Dave Z

“We were very impressed with the quality and creativity of your work. The Christmas decorations are very nice and you and your crew were a pleasure to deal with. We would be happy to recommend you to other customers as you exceeded our expectations.”

Annabel (Quinn) MacDonald

“I believe you have mastered the art of not only transforming a blah piece of property into a work of art but you have also managed to holistically do a job by treating my mom with respect and a whole lot of fun. What I truly thought would be an invasive and overwhelming project you were able to include my mom and me in every step of this very enjoyable process. It is hard to envision my mom’s house other than what it was but you did it in one week. The change is spectacular and every day we marvel how quickly, efficiently, friendly and fun you made her home become incredible. Thank you for treating my elderly mom with such dignity and respect.”

Gail and Bob Keith

“We just wanted to thank you for the wonderful landscape job you did for us. You and your team did a fantastic job and we just love it! We’ve had so many compliments. Such a pleasant and hard-working team. You are the best contractor we have ever dealt with!”

Chris Proper

“The only regret is that we didn’t do it earlier. All of Mike’s suggestions really did improve what we both had envisioned. Mike and his hardworking crew from Platinum Stone Design transformed the front of our house to a picture post card in two days. My wife and I are more than happy with the way it turned out.”

Chris and Kristi Hall

“My wife and I are very pleased with the transformation of our existing patio. The wall design and fire pit that was installed by your very professional hard working team is nothing but beautiful. We have had many compliments on both the design and high quality of the workmanship that went into this project. Even with working through less than ideal weather conditions you and your team came through with a quality job on time. We are looking forward to the many years of enjoyment and family time that we will be able to spend in our new outdoor living space that Platinum Stone Design has created for us. You and your team have simply been the best and most professional contractor we have ever had, it has been a pleasure. Platinum Stone Design will be our contractor of choice for all future landscaping jobs. Again thank you very much for all of your hard work that went into our project.”

Relaying a patio or driveway

Today’s topic is relaying a patio or driveway. We get asked to repair poorly completed paver projects and the clients expect for the issue to be 100% corrected. Well I got news for you, the problem will come back again and again because the base material has failed and to correct the situation the project needs to be removed and project started from scratch, ie …full excavation and new pavers etc most times the pavers are deteriorating from the bottom and when removed or recompacted are broken and or crushed. Stop throwing money year after year and have the project completed new with a new warranty. Then you will have years of enjoyment!

Choosing the right contractor

It’s spring and everyone is calling every contractor in the phone book, but how do you know which one to call? Do you go with the company with the largest advertising? Or do you go with who is a part of the BBB. Maybe they are too expensive and charge a crazy price, with large size advertisement. Maybe we should pick a contractor with a smaller advertisement!  They might be cheaper. Or this is my favorite! Call all the contractors and tell them what we want over the phone and ask “how much per square foot”. Well the question I have for you is, “how much is a car” they all have wheels and drive but not created equal. Here are some tips next time you are hiring a landscape contractor. Tip number 1) if the contractor gives you a price per square foot get rid of him. He clearly does not know what his costs are and he has not given you a material range cost. This should narrow your search by 50-75% of landscape contractors. The reason we don’t charge by square foot is because every job is different. A patio in the backyard with no machine access can’t be the same price as doing a front walkway of 60 square feet. A contractor that operates at $2000 a day can’t start his trucks and send his crew for a 60 square foot walkway for less than $3000. So therefore don’t go by square foot pricing. Tip 2) if the contractor is giving you an estimate over the phone without coming to see the project get rid of him. Every project has different obstacles to overcome and you can’t account for them over the phone. This is where the homeowners get taken for more than what was proposed by the contractor.

The best way to find a reputable contractor is to speak to a few stone suppliers and ask there recommendations, than go to websites and look at the work and see what suits your taste. If the contractor does not have one get rid of him. In this day and age it’s expected to have one if you are a true professional. Next is the contractor part of any professional associations? You ask any professional if they want to better the industry and they all will give you the same answer,  And are usually all part of similar associations. Next is the contractor a certified interlocking stone installer?  This is a big one. I would never let a dentist do my plumbing nor would I let a non certified dentist work on my teeth. These are just a few tips on helping you find the right contractor! Don’t just ask for referrals ask to look at the project they are currently working on and see for your self. Next ask what there warranty is? Is it a two year or a five year. How long have they been in business? If they have only been in business for 2 years and are offering a 5 year warranty get rid of them. They probably won’t be in business long enough to fix there mess. Last but not least if the contractor does not give you a design to go from when hired than you really don’t know what you are getting. Also a estimate on a card! What’s that nonsense. The proposal should be so indepth that you could probably teach the other 50% of contractors how the job should be completed. Well hope this sheds some light and helps you find the right contractor for your project!

Working with new clients

Today, I decided to talk about what professional contractors go through on a daily basis when it comes to dealing with potential clients. It usually starts with the contractor receiving a call or a lead from a customer or a supplier. We will book an appointment for a free consultation; this is an expense for the contractor, but it’s a cost of doing business. Then we meet; so the homeowner can explain the dream backyard oasis that they would like to have installed. The million-dollar question every homeowner hates to hear is, “What is your budget?”

That nearly ruins the mood of the meeting. What should they say? Clients may fear that if they say $50 000, the contractor will instantly mark the project up to $49 999! Here is a secret that you probably didn’t know, we don’t want to know your budget so that we can mark you up to the last penny. We need to set a budget in order to design a realistic project without wasting the contractor’s valuable time designing an overly lavish landscape project!

If we don’t know the client’s budget, we can go way overboard and make a design so over-the-top that future generations would have to pay it back! The homeowner usually hopes that the contractor will come under the budget they want to spend, and fears that they will take them to the limit on their maximum amount.

I hope this explains the reasons why contractors ask for a budget. No contractor wants to hear about champagne dreams on a beer budget. We can’t give you what you want without knowing your true budget.