7 tips to find you a gardener that’s a cut above the rest.
In an online world there’s not one company without a review or testimonial of some capacity. Whether that’s a highlight reel of their very best feedback laid out nicely on their website, or a full history of every one, three or five star review they’ve ever had on their Facebook or Google page. Bad reviews are easier to get than good reviews, and thankfully so from a consumer’s point of view, but remember that all customer reviews are subjective, and a solitary negative review amongst a host of positive feedback should never serve exclusively to condemn your consideration of the person you’re considering.
Look beyond the fact that any gardener has fifty out of fifty five reviews rating them as five star though, delve a little deeper. Look for recent reviews. Sure, this gardener may have ninety per cent five star feedback, but everything in the last eighteen months has been two and three stars. Why’s that? Very few people rush to the computer to leave a three star review.
Look for relevance in testimonials too. You’re looking for somebody to clear the weeds from your flower beds once a fortnight? Don’t employ the company who has plenty of great reviews for laying new lawns, and vice versa.
Also consider the demographic range of the reviews, if you can find a gardener with great reviews from males and females, the young and the elderly, chances are you’re going to get a good service.
Proof of previous work
Similar to testimonials, a good gardener will be proud of their work and keen to show it off at any opportunity, and certainly to prospective customers.
Customer websites, Social media platforms, Sales Aids. Any gardener proud of their work will fall over themselves to get these seen. If you can’t find them, perhaps look elsewhere.
Evidence of knowledge
When you meet with your prospective gardener you’re going to want to feel comfortable in their knowledge of their profession, and by this, I don’t mean being bamboozled by industry jargon and coming away not understanding a word that was said. Ask them what they think of the garden, ask them how they think they can improve it. A good gardener will be able to take the lead in this conversation and explain things to you clearly in a way you can understand.
You should not be afraid to expect some free advice here, after all, there’s no big secret in gardening. You can find out as much as your gardener knows if you spend the time researching it. Advice is always free, it’s the implementation you’re hiring them for.
Trust your gut on this one. If you employ this gardener, or this company, and particularly for regular and ongoing maintenance, chances are they’re going to be round your house two or three times a month.
Of course, this one is all about the right fit. Not everybody gets on with everybody, and that’s fine, but this is just as important as their ability. You want somebody who you feel comfortable with.
Don’t be afraid to question the insurance of the person or company you’re considering. It’s a given these days that anybody out advertising their services these days will be insured, but there’ll be plenty who dodge it.
No problem, until a stone flies out of the mower and shatters the glass in your French doors. Suddenly it’s you facing the excess on the house insurance and the increased premium next year.
Any gardener or gardening company worth their salt will have an insurance policy that covers them for far more damage than they could ever possibly do, so don’t be afraid to enquire.
Also be careful when asking a gardener to take away your waste. For this they’ll need to be a registered waste carrier, or you’ll both end up with a hefty fine if caught.
With the exception of cheques, your prospective gardener should probably be pretty flexible with their form of remuneration. There’s an endless amount of ways to receive payment these days and if you’ve got somebody in front of you who insists only on taking cash, then there’s possibly room for concern.
Never ever do business with somebody who wants to be paid in full up front, always ask for an invoice and respect that a gardener who’s willing to walk away without payment, satisfied that you’ll pay them by an agreed method, at an agreed later date, is confident in the level of work they’ve completed for you.
Price is also a massive factor in the decision process, but it would also be foolish to ever make this the sole basis of your decision. The 'jack of all trades, ten pound an hour for cash guy' might seem like a great option at the time, but you’ll definitely regret it when he takes the hedge cutter to your wisteria. Get comparable quotes, and certainly exclude the expensive anomalies, but equally, don’t be sucked in buy the cheapest option.
All of these points lead to the one thing you’re really looking for when you hire a new gardener.
A friendly, knowledgeable and recommended trades person with the relevant insurances and clear and established payment methods.
Uniforms, websites and business cards mean nothing on their own, but when added to the qualities detailed above, they all go towards enhancing the credibility of your prospective gardener.
Once you’ve carried out this due diligence, and you’re happy with the person you’ve chosen, give them a go. And if they’re good at what they do, they work hard, charge fairly and provide a great service, don’t keep them to yourself.
Tell the world, leave reviews and recommend them to people you know.