EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN HIRING a LANDSCAPER
Now that you have decided to renovate your home, it’s time to hire a landscaper. You need to find someone reliable who can help you plan and carry out your project. Ideally, they should be professional and trustworthy as well because you will be working with this person for a while, and you want to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Professionalism is a huge component in making sure that the job is done safely, effectively and quickly. When looking into companies, the first questions you should have are:
- What is the company about?
What are the company’s values? Talk to them about their company and review their website to get a sense of the company culture. They may be working on your property for a long period of time and you’ll want to make sure you agree with the way they handle business.
- What do they specialize in and how long have they been in the field?
Do they specialize in softscape, hardscape, or a full service? Be sure that the contractor is experienced in the type of work you want to be completed.
- What is their reputation?
Take time to review the companies references. You can also search the contractor on the Consumer Beware List – this will inform you of any complaints or charges filed against the contractor.
2. Liability INSURANCE
There are a few different types of insurance that ensure that both you and the contractor are protected from any damage or mishaps that may occur during the project. Make sure that your contractor is fully insured; this includes proof of liability insurance and WSIB.
- Proof of liability insurance
This guarantees that the contractor is able to cover any accident that may occur while working on the project. You would be surprised by the number of people who try and carry out contracting jobs without having insurance, so it isn’t wise to just take someone’s word for it. The contractor should be willing to provide proof of this insurance, as this is what will protect your home from any damage or negligence of the contractor. If something were to go wrong without it, you would have to foot the bill for any repairs.
- WSIB – Workers Safety Insurance Board
WSIB protects the staff working on-site at your home in case of injury and is mandatory for landscaping companies. Your contractor should be able to show proof that they are WSIB compliant.
- Has your contractor provided a detailed estimate?
Work with your contractor to make sure you understand exactly what is included in their estimate. For example, do they list out the materials, labor, and disposal separately so that you know where the money is being spent? The products being used should be specified since the cost of materials will change based on your selection.
- Is the quote a fixed price and is the scope of work clearly defined?
It is important that you know the exact cost of all work and materials used. Something to keep in mind when looking at estimates is that the cheapest price is not always the best option. You want to make sure you understand the process that your contractor plans to take and that you’re confident they’ll deliver what you have in your mind.
- What is the warranty policy?
You want to make sure that your contractor will come back and fix any issues with the workmanship if they come up. Make sure you know what they commit to. You want to make sure they warranty their service and that they will be following industry standards. This is why the lower price is now always the cheapest if you end up needing to have it re-done only a couple years down the line.
4. GO WITH YOUR GUT
Now that you have covered all the bases with your contractor, it finally comes down to how confident you are in this landscaper. After asking all of the right questions and reviewing estimates, go with your gut.
- Does the contractor fully understand your expectations and are you confident that they will deliver?
- Do they have the right experience?
- Do they offer solutions for your landscape project?
- Do they communicate professionally and do they respond to you in a timely manner? This is important because you’ll be communicating with your contractor for the length of time it takes to complete your project. You want to have a certain level of trust and comfort.
As you can see, while going through the process to hire a landscape professional, there are many things to consider. We’ve put together a 1-pager of questions to ask to help you during the process of hiring a landscape professional. This list includes questions about their experience, insurance, and lastly, what you should ask regarding the estimation of prices.
How do we measure up? Here’s Inka Stoneworks’ checklist:
- Proof of workers’ compensation insurance: ✔
- Proof of liability insurance: ✔
- Client references: Homestars & Trusted Pros ✔
- Warranty policy: 3-year warranty on all workmanship ✔
- Our estimates include a detailed description of the scope of the project, breakdown of the material, disposal and labor so you can see exactly where the money is going.
- We include the price of the products that we plan to use – this will vary depending on the final product chosen by the customer
- We offer a fixed price quote and will communicate with the client if there are any changes to the scope that would increase or decrease the price
- We follow high standards, doing the job well is important to us
- We charge a fair price so that we can stand by our work, get the right equipment needed for the job and don’t cut corners.
- We always try our best to make sure the client is comfortable and understands the process of how we do our work
- We ask 50% of the project cost up front, and the remaining 50% to be paid upon completion.
- We accept cheques, ETF Bank Transfer or Credit Card.
Anything else you want to know? Ask us questions. We are more than happy to answer!
Are you located in Toronto or the GTA? Contact us for a landscape consultation by filling out the form below or call 647.239.6529.