February 17, 2018
It is that time of the year again, and you need to find the right landscaper for your homeowner’s association (HOA).
How do you make the right decision when you have several landscaping companies presenting you with offers that look similar?
Ideally, you want to get a company that upholds the standards of your community and is willing to work with your HOA to improve the quality of life in the community.
Finding the right landscaping partner takes time.
Look at it like getting an additional partner that will help you take care of your property.
While entrusted with the task of choosing a landscaper, there are different things to consider such us your immediate and long-term needs; your budget; your HOA regulations and the aesthetic you are looking to achieve.
The process will present you with a lot of genuine contractors; however, there are few untrustworthy individuals who might try to deceive you.
Some obvious red flags to look out for in the bidding process include:
Lack of Project Specifics
Look out for contracts that are overly simplified with no specific language on the services available or time frames for delivery.
You need to know the services available and the frequency of each service performed for your HOA.
They also need to include services specific to your neighborhood; for example, if you have a lot of trees, how often will they come to sweep away falling leaves or offer tree trimming and pruning services.
A good landscaper will address your concerns and go into detail over the things that matter most to you.
Additionally, look for a landscaper who anticipates problems related to the services they offer, such as drainage solutions when you experience flooding.
An HOA property maintenance contract requires a wide range of services, and you need assurance that the landscaper you bring on board can meet your landscaping needs fully.
A reputable landscaping business will offer you a list of former or current customers you can call for honest feedback on the quality of service you can expect.
Avoid any landscaper who fails to provide a list of references in the contract bid or brushes of your requests to speak to previous customers.
Once you receive the reference list, do your due diligence and call them; prepare a list of questions to help you gauge what they liked or disliked about the contractor.
Ask them to give you examples of how the landscaper handled a problem and how they resolved it for the customer.
Unreasonably Low Prices
Everybody loves a good bargain, and staying within your budgets is important.
However, when the landscaper offers a quote that seems too low and is willing to negotiate an even lower price; it is time for you to rethink the process.
If a deal seems to good, scrutinize it carefully to avoid problems down the road. Several players in the market will under-quote their services to land a contract like your HOA property, and then surprise you with additional costs down the road.
A low quote might also point to a contractor who may not have the resources and manpower to meet the needs of your HOA property.
A quality landscape maintenance business will offer you a reasonable quote, specific to your needs.
They will assess your needs and offer a detailed quote with specifics on what you are paying for and how frequently you will receive different services.
You will also note that the quote changes with the seasons; the services you receive over winter differ significantly with the services you receive in the summer.
An experienced landscaper can offer a comprehensive estimate of your HOA property, making sure to outline their services specific to your needs.
Lack of Licensing and Insurance
Any landscaper who presents their papers for the bidding process must offer proof of their general liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, and state licensing.
Once they present these papers, you can use them to get more information on their safety records, professional affiliations and overall reputations with their employees.
Avoid taking on any liability by ensuring your landscaper offers the necessary insurance and is willing to offer safe working conditions.
Poor Loss Prevention Measures
Every contract begins from a place of positivity and optimism; nobody goes into the contract anticipating accidents or looking for the worst.
However, accidents happen and you need a landscaper on your hand who prepares for the worst.
Feel free to ask for their loss prevention and worker safety policy.
While speaking to people on the reference list, ask about incidents and accidents to help you understand how the landscaping business responds to accidents.
Lack of Seasonal Enhancements
Insist on detailed seasonal enhancements unless you are willing to pay for sprucing services as the season’s change.
This may include services such as spring plantings and fall color change outs.
If these services are not specified, ask the landscape company to revise the contract and include them, otherwise, you might find yourself with additional charges, not to mention you can’t accurately compare estimates.
No Dedicated Contact Person
Once you iron out the details, ask the landscaper to provide you with a dedicated account manager for your HOA property. A landscaper that takes ownership and pride in the quality of service they promise and deliver will gladly give you a dedicated account manager.
A company that fails to provide you with a contact person might waste your time passing you from person to person when you need help.
You need one person who will address your complaints, oversee all the work on your property and handle your payments.
Lack of Specific Payment Terms
The last detail in the contract is your payment terms.
The contract should give you flexibility and space out payments over the duration of the contract.
Avoid anyone who insists on a huge down payment, or demands for payment before offering a service.
Crossing All the T’s
Due diligence during the bidding process for an HOA property will pay off; you can never gather too much information.
Twin Oaks Landscape understands that you are looking for a long-term partner, and is willing to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have with landscape maintenance for your property.
Call us today with your concerns and we will help you find all the information you need to make the right decision.
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