9 Essential Considerations When Hiring an Landscape Lighting Contractor

Tony P

Are you thinking to yourself “I need to hire Landscape Lighting Contractors near me”?

If so, you will definitely find the following article of interest and extremely beneficial to you!

Installing Landscape and Accent Lighting will require a substantial investment of time, energy and finances. If you don’t possess the skills to do it yourself, you will need to hire the services of a Professional Landscape Lighting Contractor.

With this in mind, BUYER BEWARE! During my time as a professional contractor I have heard many horror stories from unsuspecting and uneducated homeowners regarding their experiences with all types of contractors. As a result of the many (negative) stories that I have heard, and in doing my part to “Clean-up the Landscape Lighting Industry”, it has prompted me to write this particular article.

In order to prioritize the list of things you should consider when hiring a Professional Landscape Lighting Contractor for your project, I have broken the sections down and categorized them as… “Considerations”.

So let’s get started…

landscape lighting contractors near me - Landscape Lighting

Consideration #1… It’s a good idea to solicit at least “two” and if possible “three” Landscape Lighting Quotations.

Why is this you may ask? By doing so you will be in a position of “strength” as you can evaluate and compare the merits of each individual contractor. While the “quality” and “sophistication” level of a proposal may not necessarily be everything, it does shed some light on the contractor and the level at which they elect to operate or conduct business.

Fact is… you are less likely to experience problems with a Professional Landscape Lighting Contractor if they have covered off on all aspects of the project and are making a “reasonable profit”. On the flip side, contractors that “need the job so badly they are willing to undercut everyone else and buy the job” will likely lead to major problems. Why… because they may need to “cut corners” in order to make a profit, and in worst case situations… “they may not be able to complete the job at all”. Who would you rather work with?

So as you can see, there are many factors that all play a role when you solicit quotations from contractors, some of which are obvious and some of which are not.  When looking for “landscape lighting installers near me” be sure to get multiple quotes!

There is an old saying that goes… “The First Impression is a Lasting Impression”.     I will let YOU be the judge of that!

Consideration #2… Not all things are considered equal!

Don’t rush! Take the necessary time to check out the contractors “track record” before you consider inviting them to the table. Referrals are probably the BEST source of finding a “reputable” and “trustworthy” Landscape Lighting Contractor. With this in mind, do you have a friend or family member that has experience with a contractor? If not, how about a colleague or neighbour?

If you can’t obtain a referral from a “trusted” source, then your next best choice is the Internet.

Fact is… it’s a LOT easier to obtain information about a company now, than it ever was before!

Type in the contractor’s company name and add the word “reviews” to the end of it. The internet is an AMAZING resource and you will be truly surprised at what comes up. This is the quickest way to find out “what others are saying” about a particular company and their past experiences. If this doesn’t work, it could be possible that the contractor may have limited (just started their business) exposure on the internet. Don’t discount this, as the people running the newly incorporated Landscape Lighting Company may very well be qualified and do good business, but you will definitely need to “dig a little deeper” before hiring them.

If you are greeted with a whole bunch of “NEGATIVE” reviews I would strongly suggest that you… Run Away and Run Away FAST!!

Consideration #3… Does the Landscape Lighting Contractor have a “Warranty Policy”?

This is important because this will tell you a lot about what to expect should something go wrong.

Fact is… things sometimes go wrong, and it’s not always the fault of the contractor

If the contractor has a (written) warranty policy, at least you know what to expect should something go wrong after the project has been completed and the contractor has ridden off into the sunset.

Consideration #4… Make sure you “compare apples to apples” when evaluating contractors and their Landscape Lighting proposals.

At The Landscape Lighting Company we always provide our clients with a “Landscaping Consultation and Formal Proposal” and we advise them to make sure they are “comparing apples to apples” when they are evaluating other contractors and their proposals. This is critical, because one proposal may not be equal to another. Fact is… we ALWAYS provide a TON of detail in our proposals. This obviously take us a lot of extra time, but we are of the opinion that by doing so we “set ourselves apart from the competition”. It also sends the message to our perspective clients that we are… “not afraid to put everything in writing”.  

There is an old saying that goes… “Less is More”. That may hold some truth for some things… but NOT in this case!

At The Landscape Lighting Company, we have another saying… “the devil is in the details, or lack thereof if the contractor elects NOT to provide you with them”

If a contractor is NOT prepared to provide you with the “details” you should ask yourself this question… WHY? For instance, when we quote on the “supply and installation of a Landscaping Lighting System”, we always include a detailed breakdown of the number, type and manufacturer of lights and any major components being used. This is critical, because some contractors elect to use “inferior or sub-par products”, resulting in quality issues down the road. As a result of utilizing inferior or sub-par products, their proposals may initially be cheaper than others… But are they really? When evaluating a “outdoor lighting company near me” make sure you compare “apples to apples.”

At The Landscape Lighting Company, we have another saying… “The Cheapest Price… is Not always the Cheapest Price”

Consideration #5… Scheduling and execution of the project

Be aware, many contractors will “tell you what you want to hear in order to get the job”, but once they get the job they do something completely different. Sound familiar?

