How to Make the Most of Your First Meeting with a Landscape Contractor
Clients are typically overwhelmed when consulting with a potential landscape contractor for the first time. They’re practically overflowing with ideas! But there’s no reason to worry. The first meeting is just to, well, meet and get to know each other – no need to describe your dream landscape in detail YET.
The contractor will take this opportunity to inspect the property and see what should 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 describe your dreams and plans later on 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 worked on a similar project before? You don’t just want an experienced contractor. They should have significant experience with your type of project and be able to show work samples as evidence.
> What billing method do you use? This may be a per-hour rate or a fixed sum depending on the scope of the job. With some contractors, you will be billed a portion of your total costs.
> Can you give me client references? But don’t stop there; call these people. Ask about the contractor’s sense of professionalism and reliability. Were they on time for meetings or when returning emails or calls? Did they deal with clients’ concerns in a professional manner?
Checking Out Portfolios
Ask the contractor to show you pictures of their past projects, not just those featured 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 is a perfect way to determine what they may have in mind in terms of your project.
Defining Your Budget
People sometimes hesitate to discuss costs early on in the project, but being straightforward from the get-go is actually beneficial. This enables them to work within your financial limits, instead of busting your budget which you probably never even mentioned to them anyway.
Scope fo the Job
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? 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, use your initial meeting with the contractor as an chance to gauge whether you will make a good team together. 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.