How to Hire a Good Landscaper in Columbus
Since 2011, the average property price in Columbus has been steadily rising five percent every year. Smart homeowners in the city usually upgrade their landscape to improve the curb appeal, earn an extra 15 to 20 percent on that premium and get their property sold quicker. When looking for a qualified Landscaper in Columbus, it is recommended you do your due diligence by asking the following questions:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Landscaper in the City of Columbus?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Landscapers in the City of Columbus?
- Do You Comply with the City of Columbus Landscape Ordinance?
- Will You Get the Landscaping Permit Required as per the City of Columbus Code?
- What Kind of Landscaping Services Do You Offer?
- What are the Best Types of Grass for Lawns in the City of Columbus?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Landscapers in the City of Columbus?
The City of Columbus requires Landscapers to register as home improvement contractors if they wish to carry out landscaping jobs in the city. Depending on the kind of work needed, a landscaper must register with the City of Columbus Building and Zoning Services as either a home improvement general contractor or a home improvement limited contractor. The home improvement general contractor license covers structural alterations and construction of accessory structures. The home improvement limited contractor license covers, among other residential projects, the construction of residential swimming pools, sidewalks and driveways
Landscapers seeking the general contractor license must have a minimum of three years of hands-on installation experience in the single-family, two-family, and three-family home improvement field. This license also requires the professional to complete and pass the Ohio Home Improvement Contractor 767 examination with a grade of at least 70%. Similarly, landscapers pursuing a limited contractor license must possess a full year of hands-on installation experience in the aforementioned field.
Alternatively, the following category of people may qualify for a general or limited contractor license:
- a registered design professional with a current and valid certificate as an architect or engineer as allowed by the Ohio Revised Code who has experience in residential design and construction
- a graduate architect or engineer with at least a full year's experience as a designer or installer in the specific field of work for the type of home improvement contractor license .
Operating without a home improvement license in Columbus is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.00, a sentence of up to 180 days in prison, or both. Every day that the infraction or noncompliance continues is a separate and distinct offense.
It is a fantastic idea to verify the licensing status of any Landscaper you intend to hire. To find out whether a landscaper is duly licensed in the City of Columbus, you can make use of the City of Columbus online licensing database. For more information on the licensing process for landscape contractors, you can contact the Building and Zoning Services at (614) 645-7433 or visit their office at:
- Building and Zoning Services
- 111 North Front Street
- Columbus, OH 43215
It is very important to carefully confirm the billing mechanism employed by the Landscaper you are considering hiring. This is because landscape companies in Columbus often charge for their services using either an hourly or square footage fee billing structure. Landscaping expenses are impacted by a variety of factors, including the sort of landscaping work to be done and the labor intensity of that job. As a result, while trying to hire a Landscaper in the city, it is prudent to get quotes from several landscape companies. You may compare rates and come up with an average cost for your job by acquiring such estimates.
A landscaper in Columbus earns an average wage of $51,490, annually. The table below provides a cost comparison of the average hourly wages of landscaping and groundskeeping workers in Columbus against those of this category of professionals across the rest of Ohio and other major American cities:Columbus Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$24.76Ohio Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$24.43New York City Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$18.58Boston Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$20.13Detroit Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$15.88Chicago Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$16.89Houston Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$14.69
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A successful landscaping project begins with ensuring that your Landscaper is familiar with and abides by the standards and guidelines of the City of Columbus Code of Ordinance. The city's landscaping laws, which can be found under the Zoning Codes section, comprise restrictions and provisions that seek to bring structure and order to the city's landscape. These regulations aim to improve the city's physical, social, economic, and decorative environment by enforcing appropriate landscape design and construction for all land uses. They also ensure that any landscaping work carried out in the city conforms with all applicable city and state conventions. Furthermore, they establish required regulations to protect the public's safety when interacting with landscapes across the city. They cover the following:
- Screening requirement
- Fences specifications
- Dumpsters placement
- Ground-mounted mechanical equipment
- Plant specifications
Confirming that your preferred Landscaper is conversant with and follows the rules ensures that your landscaping job will not break any city codes. This protects you against the financial, legal, and physical consequences of ordinance violations. Contact the City of Columbus Building and Zoning Services at (614) 645-7433 to learn more about the city's Landscape Ordinance and how it may affect your landscaping project. Code violations can be reported by phoning the agency at (614) 645-2202, sending an email, or using their online platform.
