5 Red Flags When Hiring Landscape Maintenance Companies in Bozeman or Big Sky, MT

Written By: Barclay Hook

May 14, 2020 10:03:26 AM

When it comes to choosing amongst landscape maintenance companies in Bozeman or Big Sky, MT you might be wondering what to look for. How can you tell what landscaping company is going to offer the best service and get you the best results, particularly when you might not understand much about landscaping to begin with.

We understand that making a wise decision in the company that you choose is important. The last thing that you want is to invest in a company that’s not going to deliver on promises or, even worse, is going to make mistakes.

While there are some great companies out there, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to know there are some not-so-great ones, too.

To help you get a sense of what might make a landscape maintenance company a potentially poor choice, we’ve rounded up these red flags to be on the lookout for. Any of these signs could mean that you might want to steer clear.

1. They Lack Horticultural or Landscaping Knowledge

A landscape maintenance company that doesn’t have a lot of horticultural knowledge might not be able to care for your different types of plants the way they need to be cared for. There are so many nuances when it comes to plant care and you want to hire someone who really knows their stuff. 

Use This Worksheet to Plan Out Your Landscape Design

landscape with good landscape maintenance services

But how can you gauge their knowledge or experience? After all, you’re not a horticultural expert yourself. It’s why you’re hiring someone.

The best way to get a better sense of how informed they are is to ask a lot of questions and find out more about their background. Have they been working in the industry for a while? Does their company belong to any professional trade organizations? The answers to these types of questions can go a long way in helping you to get a better sense of their knowledge and experience. 

The truth is, there are a lot of landscape maintenance companies that don’t value the importance of hiring experienced and knowledgeable staff. Training and education are expensive and companies that are just trying to offer the lowest price may cut corners on this. 

But a lack of knowledge or experience should be seen as a red flag as it could have a negative impact on your landscape if you hire someone that doesn’t really know what they’re doing. Take something like pruning. Different shrubs need to be pruned at different times of the year (and even in different ways). If you put an inexperienced landscaper on your property and they prune your lilac bush too early in the season, it might not bloom that year. 

2. They Just Seem to be Order Takers

When it comes to landscape maintenance, there are different practices. Some companies are more committed to working with the natural environment and others are just looking for the quick fix. The latter may initially be the cheaper way of doing things, but it also ends up being less effective. That means you could end up paying more in the long run. 

Take weed control, for instance. The quick fix is to come out and spray everything with a blanket application. It doesn’t take into account the different types of weed species or creating an individualized, custom plan for exactly what you’re dealing with. Some weeds can be addressed with hand pulling and others should not. A lot of this comes back to that horticultural experience mentioned above.

Weeds in landscape mulch

But the truth is, a lot of landscape maintenance companies in Bozeman or Big Sky, MT are order takers. They’re just following a prescribed set of tasks and checking off the list. They don’t care about doing what’s best for the landscape or its natural environment, they just want to get the work done and move on to the next job.

How can you spot a company like this? Again, we suggest asking questions. Here are some questions that could provide you with valuable insight.

  • What are your practices for landscape maintenance?
  • Why do you do it that way? 
  • What are the benefits of the way you perform your landscape maintenance services? 

The answers to questions like these are very telling. What’s also quite telling is when they cannot answer these questions. This would suggest a company that does not hire trained and experienced landscapers, they just hire order takers who are willing to do what they’re told (even if they don’t understand what they’re doing or why they’re doing it). Steer clear of companies like this.

3. They Don’t Care About Presentation

How a company “presents” can speak volumes about them before they even introduce themselves. 

  • Do they have beat-up trucks and equipment caked in mud? 
  • Do their team members wear uniforms or do they show up in shorts and a tee-shirt? 
  • Are the people courteous and polite or are they unprofessional? 

These, among other factors, are some of the types of things to look for when paying attention to “presentation.” What type of effort does the company make when it presents itself to the public?

Why does this matter? Oftentimes, these types of factors have a lot to do with how a company conducts its business as a whole. If they really don’t care how they are perceived by the public and do nothing to present themselves in a professional manner, there’s a good chance it’s because they may not be that professional.

This is a problem if you want to feel confident that you’re going to get the best possible service. You want to know that you can reach someone on the phone and get an answer if you have a problem. You also want to know that your landscaper is going to show up when they say they will. These might seem like small things but they can really start to become a problem and cause you unnecessary frustration over time. If you’re investing in professional services, you deserve to receive professionalism. 

