Do you want to offer services as a landscape irrigation contractor? Well, if you are planning to start a landscaping business, you might be wondering what the requirements are.
In many states, the first thing you need to get is a contractor license. This is the document that will allow you to carry out landscape irrigation projects. Typically, licensing is necessary for projects whose value is above a certain amount. The license is also necessary when you want to perform certain specific activities. When you want to bid on any private or public project, you must first be duly licensed.
The licensing criteria vary from state to state. However, there are many similarities. In many cases, the licensing agency will require that you have experience and on-the-job-training. Other requirements include a surety bond and other necessary business documents.
What Are the Requirements for Obtaining the Irrigation Contractor License?
Before you can get a contractor's license, there are certain basic requirements you will have to meet. Some of these include:
For you to become a landscape irrigation contractor, you must have a post-secondary school education. If you have some training in horticulture or landscape design, you will have an added advantage. You also need to have some proven experience in this field. So, it would be best to work under somebody for some time before you apply for your license.
Each licensing authority has a specific number of practical hours it requires before it will issue you a license. Make sure you have some proof of this. The authorities will require proof of your experience in hardware use, planting, irrigation, landscape design, and planning. They will also need proof that you are knowledgeable about aesthetic approaches and safety measures.
As stated earlier, the requirements vary from state to state. So, you need to find out what your state requires before you start the application process. Make sure also that you meet all the requirements.
Apart from your academic qualifications and proof of experience, you’ll have to take a licensure examination. This is to ensure you are fit to become a landscape irrigation contractor, and you must pass it.
Each state has its specifics about the landscape irrigation contractor exam. These include the exam parameters and learning programs. Find out about these requirements early enough to help you prepare.
You may also have to pay a licensing fee or an examination fee before you get the licensing documents. This will enable you to prepare well and pass the exam the first time you take it.
The regulating authorities will have to verify that, as a landscape irrigation contractor, you can handle safety issues. They also need to verify that you have practical knowledge of landscaping and irrigation. These are areas you need to read about before you take the exam. You should probably also consider studying other topics, such as erosion control, drainage, soil use, fertilizers, and ecology.
The Contractor License Bond
A contractor licensing bond is a surety bond. It legally protects the contractor (you), the issuing agency, and the company or individual that hires the contractor. Having this surety bond guarantees that your services will always be professional and ethical.
The surety bond offers an extra layer of protection for your customers and the state. It makes sure that everything you do will not adversely affect the community in which you are operating.
The bond guarantees that you will perform all your contractual obligations in good quality and on time. In other words, it is proof that you are financially responsible. Should you affect anyone adversely by your unethical actions or decisions, the person can file against your contractor's license bond. When a person does that, he or she can get financial compensation.
You will have to pay a small percentage of the bond value if you are to meet the licensing requirement. This also helps you get your bonded status. This small amount is the bond premium. For example, to obtain a $10,000 contractor’s license bond, you may have to pay between $100 and $300. The better your business and personal financial status is, the smaller the amount you will have to pay.
Go a Step Further
It is not a requirement that you have a professional certificate. However, many people advise that you should have one. If you want your business to grow, having a professional certificate is necessary.
The certificate shows your customers that you are offering quality services. Professional certification is also a way of showing that you have a certain level of experience and skills. You will not find these attributes with ordinary contractors.
Additionally, professional certification allows you to become a member of professional organizations. Members of these organizations include lawn care technicians, lawn care managers, horticultural technicians, interior/exterior technicians, and irrigation professionals.
For you to get a particular certification, you will need to pass an examination and showcase your experience. If you want to go a step further, you can get your business accredited.
Have you passed all the exams and gotten your practice license and license bond? If yes, you are now an established landscape irrigation contractor. You can start practicing as you seek professional certification and accreditation.
Once in the field, there are a few things you need to observe. First, you need to visit the job site before you provide any quotes. The sites you will be dealing with differ in terms of their water needs.
You will also need to realize that these sites require different irrigation equipment. Once on the site, inspect it carefully. Take notes. Notice the types of plants, changes in elevation, and types of soil.
Be willing to respond to the questions raised by your customers. You want them to know that you have experience in landscape irrigation. Also, be ready to provide them with the documents that prove you are duly licensed to practice. This will create some level of trust between you and your clients.