Choosing a landscaper might seem like a fairly simple proposition.
Google a few local companies, check out their reviews, pick the best, get an estimate, and you’re off to the races.
Well — it’s a bit more complicated than that (if you want to rely on more than just luck). There are actually a good number of factors you should weigh before hiring. We’ve tried to simplify the process for you with this helpful list.
Keep reading to discover the seven important factors you should consider before you hire a landscaper.
1. Does The Company Offer the Services You Need?
Landscaping needs vary greatly from residence to residence. Some clients are looking for a full walkout patio with a fire pit, others are looking for stone or brick retaining walls, some need trees removed or planted, and others just want their lawn mowed.
Some landscapers employ designers or architects. Others focus more on lawn care.
Before you start shopping for the right landscaping company for your specific needs, consider first what those needs are so that you can be sure you’re calling the right companies for quotes. Then, ask what serviceseach company offers when you call.
2. Is the Company Well-Established?
This can be an important deciding factor for a lot of people. Of course, newly formed companies can be great.
However, there is a certain peace of mind that comes from hiring an established landscaper. First, they will have a larger pool of references to pull from and more examples of past work to show you.
You also know that a poorly run or untrustworthy company won’t last, so by hiring a well-established company, you know you’re more likely to hire a landscaper who will do the work well, do it right the first time, and stay within your budget.
3. Do they Have References and a Portfolio to Share?
A trusted company will generally be more than happy to share their references with you. Getting references is a great way to talk to others who have used that particular landscaper and are willing to vouch for their professionalism and the quality of their work.
You can also ask to see a portfolio of their past jobs. This is especially important if you are having a complex job done. Ask to see photos of similar projects they’ve been involved with so you can compare the quality and work to the project you have in mind.
4. Are They Insured?
It’s important to know that whatever landscaper you choose is fully insured with both liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance.
A professional landscaper will have no issue providing you with a copy of their certificate of insurance. You can request to have the copy sent to you directly from their insurer — that way, you know you’re seeing their complete, current policy.
Landscapers might be operating machinery and mowers on your property or hauling dirt, trees, and heavy rocks. They might be cutting down tall trees near your deck, roof, or outbuildings.
It’s unlikely, but accidents can happen to even the best landscapers. Knowing they are properly insured is worth the peace of mind.
5. How Much Maintenance Will Your Desired Design Need After the Fact?
This can be an easy consideration to overlook, but it’s a smart question to ask.
Depending on your lifestyle, you might not have (or want to spend) a ton of additional time on maintenance and upkeep.
If you plan to maintain your newly installed landscaping yourself, ask the landscaper for their honest opinion on this. If it turns out that what you have in mind will require more upkeep than you’d like, they will be happy to suggest some alternatives and tweaks to help alleviate some of that burden.
6. If Needed, Can They Offer Their Design Services?
Not all landscape companies employ landscape designers or architects. Like we mentioned earlier in this article, this should be a factor in who you decide to hire.
If you have grand plans for patios, stone retaining walls, built-in fire pits, and the like, you may very well need to hire a landscape designer or architect who can offer their design services to you.
On the other hand, it can be more cost-effective to hire a more basic landscaper who doesn’t have degrees in design or architecture if all you need is tree removal, yard cleanup, or lawn care.
7. Consider the Cost and the Contract
You may want to research several companies and get several estimates before making a final decision about which to work with. Make sure you know your budget (and any wiggle room you have) up front.
As you explore companies and get estimates, take a good look at the contract each draws up. When comparing estimates, be sure to find out if the cost is fixed or if it’s only an estimate.
If it’s an estimate, discuss what factors may increase the price as the work is being done. Make sure to get this all in writing, too, if possible, to lessen the chance of sticker shock at the end of the project.
Ask about payment plans, too. If you are having a large project done, many companies will allow a payment plan or will ask for a deposit up front with the rest due once the work is completed.
This is a smart option — on the off-chance you have issues with the job, you have more recourse then if you’d paid upfront in full.
Are You Ready to Hire a Landscaper?
We hope this list has helped you clarify what you’re looking for in a landscaper and helped you understand the most important considerations and questions to ask before hiring one.
If you’re in the Norristown, Pennsylvania area and are looking to hire a landscaper, we hope you’ll get in touch! We’re a trusted, established company with 15 years of experience.
We would love to talk with you about your landscaping needs, provide you with an estimate, and work with you to create the landscape of your dreams that works with your budget!