Tips for Choosing Professional Services
When pre-shopping for contractor services, ask for a written estimate that specifically identifies costs for all materials and labor and includes a time frame for completion. Remember, less is not necessarily best. While pre-shopping, consider product quality and durability, guarantees, warranties, product availability and customer service. Here's how to get started:

  • What jobs have you done recently? May I visit them?
  • May I have a list of references?
  • Do you have professional certification or training?
  • What kind of training do your employees have?
  • Who will be supervising the work?
  • Will you provide a written cost estimate?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Are you licensed, bonded, insured?
  • Do you guarantee your work?

Photo credit: Charles Mann, Charles Mann Photography

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  • Meet with landscape professionals face to face, preferably at your home so you can show them what needs to be done.
  • Check references. Before calling references, make a list of questions to ask them. If you think of other questions later, call them back.
  • Ask for proof of professional certification, licensing and insurance. If you are not sure what their educational background is or what their professional certifications mean, ask for clarification or call a related landscape professional organization.
  • Ask for an anticipated completion date. If it is important for you to have a job completed by a certain date, ask if the landscape professional will guarantee that completion date. Consider arranging for final payment when the job is complete.
  • Call the Registrar of Contractors (1-888-271-9286). Staff in this office can tell you if someone is a state-licensed contractor and can help to explain the potential benefits of using a state-licensed contractor. You also can find out if this office has received complaints about a specific contractor. Call the State Board of Technical Registration (602-364-4930) for questions regarding landscape architects. Staff can confirm whether an individual is registered as a landscape architect. You also can inquire if any complaints have been received about a specific landscape architect.
  • Don't choose a particular landscape professional unless you feel comfortable with that person and his/her way of doing business.
  • Don't hesitate to keep looking until you find someone you will enjoy working with.

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Additional Resources:
Sample landscape maintenance contractWhen to Hire and Arborist
Landscape Professional Certification ExplanationQuestions To Ask A Potential Contractor
Horticultural Professionals - DefinitionsQuestions for Contractors

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