Lawn care companies come in all sizes, levels of experience and knowledge. You want to pick the company that is experienced in taking care of similar sized and scoped properties. It doesn’t make sense to pick a company with one pickup truck and a small trailer when you have a large estate.
Not all companies specialize in more than one specialized area. Some companies can do a fairly reasonable job in cutting your lawn but SHOULD NEVER be allowed to trim your trees since they may not be experienced or knowledgeable. An improperly trimmed tree can cost you thousands of dollars in fines by your city or counties code enforcement inspectors. Save yourself from grief and hire the professional!
Maybe. They (your contractor) will only return and cover the cost if they are a properly insured and are a responsible contractor. Unlicensed contractors may offer you a lower price but that usually indicates cutting corners.
I’ll never forget the day that I lost a tree removal job. This was early in my career. When I followed up with the prospective client, he told me that he would save money and try and “pull” the tree out with his friend’s truck. A few weeks later I passed by the property and found the 30 foot cypress tree on top of his house. Not a bad idea if you were looking for a sky light!
Yes. Workers Compensation is required. That protects you from an employee injury claim on your property.
There are two specific class codes that are used by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) for workers who are in the landscaping industry. These two classification codes that are important to know are 0042 and 9102. There official descriptions from NCCI are:
Class Code 0042 – Applies to employees primarily engaged in planning, clearing, grading, laying of sod, seeding, and planting necessary for landscape installation operations. Planting of trees, shrubs, and flowers are classified to this code along with general gardening activities.
Class Code 9102 – Applies to employees that perform maintenance of lawns, grounds, and gardens. “The maintenance may involve lawn mowing, raking, application of liquid or granular fertilizer, spraying and trimming of shrubs or small trees from the ground, and thatching or aerating. If any one or all of the above operations are performed by a lawn maintenance risk classified to Code 9102, then minor and incidental landscaping operations performed by the same risk, such as the replacement of dead shrubs, the planting of a few flowers, and the placing of rock or brick as edging designs are included under Code 9102. This minor landscaping operation is distinguished from work performed by an insured at a job or location where the primary work at the job or location is landscaping. Since lawn spraying is a maintenance operation, a risk engaged exclusively in work of this nature is classified to Code 9102.”
No! Every landscaping company must abide with Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) laws making sure that every employer is responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace. This is important because any homeowner that decides to hire a contractor that is not covered properly will immediately be responsible for any damages that do occur on their own home but also for any employees that is working on their property. In fact, any contractor that is not covered properly and gets injured at the homeowner’s property can be responsible for that employee’s medical bills and to include a possible lawsuit.
In 2012 there was an unlicensed “tree trimmer” working in Miramar, he passed away when he was electrocuted while trimming a homeowner tree.
Protect yourself, your property and ensure that you will be covered. Most homeowner policies require that any work performed on your property be accomplished by properly licensed contractors. Beware of the “low ballers” those are usually the ones that mean, “You take on the risk!”
Is your company a member of any professional trade organizations? Most landscaping companies that operate at a professional level are involved with local or state trade associations. This helps weed out the fly by nights, unscrupulous hurricane chasers and unlicensed or uninsured weekend warriors.
These associations usually encourage their members to engage in honest work and abide by professional core values with adherence to fair business practices and require extensive knowledge, recurrent training and customer service.
Pan American is currently member with the following trade associations:
You should ask them, but Trust and Verify! Anyone can display on their truck or business card that they are insured. Ask for proof! Get the name and phone number of the provider of liability and worker’s compensation insurance for your landscape company. Call the insurance carrier before you allow work to begin, just to make sure your landscape company is appropriately insured.
Yes! A landscaping company is required to have an adequate commercial auto policy for all of its vehicles’ that will cover any accidents or injuries at the workplace. If your company is using a personal auto policy, the coverage can be denied leaving you responsible and with a huge expense.
Pick a company that has been around for several years. Why experiment with someone that is unproven? Ask them for their work history and number of years incorporated in Florida. You can easily verify this through the Florida Division of Corporations’ Sunbiz.org web site.
Do they know and understand your county, city and Florida state tree removal, permitting and trimming rules? Test their knowledge!
Require them to produce at least three recent references. Again, Trust but Verify! Visit those properties. Call their references. Check with the BBB to see if there are any complaints filed against them. Are their trucks clean, neat and properly lettered? Do they have the license number decaled on their trucks? Do they have a physical address where you can find them? Or are they operating out of a P.O. Box or a storage yard?