Many homeowners reach a point when they can no longer maintain their landscaping without professional help. A landscape contractor can transform your property from drab to eye-catching while providing valuable advice to help you maintain the improvements after the job is done.
Yet like any other service provider, landscape contractors can also do shoddy work. Here are some tips to help protect you and your property while getting the landscaping help you need from a reliable professional.
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Tip #1 – Look for the right credentials.
Landscaping done well makes your home look beautiful. It adds value to your property and instills a sense of pride in ownership. Poor landscaping has the opposite effect. Make sure the individual you hire is a qualified professional to avoid problems.
Many states do not require licensing for landscapers. So what can you look for instead? First, ask for references. Check with these prior clients to see how satisfied they were with the landscaper’s work. Then, ask if members of the landscaping team are background checked or screened. Remember, these individuals will be at your home, so you want to make sure they are safe to host on your property.
Tip #2 – Check the Better Business Bureau.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a valuable resource when assessing prospective hires. You can search for a business on the BBB website and find both complaints and reviews. You may find that your potential contractor has a strong rating and positive reviews, which indicates a high-quality landscape business. Either way, this resource is free and widely available.
Tip #3 – Require proof of insurance.
Proper insurance is important when hiring any type of contractor to work on your property, including a landscaping professional. Accidents that damage your property or injure someone can lead to serious liability claims. If the landscape contractor does not carry workers’ compensation and general liability insurance, you may not receive adequate compensation or, even worse, you might be liable for these accidents.
Tip #4 – Make a Landscape Contract.
A contract with a landscape professional can outline the work you want done, the compensation and costs for materials, and the anticipated timeline. Sketches and other graphics can be included as attachments to the contract. The Rocket Lawyer Landscape Contract takes you through the process of making a customized document. The contract will ensure you and your landscape professional are on the same page about project expectations so that you both will be satisfied with the results. If the landscaping job requires any construction, you might also consider a Construction Contract for that part of the project.
Tip #5 – Discuss work warranties.
Landscaping can look beautiful one day, but dry, brown and crumbling a week later. As such, you need to ensure there are protections in place. Warranties on the work are an important aspect of your contract.
How long will your landscaper guarantee the plants will remain alive, provided you give proper care? Does the landscaper guarantee any of the construction work they do, such as the irrigation system they install or the retaining wall they build? You need to know that the company you hire will stand behind their work for the long term.
In addition to warranties, be sure to ask how you will use it should something go wrong. A company can claim to have a warranty, but then fail to stand behind it when problems arise. Make sure the warranty directions are included in writing as part of your Landscape Contract.
Hiring a landscape contractor should be a smooth transaction, but you do need to do a little homework. Make sure the company you choose is a reliable one that will perform well. Look for the right credentials and get a contract in place. If you have any questions, consult with a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney to discuss contracts and obligations with a qualified attorney.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.