Getting sod installed in your yard is a pretty big deal – it takes research, planning, and usually a good amount of cash too. However, the work isn’t over once you’ve decided on the perfect type of grass for your new lawn; you should also find sod installers who will do a top-notch job of putting in all that grass. For some sod installation jobs, you could technically do it yourself if you’re feeling ambitious. However, this would only work if you had squares of sod; if it came in rolls, you’d need heavy machinery with a specialized attachment to spread it out properly. Hiring the best sod installers will undoubtedly leave you delighted as you admire the sight of your vibrant and verdant lawn.
In some cases, you could get your sod installed by the same company that you bought it from. For example, The Grass Store offers grass for sale in many different varieties, and can also help lay down the sod that’s purchased by customers in certain areas. Assuming you haven’t decided which sod installers to hire, just keep reading for a step-by-step guide.
Step #1: Put Together a List of Options
There are several ways to discover sod installers; one of the easiest is to look online. A single Google search will turn up the most popular options, and from there you can narrow down the list. Another great way is to ask your friends or acquaintances if they can recommend someone. Most landscaping companies have experience installing sod, so if you can find one that comes personally recommended, maybe they’ll be the one you end up hiring.
Your initial online search doesn’t have to be that in-depth – after all, you’re just looking for names to put on your list at this point – but you should still spend a bit of time checking each company out. Look at their online reviews, which can generally be found on Yelp, Angi, or Google My Business.
Step #2: Decide on the Budget and Project Scope
Once you’ve spent some time looking at various sod installers online, you’ve probably gotten a ballpark idea of how much the service would cost. Depending on how much you have in the budget, you may have some room for potential upgrades. Upselling is common in every industry, and the sod installers could suggest other changes to your yard that could be added to your contract.
Why should you be thinking about this at such an early stage? Because some people feel pressured to pay for services that they didn’t initially plan for. Maybe the flowerbeds do need to be weeded, or a couple of trees do need to be trimmed…but do you really want that to be done now? If so, you might as well talk to the sod installers about the possibility of doing more work. If not, you’ve already made up your mind, so you won’t be put on the spot if that situation arises.
Step #3: Check the Company’s Qualifications and References
Some people get their sod installed by landscapers, while others have it done by the same company that sold them the product. These can be equally good options, provided the team comes with the right training, experience, and licensing. You should definitely check that the sod installers have done this type of job before, and they should also be bonded and insured. They may also need specific licensing, such as if they’ll be applying certain fertilizers to help your new grass grow. References are also an important part of discerning the quality of their service; make sure you get multiple references, and ask that they be recent as well.
Step #4: Check for Red Flags
It’s hard to find sod installers who are absolutely perfect, but there are certain red flags that should make you turn around and walk away.
- No online presence
- Reviews saying they repeatedly missed deadlines
- Suspiciously low rates (you get what you pay for)
- The suggestion is that you skip the contract
- A high proportion of bad online reviews
- Poor communication
- Asks for a large upfront payment
- Lacks licensing or insurance
Step #5: Get to Know Each Candidate
This isn’t really the kind of contract that requires winning and dining before you sign on the dotted line, but you should still talk to someone at each company before committing to anything. This is a great opportunity to ask whatever questions you have, plus you’ll get a better sense of how each sod installing team works. Did you get rushed through the conversation, or were you treated like a valued client? Did it feel like they were saying whatever you wanted to hear, or did you get the sense that they were being honest with you? Sure, there could still be some unpleasant surprises later on, but this can help you identify some bad apples. While you’re talking with each company, it wouldn’t hurt to ask the following questions:
- Are you bonded and insured?
- Do you use sub-contractors, or will the job be completed by your team?
- Could you provide some references from recent clients?
- Do you have experience in sod installation?
- What kind of guarantee do you offer?
For projects that will cost thousands of dollars, a standard background check would be prudent. Some landscaping companies are really just scammers who hope to land a few big projects, get some tidy upfront payments, and disappear with the money.
Step #6: Sign the Contract
It’s absolutely essential that the sod installers you hire can provide a contract. This will legally require them to meet agreed-upon deadlines and finish the job properly. It’ll also prevent the appearance of surprise charges on the final bill, a trick that some landscapers try to get away with.
Finding the right sod installer can seem like a complicated process, but it really isn’t that hard if you know what you’re looking for, and which questions to ask. Once that’s out of the way, you’ll be gazing at your picture-perfect new lawn before you know it.
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