Updated: Aug 19, 2019
Giuseppe Baldi, GM Baldi Gardens, Inc
You get what you pay for. We’ve all heard the old adage, but it’s no more true for any industry than it is for the landscaping industry. Selecting the right landscape or irrigation company can be difficult, there are countless stories online and in the news about scams perpetrated both by those posing as landscape professionals and real landscapers trying to make a quick extra buck by deceiving their clients.
The truth is that the green industry has a reputation problem. We are often viewed as unprofessional or dismissed as an unskilled trade. How this came to be our reality is a long story but I can tell you that there are professionals out there who are diligently working to elevate the reputation of the industry as a whole and to bring a higher quality of service to the communities they serve. These are the professionals you should hire.When the time comes to hire a green industry pro to work in your lawn or garden there are many things to consider. Here are a few tips:
1. Check to see how long the company has been in business. Most startups in the green industry don’t last more than 5 years and I’ve heard countless stories about landscapers disappearing in the middle of projects. While a company’s time in business shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, it may make the following tips even more important.
2. Ask what their specialties are. Not every company does irrigation work or hardscaping for instance. If this is going to be a major part of your project you may want to hire someone who is knowledgeable in the field. If they aren’t, do they subcontract it out? If so, how do they handle their subs? Do they make sure they have liability insurance, etc.? Do they guarantee work performed by subcontractors?
3. Ask about licenses and certifications. Anyone performing work on a sprinkler system is required to be licensed. Don’t be afraid to ask for license numbers and don’t be afraid to verify them with the appropriate government agency. While general landscaping does not require a license you’ll want to hire someone you know is knowledgeable. Have they earned any industry certifications? Are they members of any industry associations or organizations that require them to obtain continuing education credits to renew their certifications? This is a great way to find out who values learning and who is up to date on industry standards and research.
4. Ask if they charge sales tax. We are required to charge customers sales tax for most landscape related work and all reputable companies do so. If they don’t they are skirting the law and are probably doing so in other ways as well, such as not paying their employees overtime, etc.
5. Check online reviews. What are their previous customers saying about them? Check in multiple places, not just their website (Google, Angie’s List, Thumbtack, Better Business Bureau, etc.).
These are just a few tips to think about before your next outdoor project, there’s a lot more to consider when you’re looking to beautify your exterior environment. Our one most important piece of advice-Do your homework and make sure you feel comfortable with your landscaper before you make a final decision.