Landscapers are a little different than the typical home improvement contractor in that they will not only be outside of your home, but they also won’t even be touching your home. The good thing about this relationship is that a landscaping project will not upset the daily flow of your home. What’s difficult is knowing exactly how to go about a working relationship with contractors who never enter your home. While landscape service professionals are not going to come into contact with the members of your household as much as kitchen remodeling crews or flooring installers, there is still good reason to make sure the contact you do have with your landscaping crew is amiable.
What Landscape Service Professionals Expect from You
An unwritten rule of home improvement projects is that if contractors are working outside, they don’t typically come in the home. If they are working inside, then it is proper etiquette to offer them use of your facilities. However, landscape service professionals are doing a pretty tough job, and a few indoor amenities can go a long way in keeping the contractor/homeowner relationship (as well as the project in general) flowing smoothly.
Landscape service professionals are going to need a few basic things to do their job. A source of water, a few electrical outlets, and some parking spots on or near their work site are things you should point out on day one. In some cases, landscaping companies will bring a port-a-john along to the jobsite, but if they do not, offering the use of your bathroom is a gesture that will pay off. Sure, landscaping is dirty work, and coming into the house during this kind of job could lead to a few foot prints on your floor. However, since a few dollars spent on carpet remnants will eliminate the risk of stains, having your crew use the closest bathroom available is going to keep productivity rolling and, in the end, reduce total labor hours.
What You Should Expect from Landscape Service Professionals
The contractor/homeowner relationship goes two ways, and if you are courteous to your crew, you should expect courtesy in return. On the first day of the job, have a talk with the crew leader to set up ground rules. If you smoking or swearing make you uncomfortable, let your crew leader know up front. If you have pets on your property, establish any boundaries your crew should observe early. While you might feel like you’re being a little demanding, your crew will often appreciate you taking the time to inform them of any actions that could have led to friction.
It’s a good idea to set up meetings with your crew leader to discuss how the project is going. On projects that are only going to take a week to finish, consider daily meetings; for very lengthy projects, a weekly meeting may be enough. These meetings will be your time to ask questions about the project, voice any concerns you have, and give credit where credit is due. If your crew of landscape service professionals is behaving less than professionally, you’ll have a designated time to air your grievances without offending anyone; on the other hand, if you’re completely pleased with how the project is going, you can use this time to let your crew leader know you recognize his or her efforts as well as those of the rest of the crew.
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Pampering Landscape Service Professionals
We’ve heard stories of homeowners providing crews with pizza on Fridays or even taking their workers out for a cold one at the end of a project. While this can definitely solidify a strong contractor/homeowner relationship, landscape service professionals are not expecting to be pampered. If you feel like buying a pizza on Fridays, go for it, but for most crews the following courtesies will be more than enough to keep the good vibes circulating:
- If your garage is not full of items or vehicles, the garage is a great place to offer landscapers an escape from the sun. Landscaping projects are hot and difficult work, and the cool concrete floor of the garage and shade from the sun is a nice bonus.
- Usually, landscapers will feel free to tap into your outdoor water source, but if they do not assume the use of it, this is something you could offer. If they are installing a sprinkler system, then most likely they are already doing this.
- If the day is particularly hot, you might offer your crew a jug of water, some lemonade, or something cold to drink. Landscapers are used to the heat and used to being hot, so they most likely will bring along a water jug or some cold soda. However, happy landscapers do spectacular work, and if a little lemonade can help get your crew pumped on a hot day, the benefits often go both ways.