1. Are you fully insured?
This should be one of the first questions you ask before you invite anyone to work on your property, especially landscapers operating heavy equipment around your precious home and vehicles. Also, ask if they have WSIB coverage for any workers they hire. Contractors who avoid answering these questions or won’t explain their coverage should be likewise avoided.
2. How long have you been in business?
Make sure the contractor you hire has the experience, manpower and skill to complete your project. You don’t want to hire a contractor that can’t deliver what it promises. A reputable company will usually have an office and a website. Visit both if you can, but definitely their website.
3. When can you get started and how long will my project take?
If you’re planning a family reunion picnic in your yard or a garden wedding this summer, make sure you talk to your contractor about his schedule. There’s nothing worse for both you and your contractor if the timelines of your project are too tight. Make sure you understand the lead time before your project is launched and how many other projects your contractor will be juggling along with yours. Allow for some rainy days and long weekends. Be sure to mutually agree on a completion date. Get that in writing, by the way!
4. What can I expect to happen when you’re here?
How are they going to build your project, what materials will they need, and what equipment they will use? These are just a few of the considerations for your project. Will you need building permits? Where will their equipment be parked during the job? Will they take it away every day or leave it on site? Tell me about your clean-up practices. Remember, there are no bad questions when it comes to how your property will be treated. Your neighbours will also want to be assured that they will not be overly disrupted because of your project.
5. Do they have references available?
Before signing a contract with a landscaper, ask for references or testimonials from other clients. A good contractor will be more than happy to give you written referrals or let you speak to past customers. Try to see examples of other projects in the same price range and scope to help give you an idea if this is the contractor for you.
6. Price, price, price!
Of course, you know to get at least a couple of quotes, right? Did you know that it is also a good idea to share your quotes between potential contractors? A good contractor will be honest with you as to whether or not he can match a lower quote and let you know what is and what is not included in all your quotes. After such a conversation, you will get a better understanding of your project costs as well as the knowledge and cooperation you can expect from your newly trusted contractor.
I hope these tips help you hire your next contractor. I would love to meet with you to discuss your next project. Give me a call any time.
President, Yetti Construction Ltd.