Outdoor Contractor Scams


    More than 160 complaints about outdoor contractors has BBB helping homeowners make informed decisions. BBB has six steps to help you hire the right roofers, landscapers and other yard-workers

    Beaming sunshine and blooming plants may kick your spring fever into high gear when it comes to re-vamping your yard. But with more than 160 complaints about outdoor contracting businesses in 2016*, getting your yard into shape is not always a wheelbarrow of roses. BBB is helping homeowners lay the groundwork when it comes to finding trustworthy contractors.

    “Having a clear vision and a realistic budget is the foundation needed before hiring an outdoor contractor,” says Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. “When you’re ready to look for a professional yard-worker, asking questions, shopping around and checking qualifications are all crucial steps when trusting someone to make your vision a blossoming reality.”

    Lighten the load with these BBB tips when hiring an outdoor contractor:

    • Figure out what the final picture looks like and then plan accordingly. Will you require lawn-care, a landscape designer, a concrete or paving contractor? If you are looking to re-model your yard, maintenance up-keep or fix a problem, you will have to seek out the appropriate contractor.

    • Make decisions based on realistic expectations. Make a budget based on a realistic vision and goals. It is also a good idea to look for landscapers who have done work in or close by your area of residence. That way you can go and see their work first-hand and talk to previous customers.

    Don’t cut corners:

    • Get it in writing. Written documentation will hold your landscaper accountable to agreements as well as provide clarity when it comes to billing, cancellation and refund policies. Contracts should include start and completion dates, costs and payment plans and warranty information.

    • Insist on an inspection before committing to a contractor. Ask the contractor to come out and inspect your property beforehand. That way they will have a clear picture as to what you are looking to accomplish and determine if they are capable of doing the work.

    • Ask about liability insurance. By law, contractors are not required to carry liability insurance. But, if they don’t, you could end up liable for damage sustained to your property, or your neighbour’s property.

    • Check licensing. Check with the City of Calgary or your local town office to see if the contractor is properly licensed. Also ask the contractor if they charge deposits. If so, they must have a Pre-paid Contractors License issued by Service Alberta.

    *Number of complaints include landscapers, lawn and tree care, paving companies and roofers collectively.


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