Here are the key elements to determine if your landscaper is able to meet your expectations regarding the delivery of your desired landscaping.
The landscaper’s expertise, a vital component!
To begin with, it is important to know that the landscaping job does not require any mandatory courses or competency cards to be practiced. All it takes is for a contractor to decide to get into the field and start a landscaping company. Comforting, isn’t it? No, not really… Some landscapers having a lot of experience (25 years – 30+ years) can become excellent landscapers over time. However, it goes without saying that if the landscaper has some training in the field, he or she has a head start in terms of expertise.
Several training courses are related to landscaping: horticulture, DEP in landscaping, DEC in landscaping and a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. Each of these training courses brings the contractor or his employees to different levels. The same difference can be observed in the field of building design. A draftsman or technician can draw beautiful buildings. However, the one that will stay in your mind was probably designed by an architect!
A professional approach
In landscaping, as in most fields, it is difficult to be 100% sure of your contractor’s choice, unless you have already dealt with him or someone referred him to you. However, there are certain elements that can make a difference when it is time to choose. The contract presented by your contractor should be complete and present all the details required by the project. If the landscaper can’t provide you with certain details at your request, there may be something fishy going on!
Professional certifications can also help build trust and confidence. When it comes to the work, there are two main certifications in Quebec: the APPQ (Association des Paysagistes Professionnels du Québec) certified landscaper and the Master Landscaper. The Master Landscaper certification requires from the outset to be APPQ certified in order to join. You will find here the best of the best! These certifications offer, among other things, standard guarantees specific to each work carried out.
A tale of taste
Tastes are unquestionable and are specific to each person. The landscaper you have chosen must be able to understand yours! A good way to be sure is to compare the entire proposed project with your needs and tastes. If it doesn’t add up, you may not be in the right place! Next, you can easily visit the contractors’ websites, which are often well illustrated. You will see if the type of project, the advancement and the quality of execution are right for you.
Websites are often not exhaustive in terms of the range of possible execution styles, but they do give you information on the level of execution. You may eventually ask your professional to take a look at similar projects that match your needs and tastes. He or she should be able to show you pictures or even take you to visit a project.
The trustworthiness of the company in the field of landscaping
First, is the contractor able to provide you with a time frame for completing the work? Second, is he or she able to advise you how long the work will take? Third, is he or she able to give you a deadline? These questions are important if you don’t want to wait for your contractor all summer after you’ve paid a deposit. It’s better to know up front whether the work is scheduled for August or September, right? That way you can make an informed decision.
The estimated price!
Finally, the price can say a lot about the contractor. As a general rule of thumb, expect to pay between 10% and 20% of the value of your property for a complete renovation.
If you have a very accurate plan and estimate, several landscapers bidding on your project and considerable price differences, there may be something fishy going on! This is where all the previous points have an impact! You can drive a Hyundai or a Mercedes-Benz, both have four wheels, but they differ in terms of design details and finish. However, keep in mind that in terms of layout, you may not see the differences in the first year, the trick lies in the details!
To learn the key steps to a successful landscaping project, download our ultimate guide!