4 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Plantscaper

What you don’t know can really cost you the green!

No matter where you stand on the great outsource-insource debate, it is abundantly clear that most businesses in San Diego, don’t want to add interior plant design and plant maintenance to their list of in-house services—much less add it to the job description of an employee who may turn your greenery into compost!

Some things are just better left to the professionals—especially those with a green thumb! But how do you know which professionals will give you the best green for your green?

Good Earth Plants services many clients in San Diego and southern California who have shared their stories of plants gone wild, or more accurately, splash and dash companies masquerading as plantscaping companies. From their plant pains, come your green gains as we have assembled the top four questions to ask when hiring a plantscaping contractor.

1.  Which credentials does the plantscaping company have?

When it comes to plant design, installation and maintenance, be sure to hire a Certified Landscape Professional (CLP) and a licensed contractor (C-27). Why is this important? It ensures that you are hiring professionals that are trained in design and plant care that will produce a beautiful office plantscapesolution within your provided space, lighting conditions and keeping your budget in mind. But more importantly, that the proper liability and Workers’ Compensation insurance is carried in case of an accident.

Also make sure the company goes the extra mile and performs employee background checks and periodic drug testing. Remember that the plantscaping employees are oftentimes gaining access to your facility or home and you want to make certain that you protect your employees, guests and valuables by checking the credentials of those who come into your space.

2. How long have they been in business (and where do they conduct it)?

Unfortunately, in this economy there are a lot of “garage” businesses that may not be up for the task of running a viable business and fulfilling their obligations to you for the long haul, no matter what. Do they have a physical location or just a P.O. Box? Does someone answer the phone or do you go to a voice mail? Hire a company that has a track record. It indicates stability and a company managed by an individual with experience and a vested interest. Ask for references. There is nothing like a recommendation from someone who has dealt with the company, their employees and their services to help you make your decision.

3.  What is their plant maintenance strategy and schedule?

Ask for a plant maintenance strategy and it better include more than watering when their “tech” is in the area! Is there a guarantee? Will you be assigned a Plant Maintenance Technician with a schedule to regularly and consistently service your plants? How often will they be onsite? Does your Technician have training in plant maintenance, watering frequencies, customer care and non-toxic pest control? Watering volume is a key element in healthy plants and is a crucial function. Also ask about dusting, cleaning, pruning and trimming – as well as services like a color rotation program, holiday décor and short-term plant rentals. You want to ensure that you hire a full-service company.

4. What plantscaping services are you agreeing to?

Good Earth Plants gets called in many times to resuscitate a company’s greenery. Many a facilities manager has complained that “the installation and staging was done poorly” or “that the pots leaked” or “the plant company just never cared for the plants or replaced them” after they were installed!

Like any agreement, get a detailed scope of services so you know what to expect. It’s great that you have discussed what the project should look like, shaken hands and ready to do business, but not so fast. A signed contract ensures the commitment of services agreed upon. It’s a written record of what you have agreed and reminds all parties involved of those facts. If there is a dispute or issue, the contract can be referenced and the issue taken care of.

Do you have a plantscape contractor “hit” or “miss” experience? Share it with us.

If you are considering hiring a plantscaping company, please call Good Earth Plants for a free consultation. At Good Earth Plants our motto is “Beautiful plants – all the time!” and has been providing worry free award winning service and design for a mix of clientele that includes high tech giants, hotels, restaurants, financial, healthcare, retail and homeowners since 1977. Our staff is highly experienced and trained in plantscape design, installation and maintenance. Contact Jim Mumford today for more information.