Landscape Installation Contractors: Licensed Versus Unlicensed

Landscape Installation Contractors

Landscape Installation Contractors: Licensed Versus Unlicensed

According to studies on ways to improve property values, updating the front or backyard landscaping on your property can in fact attract higher property value.

Although it may be tempting to do your own DIY landscape design project, unless you’re in the industry, it’s often best to look at hiring a landscape installation contractor.

This is because they have the experience needed to help you make important decisions, and are well versed in state regulations and any necessary permits needed.

There are two types of contractors for such projects: licensed and unlicensed contractors. Here is what you need to know about what makes them

Landscape Installation Contractors Differences

You will find licensed vs unlicensed contractors in the construction industry are two very different types of business owners.

Although they may each get the job done, they differ in work processes and other important factors worth considering, especially because you’ll be spending your hard-earned money on your landscape project.

Here are the main differences between the landscape installation contractors that are licensed vs unlicensed.


Each landscape design or landscape remodeling project you wish to undertake will have a set budget.

The general budget for the project is typically one of the first topics homeowners want to discuss so they have an accurate quote and understand what they need to budget for.

Most often, the unlicensed landscape contractor will have lower prices.

This can be for a variety of reasons, but typically it comes down to the fact that they do not have the same overhead that a licensed contractor does, so they pass the savings along to the consumer.

Although the unlicensed contractor may be cheaper, their ability to assist with collecting permits, their ability to guarantee work, and more importantly your ability to make sure they follow through on their contract agreement is much more difficult and can be impossible in some circumstances.

An unlicensed contractor may appear to be the cheaper route, but it often requires a lot more time on the part of the homeowner and we know time is money, so it may not actually be a cost savings at all.

Even though there may be a price difference on paper, when you compare the cost for a project done by a licensed landscape contractor and unlicensed contractor, there are many ‘unexpected’ costs that can come up with unlicensed contractors that can leave homeowners high-and-dry with no way to get their money back or keep the project on a time schedule.

If something goes wrong with the project and you’re working with an unlicensed contractor, there are very few ways to protect yourself or the money you’ve invested.

To save yourself the potential stress and headaches that can come with unlicensed contractors, do yourself a favor and make it a requirement before you hire anyone, that they can prove they are a licensed contractor in the state.

Workers Comp Insurance

On any construction job site, the probability of accidents is always a real issue. For example, a worker may trip and get injured while on your premises.

Licensed contractors usually have insurance that covers any on-the-job accidents or injuries that happen to their workers. This way, any injury that happens on the job site will be covered by the contractor’s insurance provider.

On the other hand, when you work with an unlicensed contractor, they usually do not have insurance to cover this sort of issue.

Therefore, you, the homeowner can be considered liable which means you may have to compensate for any injuries happening at your home.

Bonding Agreement Presence

The term “licensed, bonded, and insured” gets used a lot when people are looking to hire a contractor or subcontractor to work on their home.

But what does “bonded” mean, and why is it important?

Well, unforeseen circumstances can happen during a construction project.

The fact is, whether conflicts arise while you’re working under contract or not, your project has to progress to completion.

Bonds protect the third party that is hiring a business from any possible losses that would result from incomplete work, damage, theft, or other failures of the hired company.

If damages do occur, the third party can file a claim and receive compensation for these losses.

Unlicensed landscape construction contractors lack this surety bond.

As a result, if any misunderstanding happens amid your project, you can’t take action against them.

How to Verify a Licensed Landscape Contractor

Upon deciding to undertake a landscape remodeling project at your home or business, you will encounter many contractors that are eager to get your business.

While each will try to win you over to secure the landscaping project, taking their “word” that they have the proper credentials, insurance, etc. is not enough, you need to get actual proof.

Here is how to do your verification due diligence.

Check for Certification on Their Website

According to statistics, there are over 600,000 contractors in the country as of 2021.

Most contractors you engage with will have an online presence.

Most licensed contractor will showcase their certifications and accomplishments on their website.

This would be one place to look first (home page or about page would be good places to start).

