Check for a license
Use the "Verify a License" link above to search for active landscape contracting businesses. If you do not find the business, please call the State Landscape Contractors Board at the phone number listed in the footer of this page and staff will assist you.
Only hire a licensed business for licensed work.
When you contract with a licensed landscape contracting business, you have a higher level of protection of your investment in your landscape project.
Avoid common problems
- Use a written contract. All landscape projects over $2000 require a written contract. This protects you and the landscape contracting business in the event of a dispute. Problems may occur due to lack of a contract or a poorly written contract. Any changes should be in writing.
- Plan your project carefully. Making a plan is important for visualization of the project and for determining your expectations. Talk about money and always consider your budget when planning. Study your plans carefully, walk through the project and approve the plans in writing before work begins.
- Develop a list of potential landscape contracting businesses. Ask friends, neighbors or relatives who they have used and would recommend from their experience. You may also use the search engine on our website to search by county, city or zip code to find landscape contractors in your area.
- Get several bids. Make sure you understand differences in the bid elements and the price variations of the bids. A higher bid may be worth the price for better materials.
- Pay in installments. Payment terms vary. Many contractors require a down-payment. Negotiate and understand your payment schedule. Make your final payment when the job is complete, all suppliers and subcontractors are paid and you are satisfied with the work.
- Avoid liens. Homeowners are ultimately responsible for payments to subcontractors and suppliers even if they have paid their licensed landscape contracting business in full. Keep written records. Keep copies of correspondence, cancelled checks, the contract and any change orders. If problems arise you will have accurate records.
- Obtain all needed construction permits. Some parts of a landscaping project require permits from the building department in your city or county. Examples are: driveways, some decks, some retaining ways, backflow installations and low voltage wiring (irrigation wire in some areas). Usually contractors obtain these permits, but ultimately the homeowner is responsible for insuring all required permits are obtained
- Questions. It's ok to ask a lot of questions. Examples: What experience or expertise to you have? Do you have specialty areas? Who will be supervising the work from your company? Who will be doing the actual work? Who and when can I call when I have questions during the course of the project? How long will the project take? What condition will the project be left at the end of each work day? What inconveniences or potential problems will I encounter during the project?
- Communicate. Do not be afraid to talk to the business owner or landscape construction professional during the project. Most problems arise between clients and contractors because of lack of communication.
- Keep a file of all papers and payments. Examples: correspondence, cancelled checks, contract, change orders and receipts.
Get help if there is a problem
A consumer can file a claim with the LCB for negligent or improper work and breach of contract. The deadline for filing a claim is one year from when the work was substantially completed. You can find a claim form on our website or call the office and have the staff send you one.
Value of a license
The license provides consumers with some specific protections. This includes but is not limited to:
- A bond which allows consumer compensation if there is a breach of contract or negligent or improper work.
- Liability insurance that provides protection to the consumer’s property if damage occurs during the construction phase of the project.
- A landscape construction professional who has passed exams demonstrating technical knowledge to perform and supervise the work.
- A dispute resolution process administered by the board that mediates between the consumer and the landscape contracting business saving both parties legal costs.
- Workers’ compensation insurance protects the employee and frees the consumer from responsibility if there is an injury on the work site.
You can have a beautiful landscape and avoid problems if you take the time to check references, licenses and make sure there is a well written contract.