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Choosing The Right Landscape Contractor
So you have looked out your window and noticed that's your garden needs a makeover. Knowing you don't have the skills to do it your self, your only option is to get a professional. This can be a risky and expensive business if you chose the wrong one, so in this article ill give you some tips on how to chose the right Landscape contractor.
First step is to set a realistic budget, from my experience people seem to set a far too low budget to actually get a quality landscape.
After deciding your budget, think about what you want the landscape for ie if you have children, entertain or if you want to spend time in it gardening or not at all!! Have a look at some landscaping magazines and try and get an idea of what you want, formal, modern, classic etc Try and fit that in to how your going to use your garden
You next step after setting you budget and getting an idea of what you want is to find a landscape contractor. I think 3 quotes is a good idea, it gives you a good general idea of what its going to cost and also to see how the landscaper presents. DON'T always go for the cheaper quote, you know the saying 'You get what you pay for'. If a quote is significantly cheaper that the others, there is a reason, maybe he's cutting corners?? Be wary??
Things to ask the Landscape contractor:
How long has he been landscaping?
Is he qualified?
Does the Landscaper have a folio or previous work?
Does he have references?
Does he have public liability?
Is he a registered business?
Is there a contract to sign??
And don't forget, does he communicate well and is easy to get along with??
All these will give you an idea about the landscaper; I think they are all as important as each other. This is just a good way to separate the cowboys from the professionals.
Once deciding on the contractor, and the landscape YOU want. Ask about payment. There are 2 ways generally a contractor will ask for payment. The first is a 50% deposit before the construction commences and 50% on completion. The second is installments at certain stages of the construction. These are both normal practices, and it is generally the contractor who decides this but can also be negotiable. NEVER give full payment in advance!!!! NEVER!!
Ask to see a breakdown of cost. Usually there is a Materials element and a labour element, and ask to see a breakdown of cost for all stages of the landscape ie paving, water feature. A good rule of thumb is that the labour is generally around the same price as materials (this is a rule of thumb, something's like water features have higher materials costs compared to labour, but it's a good guide for things like paving and decking.)
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