ensure that all the details of the project and the final product will be provided to you in writing:
- Do you provide written quotes? How long are they good for?
- Will you provide, in writing, approximate start and completion dates for my project?
- How often will you meet with me to review job progress?
- Do you provide a written warranty? What specifically does it cover?
- Do you have WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) coverage in case someone gets hurt on the site?
Taking time to really screen and compare candidate companies will go a long way to ensure that you are happy with your project from start to finish… and for years to come!
If you are thinking of a landscaping project, please contact us for a free quote.
The JRC Team