Yesterday I met with a new client that I happen to be biologically related to. She has a blank slate patio and wanted to add some life through pots and plants. At the same time she was meeting with a contractor to redo her kitchen and a few other issues in her home. The contractor was telling her all the (fancy pants) things that she could do with her kitchen. The client turned to me and asked me what I thought and having much love and respect for her I gave my blunt (honest) opinion.
First I asked the contractor to create a contract where everything was itemized. This meant that he would have to list total cost of new kitchen cabinets which would include demo of existing and installation of new cabinets etc. I informed the client that until you have a contract that details what you are going to spend and how much (lump sum) you will have to fork over in total then DO NOT give out any money or agree to any work being done.
The same is true if you are intending on hiring a landscape designer or a landscape contractor. You have to know what service(s) are being provided to you and how much you will end up paying for those services before you commit. Otherwise you are just throwing money down the black hole.
If you have any good//bad contract stories feel free to share them by commenting on this post. Your experience will be beneficial to others.