5 Steps to Choosing the Right Landscape Contractor
October 20, 2016
Find the Right Landscape Contractor for Your Outdoor Project
Whether you have just built a new home, or you just want to enjoy your current yard more, you’ll need to hire a landscape contractor to make your dream a reality. Hiring a good contractor is easier said than done. If you don’t have a good plan from the beginning, the whole process can be stressful. We’ve laid out five simple steps to hire a good contractor every time.
The Right Landscape Contractor and Design Team for the Job
A good landscape contractor offers you choices. They listen to and address your concerns. They understand your long- and short-term goals and want to be a partner for the long run. They help you create a beautiful, and more importantly, livable space. The right person for the job makes it clear where the buck stops, and who you can talk to through every stage of the project.
Now that we have a better understanding of what the right choice looks like, let’s look at the steps you’ll take to find them, and get them working on your project.
1) Do Your Research
The first step in the process is to research local companies in your area. The best information can be found on the Arizona Registrar of Contractors www.roc.az.gov. It’s the licensing and regulatory board for contractors in Arizona. You can search contractors and get useful information like this article on how to hire a contractor roc.az.gov/before-hire.
Contractor Referral sites like Angie’s List or Home Advisor give referrals. These review and referral sites can be a great place to gather information, but keep in mind these are for profit groups. The Registrar of Contractors is an unbiased, reliable source.
Although websites can be a good place to gather information, nothing beats a referral. Ask around and you’ll get some good information. Talk to those who’ve recently bought a home or remodeled their yard. Post on Facebook or Next Door to get real advice from friends, family, and neighbors.
2) Narrow it Down to 3 Companies
Once you have researched companies in your area and gotten referrals, narrow your list down to three or four companies from which you’ll get quotes. You should choose these three companies based on the reviews and referrals you got in step one.
Don’t throw your broad list away just yet, though. You’ll want to be able to bring more contractors in if needed. Give preference to the referrals of your neighbors and friends. If they were happy with their service, chances are you will be too.
3) Meet and Get Quotes
You know that you need someone good, someone that’s got experience, and will work within your budget, but how do you know from one meeting that you are making the right choice? Asking the right questions is the biggest hurdle. Here are some questions that you want to be sure to ask:
- Who is my main point of contact?
- What if there are overages?
- Can you give me a reference?
- How long have you been doing this?
- What’s your worksite etiquette?
- What is your schedule like? How soon will you be able to start work on my job?
- Have you done this type of project before?
- If yes, how long ago, and what was the outcome?
- If no, what makes you think that you’ll be able to take this on now?
- How is the design created?
- Is my design custom?
- Is there a warranty on your work?
- Is the work done with your employees, or are you working with subcontractors?
Asking these questions will ensure that you have a good idea of what it will be like to work with the landscape contractor and if they will be able to handle your project. Take notes so that you can make a good decision. Be sure to get a written estimate and note information on overages and warranties right on the estimate if possible.
4) Analyze Your Options
Now that you’ve gotten all three estimates you might have a gut feeling about the right company, but it’s still worth getting your notes and estimates together to make your decision. Many experts say get three quotes and go with the middle one, which is a pretty good philosophy, but can be too simplistic.
Look at all three estimates and if one is much higher or lower than the others, get rid of that one. Next, consider warranty information and experience. Consider if you can work with the contractor, designer, or whoever your main point of contact will be. You could have the best contractor out there, but if he or she is hard to work with, or hard to reach then he or she is the wrong choice.
This could be a point where you realize that you don’t like any of your options and you need to get more estimates, which is fine but realize that no contractor is going to be able to read your mind and answer every question perfectly.
5) Make Your Decision
If the right choice still isn’t clear then make a pros and cons list of your top two choices which should make it very clear who you should choose. Nine times out of ten you’ll just know who you liked the best. You had a good rapport and truly felt listened to. Their concepts matched up well with your vision, and you could see yourself working hand in hand with your contact through the project.
If you are looking for the right landscape contractor and design team for your outdoor project in the Phoenix area, give Straight Line Landscape a call. We are almost completely referral based, and will build you a yard that you’ll love.
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