April 15, 2016
By Denis Flanagan CLD
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations
Denis FlanaganDuring March, all of our chapters held their ever-popular MTO meetings which involve a review of how to conduct a proper 360-degree truck inspection. It’s timely information for getting vehicles geared up for another busy season. It’s also a good idea to apply that same philosophy to your entire company.

Our message to the public this year, through our popular Garden Inspiration magazine and various press releases, focuses on why they should hire a professional member of Landscape Ontario and what questions they should be asking prospective companies. This is a golden opportunity for you to review your company policies with your staff and ensure you are in sync with what your association is promoting. The following documents prove your professionalism.

Proof of WSIB

Make sure your employees and clients know you have coverage and have your Certificate of Clearance visible. Let clients know that if they hire contractors without WSIB and proper safety standards, the client can be held liable for workplace injuries that occur on their property.

Proof of liability insurance

Again, make sure your staff and clients know you carry the appropriate insurance (a minimum of $1 million) and have your current certificate of insurance visible.

Supplier references

These are great to have in your presentation portfolio to show clients you are respected in the industry and pay your suppliers on time. This protects your clients from possible creditor liabilities.


Make sure your contracts are up-to-date and cover all aspects of the work and responsibilities involved, ie: permits, locates, changes to orders, payment schedules, etc. A written and signed contract protects the interests of both the homeowner and the contractor.


Warranties/guarantees should be in writing and clear as to exactly what is covered. It’s important to specify responsibilities, ie: watering of plant material, etc. as this can also lead to a discussion regarding a maintenance contract.

Client references

Having at least three written references in your presentation portfolio is a great tool for earning the confidence of a new client.

Human and equipment resources

Demonstrating to a client through previous job examples that you have the capability to fulfill the needs of the contract again instills confidence in your abilities and professionalism.

Employee experience and education

You should be proud of employees who have degrees, diplomas, industry training and certifications. This helps to demonstrate your level of professionalism. Keep copies of the qualifications in your portfolio and on your website.

Company profile

Complete your company profile on landscapeontario.com and use it as a selling feature.

Statement of Conduct, Principles and Ethics

Potential clients will often judge you on your ability to portray professionalism. This can include employee behaviour, uniforms, safe equipment operation, clean vehicles, etc.  

As an accredited member of Landscape Ontario, ensuring the above items are part of your daily operation shows you are committed to following the association’s standards. (Search for “ethics” on horttrades.com).
Denis Flanagan can be reached at dflanagan@landscapeontario.com or at 905-875-1805, ext. 2303.