You are eager to get your landscape designed and installed in Suburban Chicago. It’s been something you’ve envisioned for quite a long time. And you can’t wait to spend time in your new backyard oasis.

There are quite a few landscape companies out there, so it may feel overwhelming as you start to search for your options of which company is going to bring your space to life. The job takes time and research so you hire a quality landscape design professional.

What you don’t want to do is hire someone who lets you down or wastes your time. We’ve heard the horror stories, too. You don’t want to hire someone you think is a professional but then end up with shoddy work like an uneven patio or unstable retaining wall. You certainly don’t want to be left with an incomplete mess in your backyard. You also wouldn't want to be held liable if a worker gets hurt on your property and their company has no insurance.

These are horror stories that can be avoided if you pay attention to some red flags ahead of time. Here are some tips on how to identify a bad landscape company.

9 Red Flags to Help You Identify A Bad Landscape Company

To help you with your research as you seek to hire a landscaper for your backyard project, we’ve put together a list of some major red flags.

These signs should give you immediate pause and convince you that you need to choose another company.

1. Lack of Professional Image

If the person you’re looking to hire doesn’t seem to have a logoed shirt or truck or business card and seems more like a handyman who switches from landscaping to painting or repair work, they likely aren’t experts in landscape design in Suburban Chicago. For a high-end design that lasts a lifetime, you need trained, skilled employees to create that long-lasting backyard.

landscape company crew

You want to hire a landscape company with a professional image, branded trucks and uniforms, and a good amount of positive Google reviews that discuss landscapes similar to yours.

2. The Landscaper Wants to Be Paid Up Front

A professional landscape business may take a small deposit on a project you agree too, especially if they are giving you or sharing with you a landscape design they spent time creating.

However, if the landscaper you’re meeting with asks for a large payment up front without doing any work on your property or providing you with a landscape design, then that’s a red flag.

3. There is No Contract

When you’re agreeing on the work to be done for a professional landscape design and installation, that should come with a contract that details specific tasks to be done, along with terms and agreements.

When you hire a landscape company, you want to avoid verbal agreements. You want the company you hire to be accountable for work they said they’d perform with signed documentation that proves it.

4. You Have to Go Through a High-Pressure Sales Approach

If you’re hiring a landscape company, and during the interview process you feel like you are being pressured to work with them, tread cautiously.

When a company is that desperate for work, this may be a bad sign about the quality of their design and installation.

You should never feel pressured to make an immediate decision about which company to work with. You should also never feel pressured into using a company’s design if you’re not happy with it or if it doesn't fit your aesthetic.

5. There is No Estimate or Design

When you’re considering hiring a landscaper, and they can’t provide you with an estimate for the work you want done, that’s usually a red flag.

Usually it means they’ve never done this type of work before and don't know what it should cost or they do know and are afraid to share the costs with you. Either way, you want clear communication about costs up front.

6. Poor Communication

Speaking of communication on costs, if your landscaper is not sharing details with you -- whether it’s related to costs or job specifics or how they will complete a project -- then this is not someone you’ll want to work with.

Communication between you and your landscape company is critical throughout the entire process of a landscape design and installation. You’ll need to talk about plants and hardscape materials and any changes throughout the process. You don’t want poor communication from the start or this continued lack of good dialogue could cause project problems and unnecessary excess costs.

7. Bad Reviews

One bad review here or there is one thing. But you should consider a huge amount of bad reviews a red flag. There will always be a disgruntled customer come up in a company’s history, but a repetitive number of poor reviews could signal a deeper problem with how the company conducts business.

Instead, hire a landscape company with plenty of good online reviews and a rating of at least 4.5 stars. A business that has this kind of response takes the time to make sure its customers are happy.

8. No Portfolio or References

The landscape company you hire in the Greater Chicago area should have a solid portfolio of work similar to what you’re looking to have designed and installed in your yard.

Beautiful patio, lawn, and pavilion

They should want to show off the high-quality work they’ve done and present you with ideas to inspire your project.

If you’re hiring a landscaper and they can’t show you examples of your work, you have to question whether they’ve done anything similar to your project before.

9. No Proof of Liability or Workers’ Comp Insurance

If you go to hire a landscape company and they have no insurance, then you’re at risk if they do any major damage on your property or if one of their workers gets injured while working on your property.

A reputable company should be able to show you proof of up-to-date insurance so you don’t have to worry.

Hiring a Landscape Company in Suburban Chicago

Doing your research and being prepared is always better than jumping into an important decision about the company that is going to design and install your dream backyard. Hopefully these red flags gave you some insight.

In the end, you want a landscape design/build company that is going to meet all of your specific needs and design a Chicagoland landscape that is exactly what you dreamed up … or maybe even better.

Patio, outdoor kitchen, and yard

A company that takes you seriously, listens to your needs, and presents a well-thought-out and professional image and design concept is the one that will help you feel confident that you’re making a great choice. After all, a company that communicates and focuses on details in the beginning is going to bring that same attention to detail to the entire project.

Ready to see how KD Landscape can transform your Greater Chicago landscape into something beyond your expectations? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you and deliver a custom space that stands out. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a plan that works best for you.

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