Reputable Landscaping Companies Vs. Fly-By-Night Landscapers:  6 Red Flags to Watch For

Landscaping is an easy business to jump into and a great way to earn extra money on the side.   Throw a lawn mower in the back of your pickup truck, and you’re ready.  With so many potential “landscapers” to choose from, how do you select a legitimate company and avoid the fly-by-night landscapers? 

A fly-by-night landscaper is someone who wants to make money quickly, without caring about the quality or honesty of the servce they offer.  Here are some characteristics which distinguish a reputable landscaping company from a fly-by-night landscaper:

1.  The “Company” that is Cheap

If the company you’re looking into is charging below average rates, they are most likely fly-by-night.  While a reputable landscape company is required to pay for certain costs such as taxes, insurance and workman’s compensation, a fly-by-night company does not.  Choosing a landscaper based on prices rather than the value they provide is a costly mistake.  It’s actually more expensive to be cheap.  Collect a few quotes and select the company offering the best value, not the cheapest price. 

2.  The “Company” that Does It All

If the company you’re looking into claims they do it all: landscaping, fencing, painting, power washing, etc.. they are probably fly-by-night.  While they may have some experience in these services, it is very difficult to be an expert in this many fields and are likely desperate for work and provide mediocre service at best.  

3.  The “Company” that goes Door-To-Door

If you notice all the mailboxes in the neighborhood are littered with fliers taped to them, they are probably from fly-by-night landscapers who often display below-average rates, or “specials", to lure in as many customers as possible.  Even sketchier are the ones that knock at your door soliciting services and often try to pressure you into a sale.  

4.  The “Company” that Wants Cash or Personal Check

If the company you’re looking into only takes cash, or a check made out to the individuals name rather than a business, they are a fly-by-night landscaper.  They may even offer you a “cash discount.”  The reality is licensed businesses pay taxes on their profits, and fly-by-night landscapers operate illegally.  

5.  The “Company” with No Proof-of-Insurance

If the company you’re looking into is unable to furnish proof of general liability insurance, they are definitely fly-by-night.  Landscaping businesses purchase general liability insurance which protects against injuries to clients and damage to their property.  If you hire someone without proper insurance, you are totally liable for injuries or damages that occur on your property.   

6.  The “Company” with No Brand

If the company you’re looking into does not have logos on their uniforms or vehicles they are fly-by-night.  Also, if they use a Yahoo, Gmail, or other personal email account and don’t have a website, they are probably fly-by-night.  A professional appearance expresses they are experts who take their job seriously.