Landscape Contractors – How to Make the Most of Your First Meeting
Many clients feel overwhelmed when meeting their prospective landscape contractor for the first time. They’re practically overflowing with ideas! But don’t worry. This purpose of this meeting is just to, well, meet and talk – no need to explain your dream landscape YET.
The contractor will take this opportunity to inspect the property and see what should be done. For you part, you can assess them and whether they are the right choice for your project. You can describe your dreams and plans later on after you’ve signed a contract.
To maximize the use of this meeting, be sure to ask the following:
> Do you have experience with a similar project? You don’t just want an experienced contractor. 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 can be an hourly rate or a lump sum depending on the size of the job. Some contractors will charge a percentage of your total construction costs.
> Will you be able to provide client references? But don’t stop at asking for references; talk to them. Ask about professionalism and reliability. Did they come to meetings or returns calls, texts or emails on time? Did they handle clients’ concerns professionally?
Checking Out Portfolios
Have the contractor show you photos of recent jobs they’ve done besides those you’ll 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
People sometimes hesitate to discuss costs early on in the project, but being straightforward from the get-go is actually beneficial. 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 of the Project
Do you want them to take care of everything, starting with conceptualization to implementation all the way to clean up, or just parts of the project, such as making a landscape site 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. Working with someone you don’t like can have a negative impact on how satisfied you will be with the results of the project.