Whether or not you will be requiring a permit largely depends on the kind of project you are undertaking. Property owners and contractors who are licensed or registered to work in Columbus can obtain permits. Property owners can get permits for structural work that involves the addition, alteration, repair, or replacement of an existing single-family residence in which they live. They can also seek a permit to demolish an accessory structure to an existing single-family home.
However, property owners are unable to get permits for work that will be completed by a contractor. Such works require a City of Columbus licensed or registered contractor to acquire the permit. It is necessary to keep in mind that obtaining the necessary permits for the proposed project is not always the only requirement.
The permitting procedure starts with the submission of an application and any associated plans that may be necessary for approval. To purchase a permit online, you can make use of the city's citizen's access portal. Depending on the nature of the work, the plans are forwarded to various departments for review when the application is received. The permit is issued after each needed review has been approved, and work can commence. You can contact the city's Building and Zoning Services for further information about the permits you'll need for your landscaping project by calling (614) 645-6090 or sending an email.
Landscapers in Columbus offer such a broad array of services to prospective clients. From general services like landscape installation, irrigation systems, drainage solutions, to more specialist services such as hardscaping, softscaping, and xeriscaping, the professional landscaper has got you covered. These activities can require a broad knowledge base and skill set, even in fields like horticulture and arboriculture. As a result, it is always a good idea to check your potential landscaping contractor's areas of expertise to make sure they are the right fit for the job.
It is also a good idea to go further by asking for images of recent landscape jobs completed by the prospective Landscaper, especially if your specifications are similar to theirs. Professional landscapers will readily provide this information, and any firm that refuses should be avoided. Then, for the project you wish to complete, you should request a cost estimate. This provides you an estimate of how much you'll have to pay. The following are cost estimates for basic landscaping services in Columbus:Commercial landscape design$50.06 - $88.04 per hourCommercial landscape design$13.62 - $25.52 per square footResidential landscape design$1,960 - $7,014 flat rateResidential landscape architect$47.77 - $78.15 per hourLandscape installation$41.70 - $66.50Garden Planning$1,960 - $7,021General Bed Maintenance/Detailing$101.00 - $1,018.00Spring/Fall Cleanup - $60 - $1,100Pruning/Hedging$40 - $75 per hourIrrigation System startup - $90.00 - $574.00Mulching$64.40 - $78.20 per cubic yard (material, delivery, and spreading)Leaf Removal$92 - $440Lawn Mowing$50.00 - $61.67 per acreSodding$1.16 - $1.40 per square footFertilization$70.00 - $85.00 per application (one acre)Weed Control$47.00 - $589.00
The type of grass you can grow in Columbus is mostly influenced by the climate. Whether or not you have attractive and healthy lawns is determined by the type of grass you plant. The City of Columbus has a Koppen Climate Classification subtype of Hot Summer Continental Climate. Large seasonal temperature fluctuations characterize this, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and freezing (occasionally bitterly cold) winters. Every year, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, blizzards, and winter storms affect Columbus' climate, including tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, blizzards, and winter storms. In many parts of the city, precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year.
The best grasses that thrive in Columbus because of its peculiar climate are:
- Fine fescue.
- Kentucky bluegrass.
- Perennial ryegrass.
- Tall fescue.
- Buffalo grass
Always consult a professional landscaper before planting any of these grasses on your lawn to guarantee that you get the greatest and healthiest results. To find qualified Landscapers, look for them online using the City of Columbus Citizen Portal or through reputable organizations like the National Association of Landscape Professionals and the Better Business Bureau.
