Who's working on your project?
Mistakes cost. But as homeowners we don’t always want to believe that the old adage, “you get what you pay for”, will ring true. Home renovations are turning into cautionary tales. Horror stories are becoming all too common of homeowners discovering that their new paved walkways and irrigation features are either cracked and crooked or leaking inside their homes.
In an effort to prevent companies who pop up, seemingly overnight, with a lawn mower and trailer but no training, from thinking that they’re ready to do work on a home, the landscape and horticulture industry has made a real push toward professional development.
Landscape Industry Certification and apprenticeship training exist across Canada to provide technical and handson learning as well as formalized testing. The goal is to ensure that professionals across the country comply with current standards and industry best practices. The benefits are twofold; for members of the industry it means a certifiable professional credibility and competency, while for homeowners it means having confidence in the fact that work is being completed by a professional, not an amateur.
As a homeowner you should be aware of who you’re employing. Although shopping around for pricing estimates has its benefits, sometimes you run the risk of settling for who can do the job the cheapest because you think “they’re just cutting grass and maintaining my yard, what could go wrong?”
But you didn’t spend money on new sod just so that someone could install it incorrectly, and it die a month later. Or choose beautiful flora to add to your garden, that have been ruined and won’t survive because the company you hired didn’t know how to care for them properly. The fact is that mistakes and poor workmanship can cost more than hiring someone who is certified or has undergone apprenticeship training, and has the credentials that prove they know what they’re doing.
Here’s what you should be asking a landscape company you’re thinking of employing.
What types of credentials do you and your staff hold?
Their answer should include either one or a few of the following:
1. Enrollment at a post-secondary institution with a horticulture program.
2. Work as an apprentice who was hired by an employer to learn their trade in a workplace-based program, and was officially registered with their province or territory during which they successfully completed assignments and examinations.
3. Successful completion of the rigorous and internationally recognized Landscape Industry Certified examination process, through which they’ve received credentials as either a Landscape Industry Certified Technician, Manager or Designer. Certified individuals must continue to upgrade their skills through a mandatory continuing education program.
What proof of completion do you have?
1. A Certificate of Qualification that recognizes that the individual completed their apprenticeship and are skilled in the trade because they’ve achieved their key competencies on the job.
2. Red Seal endorsement is recognized and affixed on the provincial certificate and facilitates being able to find work across the country, because the individual has achieved the set of standards and competencies in their trade, in this case the landscape trade.
3. A certificate of completion specifying their Landscape Industry Certified designation. For Landscape Industry Certified Technicians, the designation is broken down further within specific modules like Softscape and Hardscape Installation, Turf and Ornamental Maintenance, Retail Horticulture, Interior Landscaping and Lawn Care.
So the next time you’re planning landscape work, insist that the company you choose have trained individuals on staff, who can back up their qualifications.
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