It takes more than a pick-up truck, a wheelbarrow, and a shovel to be a professional landscape contractor. Here are some essential factors to consider before hiring a contractor for your next project.
Is the contractor you’re considering a legitimate business?
Do they have a brick and mortar office? It can be extremely risky to be working with a contractor who does not provide an actual office address and works from a business card or worse yet, out of the back of a truck. Will they still be in business if you have a problem a couple of years down the road? Here at Gasper Landscape and Design, we are proudly celebrating our 30th anniversary. Our home office is located in Richboro, Pennsylvania, and our doors are always open to your visits.
Are they adequately insured?
Does the contractor carry enough liability insurance to cover the cost of your home in the unlikely event of a major accident? Does the contractor carry workmen compensation insurance to protect you from the liability of injury that may occur on your property during construction? Gasper has all the necessary coverage to ensure that you and your property are protected if needed. We are happy to provide proof of insurance upon request.
Will the contractor subcontract the work?
Is the contractor a single individual who sub-contracts a majority of the work out to others or does the contractor do most of the work in-house? Do they have the workforce necessary to get your project completed on time? At Gasper, we employ various experienced landscapers, carpenters, masons, and horticulturists as part of our Gasper team to ensure the work is completed to the quality and consistency we demand. For the work that we cannot do or do not do regularly enough to have people on staff, we have many good working relationships with other tradespeople that we can bring to your project team. These usually include engineers, electricians, and plumbers. The size of our operation matters too. Running up to 20 crews during our busiest seasons allows us the flexibility needed to allocate the workforce required to get your project completed on time.
Does the Contractor hold required professional certifications and licenses?
Are they certified with the Department of Agriculture as required by Pennsylvania law? Gasper is. Are they members of the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association (PLNA)? Gasper is. Do their employee’s hold state-certified pesticide applicator licenses? Gasper’s employees do. Do they employ Interlocking Concrete Paving Institute (I.C.P.I) certified installers? Gasper does. At Gasper, we value the certification and education needed to ensure your project is installed using the highest industry standards.
Can you trust that your project will be completed right?
What do others have to say about your contractor? Ask the contractor if he is willing to supply referrals. Look for customer reviews from trusted online sites, as well as social media. At Gasper we are very proud of our high approval ratings and we would be happy to refer you to our many satisfied clients. In the unlikely event of an unsatisfied customer, we do our best to make sure any issue is quickly resolved. We take our commitment to quality and your satisfaction to heart and stand behind one of the best warranties in our industry.
What does design build mean?
Architectural firms or design only firms work with you through the design process but do not offer construction services to implement the project. A design-build firm is able to offer both creative design and quality construction to its clients. This approach can save both time and money. It saves time by being able to streamline your project with a single company instead of having to coordinate multiple companies. This often allows your project to proceed to construction much more quickly. It saves money because often the proposed project costs are known much earlier in the design process. Earlier integration of design and construction allows projects to be value engineered and avoids costly design revisions.
Depending on the complexity and scope of your project, many design-build firms will work with you to lay out the basic elements of the design at no charge to you. The design drawings remain the property of the company; however, this allows you to establish a realistic budget and move the process forward. In general, landscape architects generate revenue by charging an upfront fee for the design.
Design build firms often have licensed landscape architects or professionally accredited designers on its staff. We here at Gasper are proud to say we have both.