How to Hire a Good Landscaper in Phoenix
A well-designed landscape with a well-maintained lawn is one home feature that will easily attract visitors and buyers, and increase your property value by up to 15 percent in Phoenix. Note, you have a better guarantee of achieving a well-groomed landscape with a thoroughbred professional who is conversant with the landscaping standards of the Phoenix Zoning Ordinance.
However, before retaining the services of any landscaper in Phoenix, make sure to follow these tips to avoid hiring an incompetent landscaper:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Landscaper in the City of Phoenix?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Landscapers in the City of Phoenix?
- Do You Comply with the City of Phoenix Landscape Ordinance?
- Will You Get the Landscaping Permit Required as per the City of Phoenix Code?
- What Kind of Landscaping Services Do You Offer?
- What are the Best Types of Grass for Lawns in the City of Phoenix?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Landscapers in the City of Phoenix?
According to Title 32 of Arizona Revised Statutes, any Landscaper carrying out a landscape project worth over $1,000 in Phoenix must be duly licensed by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC). The Arizona Registrar of Contractors reserves the right to refuse issuing licenses to any individual who bids for landscaping projects worth more than $1,000 without obtaining a license one year after the bid date.
The Arizona Registrar of Contractors offers three types of landscaping license which includes:
- Residential landscaper - R-21
- Commercial landscaper - C-21
- Dual license - CR-21
To be eligible for any of the contractor licenses mentioned above, the applicant must identify a qualifying party which is an individual who is regularly employed and possesses the experience and skills provided under A.R.S. Â§ 32-1122(E). The qualifying party must meet the relevant license requirement for the type of license the applicant requires. License requirements usually include passing the Arizona Statutes and Rules Training Course and Exam (SRE) and possessing a minimum of four years of experience. In addition to the license requirement, the qualifying party must complete a trade exam specific to the contractor license type through PSI unless the qualifying party is eligible for a waiver. Then the applicant and the qualifying party must complete a criminal background check through an online Licensing Background Check page provided by ROC.
It is important to note that contractor licenses are issued to only legal entities. As such, the applicant must form a legal business entity like partnerships or limited liability companies recognized by the Arizona Corporation Commission (AZCC). Applicants can use the online resources provided by AZCC to guide them through the process of starting a business. Then the applicant must purchase a contractor's bond, which may be a surety or cash bond, and must provide proof of purchase to ROC. Once all the license requirements are checked, the applicants can complete the license application via the Online Customer Portal or download and complete a License Application Form. The applicants can send the completed form, government-issued ID of both them and the qualifying party, and the applicable fee for the relevant license type via mail to:
- Registrar of Contractors
- P.O. Box 6748
- Phoenix, AZ 85005-6748
Alternatively, the applicants can book an appointment online to enable them to submit the completed application form, fees, and ID in person at:
- 1700 W. Washington Street
- Suite 105
- Phoenix, AZ 85007-2812
For more information regarding the licensing requirement for contractors in Phoenix, you can contact the Arizona Registrar of Contractors at (602) 542-1525. Meanwhile, you can use the AZ ROC Contractor Search to verify your intended landscape contractor's current and valid license.
Knowing how much your intended Landscaper charges per hour helps you plan towards the most suitable budget for you. Typically, Landscapers in Phenix City charge $14 per hour. However, how much you will spend on your project will be determined by the nature and scope of your project, the cost of materials like flowers and seeds, the size of the project area, the labor required, and the experience of the Landscaper. This is why it is advisable to get estimates from at least three different Landscapers to enable you to pick the landscape contractor that is most suitable for your project. Also, it helps reduce your chances of being overcharged by the Landscaper.
Landscapers in Phoenix earn an average wage of $31, 010 annually. The table below provides a cost comparison of the average hourly wages of landscaping and groundskeeping workers in Phoenix against the rest of Arizona and other major American cities:Phoenix Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$14.91Arizona Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$14.83New York City Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$18.58Los Angeles Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$19.04Houston Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$14.69Phoenix Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$14.91Philadelphia Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$16.87
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Phoenix Zoning Ordinance establishes regulations and standards for landscape projects in the city. The Ordinance governs land use in the city for landscape projects to ensure an adequate and appropriate residential and commercial setting. For instance, landscaping in multi-family dwellings are required to be up to the following standards:
- Adjacent to public street right-of-way, the required building setbacks must be landscaped and maintained except for driveway entrances and sidewalks
- Interior property lines are to be landscaped and maintained except for driveway entrances or sidewalks
- Where required side and rear yards are not occupied by swimming pools, structures, parking or driveway they must be included in the landscaped area.
