Choosing a commercial landscaper can be as simple as calling a few numbers and asking a few questions. However, the simplicity of the process is no excuse to be lax. Proper landscaping can add incredible value to any plot, be it commercial or residential—unless it’s poorly executed.
Whether you’re looking for someone who can turn your vision for the land into a viable, workable design or someone who can help you with sustainable lawn care and maintenance, it’s important that you ask the right questions. Doing so will help you quickly and efficiently narrow down your list of options.
How long have you been in business?
The longer a commercial landscaper has been in business, the better that speaks of his or her track record. People typically want someone with considerable experience, landscaping ideas, and any professional who’s been working as a landscaper for five or ten years obviously has that in spades. However, you don’t want to just focus on the number of years or jobs they have to their name. Make sure to ask about previous jobs, success rates, and potential references that you can check out on your own.
What is the extent of your services?
Most full service landscapers offer basic law maintenance, design, and installation. However, it won’t do to assume. Different landscapers may be more specialized than their colleagues, ergo their scope may not be as general. Before choosing a commercial landscaper to work with, make sure that they can do what you want them to do, whether it’s general maintenance, sustainable design, irrigation, lawn installations, fertilization, or so forth. Some landscapers also package together similar services, so make sure to ask about those as well.
Are you fully insured and bonded?
Being a commercial landscaper is not without its own fair share of occupational hazards. The problem is if those occupational hazards translate to you paying for injuries or damages sustained. Before signing on with someone, make sure that they have the coverage and compensation necessary to address all potential mishaps. Not only does this protect you from paying for costly repairs should any harm befall your property, it also saves you from potential lawsuits and fees should any harm befall the landscaper while he/she is on your property.
How much do you charge, and what am I paying for?
Don’t shy away from discussing costs. Let the landscaper know upfront your budget, your own personal estimates, and how far you can (or can’t) afford to stretch costs. If the landscaper can respond to your transparency in kind, then you know you’re dealing with a professional who’s confident that their prices are reasonable. If they offer quotes, ask for one and then have them break it down as extensively as they can. If you’ve done research beforehand, you should be able to tell if their prices are within the acceptable or standard range.
Do you hold a membership in any Landscaping Association?
Holding a membership with a landscaping association indicates several things about the landscaper—all of which are positive. Official organizations like the APLD (Association of Professional Landscape Designers) and ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) are communities that landscapers who are serious about their career can join to better their craft. Being an official member means that the landscaper in question:
- Is certified and/or professionally recognized
- Is up-to-date on all the latest trends, techniques, and technologies regarding landscape design and/or architecture
- Has a considerable network of professional landscapers who are certified and/or professionally recognized as well
- Is committed to giving back to the community through his/her craft
- Follows a set of principles or guidelines regarding their work and work ethics
Holding membership certainly doesn’t have to be a requirement for commercial landscapers, but it’s definitely a good bonus. After all, any landscaper that’s invested in learning more, staying updated, and earning professional recognition is definitely worth their weight in gold.