A beautiful lawn can be both appealing and environmentally friendly, but it can take a lot of work and be a tricky project to do yourself. Caring for a yard under the best of circumstances can still be challenging; extended periods of extreme weather, dull lawn mower blades, bugs, pests, and heavy foot traffic can all lead to a lawn that needs extra care.
Lawn care generally falls into three categories: landscaping, lawn maintenance, and sprinkler systems. Before selecting a business, evaluate your needs. Some businesses specialize in one area, while others offer a variety of services.
The BBB offers the following tips when considering hiring a lawn care professional:
Ask for a lawn inspection. Services that quote a price without seeing your lawn cannot be sure what your lawn might need. Businesses will sometimes charge you to discuss specific landscaping ideas to protect themselves against clients who want to get their ideas and implement them themselves. If you contract with the business, they will often credit you back for the initial fee.
Have a clear scope of work before asking for estimates. This includes defining the area to be worked on and what you want done. When getting bids, don’t compare apples with oranges. Make sure that each business has included the same services. Also, be sure that each business breaks the cost down in the same way (per visit, month, year, etc…).
Ask for references and pictures of other jobs they installed or maintained. If possible, visit these locations to get a first-hand view of the quality of their work. Ask the references about their experiences before, during and after the work was done.
Get specifics on prices and be clear on what services are included. Are you paying for a specific project or ongoing maintenance? Do you pay by the mow or by the month? Many businesses allow you to pay after each treatment and may offer a discount if you pay the annual cost up front. What happens if it rains the day someone is supposed to come mow your lawn? Does mowing include edging? Who bags and disposes of the clippings and other refuse? Find out what happens if you have a problem between contracts. Will the service calls be free or is there a charge? If you are maintaining the landscaping yourself, ask for detailed instructions and be prepared to follow them.
Check to see if the lawn care provider needs a license to work in your area. In particular, they may need a license to apply pesticides. Does the business provide liability and workman’s compensation insurance to protect you in the event of an accident on the job? Ask for a certificate of insurance from the business’s insurance agent.