Ten Tips to Consider Before Hiring a Lawn Care Professional

by: Better Business Bureau

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A beautiful lawn can be both attractive and environmentally friendly, but it can be a lot of work to do on your own. Extended periods of extreme weather, dull lawn mower blades, insects, pests, and heavy foot traffic can all lead to a lawn that needs extra care. While many consumers choose to make lawn care a DIY project, some prefer to leave it to the professionals.

Lawn care generally falls into three categories: landscaping, lawn care, and sprinkler systems. Before choosing a company, assess your needs. Some companies specialize in one area, while others offer a variety of services. The Better Business Bureau offers the following advice when considering hiring a lawn care professional:

  • Research and gather information. Once you’ve decided on the services you need and your budget, get recommendations from friends and neighbors with lawns you admire. You can search for a company’s BBB business profile on BBB.org to get free information about their complaint history, read customer reviews, and see if they are a BBB accredited business. You can get a list of BBB accredited lawn care companies.
  • Ask for a lawn inspection.Services that quote a price without seeing your lawn can’t be sure what your lawn might need. Companies will sometimes charge you to discuss specific landscaping ideas to protect against clients who want to get their ideas and implement them themselves. If you contract with the company, they will often reimburse you for the initial costs.
  • Have a clear scope of work before asking for quotes.This includes defining the area to work on and what you want to do. When making offers, don’t compare apples to oranges. Make sure each company has included the same services. Also, make sure each company breaks down the cost in the same way (per visit, month, year, etc.).
  • Ask for references and photos of other jobs they have installed or serviced. If possible, visit these places to get a first-hand idea of ​​the quality of their work. Ask references about their experiences before, during and after work.
  • Get pricing details and be clear about included services . Are you paying for a specific project or ongoing maintenance? Do you pay by the mowing or by the month? Many companies allow you to pay after each treatment and may offer a discount if you pay the annual cost up front. What if it’s raining on the day someone is supposed to mow your lawn? Does mowing include edging? Who packs and disposes of clippings and other waste? Find out what happens if you have a problem between contracts. Will 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 if the lawn care supplier needs a license to work in your area. They may need a license to apply pesticides. Does the company offer liability and workers’ compensation insurance to protect you in the event of an accident on the job? Obtain proof of insurance from the company’s insurance agent.
  • Seek membership in a professional organization.A service’s membership in one or more professional lawn care associations and active participation in the local community is a positive sign. Professional organizations, such as the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), keep their members informed of new developments in pest control methods, safety, training, research and regulations. Most associations have a code of ethics that members must follow. Affiliation to a professional group is an indication that a company seeks quality in its work.
  • Put everything in writing and read all agreements and contracts carefully.Make sure the contract contains all the topics covered and the promises made. Document the duration and expected results of the lawn maintenance service. Some consumers are unaware that contracts can be indefinite, that is, they are renewed until the customer specifically terminates. Make sure you understand how it works and how you can cancel. The contract should indicate the quantity, size and types of plants and other materials. Look for guarantees and refund policies. Some services may offer a performance guarantee. Others may offer refunds if they don’t meet your expectations. Get copies of everything you sign.
  • Ask about timing and safety.Will the work be done while you are at home or away? Are there any safety measures to be taken during or after the work? If pesticides are used, do you need to protect your family or pets? Is the time of application suitable for weather conditions?
  • Get receipts for any money paid.It’s best to pay by check or credit card, but if you’re paying in full in cash, be sure to get a written statement from the company with a list of labor and material charges covered by the payment.

To report scams, go to BBB.org/ScamTracker.Find out more tips on hiring a contractor to work in or around your home. Need help with your project? Find trusted and approved landscape professionals near you and get a quote.


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