This is an area that “may” or “may not” be important to you, but if it is, then you want to make sure the contractor is “buying into his or her commitment” and the BEST way to feel comfortable is to get them to “put their commitment in writing”.

Fact is… commitments that are “in writing” seem to carry more substance and are more likely to be honored, compared with those that are not

When we submit our formal Landscape Lighting proposals we ALWAYS include a “scheduling and execution of the work” paragraph. In this section we provide our clients with an approximate date that the project will start and an approximate duration. Unless weather and ground conditions become a major factor, we are typically very close with our dates.

Consideration #6… Make sure the Landscape Lighting Contractor is “fully” and “adequately” insured.

This is one area that is constantly overlooked and or not always appreciated. Like most businesses, some Landscape Lighting contractors elect to operate their companies by incorporating and practicing higher standards than others. One of which is making sure they have adequate “liability insurance” to protect the company and the clients they work for. The BEST way to make sure the company you are considering doing business with has adequate insurance is to ask them for a copy of their “Certificate of Insurance”. Be careful to check and make sure the insurance is up to-date, otherwise it may not be valid.

Consideration #7… Make sure the Landscape Lighting contractor has WCB (Workman Compensation Board) Insurance.

This is another area that is constantly overlooked by homeowners. Fact is… “WCB” (Workers Compensation Board) coverage provides workers with the security of knowing that should they become injured on a work site and they are unable to work, they will not lose their income and be unable to support their family. It also provides the person or company with piece of mind knowing that they will not be held “liable” in the event of an injury or death of an employee.

Fact is… WCB is NOT an “OPTION” it’s the “LAW”, but all too often some contractors elect NOT to follow the law

Did you know… if you hire a contractor to work on your property and someone on their crew gets hurt and they don’t have WCB coverage, YOU the homeowner are liable for any lost wages and any other expenses that may be related to their injury. WHY… because YOU are deemed as the employer!

Most homeowners are NOT aware of this… but they SHOULD be!

Another Fact… Contractors that carry sufficient insurance and operate a safe work site incur higher operating costs. These costs obviously need to be factored into their Landscape Lighting quotations as its considered as a “cost of doing business”. Contractors that elect NOT to operate this way can do so for much less!

The message here… while some contractors may appear to be more competitive with their Landscape Lighting quotations… are they really?

The other consideration is this… If a Landscape Lighting contractor elects to NOT to “follow the rules” by having the required insurance protections in place, can you TRUST them to do everything they said they would do? I will let you be the judge of that!

Consideration #8… Obtain a Landscape Lighting quotation with a “detailed (itemized) scope of work” and a “fixed” (not subject to escalation) price”.

When we submit our formal Landscape Lighting proposals they ALWAYS include a “fixed price” based on the “scope of work” that has been covered. That price is “fixed” and NOT “subject to escalation” unless there are any major (increases or reductions) to the scope of work.

As previously mentioned, when we submit our formal Landscape Lighting proposals they are packed full of detail. We do this because we believe that the correct way is to provide our clients with “full disclosure” and “complete transparency” with respect to what is covered in the proposal.

We even take that another step further, as we also identify “what is NOT specifically covered in the proposal”. Some contractors will elect to “leave some things out” on purpose so that there quoted price “appears” to be better than the others. Once they are awarded the project and the project is underway, they spring the “oh, that was NOT Included in our price”, even though they were fully aware of this at the time. I am sure you have probably experienced that before?

Once again, we like to refer to this as… “The Cheapest Price, is Not always the Cheapest Price!

Consideration #9… Does the Landscape Lighting Contractor you are considering using plan on performing the work with his or her own crew? Or do they plan on using a “sub-contractor” or “multiple sub-contractors”?

This is a critical question to ask, because your due-diligence may very well paint a great picture of the contractor you will enter into a “legal binding contractual relationship” with, but the sub-contractor they elect to use may not have such a glowing track record. If your Landscape Lighting Contractor intends on using a sub-contractor or multiple sub-contractors, you should insist on obtaining the names of the contractor(s) and perform your own due-diligence, and you should preferably do this… BEFORE you sign on the dotted line!

One Last, but VERY IMPORTANT Consideration… Landscape Lighting projects that are executed by “unqualified” or “poorly operated contractors” run a VERY HIGH RISK of providing the unsuspecting homeowner with “unnecessary” and unwanted surprises”. These surprises typically ALWAYS result in “safety, quality control and cost overrun” issues.

With this in mind, I cannot stress the importance of making sure you perform your “due-diligence” BEFORE you enter into a (legal binding) contractual relationship with any contractor, because it’s NOT much fun finding this out AFTER you have hired one!

Conclusion to “9 Essential Considerations When Hiring Landscape Lighting Contractors Near Me”

Should you have any questions or if you would like some help kick-starting your Landscape Lighting Project… we are only a Phone Call or a Mouse Click away.

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