Even though it’s just a few days before Christmas and there’s still snow on the ground, now is the ideal time to start planning your landscaping project for 2020 – and locating a good landscape contractor to get the job done.
If you wait too long, you may find that the best Colorado Springs landscapers are booked for the year and you will either have to settle for a second-tier landscaper or wait another year to complete your landscaping project.
Professional landscaping provides many benefits, not the least of which is increasing the resale value of your home. Not long ago, Gallup conducted a poll that found that the value of your home could increase by as much as 7 to 15% with the addition of professional landscaping. That comes out to anywhere from a 100% to 200% return on the investment that you make in landscaping for your home.
Not Every Landscape Contractor Is Worth Hiring
Like other professionals, a landscape contractor will vary in terms of their skill, experience, and expertise. Unfortunately, some companies try to take shortcuts, failing to get the proper licenses or insurance.
Companies like these usually provide poor quality service, which means that they don’t stay in business very long. That is one of the reasons why the landscaping industry has such a high turnover rate for companies. It is also why it is so important to look for an experienced, well-respected landscaping company that has been around for a long time.
Determine The Basic Requirements Of Your Project
Before you start contacting a landscape contractor, you should establish the basic parameters of your project. This includes what you want done, how much money you have to spend, and how quickly you need the work to be finished. Providing contractors with this type of information will allow them to give you much more precise quotes when discussing your project.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Landscape contractors are extremely knowledgeable. You can tap into this knowledge when comparing the various options for your outdoor space. You and your contractor need to share the same vision for your space, which requires good communication. Along with your own ideas for the design, be willing to listen to the contractor’s ideas. Oftentimes, they will be able to enhance your vision, taking it to the next level.
If your ideas were inspired by photos in books, magazines, or online, bring the pictures along with you. Take measurements of your outdoor space and be practical when determining how long it will take for the project to be completed.
Considerations When Choosing A Landscape Contractor
Experience And Expertise
Before getting too far into the interview process, homeowners should ask the contractor to show them proof that they are licensed and insured. In the majority of states, landscape contractors are required to carry insurance. Contractors who don’t have insurance may charge lower rates. In the long run, however, they are a poor choice since they can leave you on the hook financially if your property is damaged or if anyone is injured during the project.
Homeowners are often tempted to go with the contractor who offers the lowest price. Although there are good contractors who charge reasonable rates, it is usually better to choose a company that provides a quote that falls somewhere in the middle. Companies that charge extremely low rates may be inexperienced or they may not carry insurance.
Landscaping projects can be quite costly. Paying a little bit more for a knowledgeable, experienced contractor can wind up saving you a lot of money by preventing expensive mistakes over the course of the project.
Check The Contractor’s Portfolio
To get a better sense of how experienced a contractor is, ask to see their portfolio. Viewing photographs of projects that they have worked on in the past can give you a lot of insight into the quality and style of their work. Request a list of references, as well. By contacting some of their past clients, you can verify that they provide good customer service and high-quality results.
Research The Background Of The Company
Delve a little bit deeper into the background of any companies that you are thinking about hiring. How long have they been around? Where is their office located? How many people does the company employ?
Check out some of the reviews the landscape contractor has. Google reviews is a great place to start, followed by their Facebook page.
Although the size of the company shouldn’t be the sole determining factor, it is usually best to go with a company that is a little bit larger. Bigger companies tend to be more well-established, which means that they may have an easier time completing your project.
Get A Contract In Writing
You should always have a written contract in place before work begins on your landscaping project. The contract should include information on when the project will be completed and how much it will cost. Usually, a little bit of extra money will be allotted for unexpected issues that come up during the project. It is extremely important to make sure that the costs are clearly defined in the contract ahead of time, however.
Another thing to look for is whether or not the contract has warranty information for any hardscaping, plants, or other elements of the project. A verbal agreement is not adequate. The warranty needs to be in writing in case something goes wrong after the project is completed.
Make A Decision Based On Your Research
Ultimately, there are a few different considerations that come into play when choosing a contractor. Although the price of the project does need to be considered, you should avoid ruling out a contractor based on money alone. Instead, take a look at characteristics like the contractor’s skill, experience, and reputation to determine which company offers the best overall value.
Landscaping projects often take months to complete. During that time, you will be in regular contact with your contractor. Think about this when deciding which company to hire. How quickly do they get back to you when you contact them? Having a good relationship with the contractor can make a big difference in the quality of the finished project.
As long as the contractor lives up to your expectations, you most likely will continue to work with them on future projects, as well. Selecting the right contractor can make a big difference in how happy you are with the outcome. Discuss your project with the contractor in advance, asking any questions that you may have. Don’t forget to have a written contract in place before work begins, as well. As long as you choose the contractor wisely, your landscaping projects should help enhance the beauty of your home.