When searching for and choosing a landscaping professional to work on your property, there are some things you will want to consider. Landscaping can add curb appeal to your home and help to create cohesiveness in your outdoor space. The first steps are to identify what you envision for the project and what your budget is. Next, you’ll want to start the search for your landscaping professional. Here are six questions to start the conversation as you begin to search.
- Are they licensed in your state?
Not all states require a contractor to be licensed, but they should have other legal requirements fulfilled. Some states require a Nursery Dealers Certificate which permits the company to sell plants to you. Or, if they're applying any chemicals, some states require an applicator’s license before being allowed to use chemicals.
- Is the company insured?
High quality lawn care businesses carry insurance to protect consumers. The company you hire needs to have Workers Compensation Insurance and Business Liability Insurance. If they don’t have insurance, you probably shouldn’t hire them. If a contractor who is uninsured is injured or causes damage to your property, you could be held liable.
- What are their credentials?
A trade association membership is an indication that they take their business seriously, but it isn’t a guarantee. Find out if they have completed any certification program or if their staff is certified. Certification shows the company demonstrates competency and a high level of knowledge about landscaping.
- Can you view their professional project portfolio?
Portfolios are the mainstay of a landscape contractor. They should have photos of projects which have been completed and properties which they take care of.
- Have they provided a price estimate for the landscaping project?
You should get a written estimate of the service which includes in detail what is covered and included. If the estimate is more than you were planning on paying, see where you can scale back. Or, if it’s a major project, see if they can help you create an organized plan to break the project into sections and complete each stage one at a time.
- What’s the best way to communicate with the landscaping team?
Communication is key when it comes to great service, especially when relaying your landscaping visions. You’ll want to make sure there is a consistent and direct way to contact the service if there are any scheduling conflicts or questions about the project. It will also be helpful to identify the point person on your landscaping project to keep things consistent.
A good landscaper is worth time and effort for a well-designed completed project. Once you feel that you've had all your questions answered and feel comfortable with your choice, sit back and watch the magic unfold around your landscape. And remember to check in with your ERIE Agent if you’ve made significant upgrades or improvements to your outdoor space. You’ll want to make sure your new investments are included in your homeowners coverage.