Tips for Choosing a Contractor
landscape contractor licenses
A landscape contractor is required by law to be licensed and regulated by the Contractor's State License Board. If you do not see a contractor's license number listed in their ad, business card or proposal, there is a good chance that they are not licensed.
landscaping business insurance
Ask the landscaping business to provide you with Certificates of Insurance for Worker's Compensation and Liability prior to commencement of work.
landscape contractor considerations
It is to your advantage to meet with more than one landscape contractor so that you feel comfortable with your choice. Start with landscaping businesses that have worked in your area for a minimum of three to five years. Environmental conditions vary dramatically around the Bay Area, and it is important that the contractor is familiar with your soil, conditions, climate, pests, terrain, etc. Some guidelines to follow in the initial stages:
- Ask friends and neighbors if they can recommend someone.
- Try to use local phone books and publications as a source.
- Pick companies whose names you recognize, if possible.
- If you see an installation that impresses you, ask the homeowner who they used and if they were satisfied. People are usually very happy to share this information.
- Verify how long the contractor has been in business in this area.
- If you see a job in progress, take the time to look around and perhaps introduce yourself.
references for landscaping services
Ask for a list of job addresses that you can drive by to actually see the type of landscaping services being offered by the landscape contractor you are considering hiring. Not only will you see the quality of installation but also their overall design ability. Keep in mind that some jobs might reflect the owners' taste rather than the contractor's.
how to interview a potential landscape contractor
Look for compatibility between yourself and the landscape contractor. You should feel that there is a well-communicated exchange of information and feel comfortable expressing your ideas. The final product should suit your own personal needs and preferences. Ask yourself if you feel confident in the contractor's ability, if they have a good reputation and if you trust the company. Most important, trust your instincts.
the contract for landscaping services
A deposit is standard upon acceptance of the proposal. For smaller landscaping services, final payment is usually made upon completion of the work. For larger contracts, it is not unreasonable for a contractor to require progress payments upon completion of specified projects or delivery of materials. Before signing acceptance of the written proposal, read it carefully. If there is anything you don't understand or feel uncomfortable with, ask for clarification. It is much easier to do this at the initial stage than after work has begun.
The "Residential Landscape Home Improvement Contract" is now a legally required document to be furnished by your contractor and made a part of any contract for residential improvement. If they fail to provide you with one, please ask them about it. This is for your protection. Although available, this is not legally required for commercial locations.
By law, your contract must always be accompanied by a "Notice of Cancellation", which states your right to cancel the transaction, without penalty or obligation, within three business days. In addition, the contract must make reference to the "Notice to Owner", Section 7019 of the Contractor’s License Law regarding your contractor's rights to enforce a claim against your property for unpaid labor, service or material. This applies to subcontractors, laborers and material suppliers as well.
You can always contact the Contractor's State License Board with any questions or concerns.Read more articles...