What To Ask When Hiring A Landscaping Contractor

By Lisa Niessner, John’s Landscaping And Outdoor Services

When hiring contractors to work in our homes or yards, we hire them assuming that we are hiring safe, reliable, professional, and honest workers. Unfortunately, that is not always the case; and this is especially true in the landscaping industry.

It is easy to overlook some of the details when hiring a landscape contractor to do work on your property. The landscape contractor has his own truck with a logo on it and everything; all the employees have matching shirts with the company name on them; and maybe the company even has a web site. Everything seems legitimate, right? Not quite. If that landscape contractor doesn’t have the proper insurances or licenses and something happens while they are working on your property, it could cost you a lot of money.

Knowing what to ask when hiring any professional is part of the solution. Listed are a couple of questions that property owners should always ask of their landscape company to ensure they are truly a professional, safe, and reliable contractor to maintain their lawn and landscape.

Do You Have The Proper Licensing?

In the state of New Jersey, a home improvement contractor’s license is required for anyone doing home improvements; this includes your yard as well. Hiring a landscape contractor with the proper licensing protects the property owner in cases where protocol was not followed during the installation and problems arise from faulty installations. If you hire a landscape contractor that does not have a proper and up-to-date license, all of a sudden you, as property owner, become the employer in the eyes of the state and have to abide by OSHA and all other regulations.

Are You Fully Insured? Can You Show Me?

All contractors you hire to perform a service on your property should be fully insured. General liability insurance protects you from having to incur the cost if something goes wrong while the contractor is working on your property. Workman’s compensation insurance is the second type of insurance the contractor should carry. This again protects you, the property owner, if an employee from the company gets hurt on your property. Legitimate landscape contractors should always be able to show you a certificate of insurance listing auto, workman’s compensation, and general liability coverage.

Do You Have References?

A quality landscape company should have no trouble providing you with several references for you to look at or talk to. Companies should be able to show a portfolio with photos of work and even some past customer comments and testimonies.

There are plenty of other questions to ask any professional coming to perform a service at your property but the most important are listed above. In the end, property owners must make an informed and educated decision on hiring a landscaping company. By doing your homework, you can pick the best contractor for your specific needs.

Lisa Niessner is co-owner of John’s Landscaping and Outdoor Services, a local business located at 4312 Cove Rd. in Pennsauken.

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