Landscape Contractors – How to Make the Most of Your First Meeting
Clients are typically overwhelmed when consulting with a potential 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 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 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? 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.
> What billing method do you use? 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. Were they punctual when coming to meetings and returning communications like calls and email? Did they handle clients’ concerns professionally?
Ask the contractor for photos of their previous projects and not only those you can find on their website. A portfolio in other words, and make sure you review it together with the contractor so you can immediately get answers to your questions. This could be a good way of knowing how they might go about your project.
Defining 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? This is obviously one of the things that can affect your costs considerably, and it’s best to be clear about it with the contractor.
Finally, take advantage of this first meeting to gauge whether there is chemistry between you and the contractor. Landscape projects typically run for weeks at least, so you’ll be spending a lot of time with them. Choosing someone you don’t personally like can give you less than satisfactory results.