4. They Take a High-Pressure Sales Approach

If you get a really pushy vibe from a company that is trying to sell you on landscape maintenance services, then there’s a good chance that’s the type of experience you’re going to have the whole time that you’re working with them. These are the types of companies that are frequently pushing for upsells or putting unnecessary pressure on you. 

Sometimes a high-pressure sales approach can mean it’s a company that is desperate for business and that can be a red flag all by itself. Why do they need your business so badly? Are they struggling because of a poor reputation? Or, even worse, are they a fly-by-night company that is going to be “here one day and gone the next”? 

But other times, a high-pressure sales approach is just the way some companies do business. They’re all about making sales.

Obviously, all businesses need to make money and be profitable but there are certainly those companies that only care about dollars and those that really love what they do. They’re in the landscape industry because they really love landscaping. They’re passionate about creating and maintaining beautiful outdoor spaces. 

That’s the type of company you want to hire! 

When a company is truly passionate about what they do, and loves working on landscapes, you can feel confident that they’re going to do everything in their power to get it right. They’re going to implement best practices and work with the natural environment, not against it. In the end, that all equates to a better outcome. 

5. They are the Cheapest Quote

Finally, we also want to offer a word on price. When people believe that all landscaping maintenance services are created equal, they tend to shop on price. They just choose whichever quote is cheapest. However, hopefully, some of the points that we’ve mentioned above already help explain how landscaping can really differ from company to company.

plants and shrubs cared for by landscape maintenance company

Everything from practices to knowledge to experience—and even the customer service offered—can differ dramatically. And the truth is, like most things in life, you pay more for better results and an overall better experience. 

This is why you should watch out for the company that is so much cheaper than everyone else. You have to ask, WHY?

Where are they cutting corners to get their price so low? Are they just spraying everything they can to knock weeds back but in turn are blanketing your property in chemicals and have to keep coming back again and again? Or, are they employing highly experienced professionals with horticultural backgrounds who are going to work with your natural environment to implement the best practices? 

You pay more for the latter example—but you get better results. And ultimately, in the long run, it can save you money as your landscape begins to function optimally with fewer treatments and fewer problems. 

More Questions to Ask Landscape Maintenance Companies

Hopefully, those 5 red flags to watch for can help you avoid companies that don’t have you and your landscape’s best interests at heart. But we recognize that not all red flags are so noticeable. Sometimes there are companies that seem great from the onset but ultimately fail you.

As we mentioned, we believe in asking a lot of questions. One of the best ways to separate the bad from the good—and the good from the great—is to ask questions and find out more about them. Here are some other questions that you can ask which can help you get a stronger sense of whether this company might make a good choice. 

  • Do you have a portfolio or photos of your work that I could see?
  • Can I see an example of your contract?
  • Can I see a copy of your liability insurance? 
  • When will I get an estimate?
  • How do you communicate with clients?
  • Do you have any references?

Even a company’s willingness to answer your questions can say a lot. If a company is reluctant to answer, that can speak volumes, too.

Making Your Wise Choice

At Blanchford Landscape Group, we appreciate educated consumers because it holds our industry to a higher standard. So, we commend you for taking the time to explore your options and want to be available to guide you in the process. 

We hope this insight and these suggestions have helped.

As you do your due diligence and explore your options, we are always available to answer questions. At the end of the day, we know that you’re committed to making a wise investment in your landscape and you deserve to see that investment pay off.

Are you ready to learn more about garden services (landscape maintenance) at your Bozeman or Big Sky, MT home? Let’s connect and talk about your needs. Then we can meet and review a detailed plan of action. With everything being handled for you, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your landscape.

Landscape Design Worksheet Download CTA

Let's Connect

Topics: Landscape Maintenance

Posted by Barclay Hook

Over the past 20+ years, Barclay has been a passionate member of the green industry. After graduating with a B.S. in Horticulture with a Landscape Design concentration from Colorado State University, she served in a variety of roles at landscape companies in Vermont, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Washington. She joined the Blanchford team in 2016 and has loved getting to know our clients, helping them to create and maintain more enjoyable and functional outdoor living areas. In her spare time, she loves spending time outdoors with her husband and two daughters. Whether it's skiing, hiking, gardening, or just relaxing outside reading a good book, she thoroughly enjoys all Montana has to offer.