While landscapers in Columbus are not obliged to carry insurance, it is a good idea to make sure they do, whether it is the usually requisite Commercial General Liability or Workers' Compensation. It is always advisable to ensure that any landscaper you hire is adequately insured. This is particularly so because of the severity of injuries that a landscaper may sustain on the job. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the fatality rate for the landscape services industry at roughly 25 deaths per 100,000 workers, which is comparable to more recognized high-risk jobs like agriculture and mining. Insurance will protect you in the event of an accident at work. Ensure you obtain a copy of your landscaper's valid insurance certificate that takes care of any injuries or unintended property damage that may occur during the project. These documents should also be verified with the appropriate insurance carrier. Contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at (614) 644-2658 for additional information about landscaper insurance in Columbus, or stop by their office at:
- Ohio Department of Insurance
- 50 W Town Street
- Third Floor - Suite 300
- Columbus, OH 43215
According to the United States Attorney's Office Southern District of Ohio, a 47-year-old man was sentenced to 48 months in prison in August 2014 for defrauding homeowners, businesses, the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through a home improvement repair business he ran.
In order to protect yourself from unscrupulous home improvement scammers, it is important to take specific precautions and exercise extreme caution. As a result, when looking for landscape professionals in Columbus, you should always keep the following recommendations in mind to prevent falling victim to a landscaping fraud:
- Be wary of unsolicited work: While respectable contractors may go door-to-door on occasion, scammers are more likely to adopt this method. Such con artists appear nice and convince you that your lawn could benefit from a recently approved irrigation system or something similar. They frequently utilize high-pressure methods to persuade you to respond quickly. When you see such, don't be fooled by their tricks.
- Do your homework, and do it thoroughly: Make sure any contractor you let near your home is reliable and trustworthy. A simple referral from a friend or coworker is insufficient. Use the massive resources of the Internet at your disposal. Obtain a membership with a recognized organization such as the Better Business Bureau and read reviews. You might also carry out a Google search using the contractor's name with keywords like "scam." If there are a lot of unfavorable reviews, stay away. Avoid them if there are no reviews. Before you commit to anything, you should get at least a dozen positive reviews.
- Request free estimates from a number of sources: When you've found the best landscapers for the project, have them each give you a well-itemized estimate for the cost of the service. After that, compare the estimates side by side to evaluate who offers the best value for money. Remember, this is not about getting the best deal, but about making the best investment in your property. The cheapest price may include lower-quality materials and whatnot. You want to strike a balance between price and quality, so look into a company that offers everything you need for a shockingly low price. If something appears to be too good to be true, it almost always is.
- Don't put down more than 10 percent of the purchase price as a down payment: A contractor will typically want a down payment to secure the job, acquire materials, and so forth. However, you should proceed with considerable caution if the down payment begins to rise above 10 percent. You should only hand over the final payment if you have a lien waiver saying that all materials and any further subcontractors have been paid for. If you don't, you can find yourself pressured for extra cash.
- Get a contract and double-check it before signing it: Even if it's a minor project, you should put it down on paper and have it signed. List everything that needs to be done. Ideally, you should have it reviewed by a lawyer. Read everything, especially the fine print that could include traps. If something goes wrong and you need to go to court, this contract will safeguard you.
- Pay using a credit card rather than cash: If your contractor allows it, purchasing with a credit card can provide you with purchase protection that you wouldn't get with cash. If there are any problems with the project, you can contact your credit card company and dispute the charges. They employ teams of experts that will work on your behalf to resolve the problem.
To discover if a Landscaper has a valid Home Improvement Contractor License, you can call the City of Columbus Building Inspections Office at (614) 645-6083 or make enquiries in person at:
- City of Columbus Building Inspections Office
- 111 N Front Street
- Columbus, OH 43215
To report lawn-care scams or file a complaint, call the Ohio Attorney General's Office at (800) 282-0515 or visit their office at:
- Ohio Attorney General's Office
- 30 East Broad Street,
- 14th Floor,
- Columbus, OH 43215
If you have information on an ongoing fraud, call the City of Columbus Division of Police Fraud and Forgery Unit at (614) 645-4751 or report in person:
- City of Columbus Division of Police
- 120 Marconi Boulevard
- Columbus, OH 43215