Hiring a qualified landscaper in Charlotte is a sure investment to increase your property's curb appeal as well as its sale value. Studies suggest that 63 percent of buyers are willing to pay more for well-landscaped homes. Likewise, commercial properties with high-quality landscaping are estimated to have approximately seven percent higher rental rates than properties without proper landscaping.
To avoid making common mistakes like hiring an unlicensed, inexperienced, or poorly equipped landscape contractor when looking to undertake a landscaping project in the city, ensure to get answers to the following:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Landscaper in the City of Charlotte?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Landscapers in the City of Charlotte?
- Do You Comply with the City of Charlotte Landscape Ordinance?
- Will You Get the Landscaping Permit Required as per the City of Charlotte Code?
- What Kind of Landscaping Services Do You Offer?
- What are the Best Types of Grass for Lawns in the City of Charlotte?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Landscapers in the City of Charlotte?
The North Carolina Landscape Contractors Statue mandates all individuals that engage in the practice of landscape construction or contracting, or use the title "landscape contractor", to obtain an occupational license from the North Carolina Landscape Contractors' License Board. However, this statute makes provisions for certain situations where a landscaper license will not be required to perform landscaping activities. Some of these licensing exemptions include:
- Landscaping work being done by property owners on their own property
- Landscaping work where the total cost of labor, materials, and other items for a given job site during a consecutive 12 month period does not exceed $30,000
- Landscaping work done by state licensed general contractors that possess building contractor, residential contractor, or public utilities contractor license classifications
- Landscaping work that is limited to turf management or lawn care services only. This includes lawn mowing, fertilization, aeration, weed control, turf edging, and debris removal
- Landscaping work done by individuals or businesses that own or operate a golf course
Violations of the North Carolina Landscape Contractors Statute can result in civil penalties of up to $2,000 per violation, as well as other statutorily-approved disciplinary actions. Parties in the City of Charlotte that wish to obtain a Landscaper's license from the state's Landscape Contractors' License Board must meet the following qualifications and requirements:
- Must be at least 18 years-old
- Must be of good moral character
- Must complete and submit an application form as well as any stipulated application fees and five letters of reference
- Submit either an original and signed $10,000 North Carolina Landscape Contractor's Surety Compliance Bond or an Irrevocable Letter of Credit from a financial institution
- Provide evidence of business identification
- Sit for and pass a licensing examination no later than one year from the date the application request is approved
Applicants that successfully pass the licensing examination will receive a notification from the Board, following which they will be required to pay a licensing fee before becoming officially licensed as Landscapers. Note that landscape contractors that operate under a corporation, LLC, or partnership may be required to obtain an additional corporate license.
You can confirm the licensing status of your intended landscaper by utilizing the North Carolina Landscape Contractors' License Board's Verify License Search portal. Landscaper license-related queries can also be directed to this board at (919) 266-8070 or via email.
Figures published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that Landscapers in the Charlotte area earn a little over $15 per hour. Nonetheless, the amount of money that you will have to pay a landscaping company to execute a project for you is largely dependent on the following factors:
- The nature and scope of the project
- The square footage of the area that needs landscaping
- The cost of landscaping materials required for the project
- The labor intensity of the project
Note that not all landscapers in Charlotte charge hourly rates for their services, and some of these professionals may employ either a fixed fee or per square foot billing structure. As such, it is a good idea to get cost estimates from at least three different contractors in the city when looking to undertake a landscaping project. This helps you get an average estimate of the potential cost of the project and also has the advantage of helping you spot possibly fraudulent contractors whose rates are higher than those of other contractors.
