The Essentials of Lawns – Breaking Down the Basics
How to Make the Most of Your First Meeting with a Landscape Contractor
Many clients feel overwhelmed when meeting their prospective landscape contractor for the first time. They’re virtually flooded with ideas! But don’t worry. First meetings are usually just for, well, meeting and talking to each other – no need to tell them about your lifelong dream YET.
It’s an opportunity for the contractor to check out the property and see what work may have to be done. For you part, you can assess them and whether they are the right choice for your project. You can talk about your dreams and plans after you’ve signed a contract.
To make the most out of this initial meeting, there are a few questions you must ask, including:
> Have you done a similar job in the past? You don’t just want an experienced contractor. They should have experience with projects that are similar to yours, and show work samples as proof.
> How do you bill your clients? This may be a per-hour rate or a fixed sum depending on the scope of the job. With some contractors, you will be billed a portion of your total costs.
> Can you give me references? But don’t stop at asking for references; talk to them. Ask about professionalism and reliability. Were they on time for meetings or when returning emails or calls? Were the clients’ concerns handled professionally?
Checking Out Portfolios
Have the contractor show you photos of recent jobs they’ve done besides those you’ll find on their website. In other words, their portfolio, and do review it with the contractor around so questions you may have can be answered right away (sometimes, you can forget about the most important ones). This is a good way to get hints on how they might approach your project.
People sometimes hesitate to discuss costs early on in the project, but being straightforward from the get-go is actually beneficial. This way, them can work around your financial capacity instead of going overboard with your budget that they actually never knew anyway – until you’re probably halfway through the job.
Scope of the Project
Do you want them to be incharge of everything, from concept to clean-up, or just specific aspects of the job, like making a site plan or a planting plan? Obviously, this is one of the biggest factors that can impact your costs, and it’s best to let the contractor in on this from the very beginning.
Finally, take advantage of this first meeting to gauge whether there is chemistry between you and the contractor. Landscape projects typically run for weeks at least, so you’ll be spending a lot of time with them. If you work with someone you’re not happy with, the results of your project could be affected.