How to hire a landscape service
Enhance Curb Appeal and Preserve Your Property Value with Quality Landscaping anMaking the decision to hire landscapers or contract a landscaping service is one of the most important steps you can take to enhance the aesthetics and curb appeal of your home, maintain a high property value, and create safe, comfortable and useful outdoor living areas such as manicured lawns, gardens, patios and pools.
Some landscapers handle only the basics, but other full service providers offer the skills, tools and expertise to handle the details of specialty needs. Many homeowners who wish hire landscapers have a primary interest in selecting a company that can provide excellent lawn care. Lawn care, ranging from fertilization to mowing, seeding, edging, raking, etc. is a vital service to expect from any quality landscaping company.
If you are hiring landscapers, here are some additional tips to consider.
1. Begin by drafting a rough outline of the landscaping elements you will need professional assistance with. Detail your seasonal needs, such as spring mulching, fall clean up, regularity of mowing and pruning, fertilization needs, pool area cleaning, walkway or patio maintenance and other areas of concern.
2. Come up with a rough budget.
3. Schedule appointments with several different landscapers or landscaping services and take the time to discuss your needs in detail. It is wise to request bids or estimates from at least three different companies before signing a contract when hiring landscapers. Take the time to peruse the bids and compare the specifics, not just the pricing.
4. Typically, bids from landscapers should include a comprehensive package of specifications, a plot map outlining the property boundaries, photographs of key areas, a time schedule for specific services, and of course, a price estimate.
5. Request a list of references from any landscaper you wish to hire. Take the time to contact these references and inquire about scope of projects, timeliness, safety issues, etc. It is also wise to ask to peruse a landscaper's portfolio. Most professional landscapers and landscaping services maintain photographs of their projects and clients. While some companies may provide brochures that display portfolio photos, others may maintain a complete portfolio of high resolution photos on their website.
6. Make a point of seeking a landscaping service that has a skilled arborist on staff to oversee trimming of trees, and pruning of bushes and shrubs.
7. If watering and irrigation are vital issues for your lawn or garden during droughts or dry times of year, make certain that the landscaping service you select will offer regular care and maintenance for your irrigation systems.
8. Make absolutely sure that any landscaper or service you hire is insured. Ask to see credentials such as a contractor's license, business liability insurance and workers' compensation coverage before hiring landscapers. Homeowners are at a tremendous risk if an uninsured contractor causes damage to property, or if an uninsured employee gets injured during a landscaping job on the property.
9. Inquire about any professional affiliations that a landscaping service might have. For example, membership in a trade association, or certification/training as a landscaping technician, nursery technician are indications that an individual or company possesses knowledge and competency in their trade.
10. Last but certainly not least, once you have agreed to the terms, time schedules, services and fees associated with a landscaping projected or maintenance program, get the contract in writing, and ensure that both parties sign the contract. Making extra copies of a contract to keep on file is never a bad idea.
SmartMoney.com: Ten Things Your Landscaper Won't Tell You
CLCA.org: How to hire a landscape professional