If you have a large area of land that needs to be cleared, chances are you’ll need to hire a land clearing contractor. Land clearing is a huge undertaking and requires a seasoned professional contractor to get the job done. If it is not handled properly, the job can be dangerous and also potentially do damage to your land. Because of this, you have to be careful when choosing a land clearing contractor. Never choose the cheapest option because, as in many things, you get what you pay for.
Here are a few questions you should always ask when hiring a land clearing contractor:
Do you have the proper licenses and registration?
Clearing a lot might seem like a simple, albeit massive, task, but there are many variables at play. First, you will have to take different steps depending on what you are removing. The process for dealing with trees is different from the one for dealing with brush and debris. Heavy equipment may be needed, and the remnants of mulched brush and plants may need to be burned. With heavy machinery and potentially fire at play, it’s no wonder that land clearing contractors are required to have licensing to do the job they do.
You will want to ask if your potential contractor has all the necessary forms, including insurance, workers’ compensation, and other required paperwork. And a professional land clearing contractor will be able to furnish these forms easily; if they hesitate in doing so, they are not the people you want to pay to clear your land.
What safety precautions do you take?
Since land clearing involves a huge undertaking, often involving multiple types of heavy machinery, you will want to be thoroughly aware of any safety protocols that your contractor will be following. Make sure whoever you are considering takes safety very seriously! Not only your safety, but also the safety of their workers, your neighbors, and anyone else who will be in the proximity of your land clearing project.
Check to make sure the workers wear hard hats, for example, and protective eyewear when they are using heavy equipment for mulching trees and other such projects. Always hire people who make safety their first priority.
Do you have references?
A proper land clearing contractor will also have references they can provide upon request. They should easily be able to point you toward satisfied clients that have utilized their services in the past.
You should also be able to get online and read customer reviews about the company you are looking to retain the services of. Check Yelp and other similar sites to make sure that previous customers have good things to say about the business you are thinking about hiring.
You should also look into any social media presence. Often, customers leave comments on Facebook and Google letting you know what they thought of the service they paid for. An established, reliable business should have plenty of references and good reviews to boast of.
Will you be using subcontractors?
Many contractors use subcontractors for large jobs like land clearing. While this is fine, you will want to make sure you know about it and you are aware of who is working on your land. If your land clearing contractor tells you they do in fact make use of subcontractors, they should be able to furnish references and paperwork for them as well. There is no point in vetting only the land clearing contractor if you don’t vet the subcontractors as well!
How much do you charge?
While you should never go for the cheapest option when seeking a land clearing contractor, it doesn’t hurt to ask for multiple estimates. If you find several companies that seem to have everything in order and a lot of positive references and reviews, there is no reason you can’t contact all of them and explain the job you have in mind.
While a company that offers to do the job for too little is likely not reputable, there is no reason you need to go for the priciest option, either. Keep prices competitive by asking for several estimates from a couple of different companies.
Have you done jobs like mine before?
Every job is different and just because you have found a reputable land clearing contractor doesn’t mean they have experience doing the exact type of work you need done. In fact, you may discover that your particular project has some unique challenges that may baffle less experienced contractors. The only way to know for sure is to ask, so make sure to describe the type of project you have and everything that will be involved. Inform your potential contractor of any unusual hazards in the area and any unique challenges they may face. Chances are, they have handled similar issues before. If they seem familiar with the type of work you are offering, that’s a good sign.
What do I need to do?
Your land clearing contractor should also be able to tell you how you can prepare for them to start work. This, of course, also depends on the type of work that is being done. Do you need to shut off any water or power? Make arrangements for any trees to be cut down or moved? You might need to contact other services as well. There may be many preparations you need to make, so make sure you are aware of them before sending the contractors in.
And any other questions!
Of course, you don’t need to limit your questions to the ones on this list. If you are dealing with a professional land clearing company, chances are they will have heard them all before. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions that occur to you, and don’t be afraid of coming across silly or ignorant. It’s better to leave as informed as you can possibly be. That’s when you know you’ve found that right company to enlist.