The most important thing to remember when hiring a service provider is that they will be working for you. Choose someone that listens to you, understands what you need, and with whom you can build a good working relationship. Many client-service provider relationships that start with a single project become long-term relationships where the service provider works to ensure the health of your land for more than one generation of owners.
Second, it is important to check a service provider’s qualifications. Ask service providers if they have any credentials, licenses, or certifications. A qualified service provider is more engaged, and their credentials, licenses, or certifications will be issued by a qualifying organization or agency. Unfortunately, not all service provider credentials, licenses, or certifications are required or mandated in Texas. Non-profit organizations and agencies sometimes sponsor credentialing processes for service providers. Often you can file a complaint about poor service through that same non-profit organization or government agency that implements the credential, license, or certification.
Next, enquire after the service provider’s educational qualifications. Some service providers that provide land management services have at least a bachelor's degree in forestry, biology, natural resource management, environmental sciences, or a related discipline.
Also check if the service provider is a member of a professional association. This is not necessary, but membership indicates that a service provider takes his or her profession seriously and tries to stay well-networked and up to date with new information about land management practices.
If the service provider will be implementing a service on your land, ensure that they and their contractor(s) have the necessary insurance. At a minimum, service providers and contractors should have general liability insurance, and they should comply with workers’ compensation laws. Service providers and contractors should carry professional liability insurance. Hiring a service provider and/or contractor without insurance could mean you will be held personally liable for an accident on your property.
Finally, the best way to predict how a service provider will work for you is to see how they've worked for others like you. So make sure you ask a service provider for a few references, preferably where they've worked with similar landowners on similar land management projects. Follow up with those landowners to see how satisfied they are with the service provider’s work and whether they plan to use him or her again for future projects.