This is something we all wonder when we hire someone. How can you let someone onto your property and make major changes if you don’t trust them? There are so many landscapers and landscaping companies in Victoria BC. How do you tell a quack from the real deal?
BBB Accreditation and Other Accreditations
Not many people know this but BBB Accreditation just means that a company signed up for free to be listed with the BBB and then paid them an annual fee of around $400 to be accredited. BBB is not a nonprofit nor is it a government agency. Their business model is to make a profit not necessarily the public interest. While they do provide some mediation in disputes, they are not legally binding nor do they really have any authority to do so. Why would someone from the BBB know anything about landscaping or being an electrician or a dental operation?
When a business advertises certain accreditations, always check out what their accreditation organization is and does. Otherwise it’s as meaningless as making a certificate in MS Paint and slapping that on your wall.
Educate Yourself, At Least A Little Bit
With so much information available these days, any layperson can quickly find relevant info with ease. This is the case with landscaping as well. In fact, most of the blog posts here aim to help expand your general knowledge in landscaping for Victoria BC. The more you know about a subject area the more likely you will be able to detect charlatans. The only word of caution on that is to be aware that there are various ways of doing the same construction and they can all be right depending on various factors.
Do they have photos of their work? Does it look realistic? Does it look local? If it’s by a tropical beach or looks Californian in architecture style, maybe it’s a stock photo and not their work. Are they all mega mansions from Beverly Hills? That should raise some eyebrows as well.
Answering Your Questions
Can they answer your landscaping questions in a convincing way? Do they know what they are talking about? Are they able to talk about their landscaping projects in their portfolio? While some questions cannot be answered with certainty, due to the sometimes unpredictable nature of landscape construction, the landscaper should know enough to answer basic questions in a convincing authoritative manner. They should be able to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in a convincing authoritative manner.
Questioning Your Answers
An experienced landscaper should also question you the homeowner. They should have learned from experience on certain things to watch out for, to always ask about, such as gas lines, irrigation lines, parking, etc. They should also be able to question you in a way that brings out your full vision. If you tell someone you want a paved patio and they say ok without asking anything, you should be asking yourself, how is this person going to know what color I want and what design I want? The way they question you the homeowner should illustrate that they have thought this through, that there’s a certain attention to detail.
The way landscapers price their quotes can be quite indicative of their character. There are many who are notorious for underbidding and then make up excuses (lies) at the end to raise the price. I once had a contractor raise their prices by 20% because they claimed they took extra long while I was out of town. My neighbors told me otherwise. A quote should be pretty clear on what is being charged. It should be broken down and itemized. Any contractor that makes excuses and changes the prices significantly is playing games and not trustworthy. If they are playing games with you on the price, who knows what else they will be dishonest about?
Reviews can be useful though it can be difficult sometimes to differentiate real from fake ones. Generally you will want one that mention a specific job that was one and/or people who actually work at the company. The more generic it sounds, the more likely it’s fake. Accounts with only 1 review are likely fake secondary accounts made by the landscaper themselves.
Look at different platforms too. Sometimes the reviews on Google are totally different from those on Yelp or Facebook. Does it make them less valid?
Word of Mouth
Obviously word of mouth is the best indication of whether or not a landscaper is competent. Victoria BC is a small town and many people know each other. If you know someone and even better, have seen the landscaper’s work, you can pretty much guarantee an accurate assessment of their abilities.
With so many landscapers big and small in Victoria BC, it can be confusing and difficult to know who to trust. A lot of money are exchanged in these projects and you are inviting them to work on your most prized material possession, your home. Everyone has heard of horror stories of bad contractors in Victoria and nobody wants to deal with a scam artist. I hope this has helped give some insight into differentiating a quack from a professional.
If you have any questions, suggestions for topics, or have a project in mind, please let us know!