The Call Back

"That landscaper never called me back!" This is the all-too-familiar refrain that is heard in the peak of landscaping season, and the number one complaint of prospective customers looking for someone to hire a landscaper. It is a black eye on an industry that describes itself as "Service." If you have known this frustration, I'd like to offer some perspective and tips for getting what you're looking for--a qualified landscaper to perform whatever landscape service you have need of.

Be Prepared -  Do you have a clear picture of what you want done, and a reasonable expectation of what that will cost? If the landscaper knows that you are serious, and ready to move forward, it it may take a priority to quote the project.

Plan Ahead -  The NH landscaping season is short and the months between April and July are very busy for landscapers. Call around in February to reserve a spot in someone's calendar for your spring project.

Name Drop - Tell the contractor how you came to find their company. Landscape contractors are especially receptive to leads that come from referrals, vendors, and strategic marketing efforts like websites. 

"Free estimates" are not free. Although a landscaper may not charge you to work up a quote, it does cost him valuable time in a short season.

Time is money - If you just want to get a idea of what something costs, ask for a ballpark. Make it clear that you consider the quote to be non-binding. If it is a design that will require creating a landscape plan, offer to pay for it. Sometimes just showing an appreciation for the landscaper's time, can earn you a favorable position on the priority list.

Speak the language - Familiarizing yourself with descriptive terms that are known in the landscaping industry can help communicate more clearly to the contractor what it is you're looking for. To some, "landscaping" can mean mowing the lawn, to others, a backyard patio and plantings.

Mowing is a function of "maintenance," while patios and plantings are "construction." See the list provided on this website under Landscaping Glossary for descriptions of the various divisions within the landscape industry.

Sell Your Project - To get a landscaper's attention, sometimes a little old-fashioned enthusiasm can get you noticed. Instead of saying, "Yeah, I got some weeds to pull and a brush pile in my backyard to haul away, and I'm on a fixed budget," try something like, "My yard has great potential and I'm interested in your ideas for getting it to look great!"

You may think that if you're willing to pay for a service, you shouldn't have to work this hard just to get a quote. That is completely understandable. Getting a call back is a sign of courtesy and respect. A landscape company that recognizes this fact and is diligent about returning calls probably performs its other services professionally as well.

They are putting their best foot forward from the get-go. However, there are many talented, qualified landscape contractors in NH who are wearing multiple hats. One hat that may not fit so well is "office manager." Understand that landscapers are only human. A little persistence and strategy can help you to find exactly the company you want to hire.