5 Tips for Hiring Outdoor Contractors

May 3, 2023

There are some outdoor projects property owners can handle themselves, but others may require more skill or stronger tools. In these cases, it's a good idea to hire a contractor with expertise in landscaping, land clearing and other outdoor work who is certified to use appropriate tools. Here are five tips for hiring outdoor contractors.

1. Hire Experts in the Work You Need To Be Done

Not every outdoor contractor has the same skill set. Some of the most common areas of expertise are landscaping and land clearing, and contractors may specialize in certain styles or aspects of landscaping or land clearing. There are also contractors who focus on architecture, such as outdoor home renovations or yard and garden installations. Make sure you know what you want and need so you can look for contractors with appropriate areas of expertise.

2. Hire Local Contractors

You should always hire a contractor who is well-established in your geographic area and familiar with laws, care and common issues related to the land in your location. This usually means hiring local contractors. For example, if you live in northeastern Virginia and need trees removed, stumps ground or other land clearing services, look for contractors that provide land clearing in Winchester. A contractor from this area of the state will be more likely to understand your needs and how to practice good upkeep after his or her work is complete.

3. Get Agreements And Estimates in Writing

After you narrow down your list of potential contractors, request estimates. Make sure you get those estimates in writing so you can compare them against each other and keep a record of the price points for the contractor you end up hiring. When you request an estimate, the contractor will send an appraiser to your property to review your space and your needs and discuss your options with you. You should receive the estimate later. Make sure you also get the contract with the company you hire in writing, including all agreements and plans. Keep copies of all estimates and agreements.

4. Request Referrals And Examples

You can ask for personal referrals from people in your life who you know have hired outdoor contractors. Personal referrals typically come from friends and family or neighbors. You can also request referrals through local community events, message boards and social media pages. Once you receive your referrals, ask the contractors for examples of their recent work. Make sure your request specifies examples similar to the type of work you want to be done. Examples will help you determine whether the contractor's style, methods and results align well with your expectations. You can also look for reviews from past clients that contain examples of a contractor's work.

5. Discuss Guarantees And Upkeep

Be sure to ask your contractor about any guarantees he or she offers and his or her suggestions for upkeep. Some contractors offer guarantees about the life expectancies of plants or installations while others may offer warranties on equipment and renovations. Your contractor may recommend certain steps you need to complete regarding upkeep, such as the best ways to care for plants or keep a fountain clean. He or she may also recommend regular check-ups for installations such as irrigation systems. If you have landscaping done, you may have the option to get landscape maintenance done regularly.

You should always research your outdoor contractor options carefully. Ask friends, neighbors and family members for recommendations. Check reviews on contractors' websites and on third-party review aggregators. Compare your options against each other to see which is the best choice for your budget, project type and aesthetic preferences.

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Emiy Watson

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