We’re lucky to have a mild climate in BC. When you’re a gardener, this is extra special because the mild temperatures provides 4 full seasons – meaning more time in the garden.
But what happens when you need a little extra help your garden? Maybe you’re installing a water feature or having the yard leveled. Or maybe you need some professional to create the garden of your dreams.
That’s when you look at hiring a landscape contractor. With over 2400 landscapers in BC, it should be easy to find a landscaper that to help you with your project, right?
Unfortunately, not all landscapers are created the same. Some landscapers have specializations and others may not be the right fit. Also, landscapers have varying levels of skills and education. With low barriers of entry into the industry, some landscapers are experts in the industry, while others have little-to-no training at all. This skill variance can make it a challenge to when hiring a landscape contractor.
Asking what accreditations their staff hold is a good way to differentiate the pros from the amateurs. Although an unaccredited landscaper can still do a good job, knowing that your contractor has additional knowledge and training can provide piece of mind. Here are some accreditations you can look for.
Red Seal Certification
Landscape Horticulturist is a Red Seal Trade, meaning that a Certified Journeyperson has completed up to 4 years of combined education and experience. Landscape Horticulturist is a broad term to mean an individual who grows and maintain plants, creates and modify landscapes, constructs and maintain gardens, or installs and maintain hard landscape elements. In addition, they advise clients on issues related to horticulture and landscape construction.
Before completing the program, a Red Seal Journey person must undergo 4 years of technical school and 6,480 hours of on-the-job training. This training is conducted under another certified Journeyperson or qualified tradesperson who is a designated trainer. With this training, employers and post-secondary institutions recognize that the student has participated in specialized, career focused programming.
Landscape Industry Accredited Company
The Landscape Industry Accredited Company program recognizes lawn and landscape companies for their commitment to excellence. Accredited companies focus on certification as a cornerstone of their business practices, conduct their business affairs responsibly, value community and customer relations and maintain high standards of workmanship and environmental stewardship in residential and commercial settings. Before becoming accredited, the company must show their commitment to excellence by pledging to:
- Employ Landscape Industry Certified, or trained equivalent, employees;
- Provide clear, customer communications about service programs and contracts;
- Follow applicable provincial/territorial/state, local and federal licensing requirements;
- Maintain current insurance policies;
- Advertise truthfully and ethically in accordance with the Canadian Competition Bureau;
- Verify employee references, driving history and criminal background check;
- Maintain a drug-free workplace;
- Participate in the provincial/territorial workplace safety programs to enforce safety initiatives
Landscape Industry Certification (Manager / Technician / Designer)
The Landscape Industry Certification program is supported and used internationally by the Canadian Nursery and Landscape Association and the National Association of Landscape Professionals. This program shows commitment to best practices and knowledge in the industry. To become certified, an individual must complete a series of written and hands-on evaluations.
Certified Arborists / Irrigation Technicians
These are two other important certifications to look for. Both of these certifications require continuing education to ensure that the tradesperson is up-to-date on the latest knowledge and skills.
Why should you look for these certifications?
Hiring an accredited company gets the job done right, the first time. Although the lowest quote can be tempting, it can end up costing you more in the end. When your contractor doesn’t have the experience and knowledge behind them they can end up ruining your project, requiring a certified company to fix their errors.
When you hire a certified landscape company, your contractor will spend time explaining what they are doing and educating you on best practices. They are more likely to do the job correctly and help you maintain a healthy budget.
To help in your searching process, look on LandscapeBC.ca to find accredited companies, request a quote and find tools to make the vetting process easy.