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The right landscape can both beautify your yard and enhance the value of your home — just two reasons some real estate agents say professional landscaping is a must in Florida.

But there are dozens of companies in the Tampa area alone… How do you choose?

Here are 8 questions you can ask when you’re selecting a Florida landscaper for your residential project.

Do you have a license?

Landscape designers — people who can tell you where to plant things — and companies who maintain your lawn don’t need to be licensed in Florida. But landscape architects do; they design landscapes specifically to achieve water conservation or limit erosion. Know the difference, and know whether your contractor needs a license.

Do you have insurance?

Most Florida landscapers need workers compensation insurance and separate liability insurance. Steer clear of ones who don’t.

How many employees will do the work?

You don’t need five guys on a three-man job. Similarly, it’s not appropriate to have only two workers and a supervisor on a large project.

What kind of training do your people have?

What your landscapers know is often as important as what they do. Our Lead Designer, for example, is a graduate of the University of Florida’s Landscape Architecture program, and is certified as a Horticulture Professional by the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association.

How much other work are you doing right now?

Certain times of the year are busier for landscaping companies than others, especially in Florida. Smaller businesses may have trouble keeping up with demand, causing your schedule to slip.

Will you give me a contract?

If you’ve decided to get some work done, signing a contract makes sure everyone involved stays protected — both you and your landscaper. A written contract will help clarify what work needs to be done, exactly how much it will cost, when you can expect the job to be finished, and how and when the landscaping company will be paid.

Have you done similar work in the past?

Landscaping in Florida can be tricky, so it’s more than appropriate to ask about previous experience. The right contractor will show you photos and let you talk to past customers. (See below.)

Can I see references?

Feel free to ask your landscaper to talk to previous clients. A reputable company that prides itself on its reputation will be happy to comply. Ask past clients whether the work completed on time and on budget, whether communication back and forth with the company was acceptable, whether staff were professional, and whether things were cleaned up afterward. (Landscaping can get dirty!)

You should also consider asking for supplier references — companies with a good supplier history will be less likely to expose you to creditor liabilities.

Remember: don’t be afraid to ask

You’re the one signing the checks, so it’s absolutely within your rights to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable about your landscaping project.

If you’d like help, give us a call. We’ve been doing Florida projects for years now, and we’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

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