MAY 2017 – Here in San Diego, a recent feature on 10 News told the story of a landscaping contractor using another company’s license. The reality of dealing with a fraudulent company, having paid them, and only getting partial completion of the work, is scary.
Because this happened right in our backyard, we’re sharing five tips for choosing a trusted landscaper.
1. Check Their Reviews
There are several resources available to check people’s experiences with a specific service provider.
• The BBB is a great place to start. You can check if there are any reviews, complaints, or unresolved issues with the company you’re considering. If there is a complaint filed, the BBB will update the profile, detailing how the complaint was resolved.
• Houzz is a newer review site where you can find professionals, book appointments, and see who has used their services.
• Facebook and Google are also places where users can leave reviews for companies they have used.
2. Search for Their Website
If you can’t find a website for a company, it might be a red flag. A website is an indication of a company’s validity. Their website should also be a good resource, providing you with insights such as:
• Industry association memberships
• Credentials and certifications
• Examples of past work
• Customer reviews
While some newer contractors and smaller “mom and pop” companies may not have a website, it’s still a good idea to search for them. Make sure to check the exact name and spelling of the company when you do your search. Some of the confusion in this scandal was caused by the fraudulent contractor having a similar name as the licensed landscaper.
3. Find Out Who Recommends Them
Were you referred to this provider by a trusted source? If you’ve just heard of them in passing, ask around to see if anyone you know has actually used them. Just hearing that a company is good, or relying on advertising, isn’t as reliable as getting a referral from someone who has hired them and had a good experience.
4. Make Sure They’re Licensed and Insured
There are some good companies that do not yet have their license; however, it’s best not to take that gamble. If you want peace of mind that a job will be completed, as specified and in a timely manner, make sure they have a license. Additionally, they need to have insurance coverage for any type of work they perform. You can check the status of their license at the Contractors State License Board website.
The California Landscape Contractors Association website is also a good place to search for a licensed landscaping service provider.
5. Get Multiple Bids
Make sure you do your due diligence. Getting multiple bids allows you to ask questions about your project and get a baseline on an average price. Some contractors charge for bids to compensate for time spent assessing and estimating a potential job. They may be willing to credit you that amount, if you select them to do the work. By searching out multiple companies and asking questions, you’ll be better able to make an informed decision.
If you ever feel pressured by a company or contractor to choose them, your best bet is to walk away. A legitimate company will stand by the work they’ve done and the reputation they’ve built. They’ll never force their work on any customer.
For more tips on questions to ask and what to look for in a contractor, you can visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.
Looking to Hire a San Diego Landscaper?
We’d love to talk with you about your landscaping project, ideas, or needs. Give us a call at 619-571-9151 or visit our contact page to schedule a walk-through of your property. You can also learn more about LaBahn’s Landscaping here, or by checking out our industry association memberships and credentials, here.