Choosing the right landscaping company is easy, when you know what to look for.
With spring underway, it’s now time to dive headfirst into everyone’s favorite landscape maintenance tasks! If you enjoy this dirty, sweaty, and tiring chore as much as we do, you understand that this job comes with no finish line. As soon as you think you might be done, it’s time to start all over again. Lawn and landscape maintenance is a hobby that just keeps on giving! Day after day, week after week, year after year. Mowing, pruning, weeding, mulching, etc, etc, etc.
Ok, we realize it’s not quite as much fun for everyone as it is for us, and that’s why we offer proactive maintenance plans and other landscaping services for those people who just can’t find the time or the passion to do this kind of work.
So, if you don’t want to spend your wonderful spring, summer, fall, and even winter hours pushing a mower, digging out weeds, or pruning unruly trees and shrubs (and who can blame you?), how do you select a landscaping company that will do the job right? How do you know that company will treat your lawn and landscape with the same respect that you would, if you actually wanted to do all the work yourself?
Here are five things that you should look into before hiring any landscaping company:
While it may seem obvious, we still find it quite common that people will hire landscaping companies strictly on price, with no consideration of reputation or references. Don’t make this expensive mistake! There’s a reason why these companies charge $5 to trim a bush, and the next spring you find that your beautiful bush is barely alive. So check into what companies your neighbors are using. Then ask if these companies have solid references. If your neighborhood is like most others in Pennsylvania, you get bombarded in the spring and summer with flyers advertising grass mowing for a price that just seems too low to be true, such as $20.00. The truth is, these companies cannot maintain that price, and once the season kicks into high gear they’re nowhere to be found. We encourage you to check with friends and neighbors to see who their landscape contractor is, and if they’re happy with the work the company is doing for them.
Do you have beautiful Azalea bushes in your landscape? Did you know that they should not be sheared and should never be pruned once they have set their flower buds for the following season? You’d expect your landscape maintenance service know this, but if that company is just a couple of well-meaning high school kids, who have the energy but not all the necessary plant knowledge, they likely don’t. A beautiful landscape is a source of pride for most homeowners, as well as a living, breathing investment. It adds to your home’s value (as much as 10%-15% according to some sources). So don’t endanger your landscaping by missing a harmful disease or pest. Don’t allow your lawn to suffer from incorrect fertilization. Don’t risk the damage that can come from improper pruning any longer! Make sure the landscaping company you are researching actually has knowledgeable professionals running it.
The costs associated with securing and maintaining the necessary equipment and manpower to properly care for a lawn and landscape are significant. Lawn mowers, aerators, pruning shears, trucks, trailers…the list goes on. If a lawn and landscape company doesn’t have the necessary tools, how can they perform the job correctly? Once again, think back to the $20.00 lawn mowing offer. Is the prospective landscaping company earning enough to invest in the proper equipment to be able to show up and do the job the right way? Your lawn and landscape need a high level and large variety of professional equipment to thrive, so be certain that a company that you’re considering has all the necessary tools.
Did you know that if the lawn care company you choose does not have workers’ compensation insurance, and if one of their employees or the owner gets hurt while on your property, you could be liable? The law in Pennsylvania requires companies to carry workers’ compensation insurance, and for good reason. And while injured workers are one possibility, damage to your plants is another. What happens if your property sustains damage from the action of a landscape company? Is a company that isn’t profitable (or just barely profitable) going to take responsibility for damage to your property? We encourage you to ask a company if it has insurance. That simple question can be your insurance against many potential problems.
In Pennsylvania, it is mandatory that anyone who charges money to apply pesticides and/or fertilizer to your lawn and landscape must have an Applicator’s License (ours is BU2966). Once again, this is for a very good reason. We all know that pesticides can be dangerous to humans, pets and the environment if not applied correctly, and that is why it’s never worth the risk to have an unlicensed contractor applying pesticides around your home.
Landscape contractors who perform remodeling, construction or renovation projects (patios, walkways, decks, retaining walls, etc.) in Pennsylvania also have to be licensed by the state as home improvement contractors (our PAHIC number is 029699). Unfortunately, unlicensed contractors cannot be monitored by the state, and they may be very hard to track down if there is a dispute regarding your project, so be sure to check that a company you’re considering has the proper licenses.
Hively Landscapes has been leading the way as landscape professionals since 1968. If you are interested in working with a company like ours, please give us a call or email us. We would love the chance to talk about your landscape design and maintenance needs.