10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Retaining Wall Contractor

Retaining Wall Contractor

Written By Benjamin Eyth

Published on 13 Jun, 2024

Blogs | Retaining Walls

Are you planning to build a retaining wall that provides decades of reliable support while giving your property an elegant finishing touch? Building it yourself can be tricky, especially if you don’t have the right tools or much experience in design and construction. That’s where we come in.

As professional retaining wall contractors, our team here at Outdoor Cedar Structures can guarantee a long-lasting, well-built structure.

To ensure you feel confident in choosing a contractor, we’ve compiled ten questions to ask us or any potential company. These will help you determine who’s the right fit for your project.


Question #1: How long have you been building retaining walls?

Retaining wall construction is not as easy as it looks! There are numerous potential pitfalls, and the best chance to avoid them comes through expertise and industry experience. Contractors who have been in business for a long time have seen it all. They understand the challenges of building retaining walls and overcoming them. This is why seasoned contractors can adapt to any project or situation and guarantee high-quality results.


Question #2: Are you certified in what you do?

Reputable contractors possess certifications like ICPI (Interlocking Concrete Paver Installer) and CSRWI (Certified Segmental Retaining Wall Installer). When you hire certified contractors, you can be confident they will follow the highest construction standards. Certified retaining wall contractors invest in ongoing education and follow industry trends to ensure they can consistently meet manufacturer specifications for the materials they use.


Question #3: Can you give referrals?

A reputable contractor won’t have any problem giving you at least three solid references you can call to ask about their experience working with the company. If a contractor seems hesitant or refuses to provide references — or worse yet, gives you fake contact information — that’s a major red flag. Look elsewhere for a contractor who is transparent and confident in the quality of their work.


Question #4: How much can I expect to spend on this project?

It is very important to know how much money you need to budget for your project from the start. A reliable contractor will provide a quote with a clear breakdown of the factors that will influence the final cost, including the materials you choose, the size of the wall, and the labor involved.


Question #5: Will subcontractors work on my project?

Building retaining walls is not a one-person job. Several workers might be needed to complete the job efficiently (especially if it’s a big project). While some contractors have a dedicated team large enough to handle most projects, others might need to bring in subcontractors to meet deadlines.

While a larger crew can finish the project quicker, having too many workers maneuvering around the worksite can also increase the risk of damage to your landscaping or other parts of your property. Ask the contractor how they manage this potential issue.


Question #6: Can you provide the project’s aerial snapshot or a scaled landscape design?

An aerial snapshot or a scaled landscape design can clearly show how your finished retaining wall will look within the overall landscape. It can also be a lifesaver if you need to adjust your plans.  For example, if you face financial setbacks, a phased plan allows you to break down the project into smaller manageable stages. These visuals can also serve as reference points for your contractor. They can easily refer to the aerial snapshot if you have any questions or want to suggest changes to their initial plan.


Question #7: Are you insured?

Reputable contractors have insurance to protect you and their employees.  Accidents, or other incidents do happen from time to time on retaining wall construction projects. You’ll want to be sure that injuries to any workers on your project and your property are covered by workers’ compensation and general liability insurance.


Question #8: Can I see samples of your work?

A reputable retaining wall contractor should be eager to showcase their expertise! Ideally, their portfolio will be readily available on their website. If not, they should be able to provide it during your consultation.

Look for contractors who go beyond just showing pictures. They should also explain their approach to each project so you can understand their process.


Question #9: What materials should I use?

Every project is unique — any retaining wall contractor should understand how local factors impact a retaining wall. They should be able to give you advice on which materials will work best given your project’s functional requirements while also considering your budget.


Question #10: Where do you get materials to build my retaining wall?

A solid retaining wall requires high-quality materials that can withstand significant weight and pressure. A trustworthy contractor will be transparent about their material sources, including what brands they use and why they prefer those brands. They’ll likely have established, reliable relationships with suppliers so you can get the best possible materials for your project.


Ready to hire a certified retaining wall contractor with years of experience and a long list of completed projects? Get in touch with our team here at Outdoor Cedar Structures. Schedule a free design consultation today, and let’s start on your dream retaining wall!

Contact us today toschedule a design consultation