How to Make the Most of Your First Meeting with a Landscape Contractor
Many clients feel overwhelmed when meeting their prospective landscape contractor for the first time. Ideas are overflowing! But there’s no reason to worry. This purpose of this meeting is just to, well, meet and talk – no need to explain your dream landscape YET.
It’s the contractor’s chance to look at the property and discuss the type of work that must be done. For your part, this is your chance to size up whether or not they are the right choice for the job. You can talk about your dreams and plans after you’ve signed a contract.
To make the most out of this initial meeting, there are a few questions you must ask, including:
> Have you done a similar job in the past? An experienced contractor is not enough. They should be experienced in the specific type of project you have and prove it by presenting work samples.
> How do you bill your clients? This could be a per-hour rate or a fixed amount based on the size of the project. Some contractors will charge a percentage of your total construction costs.
> Will you be able to provide client references? But don’t stop there; call these people. Ask whether the contractor was professional and reliable. Were they on time for meetings or when returning emails or calls? Did they handle clients’ concerns professionally?
Checking Out Portfolios
Ask the contractor for photos of their previous projects and not only those you can find on their website. In short, a portfolio and review it together with the contractor so you can ask questions as they come to mind. 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 way, them can work around your financial capacity instead of going overboard with your budget that they actually never knew anyway – until you’re probably halfway through the job.
Scope fo the Job
Do you want them to be incharge of everything, from concept to clean-up, or just specific aspects of the job, like making a site plan or a planting plan? Obviously, this is one of the biggest factors that can impact your costs, and it’s best to let the contractor in on this from the very beginning.
Finally, use your initial meeting with the contractor as an chance to gauge whether you will make a good team together. Landscape projects usually last at least for weeks, which means you’ll be spending quite some time with them. Choosing someone you don’t personally like can give you less than satisfactory results.