Landscape Contractors – How to Make the Most of Your First Meeting
It is usual for people to feel overwhelmed during their first meeting with a prospective landscape contractor. They’re practically overflowing with ideas! But no worries. This purpose of this meeting is just to, well, meet and talk – no need to explain your dream landscape YET.
It’s an opportunity for the contractor to check out the property and see what work may have to be done. For you part, you can assess them and whether they are the right choice for your project. You can talk about your dreams and plans after you’ve signed a contract.
To help you maximize the use of this consultation, ask the following questions:
> Have you worked on a similar project before? An experienced contractor is not all you want. They should have significant experience with your type of project and be able to show work samples as evidence.
> How do you bill clients for your services? This could be a per-hour rate or a fixed amount based on the size of the project. With some contractors, you will be billed a portion of your total costs.
> Can you give me client references? But don’t stop there; call these people. Ask about professionalism and reliability. Were they on time for meetings or when returning emails or calls? Did they deal with clients’ concerns in a professional manner?
Checking Out Portfolios
Ask the contractor for photos of their previous projects and not only those you can find on their website. In other words, their portfolio, and do review it with the contractor around so questions you may have can be answered right away (sometimes, you can forget about the most important ones). This could be a good way of knowing how they might go about your project.
Setting Your Budget
Some people find it difficult to discuss cost issues with their contractor, but these should be made clear right from the get-go. This lets them work around your financial limits rather than exceeding your budget, which they probably never even knew until you complained.
Scope fo the Job
Do you want the contractor to do the entire project, from conceptualization to execution, or just certain parts of the job, like making a planting plan or a landscape site plan? This is obviously one of the main factors that will dictate your project costs, and your contractor should be be aware of it right from the start.
Finding a Fit
Finally, use your initial meeting with the contractor as an chance to gauge whether you will make a good team together. Landscape projects typically run for weeks at least, so you’ll be spending a lot of time with them. Working with someone you don’t like can have a negative impact on how satisfied you will be with the results of the project.