Landscape Contractors – How to Make the Most of Your First Meeting
It is usual for people to feel overwhelmed during their first meeting with a prospective landscape contractor. They’re practically overflowing with ideas! But there’s no reason to worry. This purpose of this meeting is just to, well, meet and talk – no need to explain your dream landscape YET.
It’s the contractor’s chance to look at the property and discuss the type of work that must 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 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? An experienced contractor is not all you want. They should be experienced in the specific type of project you have and prove it by presenting work samples.
> What billing method do you use? This can be an hourly rate or a lump sum depending on the size of the job. Some contractors may also bill you a percentage of your project’s total cost.
> Will you be able to provide client references? But don’t stop at asking for references; talk to them. Ask whether the contractor was professional and reliable. Did they come to meetings or returns calls, texts or emails on time? Did they deal with clients’ concerns in a professional manner?
Ask the contractor for photos of their previous projects and not only those you can find on their website. A portfolio in other words, and make sure you review it together with the contractor so you can immediately get answers to your questions. This could be a good way of knowing how they might go about your project.
Some people find it difficult to discuss cost issues with their contractor, but these should be made clear right from the get-go. This lets them work around your financial limits rather than exceeding your budget, which they probably never even knew until you complained.
Do you want them to take care of everything, starting with conceptualization to implementation all the way to clean up, or just parts of the project, such as making a landscape site plan? This is obviously one of the things that can affect your costs considerably, and it’s best to be clear about it with the contractor.
Finding a Fit
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. Choosing someone you don’t personally like can give you less than satisfactory results.