One of the most important choices you will make in regard to your home improvement is hiring the right landscaping company. There are so many options when hiring a professional landscaper. You have designers, architects, contractors and your everyday “fly-by-night” companies.
To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together some details on what each has to offer and which might be a fit for you. This is something you are going to look at every day, spend days and nights hanging out with friends and use as your personal getaway. Your yard is an important part of your dream home, so we want to help you do it right.
How to Choose a Landscape Designer
Whether you want artificial grass, decorative pathways to your pool, fire pits or water features, you’ll want to find a reputable company with experts specializing in design, architecture and construction. Check out these tips for choosing the best landscape professionals for all your needs.
1. Look for Company Credentials
There is one definite pro to “fly by night” companies — they are cheap. This is the company that quotes you THOUSANDS of dollars below the rest. While the cost is attractive and of course is an option, you might want to consider the following before you hire them just to save a few bucks.
These companies are called fly-by-night businesses because they fly under the radar. They are not properly structured, they are not licensed, bonded or insured. Since these companies do not have proper structuring, it is dangerous to have them do work on your property.
A professional landscaping company makes its credentials easy to find on its main, about or service pages. You may not find information about their service prices because each project is customized and one-of-a-kind. Instead, you should be able to see that they offer free consultations or other quote processes to understand how much your project will cost.
2. Select Insured Professionals
If your landscaping company lacks the proper insurance, you will likely not be able to recover the cost of any accidental property damage from the company and will be left holding the bill. Also, if a worker was to get hurt while doing their job, you may end up paying the medical bills or getting sued. Picking insured professionals can give you peace of mind.
Verify that a landscaping company is insured before you sign any contracts or move forward with a project. If you need help locating insurance information, contact their customer service team using an online form or the phone number on their website. A representative should be able to provide you with clear answers.
3. Check Qualifications and Experience
Many companies are run and staffed by underqualified individuals. Their work may even look good on the surface, but the quality of work and materials is usually not the best. The last thing you want is a yard you have to redo in a year. Ensure the company you choose will get it done right the first time.
Browse a gallery of their past projects. Their portfolio should show relevant work they’ve completed recently for clients in your area. Do the services look professional and aesthetically pleasing? If you like what you see, this company may be a good match for you.
Review their service details to see if they mention staying up-to-date with the industry’s latest tools and techniques. You’ll want to invest in companies that give you the best value and craftsmanship possible.
4. Research Their Guarantees and History
Most legitimate companies guarantee their work to some degree or another and you may get a “guarantee” from a fly-by-night landscaper. However, there is no assurance they will fulfill their promise when you call in.
First, they may not be around anymore. These companies usually don’t last long as the Board of Contractors is extremely strict and is always looking for and shutting these companies down. These companies also do not have proper funding or structuring, so the likelihood they will be around for an extended time is low.
Check a company’s about page for details about its history. Are they industry leaders who appear knowledgeable and experienced? Usually, you can find other important information, like details about labor and material warranties, on the website.
5. Read Some of Their Company Reviews
Lastly, they do not have a reputation to protect and therefore are not required to provide quality customer service. In summary, these companies may look attractive based on their low price but in the long run, they could very likely end up costing you more.
A quick Google search can give you some insight into the experiences customers have with a landscaping company. What do the most recent reviews say? You can also check the comments on social media pages like Instagram and YouTube to see what clients say on those platforms.
3 Tips for Finding a Landscaper Designer, Architect and Contractor
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about designers, architects and contractors. Each area of expertise is somewhat the same in some areas, however they a very different in others. To make the decision more difficult, some firms have landscape designers and architects on staff so they can develop the total design, installation and maintenance of every the most intricate and beautiful landscape design project.
1. Search for a Full-Service Landscaping Company
Some landscaping companies have one and will outsource the other. Few companies have a designer, architect and contractor all in the same company. If you can find a company with all three it can prove to be a seamless process and a great experience.
If you don’t have a company in your area with all three, it would be wise to vet, the companies that are being outsourced in addition to the initial company. The last thing you want is a master designer who outsources to a second-rate contractor. Some companies are able to make the process easy when they have to outsource but often times it becomes an elongated and tedious process.
2. Get Recommendations and Perform Research
A great place to start is by asking friends or neighbors with great landscaping who they used and asking for a referral. As you look at companies be sure to look at their galleries and see what kind of work, they have done in the past. Does it look like they can handle your job in terms of design and architecture?
Also, considering the size of the company and their equipment, can they handle the construction? Always ask for proof of licenses, certifications and professional affiliations. You should always get proposals in writing and make sure you understand the terms and fees.
3. Pick a Team With Excellent Customer Service
Once you find companies you are interested in you have to decide which to hire. There are several factors to consider, including timeline, complexity and project size.
A consultation can give you a significant amount of insight into a company. Consider whether the discussion about your ideas feels one-sided or collaborative. Does a consultant answer your questions, gain an understanding of your goals and give recommendations? Are the services customizable and aligned with your landscaping needs?
Really, we recommend finding a company you WANT to work with. Are you able to effectively communicate with them? Do they answer your calls? Do they listen to your needs and feedback? If you are going to undertake a major landscape design, you want to do it with people you like working with. You want a company with great customer service and work quality.
Professional vs. DIY Landscaping
You may be incredibly handy or be a wonderful gardener but before you start the demolition it’s a good idea to get with a landscape designer for a consult. Designing and executing a landscape design can be far more complex and backbreaking than you might think. It requires expertise that few amateur gardeners have.
Is It Worth Hiring a Landscape Designer?
Once you have a plan in place you may feel confident about doing some planting or similar work on your own but it would be in your best interest to hire a professional to take care of things such as outdoor lighting, irrigation, lawns, swimming pools, hardscapes, outdoor kitchens and grading.
Overall, the landscape design process can be wonderful. You just have to get with the right people to get it done.
Transform Your Outdoor Areas With JTB Landscaping
Here at JTB Landscapers, we have a comprehensive team of designers, architects and contractors. We are fully licensed, bonded and insured and we guarantee our work. We would be honored to make your dream yard a reality.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation design consult at 702-425-5581 or submit a form online. We look forward to hearing from you and collaborating on your project!