View Full Version : Calling all NJ contractors

05-21-2007, 12:07 AM
How many of you would like to see NJ start requiring a Landscape Contractors license similar to other states like CA, NV, and others? I currently have all the necessary stuff like workers comp, liability, pesticide, state and county reg, and even the non enforced joke of a home improvement contractor reg.

I have been targeting high end houses of 1 million + and have been running into some ridiculous issues. Mainly that other companies are coming in much lower in their prices. I will say that I am not complaining of a lack of work cause I have plenty. However these clients dont understand or care about all the requirements and think I am overpriced. The thing is that my prices are right in line and actually not as high as a few others. These other guys are coming in so low I wont even attempt to compete. Big picture is that these people talk to other neighbors and start thinking what they should pay regardless of whether or not the company these used once is still in business. Also worst some of these guys are even making money cause they are not paying these fees while we are killing ourselves just to keep up with the ever increasing costs.

I used to live in CA and I saw it work out there. I never saw a lawn company do any install work, and if they did then someone would turn them in and put an end to that real quick. IMO if NJ started something like this it would essentially force everyone to have these requirements therefore have roughly the same costs and even out the playing field.

I wont low ball my work, but once these people find these these low ballers they will always expect to pay the same. Essentially eliminating the proper companies from getting into that area. I dont necessarily have a problem with someone else working for dirt, but if they make the same profit cause they dont have the proper costs then that burns me up.

Any thought?

05-21-2007, 06:31 AM
In NJ if you do more then cut grass you need a home improvement contractors license.

Dreams To Designs
05-21-2007, 08:13 AM
In NJ it will only be a way of getting more money from us, there will be no enforcement, just like with pesticide licenses and the home improvement contractors license. It would be a great thing if they would enforce it, but that would be unusual. Anything to improve professionalism would be a plus, but there will always be those that will somehow avoid it and still get work.

Perhaps you can distinguish yourself through education and certifications. CLlT, CLP or any of the certifications offered by PLANET, even ICPI & NCMA for those installing hardscaping. If these certifications had meaning to the clients, they would appreciate and understand your abilities. Rutgers in New Brunswick also offers education to professionals during the winter season that has helped many as a selling point to their clients. If you can prove value for your abilities, many clients will pay for that value. Not all will, and I try to avoid those that don't value my education or abilities, but that will always be the case. Most clients want value for their dollar. Show them that's what they are receiving and price is not the issue. When price is the issue, run!


05-22-2007, 04:02 AM
Uh yes in NJ that home improvement contractors license requirement has already taken affect.

05-22-2007, 11:35 AM
They are all right, NJ has a home improvement license, do they enforce it...no...just NJ looking to make some money and clear up some debt.

05-22-2007, 04:03 PM
I'm all for liscencing, they could do it like it is for irrigation contractors, I'm pretty sure they need 5 years as an apprentice b4 being able to apply for thier own liscence. I'd bet a fair number of the lowballers would drop. at least I hope they do.....

05-22-2007, 04:36 PM
Yeah I wouldn't mind seeing it. I'm all for it, and especially not having these fly-by-night lowballers that do a horrible job. Hey shovelracer- Whats the name of your company? I'm in Sparta.

05-22-2007, 04:53 PM
Be nice if they did that in all states.

05-22-2007, 10:11 PM
What makes you think they would enforce a new license?

Maybe your prices are to high. Maybe you are not selling your self good enough to warrant the prices you are asking.

I hope your not bidding 10 bucks a square and getting shot down.

We work in the same town, but we are not compeititors. I have no proablem getting my prices in the million dollar neighborhoods. In these neighboor hoods, people do not call a guy who cuts grass for their landscaping project. I have not ran into any lowballing, uninsured guys on any of my estimates this year.

Maybe you need to change the way to act, dress, talk, etc on estimates.

If someone is price shopping, they will not even get a proposal from me. I need a $1000 retaininer before i give out a proposal for anything significant. That eliminates the price shoppers real quick.

05-22-2007, 11:33 PM
The NJ homeimprovement registration is just that not a license. It is nothing more than NJ requiring you give them more money. Anyone can get it provided they dont have a real bad criminal history. It doesnt do a damn thing. And yes it is enforced in the sense that some municipalities wont give you a permit if you dont have one, but most landscaping doesnt require a permit. I was talking more about like out west, where you have to take the test and be signed off by another licensee or take some classes. The current NJHIC reg is a complete joke and not even close to what other states have.

As far as the problems I have run into it is more to the effect of this:

I go on a bid. The client asks how much to mow the 1.75 acres and 1500 linear feet of trimming. I say $120/wk. They freak out and kick me off the property. Not before mentioning that last year they had it cut biweekly for 50 each, but the contractor never came back. (Wonder why)

Another wanted the beds cleaned, edged and mulched (25 yds), the lawn overseeded and 100 shrubs pruned. I bid at around 3500. I was at the neighbors a few weeks later and the job had been done. I later that day was approached by the lady just so she could tell me that she had it done for 2000. Its been 3 weeks and the weeds are already growing through.

It is not that I am complaining about not getting these jobs, I dont want them, but now these people are in the mind set that they will never have to pay more than 'X' for the service and anyone that is not close is in their eyes too much. Yes these cheapos are not clients I want, but the problem is that they become one less potential client for all of us.

Dont get me wrong I book 10 jobs for every one of these types, and I am booked solid through June, but my thought was that with a regulated industry these low ball types would have a harder time getting work. Leaving more potential clients for us all. On the other hand a regulated industry could drive all the prices down.

On a last note my company is: Sierra Landscape Co. and we are also in Sparta.

05-23-2007, 07:27 AM
Any hardscaping at all in sparta requires a zoning permit.

05-23-2007, 04:36 PM
Enforcement issues are handled by:
T. Saprano
Newark, NJ
At a price you can't refuse

05-23-2007, 10:41 PM
I would like it if someone actually enforced it, because the state makes these laws but does nothing to enforce them. All NJ cares about is if you sent them the check every year, if they keep working the way they are right now the last thing I want is another license fee because nothing will be done.

05-23-2007, 11:18 PM
Any hardscaping at all in sparta requires a zoning permit.

Yep, and most of the other townships around as well. The new guy they hired a few years ago was a real ball buster when he started. He was a retired cop. I remember one day he walked right up on the job started taking pics and measuring heights on a wall we had finished and were laying sod around. He started ranting and raving about fines and this and that. He thought he had his first big bust. Well too bad for him we had the permit and after an hour of BS and phone calls to verify that it wasnt fake we were back at work and he had to walk away with his head down. He eventually started upsetting contractors for wasting time and must have got in trouble cause he is much more mellow now. Besides I'm pretty sure he was bending the rules of what he could do.

Wright Frames Warren
05-26-2007, 12:38 AM
sounds like you think govt regulation will help sell your company/services. You may want to underbid slightly on one or two jobs to get your foot in the door with 10 others through word of mouth advertising. "The Jones' next door have a great hardscaping set up..."

11-18-2007, 10:45 AM
Landscape contractor licensing is being proposed in NJ. Go to the NJLCA (http://www.njlca.org/pages/surveys.html) website to let them know how you feel about it.

11-18-2007, 01:57 PM
talked to a state trooper buddy of mine, the new thing in the next few months is they are going to start making all the diesel pickups and smaller mason dumps get the diesel emissions testing done, that'll be another 150 a year in their pockets!!!!!

just NJ looking to make some money and clear up some debt.