Here are a few helpful tips on selecting the best contractor for you:
Be sure to ask for at least three references.
Ask to see examples of their work, making sure that the contractor has sufficient experience performing the scope and type of work you want.
Not every professional contractor is going to have a retail-style place of business; many, in fact, work out of an office in their home. This doesn’t make them any less qualified or skilled. More important are their credit references, years in business, and insurance status.
Speaking of insurance: ask to see their liability coverage and workmen’s compensation insurance certificates.
Comparison shop: get at least two, but preferably three estimates from different contractors.
Get a thorough proposal in writing. Be sure to include a complete description of the work to be performed, specific products to be used, warranty length and coverage, payment terms, and any other pertinent issues.
Do not allow the use of “substitute materials” and be wary of any written stipulations or clauses that permit their use.
Especially important for larger jobs: have the contractor put in writing the stipulation that all code requirements will be met, and denote who will be responsible for obtaining the necessary permits.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be suspicious of bids that are unrealistically low and don’t jump on a “bargain basement” price for materials either.
You get what you pay for. The use of lesser-quality materials, no matter how insignificant it may seem, will only come back to haunt you in the end. Do not cut corners to save money as you will regret it.
Never pay in full for work until it has been completed to your satisfaction.
In the end, it is up to you to decide whether a landscaping or masonry contractor is suitable for your particular job.