We have all been there. Deadlines are tight, the site has been wet for the past three weeks and there have been other unexpected delays in the construction process. But at the end of the day, we are shooting for the CO.
When a construction project is in motion, landscapers are often one of the last subcontractors to be chosen for the job. The final budget for landscaping usually changes several times over the course of the project depending on where additional money is needed. This is where selecting a good landscape contractor early can help reduce the number of additional headaches you have towards the end of the project and potentially save you a lot of money.
A Good Landscape Contractor
Knowing a good landscape contractor can be a huge benefit to you before the bidding even starts. You can send out preliminary plans, they can help you with budget numbers, and you will have an idea of the cost. This information can eliminate problem areas before bidding so the job comes in on budget. During the bidding process, a good landscape contractor will be in communication with you from the start to let you know ahead of time of any deviations in the spec vs. what is currently available from the nurseries, which is an invaluable asset in the current construction climate.
Nursery Availability is in Danger
With the number of construction projects in motion today, nursery availability is constantly changing. When the recession hit, many nurseries went out of business or significantly reduced the amount of plants and trees they grew. Nurseries can’t keep material in inventory, and landscapers are having to source plants from many different locations. Most nurseries only guarantee a price for 30 days because of the rapid change of availability so waiting until the end can cost additional money. Demand has far outpaced the nurseries ability to grow plants fast enough. Container nurseries can grow a plant from liner to sell in 12 months, but a tree nursery takes between 3-4 years to get them to proper size. When you select your contractor early, you are securing your plant material ahead of time and allowing your landscaper to tag trees and procure container material so it will be ready when they start. A landscaper can also provide you with different VE options as the project gets closer to the installation date if you need to save money, while still keeping the overall design intent in mind. As your landscaper subcontractor, it is our job to proactively communicate schedule delays and ultimately get you across the finish line.
Choosing your landscape contractor early in the process can save money and time by ensuring you are able to secure the best quality plant material available, meeting your project deadlines and coming in on or under budget.
Written by: Elizabeth Hathcock, CLT, CPP