The Doís & Doníts on How to Pick a Hardscape Contractor

by R.I. Lampus
How to pick a contractor

DO realize that if you want work done well, quick and cheap are not exactly what you are looking for.  Contractors who do excellent work often come with a higher price.

DON'T give up on a good contractor because they are busy.  Not every contractor has someone in an office answering calls.  Yes, most contractors have cell phones, but they could be out on a jobsite when you call.  Leave a message and they will get back to you soon.

How to pick a contractor
DO ask friends and family who did their outdoor space if you like something in particular.  What was the contractor’s name?  Did your friend help design the space?

DON'T assume that a contractor will be ready to start work on your project immediately.  We suggest reaching out to your contractor at the beginning of the year if you want your outdoor space to be ready by summer.  It might not be the first thing you think of in January, but scheduling ahead of time with your contractor ensures that your job is completed in a timely manner.

How to pick a contractor
DO make sure that you get several quotes from a few contractors to see which fits into your budget (and if you are not sure of what it might cost, to find a median price range)

let price be your only factor for choosing one contractor over another.  Choose someone that communicates well with you.  You want someone who lets you voice your concerns and listens to those concerns.  Pick someone who you feel comfortable with.

How to pick a contractor
DO make up a contract. Most contractors will have one made for your job with all of the specifics.  Make sure that you set up a payment schedule and create the guidelines of the project, including design and material.

DON'T get discouraged if there is an unforeseeable problem.  This is why change order options and rock clauses exist on contracts.  They are meant to allow for adjustments if something does not go as planned.  Who knows?  A natural spring could be under your property.  Yes, it will cost more money and time, but it could be something that is necessary to fix.

How to pick a contractor
And finally…  DO enjoy your outdoor space when it is completed.  Use it as much as possible. ROI* is real.  Show it off and have a party.  Everyone will love it like you do and who knows, you might be recommending your contractor to your friends who are asking.

*A 2017 report from Remodeling states that pavers offer an average ROI of 54.9%.

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