Many homeowners have no idea what it takes to hire an experienced, licensed and trusted landscaper. Consequently, many cowboy landscapers end up making off with their money and so homeowners have little to show in the way of results. Whether you want to add more curb appeal or just overhaul the way your home looks it is important to find a talented landscaper who is not running a fly-by-night operation.
After having found out about so many people being taken advantage of by fake landscaping companies, we decided to write this quick article to help find a genuine company. That said this is by no means a comprehensive guide. Other due diligence steps need to be taken often for larger projects so make sure to include them on your to-do list.
The landscaper should be licensed to operate in your state
Now, this is important because those who are not licensed will not be able to get business insurance. You never want someone to be on your property without insurance. If there is an incident and no insurance coverage then if there are damages, it is you who ends up paying for it.
You can check the license with the NSW Fair Trading association via this link: https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/trades-and-businesses/licensing-and-qualifications/licence-classes-and-qualifications/structural-landscaping
As mentioned above you never want to hire a professional landscaper who isn’t licensed and consequently insured. Many professionals continue to work and offer slightly cheaper landscaping services even after their licenses are expired or even revoked. It is a huge liability which needs to be avoided. So, you should never take a landscaper’s word for when they say they are fully insured.
What you’ll want to do is to verify the status and scope of their insurance. That can easily be done by getting their policy number and calling the insurance company. Once you are sure that the coverage is up to date you can proceed with the hiring process.
The next and perhaps equally important is the company’s Active Australian Business Number of ABN as it is called. That can easily be checked and verified by running their number through the online ABN database here: https://abr.business.gov.au.
The other thing you’ll want to check is the Goods and Services Tax number of GST. Generally, businesses that turn over $75,000 annually are eligible for a GST registration. However, most if not all landscaping companies make much more than that and so it makes sense for them to have a GST. If the landscaping company does not have a GST, there is a good chance that either they are new or not doing as much business. In either case, it is a company you should avoid.
Make sure that you sign a written contract with the landscapers you decide to hire. By having everything in writing, you’re covered both legally and morally. The paperwork should outline the scope of the work and the estimated time of completion and what you have paid. That’s the only way to protect yourself from being scammed by so-called cowboy landscapers.