Most property owners want a healthy beautifully landscaped lawn, but that could require some help from a professional. In 2017, BBB received over 1.5 million inquiries for landscaping services. Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central East Texas urges consumers to research a landscaper to ensure your curb appeal is not one you want to conceal.

“Your lawn is the first thing people notice when they see your home,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB serving Central East Texas. “So it’s important to perform thorough research to make sure you hire the right landscape contractor for the job.”

BBB offers the following tips before hiring a landscaper:

  • Research the business. Go to org to review a landscape contractor’s Business Profile before hiring them. Always ask for references and check the company’s affiliation with national franchises or associations.
  • Ask for a lawn inspection and estimates. Quality companies will offer an estimate only after they see what they are working with. Lawn care companies that quote a price without seeing your lawn can’t be sure what you need. A landscaper will need to measure the area and consider access to the yard.
  • Shop around. Get written estimates from at least three different companies. Keep in mind that the cheapest estimate is not necessarily the best option.
  • Check for documentation. In Texas, general landscapers may not require licensing unless they also advertise themselves as landscape architects. Landscape architects are licensed by the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners, and you may check licensing at tbae.state.tx.us. Also, check that the landscaper has the proper insurance, and make sure everything is up to date and in good standing.
  • Get everything in writing. Make sure all details of the job are included in a written contract. The contract should include the start and completion date of the project, the materials used and all the costs and fees broken down. Ask the contractor to provide a lien waiver, especially for larger projects, to prevent you from being held responsible to pay the supplier when you have already paid the landscaper in full. Read everything thoroughly before signing, and never sign a contract that is partially blank.
  • Be home when the work is being performed. If possible, try to be on site when the actual landscaping takes place, especially if it’s a bigger job.
  • Remember the rule of thirds. If you’re getting a new patio, deck or major landscaping consider paying a third to secure the contract, a third when the work is half done and the final third only after the job is completed and you are satisfied with the work.