Should You Accept The Low Bid?

by Ben Bowen

Like most contractors, landscape or otherwise, we commonly submit a quote knowing that a couple of our competitors are too. Once all the quotes are in the potential client has a decision to make: who to hire.

Should You Just Choose The Lowest Price?

Most of us are drawn to a deal. If three companies all promise to provide the same landscape service, why not just hire the cheapest? At times that might be the right decision, but not always.

As a consumer, how can you know if you should hire the low bidder? Here are a couple things to consider that might make the process easier.

Are You Comparing Apples To Oranges?

Be sure that all the quotes actually offer the same things. Look at specifics, not just the general scope.

With your landscape quotes consider what is truly being offered. If a low voltage lighting system is included ask: What kind of fixtures? (Home Depot or commercial quality?) What kind of bulbs? (Halogen or LED?) Does the company include a warranty and what does it cover?

Not all water features are created equal.

Not all water features are created equal.

Maybe a water feature will be the focal point of your yard. Ask: What kind of pump will be installed? How efficient is the pump? Will I need to use chemicals or is bio-filtration part of the design? How is the stream decorated? With river rock loose in the bottom or mortared in place stones that will stay in place?

Two landscape contractors can both offer you a lighting system or a water feature- but what are really getting? Answering that will help you decide in line with your priorities and budget.

How Much Skill Is Required?

For some things the low price just makes sense. Oil changes are pretty simple. If I get a good coupon I am going to use it. When my transmission needs work? Price is not the main concern. I need it done right!

Are you having a French drain installed, a lawn renovated, or a tree removed? It's not that these things take no skill, just not a lot. There is certainly no artistry needed. Price should probably be a big factor in your decision making.

Is a water feature, boulder setting, stone work, or custom wood construction part of the plan? Now the decision is not so clear cut. All of these require knowledge, skill, and artistry. What does each contractor bring to the table?

What level of artistry are you looking for?

What level of artistry are you looking for?

Look at the companies' portfolios. If you are embarking on a large, or especially challenging project, it might be nice to actually visit a completed job. This is really the only way to know what you are going to get.

If you want a "Mercedes" landscape make sure you don't hire someone installing "Toyotas"!

How To Choose A Landscaping Contractor?

There is no "right" answer. Know what you are looking for. Know exactly what is being offered. Know how much skill and artistry is needed. Then you can decide- take the low bidder or not.