Working with Contractors; What You Need to Know.

Working with Contractors; What You Need to Know.

When it comes to your landscaping project, you have a vision, budget, and timeline in mind. You’ve decided on things like:

So, how can you take that vision from your imagination into reality?

Easy: By selecting the right contractor, of course.

What’s not so easy: Researching, making a decision, and (if you don’t have experience) working with contractors.

Here’s what you need to know about how to hire a contractor.

Ask to see their work

Before working with a contractor, what you need to know is the quality of work they provide.

Ask to see gallery portfolio of past projects and pay close attention to the areas which are important to you, such as:

If you’ve dreamed of having a gorgeous porcelain tile walkway leading to a fire pit, you’ll want to ensure the contractor you hire is skilled in that area.

Otherwise, you’ll end up compromising your project.

One more thing: When checking out their work, look for before and after pictures. That’ll give you a good sense of what they’re truly capable of.

Get references

There’s nothing wrong with contacting references before working with a contractor.

What you need to know is how the contractor works, what their communication style is, how they manage staff, and how they deal with unexpected issues.

Get a reference

If a contractor is unwilling to provide references, it’s a warning sign that you may not want to hire them for your project.

On the other hand, if they do provide references, prepare a list of questions to ask, such as:

  • Was the project completed on time and on budget?
  • Are you happy with the workmanship?
  • Was the staff professional and courteous?
  • How quickly did the contractor reply to calls and questions?
  • Was the job site kept safe and tidy?
  • Were the terms of the contract followed at all times?

Remember, as a homeowner, you have every right to conduct some due diligence before trusting your hard-earned money and home to a contractor.

Insurance info

There’s a big difference between a skilled, licensed contractor, and a guy driving around with a shovel and truck.

Namely, accredited landscape contractors should carry the following insurance policies:

  • Worker’s compensation (Certificate of Clearance): If there’s a workplace injury, the contractor is responsible for compensation. If an injury occurs on the jobsite and the contractor has no WSIB insurance, you, the homeowner, are responsible.
  • Liability insurance (Certificate of Insurance): This protects the contractor (and you) from accidents which could damage your property or your neighbour’s. This also includes bodily injury too.

When working with contractors, what you need to know is whether these insurance documents are accurate and up-to-date.

Look at the date of issue and the date of expiry. If the certificates aren’t valid in any way, you should consider another contractor.

Communication style

The manner in which they communicate and interact with you can help determine how you hire a contractor.

Communicate with your contractor

This is what you’re looking for:

  • Are they friendly?
  • Do they take time to answer your questions thoroughly?
  • Do they demonstrate patience and understanding?
  • Will they get back you in a timely manner?

This is what you don’t want:

  • Are they blunt, even rude?
  • Do they provide short, unhelpful answers?
  • Does it take them forever to respond to a question?

Your contractor – whoever it is – is going to be at your house on a daily basis for the duration of the project.

The last thing you want is to have that experience be unpleasant, upsetting, and confrontational.

What’s the guarantee?

A trustworthy landscape contractor should offer a warranty or guarantee of some kind.

While there are no hard-and-fast rules, retaining wall and interlock paver pros recommend at least 2 years protection (ideally 5).

As well, the terms of the warranty should be clearly defined (in writing, not with a handshake) and easy-to-understand.

Working with contractors; now you know what you need to know

The right contractor is skilled, professional, and realizes they are building a relationship, and not just a project.

And Lane’s Landscaping Supplies has a strong relationship with local contractors. We have the products they need to bring your landscape design to life.

Have more questions? Need extra info?

Contact us to learn more about our contractor relationships. You can also request a FREE quote on any products we carry.

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