- The landscaped area must have a water source with an appropriate permanent water distribution system.
- The landscaping must provide security for ground floor openings subject to compatibility with existing soil conditions.
The Zoning Code also provides the minimum standards to be maintained to ensure the safety, public health, and general welfare of the residents of Phoenix during ongoing landscape projects. All land in the city must be developed in conformity with the standards provided in the Zoning Ordinance. As such, you should ensure that your intended landscape contractor is conversant with the provisions of the city's Zoning Ordinance applicable to your planned landscape project. You can also direct your queries regarding the Phoenix Zoning Ordinance to the Phoenix Planning and Development Department (PDD) at (602) 262-3111.
The City of Phoenix does not issue landscaping permits for landscaping projects. Nonetheless, you may need to apply for a building permit when planning this type of project. Usually, for every construction, addition, or alteration to a new or existing home in the City of Phoenix, you must obtain a building permit from the Phoenix Planning and Development Department (PDD). To be issued a building permit involving landscaping in existing and new developmental projects, you must submit landscape plans to PDD for review. This includes
- New projects with substantial landscaping.
- Substantial amendments to existing buildings with approved landscape plans.
- Projects with designated landscape master plans/specific themes.
- Landscaping issues requiring community input and involvement
The submission of a landscape plan ensures that the quantities, sizes, and varieties of plant materials and the placement of these materials comply with the Phoenix Zoning Ordinance. As such, the applicant must submit landscape plans showing the location, layout, amount, and types of landscape materials to be used, including the ground cover to:
- Phoenix City Hall
- 200 W. Washington Street
- Phoenix, AZ 85003
- Phone: (602) 262-3111
For industrial and commercial projects, the applicants must submit the landscape plans after the preliminary site plan approval project and the plan must be approved before the final site plan approval. Similarly, the landscape plans for residential projects must be approved before or at the same time the final site plan is approved. When submitting these landscape plans, applicants will be required to pay the requisite submittal fees. For more information regarding the landscape plans you can use the Landscape Plan Checklist provided by PDD, or you can direct your queries to the Phoenix Planning and Development Department at (602) 262-3111.
Upon due approval of all requisite plans by PDD, the applicant can complete the building permit application process by completing the requisite application form and payment of applicable fees to PDD. For more information regarding the building permit process, contact Phoenix Planning and Development Department at (602) 262-3111.
One of the most important steps you must take before hiring your intended Landscaper in Phoenix is to confirm the landscaper is qualified for the project and has the required equipment to complete the work satisfactorily. Landscapers offer a wide range of services like landscape designing, landscape installation, landscape maintenance services, softscaping services, and hardscaping services. As such, you must make sure you confirm the area of specialization of your intended Landscaper and if they are capable of handling the technicalities of your proposed landscape project. If you end up hiring a Landscaper that is not experienced enough for your planned projects, you may end up with shoddy landscape work. You should also confirm how much your intended Landscaper charges for their service. Listed below are cost estimates for some common landscaping services that are offered in the city:Lawn mowing & maintenance$58 - $106 per visit (1 acre)Lawn mowing & maintenance$52 - $88 per visit (1/2 acre)Lawn mowing & maintenance$33 - $47 per visit (1/4 acre)Fertilizing a lawn$40 - $70 per application (1 acre)Fertilizing a lawn$35 - $60 per application (1/2 acre)Fertilizing a lawn$53 - $60 per application (1/4 acre)Garden planning$60 - $105 per hour.General Bed Maintenance/Detailing$30 - $60 per hourSpring/Fall Clean-up$192 - $480Pruning/Hedging$50 - $75 per hourLawn irrigation System start-up$1,071 - $4,385Mulching$67 - $82 per cubic yard (material and local delivery)Leaf Removal$400 - $700 per acreSodding$1.27 - $1.53 per square foot installedWeed Control$58 - $65 per hour
When planning to change your landscape in Phoenix, you must first consider the type of lawn you want to maintain. Phoenix is known for its arid climate, with sunshine in the city averaging 86 percent annually. With an average high like that, planting the wrong grass in your lawn can mean disaster, so you will need to make sure you understand the climate before picking the suitable grass. If you plan to plant the grass during the warm season, you can consider the following plant tolerant to heat like
- Palmetto St. Augustine
- Blue grama
Meanwhile, if you are planning to plant during the cool season, you can consider some of these plants:
- Kentucky bluegrass.
