"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
"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
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
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
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.