Things you need to know before hiring a landscaper this spring

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DENVER -- Last season, the Better Business Bureau received about 6,000 complaints from people alleging they had been ripped off by local landscape artists. The complaints stretched from Denver to Boulder.

That number is up from 4,000 in 2013. As the weather gets nicer, more and more landscape artists will be making their way into your neighborhood.

“The season started a month early this year,” said Marko Mackovic with Highlands Landscaping and Fencing.

Mackovic’s business received an A+ rating from the BBB. But he’s well aware scammers are out there.

“That’s a big problem. People should make sure whoever is doing the work that they’re legit,” he said.

“They’re coming to your front door, you’re seeing them in other people’s yards. Everything like that,” said Erin O’Neill with the BBB.

The Better Business Bureau offers these simple tips for picking out the right landscape artist:

Know what you want

  • Have in mind the types of services you are seeking (weeding, mowing, clearing, fertilizing, hauling)
  • Ask about the products used (fertilizers, weed killer, seed)
  • Request a landscape inspection and estimate
  • Be cautious of any company that quotes prices without first seeing your yard.

Understand pricing

Since price is a major factor in any purchasing decision, you should know exactly what you are paying for.

  • Do you pay by the square footage or by the week?
  • What happens when it rains?
  • Does mowing also include edging?
  • What happens with the clippings?
  • Are services performed by employees or sub-contracted out?

Check first

Make sure the company has an up-to-date license as required by jurisdiction, when appropriate. You can check the company’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org. Ask for references and check the company’s affiliation with national franchises or associations.

Contract negotiations

Ask if a contract is required for services, and if so, make sure you are aware of any and all fine print.

  • Is it a long-term contract?
  • What is the cancellation policy if you no longer want services?
  • How is payment made?

Warranties and guarantees

If the service or product is not to your liking, know what recourse you may have.

Shop around

Get written estimates from a few different companies. Keep in mind that the cheapest estimate is not necessarily the best option; you may want to invest a little more for higher quality products and services.

BBB wants you to have the landscape that suits your wants and needs. For more tips and answers to questions, visit bbb.org or call 303-758-2100.

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