How to Find a Professional Landscaping Company
Do you need a landscaper? Whether you want to transform your property or simply make sure that it stays in good shape, you can benefit from working with local landscapers. To make sure you find the right professional for the job, this guide will help you prepare, research, and hire landscaping contractors. It will also provide assistance for budgeting, as well as the steps involved in the process.
A strategic approach to your property always works best. Hiring a landscaper means understanding the type of expert you need researching options in your area, asking the right questions, and finding the right fit. Let this guide help you navigate the hiring process effectively!
What Services are Provided by Landscape Contractors?
Landscape contractors do more than just mow lawns and install plants. Here are some of the various services local landscapers might provide.
- Clear and grade land
- Build hardscape elements such as decks, patios, masonry walls, water features, install pavers, etc.
- Install and manage irrigation systems
- Install landscape lighting
- Apply pesticides and herbicides
How to Find the Best Local Landscapers
Start with a Plan
First off, ask yourself if what you need is a full-service or maintenance landscape company. Since landscaping professionals provide several services, it’s a good idea to narrow down your selection based on the scope of your project. Once you know what you need, it is easier to find the right company.
Full Service vs. Maintenance Landscape Company
- A full-service landscape company provides design, installation, and maintenance work. They will have designers, account managers, and a crew that can provide everything you need from designing and constructing hardscapes to installing plants and maintenance services.
- Maintenance companies typically only provide lawn services (mowing, weed-eating, edge, leaf clean-up, and light shrub pruning). You will find many sole proprietors who operate lawn maintenance services.
Research Landscape Contractors
Now that you know what type of services you need, you can start researching contractors. Since landscaping can increase the value of your home, it is crucial to make the right decision. Start by reading online reviews from reputable sources. The best landscaper for the job should have experience with the landscape project that you need to be done and a long list of satisfied customers. To narrow down the list, the landscape contractor should have, at a minimum, a license and current insurance coverage.
Many local landscapers are small, local companies. Full-service companies cover a variety of services, and the cost will vary, depending on how big or small the job is. One of the best ways to find a landscape contractor is from personal referrals. Check with friends and family that have had landscape work recently done. Local online community boards are also a great place to get leads.
Interview Local Landscapers
To help you narrow down choices, conduct interviews through email or phone. Some potential questions to ask include:
- How long have you been in business?
- Are you fully insured or bonded?
- Will you share references from a few projects that are similar to mine?
- What do you consider key to your success?
Vet Your Top Prospects
Once you have your shortlist of contractors, conduct quick interviews from the references the company gives you. Some questions to ask references are:
- Did they complete the project on time?
- Did the quality of the work meet your expectations>
- Did your project stay on budget?
- Was the team professional and courteous?
- Would you hire them again?
Get Estimates in Writing
Try to get estimates from at least three contractors for your project. If you are getting installation or hardscape work done, the company should send a representative to your home to take measurements and discuss with you the types of plants that will work for your space. The contractor should always send you an estimate in writing. The estimate must include:
- Contact information: company name, address, telephone number, and website
- Total cost including taxes: some companies can’t provide final cost info due to variables on the job. Make sure you clarify how much the final cost can veer from the estimate.
- Scope of the project: should include what will be installed (hardships and/or plants).
- Maintenance schedule: a detailed plan for how long the project should take to complete, including a set start and completion date.
- Plant specifications; what types of annuals or perennials, trees or shrubs will be used, and the cost/number of plants that will be used.
- Terms and conditions: payment terms should be clear and easy to understand.
- Warranty information: including information for both work and plant material.
The total cost for your project may be one of the most important deciding factors, but also take into account the company’s experience, its track record for completing jobs on time and budget, and testimonials from their previous clients. Using these elements as a baseline will help you choose the best landscaper for your project.
Find the Best Landscaper for You
It is ultimately your choice as the client to pick the company you prefer. This means that you can override the landscape architect or designer’s suggestion if there is another company you want to hire. The implication of suggesting someone else is that the architect and contractor will need to meet early to build trust and a working relationship prior to the start of construction.
Base your decision on qualifications, experience, and cost to do the work. The cheapest estimate might not be the best landscaper. It is also helpful to meet potential contractors in person. The contractor will want to walk your property – or drive by – before providing an estimate, so use the opportunity to see how reliable they are. Once you’ve made your selection, you’ll need to sign a contract that outlines the scope of work, warranty on plants, and schedule for project completion.
Check out Apex Landscaping for some of the best local landscapers in the Chicagoland area. At Apex Landscaping, our number one priority is giving you the landscape you’ve always wanted. Whatever your project is, we will work hard to make sure the outcome is exactly how you envisioned it. We service Chicagoland, Located in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. From the concept to the fruition of your dream outdoor space, to maintaining it and even managing snow on and around it, we can help with it all!