Contact Relevant Authorities

Any landscaping contractor can claim to be licensed; double-checking their credentials is essential.

You can easily do this by contacting the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies.

Here, you can access your preferred contractor details and work history to make an informed decision.

It will also help you filter out any scams you would have otherwise encountered.

Boldly Ask

While many contractors will have a website, you don’t have to overlook those without one.

Certain local contractors have the necessary certifications and do a perfect job, but don’t have a website (for whatever reason).

You may have heard about their business through the community or a friend who contracted them.

In this case, it is even more important to verify with the state, and you can also visit them at their office and enquire.

Popular Backyard Projects They Can Help With

Now that you have a clear understanding about the pros and cons of hiring a licensed contractor vs. an unlicensed contractor, it’s time to talk about the type of project you need completed.

Backyard projects differ greatly from one homeowner to another, and it’s essential you get your unique needs met.

When contracting a landscape construction expert, you want one who you are confident will handle your project according to plan.

Here are some of the more popular backyard projects landscape contractors are being asked to complete as more families spend a lot more time at home:

Shaping Lawns

Shaped lawns add an organized touch to any landscape. If you have ample space and various paths, you may choose to organize them into one or two.

An experienced landscaping contractor will take you through the design process, show you options and help you decide on materials. This ensures your lawn gets designed according to your preference, with the help of a knowledgeable expert that can explain product options, plant options, and design options.

Planting Gardens, Trees and Shrubs

Having a backyard garden will add a colorful touch to your home. However, it’s also essential to note that trees will offer shade and this is a big deal for Arizona homeowners, especially in the summer months.

Speaking of hot summers, climate, shade, and what areas of your home get morning sun vs. afternoon sun are all important topics to consider when deciding what plants, shrubs, and trees to include in your landscape design.

More and more people are asking about xeric landscaping designs, especially in the desert to reduce the reliance on so much water to keep our yards looking beautiful.

Constructing Physical Features

If you live on a sloped landscape, chances are you may want to improve your landscape by installing terraces. This will add a stylish touch and create an appealing look.

Physical features also include things like water fountains or water features, fire pits, shade structures, rock formations, concrete pathways, and patios, and outdoor kitchens.

An experienced landscaping contractor will take you through the design options, explain options for materials, and will help you understand what an appropriate yard maintenance plan is for your property.

Installing Drainage and Irrigation Systems

The need for good drainage is vital in every residential and commercial premise. It ensures stagnant water gets drained quickly and leaves no room for breeding disease-causing pests.

Although this may not be the most exciting topic when it comes to landscape design, it’s a very necessary and popular project that homeowners are putting on their ‘to-do’ list to ensure the overall health of their yards. It is also common at this time to update or add more greenery to your landscape.

Remember, we are in a highly automated world, and this applies to your irrigation. You can have timers set up and automate all of the watering, and adjust timers as needed with the changing of the seasons. It’s an investment that saves homeowners time and money (time watering, and money on plants dying due to lack of water).

Install Decorative Lighting

A well-lit backyard is can be essential for your home security. It will also enable you to carry on after-dark with family gatherings, playtime, BBQ’s and outdoor meals.

The backyard becomes an extension of the home, and by adding proper lighting you can dramatically increase the time you can spend in your yard.

Hiring A Landscape Installation Contractor

At the end of the day, the battle over whether to choose licensed or unlicensed landscaping contractors is an easy one. The peace of mind, and risk aversion that comes with hiring a licensed landscape designer, far out-weighs the potential risk that comes from hiring an unlicensed contractor.

If you happen to live in Arizona and have an upcoming landscaping project, team at Desert Dreamco has the experience AND the proper credentials to assist you with your landscape design and construction project.

Choose the right path and Contact us today to request a free quote from one of our representatives.

Are you looking for licensed landscape design companies near me? Contact the experts at Desert Dreamco to help you develop your outdoor space!  Work with a 5-star, family-owned business when you call  (623) 226-0192 or schedule a free design consultation online

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