Choosing a Landscaping Company can be tricky especially in this day and age when everyone has decided to go into the "Landscaping Business". Basically if you have a lawnmower, a weed eater and a truck you're a landscaper, just like having a thermometer, Band-Aid, and the first 3 seasons of ER makes you a doctor Right? Wrong!
How long has the Landscape Company Been in Business?
Find out if the Landscape Company has the experience needed for your specific needs. Do they know and understand Florida Law regarding tree removal, installation, easements, and surveying? Does the individual you are considering possess knowledge of the regulations and codes which are in place within your area? Do they poses the basic knowledge of plants, grass, trees and other vegetation and how they thrive in South Florida weather?
Are References Available Upon Request?
For your own protection take the time to speak to existing customers and also take the time to view the potential contractors’ work. For references please email LandscapingDMS@google.com Check with the BBB to see if there are any complaints filed against them. Google your potential landscape company, see if there is anything online you can find out about them.
What Type of Work Ethic Does the Landscape Company Possess?
Can you get a specific time frame as to days and times of installation, length of time for installation? If you are looking for general maintenance will they be at your home on a consistent basis at approximately the same time every week or other week depending on contract. (Taking poor weather conditions into consideration.) Make sure you get a thorough explanation as to the time frame expected to install your particular type of fencing. For your own protection make sure you get all the details.
Does the Landscape Company Take Pride in Their Own Trucks and Equipment?
If they do not show pride in ownership, what makes you think they will take the care and attention to detail you are looking for, to accentuate the beauty you wish to achieve with your new landscaping project. Attention to detail and pride in their work is a must when it comes to landscaping and lawn maintenance. Landscaping is a cosmetic appeal that you are striving for as a home or business owner. Your landscaping can be the first thing people notice about your business and it's always a good idea to make a good first impression.
Be Leery of Any Contractor Who is Asking for All the Money Up Front.
Most reputable companies will seek half down and the balance upon satisfactory completion of his work. Other individuals will seek thirty percent, upon signing of contract with the balance becoming due upon satisfactory completion of his work. Work out the terms of payment or payment schedule prior to commencement of work on your project and before you sign anything!
Is the Landscape Contractor Licensed and Insured?
What is a license and why is it important that your Landscape Contractor possess one? A reputable company, or contractor should always be licensed in the cities that he works in. A license acts as work permit. It means that he has filled out the proper paperwork and paid the towns fees in order to legally work in your area. It is just another step in dealing with a reputable person. The town screens its candidates and makes sure that they do not have previous violations. When choosing anyone who will be working at your home and possibly around your family you want to make sure you take all proper precautions. Having a licensed and insured contractor is a good step towards peace of mind when concerned with the safety of your family and home.
I Have Homeowner's Insurance is it Safe to Use an Unlicensed Landscape Contractor?
Some homeowners believe it is safe to use an uninsured Landscaper or Lawn Care Professional, assuming that any damages incurred would be covered under their own homeowners insurance policies. However, this isn't the case. Most homeowner policies require that any work to the property be done by licensed contractors and they will seek the license of the contractor at which you are making the claim.
Although many homeowners are unaware of the potential ramifications of this critical issue, insurance coverage should be one of the most important considerations in your choice of contractor. Making the mistake of choosing a contractor with inadequate insurance can have costly consequences to your property, your family and your financial well-being. Unfortunately, some contractors disregard this risk and, by cutting corners on insurance, are able to offer lower prices. In most cases, a lower price means the contractor may be uninsured or under-insured.
Does My Landscaper Need Worker's Compensation?
Ask the contractor if the company is insured against claims covering workers compensation, property damage, and personal liability in case of accidents. Ask to see a copy of the certificate of insurance, or ask for the name of the contractor's insurance carrier and agency to verify that the contractor has the insurance.
Workers Compensation is required if you have one or more employees. The coverage pays for the medical, pharmaceutical and other health care costs of employees’ work-related injuries. It also pays a portion of the salary of the worker while out of work. Who do you think the employee is going to look to for damages if their employer doesn't have the means to pay for their injuries? This can spell huge financial problems for the homeowner. If you hire an unlicensed contractor that doesn’t carry insurance, who is responsible when a worker falls off of your roof and breaks his arm? Perhaps the medical bills are reaching the hundreds of thousands for x-rays, exams, physical therapy, or maybe even surgery. The homeowner will be responsible for taking care of the uninsured worker’s medical bills.
Who is Responsible For Damage to My Property?
Also consider damage to your property. Who is responsible if the contractor accidentally drives through your garage door? If they are unlicensed and uninsured, chances are you will be left paying for the damages. Most likely if the Contractor does not have insurance they probably won't have the money to fix the damage either
Although an uninsured and unlicensed contractor may install a quality product for you at a very low price, if the major material bill is not paid to the supply company for the products, the supply company will lien the property where the materials were installed. Often unlicensed contractors will offer a significantly lower quote to entice you. However, while you think you are saving money, that same contractor is probably taking shortcuts or reusing your old materials. You may not even be aware that the contractor is doing these things, while still charging you for new materials.
Another issue that can arise with unlicensed contractors is their motivation to finish the job. They may simply take your money and run with it. Or, they may only complete half of the promised work.
Although some landscape companies may look "good" and may offer you the lowest bid, they may be a serious risk for the quality of your project and your financial investment. Every single year consumers lose about $25 million dollars due to unlicensed contractors. Don't be another statistic!!!
Licensed contractors registered with the state of Florida cannot get away with taking shortcuts or skipping out on jobs. They will be held accountable should they be reported to their state licensing agency. It's always good practice to go with a licensed & insured Landscaping Company such as Dennis M. Serafini's Complete Lawn Care Inc.