How to Make the Most of Your First Meeting with a Landscape Contractor
Clients are typically overwhelmed when consulting with a potential landscape contractor for the first time. They’re practically overflowing with ideas! But no worries. First meetings are usually just for, well, meeting and talking to each other – no need to tell them about your lifelong dream YET.
The contractor will take this opportunity to inspect the property and see what should be done. For your part, this is your chance to size up whether or not they are the right choice for the job. You can discuss your dreams and plans after you have signed a service contract.
To help you maximize the use of this consultation, ask the following questions:
> Have you done a similar job in the past? You don’t just want an experienced contractor. They should have significant experience with your type of project and be able to show work samples as evidence.
> How do you bill clients for your services? 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. Did they come to meetings or returns calls, texts or emails on time? Were the clients’ concerns handled professionally?
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 could be a good way of knowing how they might go about your project.
People sometimes hesitate to discuss costs early on in the project, but being straightforward from the get-go is actually beneficial. This lets them work around your financial limits rather than exceeding your budget, which they probably never even knew until you complained.
Scope fo the Job
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.
Finding a Fit
Lastly, use this first meeting with the contractor to see whether you have personal chemistry together. Landscape projects usually last at least for weeks, which means you’ll be spending quite some time with them. Working with someone you don’t like can have a negative impact on how satisfied you will be with the results of the project.