1. Reliability

Do you remember the winter of 2014? We had a TON of snow!! Not only did we have many, many snowfalls, but we also broke records with the amount of snow accumulation that we received in the GTA.  That’s why you want a landscaper that will be there for you whether we have a 5cm snowfall or a 50cm snowfall. Professional landscapers will have written in their contract their estimated time of arrival of when they plan to have your property plowed, shovelled and/or salted.

2. Coverage

Another important thing that professional landscape companies SHOULD be offering is insurance coverage.  This way, if somebody slips and falls on your property, you will not be responsible, as long as you hire a professional landscape company that follow their contractual guidelines.  If you hire an unprofessional company that does not have adequate coverage or if your provider goes outside their contractual agreement, both insurance’s will be reponsibile if a lawsuit arises. The claim is not either party’s personal responsibility; this is covered under the insurance policies. The problem that you will face is an increase in insurance premiums which could be 30% per year for up to five years on the first at fault claim.  Make sure your company has $5 million liability insurance and is also in good standing with WSIB.

3. Employees Are Taken Care Of

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Happy Wife, Happy Life”?  This holds true for employees too.  Employees of landscape companies should be paid well…after all, they work extremely hard shovelling and plowing snow at all hours of the day and night.  They are on call 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and often have to go out on holidays and have to cancel last minute plans to work…it’s not an easy job!  Companies should make sure to follow the mandatory legislation for workers which allows them periods of rest during heavy snowfalls so that they are alert when they are on sites. Their equipment should be safe, up to date and working well before each snowfall.  There are courses that are offered in the winter with SIMA and Landscape Greater Toronto Area that give landscapers the chance to build on their expertise in the field.  And lastly, a professional company should offer incentives to keep staff keen and working hard so that your property is well taken care of.  This is the best way to make sure employees are happy and doing a great job for both the company and for you!

4. Reasonably Priced

Notice that I didn’t say “cheap”.  Let’s face it- there’s a cost of doing business.  Prices should be affordable but not dirt cheap, as running a landscape company throughout the winter has a lot of overhead that must be covered, in addition to employees’ wages.  You may have heard stories about some companies that are very inexpensive but then either don’t show up to do the work or they don’t do a very good job which means YOU end up shovelling!

5. Professional

Every professional landscaper in the area makes it their number one goal to provide services to the best of their abilities within their contractual agreement. That is a very important part of being a professional company- that a contract is signed by both parties. Look for a company that you can trust and that has insurance (as mentioned above) to cover your property incase of a accident.  Also, professional companies will get back to you within a timely matter regarding questions about your property and should also have a means of updating their customers on weather patterns and expected time of plowing and/ or salting.