Judging from my own work load and waiting list, I’d say there must be a shortage of landscaping contractors and landscapers. Even in September I’m having to turn clients away. However, from what I know of my competition, there are plenty of landscapers to do the work. But for some reason they’re all telling me that their business has slowed down for the year. Why isn’t anyone calling them?
Fact is, there isn’t a shortage of landscapers. There is, however, a shortage in good character, good business practices, and trust.
– This post is in regards to the new Free Directory Of Landscapers And Landscaping Contractors that we’ve added to the site. Hopefully it will make it a lot easier to find a designer or company in your area. However, regardless of what source you use to find a contractor, I want to point out in this article that it is ultimately up to you to make sure you get quality and don’t get burned.
What is the most important quality to look for when hiring a contractor?
Is it he who creates the best design? No. Of course, you want to make your initial contacts based on their design styles and quality but you do not want to hire someone based solely on that. Is it the biggest most visible company? Absolutely not. Remember, these big companies started small. And to exclude a smaller unknown company may be missing the best design, quality, and company for the job.
How do you evaluate character? Of course you want to ask for references. However, you can’t trust that completely. Do you think a company is going to give you a list of their unsatisfied clients? I doubt it. So besides getting their list, you need to check with the BBB, your chamber of commerce, and the “word on the street”. A few things you need to find out about a company are:
Using the big third party companies that match you with pre-qualified and pre-screened contractors isn’t any guarantee. I recently got a call from the biggest one out there. They had project requests in my area and no one to give them to. All that was required of me was to pay $26.00 for the lead information. No background check, no screening, no questions. Just $26.00. So what does that tell you? Maybe, you really can’t trust them either.
You have to do the homework. If you don’t have a reference from a good friend or any good “word of mouth” leads, the background check is up to you. Like I said earlier, the first step is to get into contact with a designer that creates designs and quality that you like. Then, if your initial “gut feeling” is good when you meet them, check the company out.
We have created a free directory of landscapers portfolios that will allow you to look at individual company designs, projects, pictures, and plans, and to also directly contact design companies based on their work. The Landscapers And Landscaping Contractors Directory is open to everyone and is even free for active contractors and landscape designers to list their companies and web sites.
While it may take a while for every State in the directory to become populated with companies, I’ve also partnered with a third party company to pick up the slack until the directory fills up (no, it’s not the biggest one – just one I trust). See Find Landscaping Companies And Contractors if you can’t find anyone in the new directory.
Remember, image and visibility counts for a lot but is no guarantee of satisfaction. Some bigger companies have the logos, the trucks, the matching uniforms, and the visibility. While this is a good indication of an orgainized company, it’s not a “go ahead” to just write a check. And another thing to remember is that some of the smaller landscaping companies are the most creative and trustworthy. Some are small because they choose to stay small. And this, as in my own company, allows for more personal and dedicated attention to each landscape design, client, and project.