Finding The Right Landscape Contractor For You

There may be many companies in Ottawa that state they do landscape contacting.
Within the landscape industry, there are no mandatory certifications required to be called a “Landscaper”, so how do you know you are choosing a reputable and qualified contractor?
Picking the right one for you can be a very daunting task. So where do you start looking?

-The Internet: Google, Facebook, and home-improvement sites can be a valued starting point
-Landscape Retailers: They can have opinions as to who they believe are quality contractors
-Word of mouth Referrals: Neighbours or friends who have had work completed and are pleased with the product and experience are an excellent resource.

It is recommended that you have more then one quotation for you project so once you have selected a few companies, what should you look for in a Landscape Contractor?

An effective contractor is one that:
-Has the ability to understand your needs without selling you on what they “think” you need
-Is aware of area building codes and bi-law restrictions
-Can identify potential issues when viewing site of proposed project
-Can suggest appropriate materials for your project
-Shows up for appointments on time or calls in sufficient time if they incur a delay
-Willing to have you visits homes were projects have been completed years ago.
-Presents a well outlined quotation and contract for the proposed work.
-Can give you an idea of when they can start the work and the approximate time to complete.
Once on site:
-Shows up when they say and stays until project is completed
-Equipment and vehicles are clean and in good working order
-Keeps job site and surrounding areas including street clean
-Has professional and polite crew members.

Other facts to know about your contractor:

-Number of years in Business: This can be an indicator of a quality company. Many “flyby-night” companies can bid low but then perform low quality work and disappear.
-Portfolio: Pictures of past projects completed.
-Referrals: A list of past clients that could be contacted for feedback or to see the work in person.
-Certification & Memberships: Memberships in associations like Landscape Ontario or the BBB
or certifications from ICPI & NCMA for the industry standards on installation of interlock.
-Insurance: Proof of both liability insurance & WSIB, to cover any damage to your property or work related accidents that happen any person while working is being done on your property.
-Warranty: A good contractor will stand behind their work. The time period of which work will be warrantied may depend on the type of project and the materials being used.
-Subcontractors: Does the company you contacted do all of the work themselves or do they act as a broker and sub contract the job out?

Once you a confident your contractor is qualified, what is your comfort level?
Each client has to make this determination on their own. There is an intangible fit or the level of comfort you will have moving forward with a selected contractor. Some individuals may like a large company that has multiple crews while others like the idea of a smaller owner/operator companies where the owner will be onsite most days during the completion of the work and is your direct point of contact.

In all scenarios described, it is up to you to decide who will offer the best value & quality of workmanship.