Serving Anne Arundel, Howard, Baltimore and Harford County
Monday, August 10th, 2020 by Art Ditzel
Before entering into an agreement to have any lawn or landscape work completed at your home or property, there are a few things you need to make sure you and the contractor are on the same page about. Taking a few extra seconds up front can save a world of heartache in the end. Here is a list of items you should review before signing on the dotted line.
Scope of Work:
Be sure that the contract spells out in detail what is scheduled to occur. The scope of work protects you and your contractor from misunderstandings and implied promises. Do not accept, spring clean up and mulch as a description of work. Ask for it to be spelled out. Will they prune bushes and trees, and if so, up to what height. Are they pulling or spraying weeds? Exactly how thick will the mulch be applied and what type and color?
You really want to have a direct line to the person who estimated and sold the job. There is nothing more frustrating then having a crew on your property completing the wrong work, while you are not able to contact the person who sold you on the project. Ask for a cell number and supply yours in case issues arise while you are not onsite.
Product photos and descriptions:
Some dogwoods are bushes that grow to a height of 4 feet while some are trees that grow upwards of 20 feet tall. Make sure both you and the contractor are in agreement on plant types, mulch colors, stone types and patterns as well as what chemicals will be used during the project.
Be sure there are expectations set on how long a project will take as well as an estimated start date. You must understand that outside work is highly dependent on the weather, so be flexible and understand that should inclement weather occur on or around your project date, delays may occur.
Be sure to know exactly what the cost of the project is and what the payment terms are. It is customary to make a down payment of one third upon signing a contract. On longer, multi day or multi week projects, additional "draws" may be required. These are generally to cover material and labor costs.
Contracts are not the enemy, they are your best friend. A well written and well worded contract can assist the you and your contractor in completing a project in a way that is a win/win scenario. Be sure to read a presented contract well and ask questions. If your contractor is not willing to include their answers in the contract, it is possible you are dodging a bullet by using someone else.
For us C.A.R.E. has a special meaning: