When choosing the right contractor there are so many bases to cover with insurance, warranties, planning, budgeting, etc. You want to be covered and remain within budget, get quality work and not get ripped off.
Here are five questions to help you consider the right landscape contractor.
1) What is their experience?
A contractor who’s an expert in one area may be a better match than one that has years of experience in multiple areas. For instance, if you want to install an outdoor kitchen you may want to choose a contractor who is specialized on that rather than someone who only did it a couple of times.
They should be confident answering your questions. They also should know the best materials and techniques for the job, know the local codes, and have the permits.
Knowing their reputation is also important. One great resource for background checking is the Better Business Bureau. It’s a great website for confirming accredited businesses and if there are any complaints against them.
2) Do they have general liability and are they covered by Workman’s Compensation?
Too many people don’t make insurance a priority. Accidents do happen, especially when there are heavy objects being moved around. Having general liability provides coverage and protection in case of damage or injury done on your property.
Workman’s Compensation protects, you, the homeowner. If the contractor doesn’t have it and you hire them you are risking your assets, potential law suits, and hospital bills if an employee suffers any injuries on the job.
3) Do they have a list of references?
You want to have people of integrity that are reliable, finish projects in a timely manner, and the references were satisfied.
Some great things to look out for when checking references are:
- How accurately they followed the agreement and contract.
- What the quality of the construction was like.
- If they paid subcontractors and material suppliers.
- If they adhered to labor laws and building codes.
- If they paid taxes and fees.
- If they were consistent with their advertising and delivered on their word.
- How well they performed on work similar to yours.
- How well they communicated the plans.
- The job site appearance while the work was being done.
- What their clean up routine was like.
4) What is their given timeline for your project?
The size of the project, community sign-off, size and choice of materials, and lighting and installation are only some of the factors a contractor has to consider before giving a project’s time estimate.
Knowing this, a seasoned contractor should be able to provide an approximate start date and give a reasonable time frame for finishing the work.
Agree on a clear timeline. Sometimes contractors simultaneously work on different projects and if a time isn’t set you might get stuck waiting on them to finish someone else’s job before they finish yours.
5) What’s their guarantee?
Typically, contractors should give a guarantee for at least one year; however, different items and objects may have different warranties. You can be confident you’re choosing a good contractor if they are educated on different options of materials and techniques that can improve durability for your project. A red flag is if they struggle to provide a guarantee which may indicate poor project planning or execution.
Choosing the right contractor can be a challenging task but asking these questions will steer you in the right direction.
You can also speak with one of our representatives at Old Station Supply and take advantage of our Contractors Referral Program. We know a lot of great contractors in the area and we can help you find a good match for your project.
Don’t forget, if you work with a contractor we referred, please call us and let us know how they did.