The right landscape team can make your outdoor space the talk of the neighborhood and keep your landscaping healthy all year. It’s important, however, to work with a professional service you know you can rely on to do the job right. This means asking the proper questions up front before you hire them. If you’re thinking about hiring someone to design your outdoor space or do your landscaping, here are some questions you should ask when choosing a landscape provider or designer.
What Services Do You Offer?
Different landscape providers have different areas of focus. Some are focused only on the design of a yard; they don’t actually do any of the construction or installation. Others may do the initial design and installation and then leave it to you to maintain after they’re done. Some providers will just maintain an existing landscape. They don’t do installation or design, but they’ll cut grass, weed gardens, trim hedges, etc. Make sure the service provider you choose offers what you need. Full-service landscape teams like Buckhead Landscape and Design (BLD) will do it all—design, build, and maintain your landscaping.
Is There a Charge for the Initial Consultation?
The initial consultation is an essential part of the process. It establishes your rapport and helps the provider understand the services you need and the characteristics of your property. These days, most companies like BLD offer a free consultation. If the landscaping company with which you are working doesn’t offer a free consultation, they should have a good reason why they’re charging for an initial conversation.
Are You Bonded and Insured?
Never work with a company that doesn’t have full insurance and bonding. Also, understand the difference between the two forms of coverage. Bonding covers a company if they don’t complete a job for any reason, such as a disaster or a lack of finances. Insurance covers the company in case they damage your property or hurt someone while performing the job. Both forms of coverage are essential, and a professional team like BLD will have both.
What’s Your History?
This question covers two important factors. First, you want to know how long they’ve been in business. Usually, the longer they’ve been around, the more experienced they are. It means they have a legacy of delivering the kind of quality service that has enabled them to stay in business. It also means they have experience, manpower and knowledge to tackle the job you want completed. Companies should also have references to back up their history. If they are not willing to refer you to past customers you can talk with or aren’t able to provide written testimonials from some of their clients, that can be a red flag.
Can You Provide a Schedule of Work? How long Will the Job Take?
If the provider will be designing a new landscape or installing landscape, lighting, or hardscapes, you want to know an estimate of the total timeframe. Will it take a day? A week? Six months? When they give you a timeframe, make sure they explain the steps of the project so you can understand why the proposed timeframe is reasonable.
Secondly, they should be able to provide information on what a typical workday will look like, such as when the crew will arrive to start work and when they will pack it up for the day. Be sure to ask them how they’ll communicate with you if, for example, they need to make adjustments to accommodate the weather or bring in special equipment.
Do You Guarantee Your Work?
A reputable landscape contractor will always stand behind their work. You may ask them if they can offer a guarantee and ask them for the specifics, such as how long will the warranty on their work last? What will they cover? Ask them how they handle situations such as newly planted trees or shrubs dying, or a major crack in a hardscape like a firepit.
Can I See Examples of Your Work?
A good landscaping contractor will be able to provide a portfolio of previous work with photographs or videos of jobs they have done. This may be a physical portfolio, or it could be images on a website. Regardless, it’s important that they can show you what you’ll be getting.
Will You Put Your Full Estimate in Writing?
Every reputable landscape business can give you a written quote for a project that not only details the price, but the work to be completed. Companies that refuse to put an estimate in writing are often hiding something. They might try to explain that costs change, but that’s probably an excuse. If a company is planning to do work for you, they should give you a written estimate without hidden fees. Buckhead Landscape and Design is an award-winning landscape and design company in Atlanta experienced in transforming outdoor spaces and routine landscaping Contact us for a free consultation, or to put together a customized design, installation, or maintenance plan.