Not all commercial landscape maintenance contractors are equals. There are five essential questions you should be asking your potential (or current) landscaping contractor to ensure that they can completely fulfill your landscaping needs year round.
Question One: Are you fully and currently licensed by the provincial and city governments to provide all of the services you offer?
This question seems mundane, but it is vitally important. Pesticides or herbicides, many of which are even more toxic to aquatic wildlife than they are to their intended targets, are being over-applied to create a runoff pollution problem. Does your commercial landscaping contractor have current pesticide applicators’ licenses issued by Alberta? At Mirage, we do.
Likewise, you’ll want the assurance that the retaining wall or walkway you’ve had installed will be in place for generations. The last thing you need is the City coming by and finding there to be a problem with your completed design. At Mirage, we are well-versed in licensing and permitting, and would never recommend a project that could be found to be contrary to by-laws. Generally, retaining walls that are less than 1.2 meters in height do not require a permit.
One way to know how well a company performs is to look at how long they have been in business. At Mirage Landscaping, we have been renewing our business license in Calgary for three generations and counting.
Question Two: Is your company big enough to handle my project?
Let’s face it; to be able to address most any landscaping challenge requires a commercial landscaping contractor of a certain size. Many Calgary landscaping firms are just one person and part-time labourers doing what they can during the warmer months. While lots of these guys are very personable, they are limited in what they can do by their size.
We have a staff with core competencies in all manner of landscaping construction and maintenance. You want your irrigation systems installed in a day or two rather than a week or two? We have the manpower for that. You want thirty tons of ornamental boulders to become a water feature on your commercial property? We have the trucks to get them there and build that.
Another issue related to size is one of being on time. Unlike the individual contractor, we can be in two places or more at the same time while still offering every one of our clients incomparable service.
Question Three: Can your company care for my trees?
There are many commercial landscape maintenance companies and individuals who can perform basic lawn mowing, trimming, and cleanup. It takes further expertise to know when and how to best feed and prune the myriads of shrubs shrubs and trees that are used in landscaping. Some mowers and weedie-wielders can’t tell a poplar from a birch. We can, and we know a lot more about trees than that. We transport and plant them as landscaping features on a weekly basis. We know how to protect your investment in the trees you have had planted on your property.
Question Four: How did you arrive at my quote for services?
Many small contractors will give you what seems to be a sweet deal in the beginning, especially as they try to establish themselves. Though we may be in danger of being undercut, we always explain to you why our services cost what they do. If you have a “sweetheart” oral or basic contract with a smaller firm or an individual, it may not be reflecting their actual cost of business. You can bet with some certainty that you will eventually get a pitch to increase your rate to something approaching or reaching “the going price,” usually justified by higher fuel prices no matter what gas prices have been doing.
We will never hide contract terms from you unexplained in fine print, or raise them suddenly on the latest uptick in gas or diesel prices. We will be good faith bargainers from the start. We know what we cost and we know what our expenses are and you will be treated fairly.
Question Five: Can you also perform my snow removal?
With summer around the corner this may seem a curious question to ask now but it is worth examining. Just as the warm months brings a crop of “landscapers” forth, many of whom only own one pick up truck and some basic tools, the first snowfall sees an explosion of “snow removal” guys, many of whom pop up on Craig’s List, ready to bring their snow-blower to bear on the cheap.
If you are already a commercial landscape maintenance client of Mirage Landscaping during the spring and summer, we too will be offering you our snow removal services, but with a key distinction—we will know what your property looked like before the snow obscured it. Snow blowers and shovels are powerful enough to inflict all manner of damage to your parking lot, walkways, tree trunks, shrubs, flower beds, you name it. Why risk the landscaping your business depends upon by using the unknown?
Call us for a free quote today.