If your landscape took a big hit, you might be thinking about hiring a professional to do the work for you.  We have talked to a lot of landscapers and they are already lining up jobs for this fall.  Patty Banzhaf, our landscape designer, has told us that she is already booked up for months.  What does this mean for you? You may have to get in line. You can get started with our list of things you need to do first at  https://rcwnurseries.com/?p=119

Act quickly!

     Even if your just thinking about hiring a professional, make the call now.  Your name and phone number is the most valuable thing you can give any contractor. It will let them know that you are interested. What they do with your interest from that point makes or breaks a company. Just get on the list. Personally, I give a company 3 working days to call back. If they don’t call you by then, they may not be worth your time, effort or really need your money (what company can afford that).  

     From the first time you speak with a landscape company to the installation should average 2 to 3 weeks. That includes the first meeting, design time, a second meeting to go over the design, time for revisions and time for acquiring the materials. If a company is getting backed up, this could stretch into months, but the lines of communication should stay open. You never know, you might suddenly get invited to the front of the line.

Home owner, we have a problem.

     Delays may be unavoidable. Bad weather (stop laughing, it could happen) is the number one reason landscaping is delayed. A light rain shouldn’t cause much of a problem, but a month-long rain (I said stop laughing) will put a stop on all landscaping. Having workmen tramping across a soggy yard will do more damage than you can imagine. The soil will move under foot, causing ruts and compaction. Working in the rain also makes people irritable and makes them rush, neither of which is a good thing.

     The second major cause of delays is availability of plant material. Availability changes weekly for most growers. If your installation is delayed for weeks or months, that amazing specimen plant or tree your designer had their eye on, will be gone. Offer to pay for items like this up front, so you don’t lose them. If you have a plan drawn up and don’t start installation for 6 months, some plants (especially annuals) will be out of season.

     The third cause of delays is a lack of coordination. If you are doing home repairs, landscaping or irrigation work, do them in the right order. Have the work done on the house 1st. Painters, foundation companies or a roofer won’t care what happens to your plants. Trust us on this one, we have seen some tragic results. You also don’t want the irrigator digging up your new plantings. Make sure that your landscaper and irrigation company are on speaking terms. Better yet, do they have a long-standing working relationship? Will the landscaper call the irrigator on time to prevent delays. Is the landscaper going to share a copy of the plans or do you need another copy for irrigator? Will your irrigator let  the landscaper know that the system is in, flagged and ready to go? When the plants are in, who calls the irrigator back to tweak the system?

Oh, I got an idea!

     Coming out of a customer’s mouth, this phrase can send chills right through a contractor. Changes to plans can take from just a few minutes, hours, days…or even (gulp) weeks to carry out. Changes cost money and time. Here is a worst case scenario. One company, I worked for, had a customer who repeatedly changed the $130,000.00 original plan. One change, in the pool coping, added $7000.00 to the bill. The total for just the changes to that job, were over $120,000.00 and took months. Most of that time was waiting for the customer to approve the cost of their own changes. Doing some research and putting your ideas and dreams on paper make the process easier.

       Our best advice is to make some calls soon. Interview several, you will be working with them, you should be comfortable with them. Keep the process moving forward with communication and unless you have more money and time then you really need, make sure you’re happy with the plan from the beginning.