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Landscape Contract

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Their Landscape contract is hiding something. 

Most contractors will want you to sign a brief letter type agreement they’ve typed up, which includes no specific details about the project. That may be fine for smaller projects, but a standard AIA (American Institute of Architects) contract includes more built-in protections for the homeowner. The less the contractor tells you, the more opportunity to surprise you. Get the specifics in writing. Know what you are agreeing to. The three basic types of contracts are stipulated sum or flat fee, cost-plus, and time and materials:

  • A FLAT FEE is the best way to control costs, since the price, including all labor and materials, is agreed upon in advance.
  • COST-PLUS is a bit more risky. It involves a fixed fee plus the cost of labor and materials.
  • TIME AND MATERIALS is similar to cost-plus, except that the fee is calculated as a percentage of the number of hours worked. For that reason, it can lead to the biggest bills. A standard contract should include the following: a detailed description of the job, a list of all materials and appliances to be used (including brand names, warranties and the like), a rescission clause allowing you 72 hours to cancel, a payment schedule, start and finish dates, and a method of resolving disputes (usually by arbitration). Pacific Landscapes starts every relationship with full disclosure, letting you know what will be done, the specifications of the work and when it will be complete. No hidden costs, no vague promises, everything in writing. 
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