Having a neat and beautiful yard is one of the best ways to enhance curb appeal. If you own a business then a beautiful lawn creates a good first impression for clients, and boost employee morale and productivity.
Nature helps to relax the mind and create a sense of cheerfulness and this is the main reason most people want a lawn to accompany their home when they seek to purchase.
So, having a well-manicured lawn can, and does, also improve the sellability of your home and can even increase its selling price.
- Hiring a Landscaper
- Research Online
- Do They Comply with Local & State Laws
- Verify Contractor Registration
- Check if They are Insured and Bonded
- Get a written contract
- 10 Red Flags to Watch For
- Final Thoughts
Hiring a Landscaper
Regardless of whether you are a homeowner with a substantial lawn area or a business owner or corporation with business premises with a large lawn area you will want the best lawn care you can get.
But to achieve these benefits, you may need to hire a professional commercial landscaper who has the creativity to design beautiful, low maintenance exterior spaces with a purpose.
The vast majority of commercial landscape contractors are skilled, trustworthy, and dedicated to customer satisfaction. But there are also some unreliable landscapers.
Considering the inconvenience, disappointment, and financial consequences of a poor or abandoned landscaping job, consumers should be careful when choosing a contractor.
Here are some ways to protect your investment when hiring a commercial landscaper:
The first step should be to identify several companies that provide the services you are looking for. Never just go with the first contractor you come across (unless they end up the best later).
Check the range of services they offer, and assess if they have the skills, workforce, and tools and equipment necessary to manage the size of the project that you have and can complete the work in an adequate period of time.
For commercial landscaping, you need a contractor that can manage every aspect of the property, from design to irrigation system installation to yard maintenance and planting of flowers, shrubbery, and trees. Therefore they should be well educated about your climate zone, soil and the local ecology.
Then you can research them further online.
- The Better Business Bureau.
- Google reviews.
- Their website testimonials to see if they have completed similar to work to your’s.
- Complaints and how quickly they were resolved.
In short, try to gather as much information as you can from the landscaper’s website to get a feel of their professionalism and work ethic and then look for unqualified reports from other websites which the landscaper has no control over.
The Importance of Qualifications & Experience
Does the contractor that you are considering hiring have any relevant qualifications?
Even if they have qualifications (or even if they don’t) experienced landscapers should be able to showcase their ability to transform yards into healthy and attractive landscapes using sustainable practices that:
- Conserve water
- Nurture healthy soils
- Reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions
- Promote the use of integrated pest management to reduce chemical use
- Reduce waste and promote recycling
- Install quality irrigation systems with automation and warranties
A professional and experienced company should have a portfolio of landscaping projects they have worked on and they should be more than eager to share that with you.
Do They Comply with Local & State Laws
Working with the right commercial landscaper may mean hiring out of State so you must make sure your prospective contractor can work within the laws of your State. For example, some lawn equipment cannot be used in California as it does not comply with several environmental laws.
The right landscaper will help you stay ahead of laws regulating water efficiency, greenhouse emissions, air quality, waste disposal, and regulating stormwater.
Verify Contractor Registration
Most states demand the registration of contractors doing any work that involves:
- Adding to or subtracting from property – like installing rocks, gravel, or sand.
- Planting trees, shrubs, and other kinds of vegetation.
- Providing consultation services on a design or construction project.
- Installing irrigation or drainage systems.
- Laying sod or hydroseeding.
However, contractors offering services such as pruning and lawn care, gutter cleaning, and window washing are not required to be registered.
Keep in mind that contractor registration is different from a state business license. A business license only grants the business permission to perform work, advertise, and apply for tenders in a certain area.
It does not verify the contractor’s competency or skills in their business field.
Although a business license is important, you also need to verify the landscaper’s registration to prove that the company is proficient in landscaping duties.
Check if They are Insured and Bonded
Besides having a business license, the ideal registered contractor must have liability insurance and maintain a surety bond.
Bond and insurance protect you by:
Giving you financial recourse
In the event that the job is left unfinished, or you are dissatisfied with it, you can seek financial recourse from a bonded landscaper.
Specialty contractors such as landscapers typically post a $6,000 bond.
If need be, you may pursue civil action in Superior Court against the landscaper’s bond.
Providing cover for damages
Workers’ compensation provides cover for any injuries that arise while the contractor’s employees are within your premises.
General liability insurance coverage can provide the right compensation in the event of any damage to your property while landscaping.
Contractors may also obtain public liability insurance cover for other kinds of personal damages.
The companies providing bond and insurance services must have investigated and performed their due diligence before working with the landscaper.
This gives you the assurance that they are in business for the long-term, as opposed to being a “fly by night” company.
You should ask to view the landscaper’s liability insurance to identify what it covers.
Many policies usually include clauses for “construction defects” and/or “exclusions for work outside the company’s standard business practices.”
When hiring landscapers for a large project, you should ask your own insurance agent to review the contractor’s policy.
Get a written contract
Once you are sure about working with a specific contractor, and you agree on the cost and terms of payment, you will need to sign a contract for the work to begin.
Some things to look for in a legit contract include:
- The landscaper’s license number and classification.
- The cost of the entire project.
- How the bill is broken down.
- Date when work will commence and the expected date of completion.
- Kind of work to be performed and materials and equipment needed.
- Dated signatures by both parties.
- Change orders signatures by both parties.
Before you sign a contract always make sure to check the exit clause.
Also look for any hidden costs and penalties that may be included.
Don’t make the full payment until the job is complete.
10 Red Flags to Watch For
Be wary of commercial landscapers who:
- Provide names, addresses, telephone numbers, and other credentials that can’t be verified.
- Refuse to verify that they are licensed, registered, insured, and bonded.
- Refuse to give you references from previous clients.
- Are not aware of relevant laws in your area, including the necessary permits.
- Ask for cash only payments, a huge deposit, or demand the entire cost upfront.
- Refuse to provide a written contract or complete bid.
- Ask you to take care of the permits (this is a contractor requirement).
- Use high-pressure sales techniques like special price or discount if you “sign today”.
- Propose an unbelievable offer.
- Cannot give you a reasonable completion date.
If you are a homeowner with a substantial lawn and want to hire a commercial landscaper or if you are a business owner or corporate head looking for a reputable company to handle your lawn areas then following our guidelines will help you get the right people for the job.
Having a beautiful yard, with vegetation, flowerbeds, fountains, well-placed outdoor furniture, and other elements of landscaping is every homeowner’s dream.
A green and beautiful lawn area where your employees work and meet your clients and that gives potential clients the proper impression is a worthwhile investment.
There are many benefits of both visually witnessing nature at its best and being in a pleasant environment.
And with these tips, you can find the right commercial landscaper to make your building’s exterior as appealing as it can be.