A landscaper in Charlotte earns an average wage of $31,390, annually. The table below provides a cost comparison of the average hourly wages of landscaping and groundskeeping workers in Charlotte against those of this category of individuals across the rest of North Carolina and other major American cities:Charlotte Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$15.09North Carolina Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$14.51New York City Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$18.58Los Angeles Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$19.04Chicago Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$16.89Houston Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$14.69Phoenix Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$14.91
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Making sure that the landscaper you hire is conversant with local landscaping laws and regulations is important in determining their suitability for the job and ensuring successful service delivery at the end of the day. These laws include the Charlotte Tree Ordinance, which regulates the planting, maintenance, and removal of trees on roadways, parks, and public areas as well as on new and existing developments in the city. The Charlotte Tree Ordinance is implemented to preserve, protect, and promote the health, safety, and general welfare of residents of Charlotte while also ensuring that tree removal activities do not reduce property values in the city. The provisions of this law apply to all building and construction-related projects that fit certain criteria, which include:
- All new developments
- Additions to existing sites that are at least five percent more than the site's existing building square footage
- Additions of 1,000 square feet of more to buildings
- Additions of ten or more parking spaces to sites with no buildings
- FaÃ§ade changes of at least ten percent to any building wall that faces a vehicular way intended for public travel
Parties that violate any sections of the Charlotte Tree Ordinance are subject to civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation as well as other city-imposed sanctions. Note that the individuals that perform the violating work, the owners of the property where the violation occurs, and the persons that contracted for the performance are typically all held liable for any imposed penalties and sanctions. Considering this, it is a good idea to ensure that your landscaper works in accordance with all applicable provisions of the tree ordinance that relate to your project. Additional information on the requirements of the Charlotte Tree Ordinance can be gotten by contacting the city's Department of General Services at:
- 600 East 4th Street
- Charlotte, NC 28202
- Phone: (704) 336-2291
Per Section 21-63 of the Charlotte Tree Ordinance, permits must be obtained from the Engineering and Property Management Division of the Charlotte Department of General Services before the planting, removal, trimming, or cutting of trees in the city. Parties that wish to obtain these ordinance-mandated permits may do so by contacting the division at:
- 600 East 4th Street
- Charlotte, NC 28202
- Phone: (704) 400-2033
Note that even though individual permits are generally not needed for other landscaping-specific projects, applications for grading, building, demolition, land use, change of use, or rezoning permits may require tree surveys or landscape plan reviews. The issuance of these permits as well as the conduction of any required plan reviews are handled by the Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement Department and information on the permitting and review process can be gotten by contacting this department at:
- 2145 Suttle Avenue
- Charlotte, NC 28208
- Phone: (980) 314-2633
- Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays
Inquiries on the requirements for building and construction-related projects in Charlotte can also be directed to the city's CLT Development Center at:
- Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center
- 600 East Fourth Street
- Charlotte, NC 28202
- Phone: (704) 336-6692
Determining the area of expertise of the landscaper that you wish to contract for your project is important. Landscape companies in Charlotte provide a wide variety of landscape installation, design, and maintenance services, and as such, you should always ensure that your preferred contractor has the right level of knowledge and tools for your specific job. Some common landscaping services that are offered in the city include lawn care, aerations, lawn drainage solutions, grading, yard cleanup, lawn seeding, weed control, and gardening services. Get confirmation that your contractor's area of specialization is relevant to the scope of your project by asking them and also requesting pictures of their past work that is similar to your intended project. You should also request references and contact them to get first-hand reviews on the landscape contractor. The list below provides cost estimates for some common landscaping services in Charlotte:Landscape installation$68 - $105 per hour (labor only)Lawn mowing and maintenance$32 - $88 per visitLawn fertilization$39 - $120 per applicationResidential landscape design$48 - $69 per hourGarden Planning$40 - $55 per hourGeneral Bed Maintenance/Detailing$200 - $220 monthlySpring/Fall cleanup - $200 - $330Pruning/Hedging$40 - $200Lawn irrigation system installation$1,500 - $2,500Lawn mulching$90 - $95Leaf removal$150 - $250Lawn Sodding/Resodding$1,600 - $1,900Weed Control$65 - $70
The City of Charlotte has an annual average temperature of 61.5 degrees and also experiences about 43 inches of annual average precipitation that is distributed evenly all year round. Nonetheless, the city occasionally experiences cold weather during winter seasons with an average accumulation of six inches of snow annually during these periods. The best types of lawn grasses for these weather conditions are:
- Kentucky bluegrass
- Tall fescue
Note that the results you will get from planting any of these grasses may be affected by factors like the amount of shade or sun that your lawn gets and the type of activities that it is used for. As such, it is advisable to consult a professional Landscaper in the city to help you determine the best fit for your lawn. You can find licensed landscapers in Charlotte by utilizing the North Carolina Landscape Contractors' Licensing Board's Find a License Near Me portal. The Better Business Bureau and the National Association of Landscape Professionals also provide online resources that can be used to locate qualified Landscapers in the city.
