Selecting a Landscape Contractor
A Homeowners Guide:
Have you ever been overwhelmed with the task of hiring a landscape contractor? Hiring someone shouldn’t be so stressful, but let’s face it, it can be a real pain most of the time. Hopefully this tool will help you feel more confident when you’re hiring your next landscape contractor.
Contact Multiple Contractors
It’s always a good idea to contact more than one contractor. Having more than one candidate is your best bet at finding a company to do business with. After all not every contractor will be a perfect fit for your project.
Contacting more than one contractor also gives you the ability to compare them right away. Ask yourself, how did they sound on the phone, how long did they take to contact you back, were they friendly, etc. If a meeting is necessary (most of the time it’s best to meet face to face) then make sure they meet separately, but schedule them close together so you don’t forget any details during the different meetings.
Compare the Candidates
The best way to compare the contractors is to rate them for 1–10. Here are some the categories you should rate them on:
Proof of Workers Safety or Equivalent
Except for companies with 2 employees or less, landscape contractors are required by law to pay for WorkSafeNB. Premiums are paid on behalf of the employer to protect their employees from a workplace injury. Hiring a contractor that isn’t in good standing with WorkSafeNB could put you at risk of being liable in the event of a workplace injury. Ask the contractor for a certificate of clearance.
Proof of Liability Insurance
All contractors should carry liability insurance. This means they care about the safety or their employee, their clients, and any property that they may be working on or be in close contact with. Look for a contractor that carries at least a 1 million dollar commercial general liability, and ask to see a certificate.
A contract is another way to protect the interest of both you and the contractor. The contract should include details such as, payment schedules, work start dates, and complete specifications of the project or work to be done. Look for a contract that explains everything clearly, and doesn’t leave anything out.
Look for a contractor with a warranty on their work. The terms and conditions of the warranty should include what workmanship is warranted and for how long. It should also include the terms and conditions for any materials used, and how long they are warranted. It’s important to note your responsibility as the homeowner to keep the warranty valid. For instance there may be ongoing maintenance that needs to be done, like watering a landscape after the contractor completed the work.
One of the best ways to find out a contractors abilities is to ask for three recent references. Asking for recent references is important because you will be talking to clients that have the contractor fresh in their mind, and the information will be more accurate. Ask these questions:
- Was the work completed on time?
- Was there enough staff on site?
- Did the contractor return phone calls promptly?
- How was their quality of work?
- Was their staff professional on the job site?
- Was the work carried out according to the terms and conditions of the contract?
- Would you hire them again?
Employee Experience, Education or Certification
Be sure to determine the experience of the contractors employees. Look for qualified employees with post secondary degrees, certificate courses, industry certification, or other accreditations. Make sure you are confident with all the employees working on your property.
The contractor should have adequate equipment and resources to complete the job efficiently. Ask the contractor about the equipment they use, they should be happy to give you this information, as most contractors are proud of the equipment and tools they use.
Years in Business
How many years has the company been in business? How much experience do they have?
A membership to a trade association is a sure sign of pride. In the landscape trade there are provincial associations all across Canada. We are a member of LandscapeNB. An association membership is a strong indicator of a companies commitment to professionalism.
This contractor rating system should help you make an informed decision when choosing the right company for the job. Working with a contractor should be a good experience, and the more you evaluate what you are looking for in a contractor the better your chances are at finding a great company.
Compliments of: www.landscapenewbrunswick.com