Questions you should ask

Published On: Jul 18 2012 09:40:52 AM EDT   Updated On: Jan 22 2013 09:14:17 AM EST

There are a lot of questions to ask a landscaping company, and keep in mind that you’ll be interviewing a few of them. Because of this, it’s a good idea to have a pen and paper handy when the landscaper comes over so that you can remember their answers when you’re comparing companies later on. Here are some questions that will give you a great start. Of course, you can always expand on this list if you have your own questions you’d like to ask.


How long has the company been in business?
You shouldn’t disqualify a company just for being young but, landscaping is one area where experience usually means a more qualified contractor. If you’re considering a young company, don’t be deterred just because they only opened their doors last year. Just make sure that they have a comprehensive list of properties you can visit, and that you see a lot of their work before you commit to anything with them.


What scope of service does the landscaper cover?
Ask the contractor who will be responsible for things such as irrigation, design, installation, the lawn, the lighting, permits, disposal, utility staking, and anything else that might be required for your project. Sometimes the landscaping company leaves certain things, such as permits, as your responsibility whereas other contractors will take care of it for you. Make sure that if you need a permit and the landscaper obtains it, that you physically see it for yourself! Otherwise, you could end up in big trouble with the city over your landscaping project, and you may even have to tear some of it down, which is a huge waste of money!

Other times, the landscaper may be responsible for everything, yet still outsource some of the work, such as paving and excavation, to sub-contractors. While this is a fine practice, you need to know about it. If this is how the landscaping company that you’re dealing with work, make sure that you have every name of every sub-contractor, and their phone numbers.


Who will be my main contact should I have any questions or concerns?
Even if sub-contractors are being used, there should be one contractor assigned by the landscaping company to oversee the entire project, especially if it’s a very large one. And again, it’s extremely important that you know who this person is and that you know how to get a hold of them.


How big is the average-sized job the company handles?
It’s important to know what type of projects the company usually handles. If your project requires a complete gutting of your yard and re-installation of everything, you’re going to want a company that’s experienced with more than just cutting lawns. But, beware of companies that only take on huge projects such as at malls; you don’t want yours getting lost in the mix. Trying to find a company that handles projects of your size regularly will likely be the best fit.


How are plants chosen for the site?
The different plants that are chosen for your yard should be selected in a few different ways. Firstly, they should be chosen according to your soil type, the climate in your region, and the amount of shade and light in your yard (as this will affect what types of plants are chosen for those areas.) It’s also extremely important that whatever the process is, that your input is also taken into consideration. The landscaping company should be able to give you a few different options that would work in your yard, and allow you to choose your favorites from those.


What are the care instructions for the plants, shrubs, and any other vegetation after they are installed?
It really does you no good to have a landscaping company come over and give you a beautiful yard, only to have it all die just a few days or weeks later. A landscaping company should be able to tell you how to care for the plants immediately after they have been planted, as well as how to care for them for the years to come afterward (as they’re likely to have different care instructions.)


What will the cost of the project be?
This should not be the first question you ask, but don’t let the contractor leave without getting at least an estimate from them. You can have them draw up an actual contract later (don’t start any work without signing a contract) but providing you with one at that time may not be possible; but at least try to get an estimate from them and if possible, in writing.


Are consultations free?
This should be an absolute “Yes!”


What forms of payment do you accept?
Again, this question is not really a big deal but it is something you will want to know. Most landscaping companies accept either cash, credit card, or check.


How will I be billed?
This is an area that can get tricky, as there are many different ways you can be billed for landscaping services. Some landscaping companies will ask you to pay a deposit before any work begins with the final balance being due upon completion. This is the preferable way to go, as it gives you a guarantee that you won’t have to pay for shoddy workmanship.

Information provided by: Mulch & More