A landscape maintenance company can keep your lawn and landscape looking its best all year.
Hiring a professional is a great idea, but you need to make sure you hire the right one.
How do you know which company is the best landscape maintenance company for you?
There are many landscape maintenance companies throughout the area, but they may provide different services and prices. How do you find one that fits your needs and budget? How do you know they’re reputable and provide professional services? Well, you may not, unless you check them out first.
Where Do I Start?
Before you hire someone to handle your landscape needs, you need to qualify them. Make sure they’re a reputable company with adequate staff to take care of your property. They need to be knowledgeable, efficient and dependable to ensure the best work and service. You may want to talk to several landscape companies before you choose one.
Here’s a handy checklist to help you find the best landscape maintenance company for your northern NJ home.
1. Research the Company
- Do a website search – In today’s computer generated world, most reputable businesses have a website. It’s a major component of doing business these days. Take a look at the company’s website to gather helpful company information, review services, see photos of their work and read client testimonials and referrals.
- Get Referrals – A company’s name and reputation usually gets around quickly, especially in the areas where they do business. Get referrals from friends, relatives or neighbors in your area who may have used them for landscape services. You can also ask the company for referrals.
- Visit the premises – Some landscape companies have a showroom or nursery that’s open to the public. If one is available, stop by for a visit to get an idea of their work and the services they provide. It’s also a good opportunity to meet some of the staff you may be dealing with if you hire them.
2. Find Out About the Company’s History
- How long have they been in business? – The length of time a company has been in business is a good indicator of success. The best landscape maintenance company doesn’t stay in business for 20 years if they’re not doing good work, and there is no good substitute for experience.
- How big is the company? – A bigger company typically has more employees to handle work loads and service issues. Make sure that the landscape maintenance company you hire is capable of handing your property needs.
- What are their professional qualifications? – Qualify the company’s (owner and team) professional background. The best landscape maintenance company is often owned by a landscape architect with an extensive knowledge of horticulture, and the staff is often a team of people with similar backgrounds. This level of knowledge is extremely valuable to you.
- Are they licensed and Insured? – Professional landscape companies should be licensed and insured. They should have a current business license and liability insurance that’s covers damages. They should provide workman’s compensation that protects their workers in case of injury on your property.
- What areas do they service? – If you’re dealing with a local landscape company that services local areas such as Bergen County, NJ and Passaic County, NJ, they probably have an established reputation in those areas. If they have been servicing those areas for years, it should be easy to get credible feedback or referrals from the local communities.
- What professional affiliations do they belong to? – Professional affiliations are an important part of a company’s credibility. Check to see if they are affiliated with some of the better national or northern NJ organizations:
- Professional Landscape Network (PLANET)
- New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association
- Builders & Remodelers Association of NJ
- American Society of Landscape Architects
- Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program
All of these organizations promote horticulture education and safe, ethical business practices.
3. Schedule a Site Visit
After you do a little research, you will have a better idea of companies you like. Select a few top choices and schedule a site visit with each one. The best landscape maintenance company will arrive fully prepared to discuss your landscape needs and evaluate the work requirements.
Ask them to bring helpful information like a company brochure and a list of available services. They may or may not have available prices since most landscape work varies according to the size and services needed at each property.
A site visit can enlighten you on several things. Did they show up for the appointment on time? Did they seem knowledgeable and professional? Did they explain their services adequately? Did you feel confident about the company? Would you feel comfortable hiring them?
A reliable contractor will arrive on time, in a well-maintained work van and appropriate business attire. You should avoid working with companies that show up late looking unprofessional and unprepared to discuss your landscape needs. Often, your first meeting is a good indication of your next one. As they say, first impressions are everything!
4. Get Estimates and Review Them Carefully
If you get estimates from several companies, make sure you read them carefully to understand what each one includes. If you’re comparing prices, make sure they provide the same services.
Review estimates carefully and make sure you understand the scope of maintenance services to be provided. Everything should be spelled out clearly, but if you have questions be sure to discuss them. Be careful of any hidden costs for extra services or products that aren’t clear in your estimate. The best landscape maintenance company will take the time to make sure you understand your estimate.
Landscape maintenance contracts consist of many factors, but a large portion of the contract is usually labor costs. When you’re reviewing price estimates, know that cheaper is not always better. Estimates that are significantly lower could be cutting labor costs by cutting services or manpower. Usually, you get what you pay for.
5. Consider Your Long-Term Landscape Needs
Many landscape maintenance companies offer services that go well beyond mowing grass and taking care of the lawn. A full-service landscape maintenance company can design and build various home features to enhance your home and landscape. They are qualified to design and install:
- Swimming pools and spas
- Waterfalls and ponds
- Irrigation systems
- Patios and terraces
- Walkways and driveways
- Fireplaces and fire pits
- Outdoor kitchens
Consider your long-term wants and needs for your home. If adding a pool or spa and a new patio with an outdoor kitchen is on your to-do list for the future, hire the best landscape maintenance company that offers these additional services.
It will be easier and possibly more cost-effective if they are already handling your landscape maintenance. It will also be an advantage that they are familiar with your property’s landscape and irrigation system.