How to Hire a Landscape Professional

How to Hire a Landscape Professional
  • Opening Intro -

    Some homeowners prefer to outsource their lawn care needs to a private party.

    This makes sense if you don't have the time to take care of your property or simply prefer to leave the chore to someone else.

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Get your yard in shape with professional assistance.

Like any professional, you expect that the person or people who take care of your yard knows what they are doing. In most states licensing is required particularly for people who apply pesticides, trim trees or design your lawn.

Let’s take a look at some of requirements you should consider when evaluating the services of a lawn care professional:

1. Licensing — It is impossible to discuss the licensing requirements for all 50 states, but you can certainly expect that if you’re hiring a professional to do anything other than cutting your lawn, then your state requires a license. This is especially true for landscape architects or designers, a general contractor or a pesticide applicator. Ask for licensing information; some states require the license number to be affixed to business cards and fleet vehicles.

2. Credentials — Credentials may not be important to you if you’re hiring a professional to kill weeds. However, credentials are essential if you’ll be pouring tens of thousands of dollars into a lawn makeover. You’ll want to hire someone who graduated from college with a degree in landscape design or equivalent program. Licensing may not go far enough — credentials from a recognized group or agency may be important.

3. Experience — This is where you’ll want to obtain three recent references. Get names and phone numbers, and call each customer. Ask each person if the job was done according to expectations and to budget. It is easy for a professional to give three of his or her best recommendations. However, by asking detailed questions, you can learn more about the professional to make an informed decision.

4. Education — Related to point #2, credentials, education will tell you what background this person has. Credentials can sometimes be obtained apart from a formal degree, with courses and seminars replacing a college education. Again, with a pesticide application professional, a formal degree shouldn’t be what you’re looking for. But, for the person who is bidding to turn your backyard into a wildlife paradise that includes a waterfall, a patio and a nature center, then you’ll want someone who has been educated accordingly.

5. Contract — Plan on signing a contract for most any work that you have done on your yard. This can include a one-time tree trimming project, seasonal lawn care or yard design. Read that contract carefully and run it in front of your attorney’s eyes if clarification is needed. You’ll want this professional to have insurance as well.

Points to Ponder

Consider obtaining bids from three professionals, if available. Rely on recommendations from people you know and me mindful of local and association rules when it comes to lawn maintenance. Cost is a factor, but a job done right the first time is what you want.

ReferenceNorth Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service: How to Hire a Landscaper

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Categories: Landscaping

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".