Many homeowners are itching to get outside to spruce up their lawns and gardens while many others are ready to hand the job over to someone else.
If you fall into the latter camp, the next question becomes who to hire. Ask friends and family about lawn and garden professionals they’ve used as well as checking out the BBB Accredited Business Directory for companies near you.
Your BBB also recommends:
Make an appointment to meet with each contractor you’re considering. Make a list of questions to ask, and remember that how the contractor responds may be as insightful as the answers themselves.
Ask how long the company has been in business, what kind of work experience and training the crew has, and if the contractor is willing to stand behind the work and service provided. Question what procedures are in place to handle problems if they should arise.
Ask for copies of licensing, if required, and insurance certificates for workers' compensation and liability. If the company is not properly insured, you could be liable for any accidents that occur on your property.
Ask for references and visit the site of the job to see the finished result. Also visit a job in progress so you can examine the crew's appearance and the quality of workmanship.
Get the contractor's cellphone number and home number in case of an emergency, and beware of contractors who are repeatedly difficult to reach.
Ask if the contractor will enlist licensed electricians and plumbers for jobs such as irrigation pump installation, which may necessitate special hookups. Ask if the contractor will hire the subcontractors, and if he or she will be on hand to direct the work.
Ask how much of a down payment is required. A general rule is no more than half at the start of the work and the final payment when the job is completed to your satisfaction.
Ask for a written contract. It should include an outline of all the work you want done, including start and end, total costs, materials used (including the depth of rock, heights of walls, etc.) Before signing, make sure you read and understand the contract.
Ask for instructions on how to maintain and care for the landscaping if you plan to do the work yourself.
Start With Trust. For more consumer tips and information, visit bbb.org.