The Association of Professional Landscapers is celebrating its 20th birthday. So we are taking a look at how this successful organisation helps homeowners to choose the best landscaping companies.
Who are the APL?
The Association of Professional Landscapers was set up in 1995 to help homeowners looking to have landscaping work completed and make an informed choice. The APL represents landscapers all over the UK who have met a required standard of professionalism.
Landscaping companies can apply to become registered members of the APL after proving they are a credible and professional company who install to British standards. When becoming a member of the APL, landscapers must agree to follow a customer charter, all of which is explained below.
The APL’s customer charter ensures registered members are committed to providing high quality landscaping and complete customer satisfaction. They also have to agree to meet the following criteria, of which states:All APL members…
- Have been trading as a landscaping business for a minimum of two years.
- Are independently inspected annually for conformance to necessary standards
- Are members of the Horticultural Trade Association
To ensure the highest standards of professional service, members of the APL should…
- Provide a minimum of six satisfactory customer references from work within two years
- Provide a minimum of two trade references
- Maintain full employer liability insurance cover
- Maintain full public liability insurance cover
- Follow the APL agreed complaints resolution procedure
Why you should always choose a registered APL member
You may wonder what could be so wrong about choosing a landscaping company not registered with the APL. We investigate below.
- You may employ a company with no experience. Believe it or not, this can prove problematic in a number of ways. They will not have had experience installing driveways or patios before, and they may also have no experience with products, guidelines and aftercare.
What could this mean?
A landscaping contractor with no experience will mean poor product knowledge, whilst lacking necessary information about sub bases, drainage and compliance, and aftercare information. Companies without experience will also lack knowledge of landscaping costs. Although a poor landscaping contractor might offer you a driveway or patio for what you think is a bargain, this decision may cost you a lot more in the long run.
- You may employ a company with no skill. Just as problematic as a lack of knowledge could prove, certain landscaping contractors may lack skill, finesse and attention to detail.
What problems could this present?
A driveway or patio that has been rushed or incorrectly installed; therefore meaning it will likely fail within the first few years. The aesthetic appeal will be compromised.
- You may employ a company who disappear as soon as the work is finished. We’ve seen it all too often before; a company rushing the installation process and clearing off as soon as the project is ‘complete’.
What could this mean?
Obviously, if there is a fault with your new driveway or patio, you would want to march straight back to the company to gain advice. If you choose a company who you cannot trace after your project is finished, you’re pretty doomed. This means no correction and no compensation to improve or correct the fault. This also means if you cannot trace this company, you will not be able to complain or warn others about using them.
We hope we’ve now persuaded you to choose a credible company who are sure to install to British standards as opposed to a company without any accreditations or memberships with associations such as the APL. So now, you may wonder where to go to find APL registered members?
You can either visit their website, at http://www.landscaper.org.uk/find-your-landscaper or look for the APL logo on their website. For further piece of mind, you can ask to see any APL member’s inspection certificate!
Here at Aura Landscapes, we’re proud to carry the APL mark of professionalism and ensure all of our work meets and excels the standards set by the Association of Professional Landscapers.
Our Top Tip
As well as looking for the APL mark, you can also look for the ‘Marshalls’ and ‘Trustmark’ signs, which will give you even more security in your choice. Before choosing a landscape contractor, look at their website, portfolios and testimonials to gain an insight into the company before agreeing to go ahead!
For any information on the APL, visit http://www.landscaper.org.uk/ or feel free to give us a call on 02380 434 231!