Hinkle Outdoor Living
What to Look for in a Contractor

What to Look for in a Contractor

hardscape contractor

Transforming backyards into outdoor living environments is no simple task. Hiring the right contractor is crucial when it comes to tackling these large projects. The ideal candidate will maintain a positive relationship throughout the construction process by being communicative, easily accessible, and well versed in your scope of work.

The consequences of working with a bad contractor can haunt you for years. It takes time to recover from a backyard butchering, whether or not you’re charged for the mess. Fortunately, with a little due diligence, you can be confident that you have the right people on the job. Here are our tips for avoiding fly-by-night contractors:

Great Customer References

Look at the reviews. Any reputable contractor will be able to supply you with customer references. You can read their Google or Facebook reviews online, seek out word-of-mouth references from friends and neighbors, or consult your HOA. Testimonials are one of the best ways to ensure that you select a contractor that will deliver excellent results.

Fully Insured

Life happens and things can go wrong. To protect yourself from any unforeseen circumstances, your contractor should show you proof of a full insurance policy. Without one, you could be held responsible for anything that goes wrong while on your property.


Experience is key. Designing and installing outdoor living environments is a specialized trade.  Not every landscaper is equipped to deliver professional-quality work. Make sure that your contractor and their employees are certified with the proper training.

Written Estimate and Contract

Keep it legal. Having a written contract and bid is a must. If a contractor can’t, or is unwilling to, provide an itemized, easy-to-understand, written estimate — keep looking. You need to be legally covered and have proof of a prior agreement before the start of construction.

Familiar with Permitting in Your Area

Ask where the contractor is based and if they’ve ever done work in your neck of the woods. It’s vital to hire someone that knows the proper procedures to get the ball rolling and keep your project running smoothly. If they don’t have a clear understanding of the regulations in your area, they won’t be able to navigate any red tape that arises, and your job may not be done to code.

Guaranteed Workmanship

Artisans take pride in their work. The contractor you hire for your project needs to stand solidly behind their team and techniques. If they are not willing to give a 100% guarantee on their workmanship and materials, you haven’t found the right builder.

No Subcontractors

Don’t hire a contractor that intends to sub out work. You choose a company because you like and trust their craft; but their qualifications are meaningless if they delegate work to someone else. Oftentimes, work is subbed in an attempt to save money or due to a lack of training in-house. Neither of those scenarios inspire confidence. You’re hiring a contractor to oversee your project personally, not to pass elements off to a third party.

Your Project, Your Rules

Open communication with your contractor is a necessity. Without it, staying on track and understanding your project’s development will be nearly impossible. If you’re ever unsure about a situation, just ask. Your contractor should be willing to relay information and be completely transparent.

Remember that whoever you choose is responsible for delivering on a large investment that directly impacts your home. Make sure that you have complete trust and assurance in your contractor before jumping in head-first.

If you want to learn more about what to expect from a top-notch contractor, please give us a call at (816) 608-8870, or book an appointment on our website. We’ll be happy to show you how we get the job done right!

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