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Choosing a Landscape Contractor

Choosing a Landscape Contractor

10.01.2013.

Landscaping your house or any property adds a lot of value to the location and brings in a premium value; this increases the return on investment on such properties multi fold. However, the value is really associated with a quality landscaping. A poorly down landscaping could damage the property or even put it under threat. This makes it imperative that you take professional help in landscaping your property. When it comes to professional help, it is important that you carry out due diligence before awarding the project to any contractor.

Understanding the Services provided by Landscape contractor

There are different types of landscape contractors that specialise in different kinds of landscaping. Some focus on residential landscaping alone while others handle commercial ones alone. There are some others that can cater to commercial as well as residential customers. It is important that you find the one that you are most comfortable working with.

The landscape contractors offer a wide range of services including:
1. Lay the foundation for landscaping
2. Install plant material
3. Build accessories to the landscape like patio, swing, tea table, etc.
4. Build retaining walls
5. Install lighting systems
6. Install irrigation systems, etc.

You need not contract all these services with a contractor. Depending on your own interest levels and skills, you could negotiate with the contractor foe partial services and you can work with them to get your part completed.

Carrying out Due Diligence

Once you have determined the services you want from the contractor, you now need to start looking for the right contractor. This involves various checks that you need to perform before finalising one of them.

1. Past Experience: Look for contractors with previous experience in the similar field. The better their track record, the better are the chances of good service. However, established contractors could charge you extra professional fees due to their well established brands. Sometimes, novice contractor with fewer projects could be an economical alternative as long as you can validate or get references on their project. Do not exclude newer contractors from your list, as you may just be surprised by the services they offer.

2. Association or alliance: Check to see if the company is affiliated to some professional organisation or forum. Typically, such organisations have some guidelines for quality services so you can expect professional and good service from them.

3. Guarantee: You must always look for guarantee on the installations and plant material as well as the quality of work. Never get into a contract without any obligations or guarantees from the contractor. You really need a landscape that will stand the test of time. A good contractor would give you the guarantee while poor ones will typically shy away from them or give you a poor guarantee.

4. References: While the contractors may present a good marketing copy of their past experience, if possible you must validate them on your own. Try to go visit the places they have landscaped, get in touch with the past customers to get feedback on their service. You can also ask for references directly from the contractors to validate the quality of their work.

In summary, choosing a landscape contractor is not different from any other important purchase you make. You need to carry out the necessary due diligence before picking the right contractor. While costs would be your primary concern, quality of work is more important, so base your decisions accordingly.

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