- Perennial ryegrass.
- Tall fescue
Since Arizona is characterized by two seasonal types of grass, you should hire a Landscaper with the know-how to install the appropriate grass and help you maintain it. You can find qualified Landscapers in Phoenix via reputable third-party review websites like the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Review. You can also use online directories provided by trade organizations like the National Association of Landscape Professionals to find a Phoenix landscape contractor near you.
Landscapers in Phoenix are not mandated to carry a general liability insurance policy. Nonetheless, when you are hiring a Landscaper for your landscaping project, it is advisable to hire only insured landscape contractors with an active policy. This will shield you from paying out of your own pockets for liabilities incurred financially and legally as a result of work-related injuries. You can confirm the insurance status of your intended Landscaper by requesting a copy of their insurance certificate and you should contact the relevant issuing insurance provider to authenticate it.
However, landscaping companies are required to purchase a contractors bond that may be a surety or cash bond before being issued licenses by the Arizona Registrar of Contractor (ROC) as a landscaper. To verify your intended Landscaper's bond information, you can contact ROC at (602) 542-1525.
Finally, Arizona law mandates Landscapers to maintain workers' compensation insurance for their employees. For more information regarding worker's compensation in Phoenix, you can contact the Industrial Commission of Arizona at (602) 542-4661.
In 2020, home improvement scams made the top ten list of consumer fraud complaints filed with the Arizona Attorney General's Office. Home improvement scams are carried out by deceptive landscape contractors trying to take advantage of unsuspecting residents in Phoenix. Some of these fraudulent landscapers collect payment and never carry out the work, or they leave it midway. For instance, in April 2019, the Arizona Registrar of Contractors posted on its Most Wanted Contractor page, a complaint filed against an unlicensed contractor for collecting a $15,000 deposit without concluding the project. These deceptive contractors in Phoenix use various methods to carry out landscaping scams, including but not limited to
- Unsolicited invites through door-to-door solicitation, and via phone calls, texts, and emails
- High-pressure tactics to make you sign a contract without giving room for questions from you.
- Pitches to use leftover materials from a previous landscaping job.
- Request for full payment upfront
To avoid falling victim to a fraudulent Landscaper in Phoenix, you can follow these tips to help you:
- Never agree to a cash-only deal. As such, request for a written estimate and make sure you understand the terms carefully before going ahead to sign and agree to any offer.
- Ask for estimates from at least three Landscapers. Request for the Landscapers to justify their bds by stating the work carried out and materials used. This helps you to make a valid comparison of the estimates gotten from proposed landscapers
- Utilize reputable online websites like the Better Business Bureau to lookup third-party reviews and complaints on your intended Landscaper. You can also use the AZ ROC Contractor Search to verify their intended Landscaper's license is valid and the Arizona ROC's Most Wanted Unlicensed Entities and Unlicensed Violations list to confirm if there is any pending action against your intended Landscaper.
- Confirm that your intended Landscaper is carrying the required contractor's bond by contacting the Arizona Registrar of Contractor at (602) 542-1525.
- Execute a written contract for the proposed project and ensure that the contract states the obligation of the Landscapers. Also, it should include the scope and nature of the project, the material to be used, the cost of service, and the estimated date of completion.
- Never sign any contracts that you do not understand.
- Never pay the balance until you have certified the work carried out is satisfactory.
- Keep records of documents executed during the project, like invoices, receipts, the signed contract, and any other important documents.
If you have been a victim of or you are aware of any Landscaper fraud, you can report to the Arizona Registrar of Contractor. You can file a complaint online where you will be required to register a new user account or log in to an existing account. Make sure you attach any important documents while completing the form before submitting. Once completed, you will receive an email from DocuSign to enable you to electronically sign the complaint form. Alternatively, you can complete and submit the relevant complaint form, licensed complaint form, unlicensed complaint form, and non-payment complaint form to:
- Registrar of Contractors
- P.O. Box 18243
- Phoenix, AZ 85005-8243
You can also file a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General's Office by completing an online complaint form or you can complete and submit a printable complaint form via email or send via mail to:
- Office of the Attorney General
- Consumer Information and Complaints
- 2005 N Central Avenue
- Phoenix, AZ 85004
If you are unsatisfied with the resolution from these two agencies, you can file a legal action at the Maricopa County Justice Courts. It is advisable to consult with a lawyer before filing an action, and you can use the lawyer referral service of the Maricopa County Bar Association to find a Phoenix lawyer near you.