Contractors You Can Trust


How to choose a contractor

We recommend the use of a professional landscape contractor for your project. You are making an important investment in your home. Don’t let poor workmanship turn your ideal plan into a disappointment. Proper site preparation with correct grading, base material and compaction is key to ensuring your new outdoor space (patio, driveway, walkway, etc.) looks great and stays even and safe for years to come.

Hiring the right landscape contractor to install your project can be a daunting task. Even if you have done this before or are experienced in hiring contractors for other projects around the home, hiring a landscape contractor has some additional unique challenges. Landscaping includes all the aspects of design, installation, and in most cases, horticulture.

The contractor you hire should have technical, business and interpersonal skills, as well as the tools and the experience needed to complete your paving stone and/or retaining wall project. Finding contractors who are experienced in installing landscape projects similar to yours, is one of the best ways to narrow down your final selection. These contractors will know what materials and techniques are needed for your landscape installation and will most likely have the labor and equipment to do it right.

What to look for with your contractor:

Written quote for your project

A detailed drawing and/or computer rendering of your project containing all of the features that you requested

Approximate start date

A reasonable estimate of the time required to do the job

References from homeowners with similar projects

When comparing quotes, make sure that you compare on an apples-to-apples basis and understand service levels; cheapest is typically not the best choice

A written confirmation of your contract with their installation guarantee clearly stated

Proof of liability insurance and workers compensation coverage

We recommend getting quotes from several suitable contractors. The best source of referrals may be a family member, friend, co-worker or neighbor who has had the same type of work completed. To obtain accurate bids, arrange a time for each professional landscape contractor to visit your home to discuss your project. Be sure to get their advice and suggestions on how they would do the work. At this meeting, you might even get a rough estimate of the job, depending on its size and complexity. Don’t get pressured into signing a contract right away, which is a sure sign that this contractor is not capable or is just after your pocketbook. Competent, honest contractors with integrity will never pressure you.

Questions you should ask…

You won’t offend reputable firms with questions. If a contractor doesn’t seem to know the answer to many of your questions or seems to avoid answering them, you may have the wrong contractor.

In this initial meeting you will want to find out as much as you can about this contractor.

How long have they been in the landscape business?
Do they have liability insurance and are they covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Do they have the appropriate licensing for their work?
What landscape jobs have they done that are similar to what you need done?
Do they have a list of references?
What is their landscape training and background?
How are their employees trained?
Do they attend manufacturer training sessions?
What warranty do they offer?
Do the products they recommend have a warranty?
Have they provided you with any manufacturer’s literature?
Does the literature provide you with design ideas?
What is the manufacturer’s reputation? Warranty?
Do they do the entire job with their own staff or subcontract parts out?
Who are their subcontractors?
Are there any permits required for this job?
Whose responsibility is it to get these permits?
Do they have an engineer to handle base preparation and drainage issues?
What is their timeline for your project?
What is their clean-up routine?
Do they provide a written contract?
What are their payment terms?
Do they have a website?

References are very important. A satisfied customer is the best reference you can get. Get three or four references for installations they have done which are similar to yours. Phone these references and see if their experience was a positive one. If possible, ask if you can come out and see the work.

Finally, be aware that you will be working with this individual over a period of several weeks and you’ll need to get along. Select a contractor who is personable and who is willing to work with you in achieving the job that you’re after within your budget.

For more detailed information on how to choose a contractor, download the Before you Start guide.

Making sure your project looks great for years to come

To ensure your new patio or driveway looks great and stays even for years to come, hire a professional. To receive a free estimate from a Unilock Authorized Contractor click the button below.

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