on Hiring a Contractor
have many decisions to make about your
new hardscape project, one of the most
important being hiring a contractor to
do your job right, on time and on budget.
Here are tips and frequently asked questions
about hiring a landscape contractor.
- Ask your neighbors, friends, family
or you local HardscapeSTL dealer
for recommendations and interview
two or three contractors for your
job to find the right fit.
- Determine the scope of your hardscape
project, ie. driveway, patio, retaining
wall, etc. This can help guide you
to the right landscape contractor.
Not all contractors are created equally;
some are better suited for specific
projects so don’t be afraid
to ask what they specialize in.
- Schedule “on site” visits
for free job estimates. Almost all
contractors will come to your location
and give you a free estimate for
your hardscape project.
- Ask for and require documentation
of licensing, insurance and industry
qualifications such as NCMA and/or ICPI
- Once you have screened your contractors,
choose the best fit for your project
and your personality. The lowest
bid isn’t always to best. Many
times in this industry, you get what
you pay for, so if one contractor
is far lower then the others, ask
more questions and qualify the bid
because they may have misunderstood
or left something out of your project.
If possible compare the quality of
service, levels of expertise and
- Ask for a detailed estimate with
start and ending dates and what/if
any subcontractors they may retain
for your project.
- Get it in writing! Request a detailed
contract and ask for any clarifications
on any aspect of the project you
don’t understand. Both parties
should agree, sign and date the contract.
This should detail every aspect of
the project: payment schedule (Questions
about payment see FAQ’s), a
start/completion date; specific materials
and products to be used.
Finally, remember that as soon as
a change is made or a problem uncovered,
the price just increased and the project
just got longer. The four most expensive
words in your construction project
are, "While you're at it...."
- Ask for lien waivers. Lien waivers
protect you from being held responsible
for payment to the contractor's suppliers
and subcontractors once you have paid
your contractor in full.
FAQ’s for Hiring a Contractor
Q. Should I have to put down a
A. It is typical for a contractor
to ask for some kind of deposit to
put your project on the schedule. Many
contractors will ask for 30/30/30;
30% down, 30% once they deliver product/equipment
to the project and the final 30% upon
completion. However, at the time of
contracting the project you can request
to change the deposit to whatever you're
most comfortable with.
Q. Should my project come with
a Project Warranty?
A. Most contractors will offer
some sort of project warranty for a
period of time, depending on the type
Q. What are the industry certifications?
A. For pavers it’s ICPI
(Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute).
For retaining walls it’s NCMA
(National Concrete Masonry Association).
These are programs designed to educate
landscape contractors about required
basics for installation. Along with
these programs, many quality manufacturs
like Building Products Corp. have additional
courses and hands-on training contractors
can take to stay up-to-date with the
Q. Should I go visit previous projects?
A. Yes, it’s a great idea
to double check the quality of the
contractor's work. You may even wish
to speak with that owner about the
contractor. If the contractor refuses
to provide you with jobs you can go
visit, that may be a red flag.
Q.What’s a lien waiver?
A. Lien waivers protect you
from being held responsible for payment
to the contractor's suppliers and subcontractors
once you have paid your contractor
Q. Do the hardscape stone products
A. Yes, Bella Pavers have a
lifetime warranty Anchor Retaining
Wall Systems have limited product warranties.
These are available from any contractor
installing these products on your project.
Ask for them and put them in a specific
location if needed in the future.