There are no mandatory liability insurance requirements for landscapers in Charlotte. However, all licensed landscape contractors in the State of North Carolina are required to have either a $10,000 surety bond or certified letter of credit to maintain their licenses. This bond is put in place to provide some financial restitution to consumers in situations where these landscapers fail to meet their obligations. Nonetheless, it is advisable to also make sure that your intended landscaping company has a general liability insurance plan. This type of insurance typically covers the costs of any work-related injuries that may occur during your project and also insulates you from any legal liabilities that may arise as a result of these injuries. This is important, considering that landscaping activities are estimated to result in over 100 deaths and 143,000 serious injuries every year.
Always ask your intended landscapers to provide copies of their insurance certificates and contact the relevant insurers to validate these certificates and also to confirm that the insurance plan is adequate for your project. You can also contact the North Carolina Landscape Contractors' License Board at (919) 266-8070 or via email to confirm the bonding status of your Landscaper. Queries concerning state-mandated landscape contractor bond requirements can also be directed to this board.
A total of 123 complaints were received by the North Carolina Landscape Contractors' License Board between 2015 and 2019 concerning the activities of licensed contractors across the state. Fraudulent contractors typically come up with several ways to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners looking to carry out landscaping and other home improvement projects in Charlotte. Some common scam techniques employed by these fraudulent contractors include door-to-door solicitations, high-pressure sales pitches, upfront cash payment requests, submission of low bids, and downplaying the importance of written contracts. In 2020, it was reported that local contractors in Charlotte had been charged in connection with a home improvement fraud scheme that saw at least 50 elderly homeowners in the area lose approximately $2,000,000. The following tips can help you avoid falling victim to a landscaping or home improvement scam in Charlotte:
- Plan your landscaping project. Take the time to get a clear idea of the work that you need done and never rush into any projects without getting second opinions from trusted sources
- Get estimates from several contractors and compare the cost, materials, and specifications provided in these estimates.
- Always verify the license of your preferred Landscaper
- Confirm that the landscaper is duly bonded and insured
- Request at least two or three references from the contractor and contact them to see if they were satisfied with the contractor's work and on-the-job behavior
- Make sure that you are given a written agreement for the project. This contract should include a detailed description of the work that is to be done, the types of materials to be used, a schedule for payments, and a timeline for when the project would be completed. Ensure that you clearly understand this contract before signing it
- Never make large down payments or pay the complete cost of the project before any work commences. Be wary of contractors that ask you to do this
- Avoid cash payments
- Monitor the progress of the project to ensure that it is being done per the stipulations of your contract as well as other relevant local laws and regulations
- Make sure that you are satisfied with the completed project before making the final payment for the work done
- Keep records of all documents related to the project
Complaints regarding the unprofessional or deceptive actions of licensed landscapers in the City of Charlotte can be filed with the North Carolina Landscape Contractors' License Board online or by mailing a complaint form to:
- North Carolina Landscape Contractors' Licensing Board
- P.O. Box 20875
- Raleigh, NC 27619
This complaint form can also be submitted via email or fax to (919) 782-9470.
Consumer complaints as well as reports concerning landscaping and home improvement scams can also be filed with the Consumer Protection Division of the North Carolina Department of Justice by completing an online consumer complaint form. The Consumer Protection Division can also be contacted via toll-free number 1-877-5-NO-SCAM for callers within North Carolina and (919) 716-6000 for callers outside the state.