Let's face it, there's a lot of lawn care companies around. How do you make a decision as to which one is best for your lawn? Price? Quality of service? Size of the company?
Price is definitely a consideration and usually the first one that people use in qualifying a prospective pro. But price alone is a little misleading. It seems like there's always someone with a lower price, but how do the lower priced companies offer you that ridiculously low cost? Here's how: they either scrimp on materials, buying the lowest priced supplies possible without concern for quality. Or, they reduce their overhead by not providing continuing training to their staff.
When you need a doctor, do you look for the cheapest doctor you can find, or do you look for the best qualified one with the right kind of training for your needs? Of course you want the best you can afford. While we can't make a direct comparison between doctors and lawn care providers, the same method for selecting each can be applied.
Look for recommendations from others. Ask your neighbors that use a professional lawn care provider how they feel about the company. Are they satisfied? Are they well treated? Is their lawn the kind of lawn you want?
Look for companies that market themselves. This is a sure sign that a company is doing good and not operating on a shoestring.
Also, look for membership in professional lawn care organizations such as PLANET(Professional Landcare Network) as well as local state lawn care organizations. Membership in these organizations are a good indicator that this lawn care company believes in staying current with the latest in technology, government safety regulations, as well as taking pride in their industry.
Licensed and Bonded. Before you hand over any money, find out if the company is bonded and insured. Most companies are, but it's still a good idea to check for these important credentials. If you get an especially low-estimate compared to other companies, be alert for these cost cutting factors. If the company isn't insured and bonded, you're at risk. It might also make you wonder where else they are going to cut corners with your lawn. Many lawn care companies won't repair damaged lawns that may or may not have resulted from treatments.
Good Track Record. When selecting a lawn care company, check their history for quality of work. Ask for a list of references to make sure the company has a good reputation. Check with the Better Business Bureau for any problems that may be on record.
Free Estimate. Many homeowners never ask potential lawn care company for a free estimate. If the lawncare company refuses, this may be a red flag. The company should give you a no-cost estimate before you sign any contract. Some companies may not even require a contract. Most companies operate on a continuing-basis agreement which means they will be back next year unless you tell them different.
Follow-up Visits. Some lawn care projects require some sort of follow-up in order to get the most from the work. Your lawn care company should specify this in their contract. If you're not happy with the results of any treatment, call the company and express your concerns immediately. Problems do sometimes arise and the sooner you contact the company, the better off you are at getting some type of resolution. You can't expect a company to give you a full refund for services rendered at the end of the year for a problem that has been bothering you since last spring. Weather conditions also effect results and these may not be covered. If your service says you should water your lawn in 24 hours and you don't and your lawn dies, then it is your responsibility. However, if you were on vacation at the time of the treatment and you told the company you would be gone during that week, then it may be the company's problem. Know when treatments are to be performed and let the company know when you won't be home for certain customer actions.