7 Tips for Selecting a Quality Landscape Construction Contractor
By Kevin Bardsley and Nick Oliver
Designing and creating an elegant, masterful landscape should be something that brings long term beauty and enjoyment. It starts with finding a quality, competent landscape designer / contractor to make that dream a reality.
1. Longevity and Experience
Finding a company with years or decades of experience can speak well toward its quality. Look not only to the years the company has been operating, but also to the length of experience the onsite managers, crew leaders, and laborers have. It’s their experience, expertise, and comprehensive knowledge that sets apart great teams from good ones.
2. Size and Jobs
How many sites is the project manager running, and what amount of time will be spent on your job? A good contracting company will know all projects do not have the same requirements. Demands on labor and staff are different for each project. Does the company have a good ratio of employees to jobs? Are they overloading crews with too much work to manage? Be sure the company has adequate resources to handle the size and detail of your project.
3. Quality and Scope
First off, make sure you select a company with a commitment to structural and aesthetic quality. Contractors’ portfolios should have pictures as well as jobsites / similar projects that potential customer can visit. Compare the company portfolio of work to your prospective project and ideas. Many future issues or problems are solved before they happen with proper planning and installation. This also keeps maintenance costs to a minimum. Look for projects the company created several years ago and see how the landscape has stood up over time and seasons.
Additionally, ask for schedules of when workers work and where. Where will trailers be parked? Ask the provider to walk your property and tell you the weekly work process and plan.
4. Relationships and Deadlines
Managing a landscape construction project involves your contractor optimizing their crews, as well as coordinating and managing any subcontractors they might employ. Look for a contractor who works with multiple quality subcontractors to be sure pricing is kept competitive. Subs should be responsive to both the contractor and schedule deadlines (weak sub relationships can strain schedules and deadlines). When crunch time approaches, and the deadline is due, the last thing you want to hear is, “the subcontractor is behind.”
5. Responsiveness and Communication
Communication is key. Every construction job has a scheduling delay or two during installation. Connect with existing customers to see how quickly your contractor comes up with solutions, how responsive the team is to unforeseen issues. Only identifying the problem doesn’t truly help the customer, timely and effective solutions do. Architects, designers, manufacturers working in tandem to find solutions is essential.
6. Reputation and Ethics
There are a number of ways you can verify the integrity and legitimacy of companies today. Customer testimonials, online reviews, and personal references can be very illuminating.
A quality contractor should have also a good reputation with its suppliers, architects, and designers. Although architects will not necessarily know all local contractors, each contractor should have a list of architects they have worked with. If a contractor is not running an efficient business paying subs and vendors, it usually translates negatively to the final product as well. Vendors and suppliers are generally good sources to find out if a contractor is difficult to work with.
7. Pricing and Accuracy
Proposals should be done with proper takeoffs and accurate pricing at the forefront. How specific is it when calculating cost of services? Does it use a generic figure or does it measure the exact acreage and count every tree? Ask for the reasons behind the price.
At Woodlake Outdoor, we are committed to delivering in all these areas as a quality landscape construction contractor. As reflected in our vision and core values, we seek to create lasting beauty while increasing the value of our customers’ properties. We are committed to long-term relationships with every customer and all our subcontractors.
Have more questions? Feel free to reach out to us at Woodlake Outdoor with your design, maintenance, or general landscape questions.