Let’s agree that the first thing many people do when looking for a competent professional is to check online. If you’re scoping out Pro Care Companies in Forest Lake, MN, your search phrase on Google or any other search engine might be “pro landscapers near me” or something similar.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but not everyone wants to rely on an algorithm or the search results that pop up on their screen to find a contractor nearby. As a result, you might consider different approaches. Let’s explore a few of them:
This is a personal favorite. If you know anyone who has had landscape work done on their property in the recent past and is happy with the results, ask them for a referral.
There’s a good chance they’ll be more than happy to pass along the name of the company they used. And, if you trust their judgment, it gives you a great starting point.
You could also talk to your family, acquaintances, or friends who’ve hired a professional landscaper recently to see if they can offer recommendations. In my opinion, nothing comes close to a referral from someone whose opinion you value. Mostly, if they had a great experience, they’ll likely harp on about it – fill you in on all the details while being honest about it. And if they didn’t, well…you get the drift.
Unlike online suggestions, personal recommendations provide real-life context, which can be invaluable. What’s more? Good old word-of-mouth advertising still works. And any landscaper worth their salt understands the impact of doing a great job. In fact, local contractors know that if they don’t deliver on their promises, the chances of being hired again diminish significantly.
But don’t stop at getting recommendations. Once you have a few names on your list, check out each one. Here are a few questions you can ask:
- How long they’ve been in business – It’s not necessarily a deal breaker if they’re new on the scene. But, all things considered, it’s usually better to go with someone who has been around for a while, as they’re more likely to be established and have a good reputation.
- Are they licensed and insured? This is critical – ensure they have the proper insurance to protect you if something goes wrong. Also, check if they’re licensed in your state or municipality. While it’s not always required, it’s generally a good sign that they’re legitimate.
- Do they have a physical address? You should be able to visit their office if needed. A P.O Box is usually a red flag. Why? Because it could mean they’re not local or could be trying to hide something.
- Can they provide references? Ask for a list of references and, if possible, check them out to verify their authenticity. This might also be a great time to assess the quality of their work and other elements such as dependability, professionalism, and punctuality.
- What do their online reviews look like? Take some time to read what others are saying about them online. Are the reviews mainly positive? Do they seem real?
- What do their social media accounts look like? This is another great way to get a feel for their business. Do they have an active presence on social media? Do they seem to be engaging with their followers? Are they responsive to comments and questions? Answers to these queries can help you find a great landscaping contractor or dodge a bullet.
2. Check out Local Business Directories
If you want to take an old-fashioned approach, break out the good old Yellow Pages (or its digital equivalent). While this isn’t as popular as it once was, it’s still a decent way to find local businesses – including landscaping companies.
Of course, the problem with using Yellow Pages is that you can’t tell if the companies on the list are dependable. But if you’re in a pinch, it’s worth checking out. And once you have a list of potential options, you can narrow it down by researching them to weed out contractors who aren’t up to par.
3. Use a Local Search Service
If you want the convenience of an online directory but with the added assurance that the businesses on the list are reputable, use a local search service – providers such as Houzz and Yelp could be a good starting point.
These websites compile lists of businesses in specific industries- including landscaping. They also provide valuable customer reviews, business descriptions, contact information, and more. Such details can help you make a more informed decision about the contractors you have in mind. Case in point, Houzz provides independent crowd-sourced contractor reviews, which can be instrumental in finding a recommended landscaper in your area.
Now that you’re clued in on some of the best approaches to finding a quality local landscaping contractor, we hope you use the information well. And while you can rely on the options we’ve discussed, play your part by researching the options you find. In so doing, you can hire the right company and enjoy the fruits of your labor – a beautiful new yard.