How to Choose a Landscape Contractor

The first and foremost question you need to answer when thinking about having landscaping done is … what do you want done? Do you want large trees? Are you going to replace that walkway? Maybe you need a lawn care service, or maybe you have just built a new home and need a landscape design from a Syracuse NY Landscape Contractor. Once you have determined your needs, you can choose the type of contractor you need. Some specialize in maintenance; others in design and installation; and still others in tree care. There is no sense in wasting your time or the contractor’s time by calling the wrong person for the project.

The best way to find a Syracuse New York Landscape Contractor is through referrals. You may know someone who has used a particular company and was happy. Maybe you saw a project being done on your way to work and thought it was beautiful. These are the best avenues to take because you have already seen the results of this particular company’s work. When a company obtains a reputation for doing quality work, the word spreads! However, make sure that you are fitting the company to your needs. A company that did wonderful tree pruning for your neighbor may not be best-suited to building your deck. Ask if the company specializes in this type of project.

Most design/build contractors carry portfolios of their work. Looking at the pictures can give you an excellent idea of the work they do, but you really can’t judge quality by looking at the picture. That’s why you need references. These are the single most important factors in deciding on a contractor. Landscaping is not like plumbing or heating. Chances are you only call a plumber when your pipes leak or a heating contractor when your furnace dies in the middle of the winter. Usually you have about 15 seconds to decide which contractor to call, and typically this “referral” comes from the Yellow Pages. You aren’t thinking about references when the temperature in your living room is 50 degrees and dropping fast! With the exception of emergency tree work, landscaping is the opposite. Take your time! The landscaper you want is the one who realizes that you are spending disposable income.

When interviewing Landscape Contractors, ask how much liability insurance they carry and make sure that it is at least the value of your home. Accidents happen, and you don’t want to be left holding the bill when a Landscape Contractor with no insurance cuts your gas line or drops a tree on your house!

When you feel comfortable with a particular Landscape Contractor, ask how they charge. Don’t be surprised to pay a design fee for a landscape plan.

Keep in mind the age-old rule that you get what you pay for! If someone is extremely inexpensive, there must be a reason. Material and labor costs are generally equal for all contractors.Finally, keep in mind the golden rule of choosing a landscaper – references. References will separate the professional from the amateur. Landscaping is best left to the professional. If you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur.

Article credited to: Bruce Zaretsky, Excerpted from GFLN/LA “GardenScape 2000”, Region 5.

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