5 Questions To Ask When Comparing Lawn Care Services
It's spring and many of you are in the market for lawn care. If you are the good consumers I know you to be, you'll get a few estimates.
The following five questions should help you zero in on the best lawn care service to hire.
- Do they do a good job? This is a pretty easy one to figure out. Walk through your neighborhood and ask the folks that have the best lawns who they use. For the socially challenged among us, go online and check the reviews. This is actually more time consuming to do correctly as you have to wade through a lot of information to make a decision, but it can be done.
- Are the annual programs offered environmentally sensitive? I don't mean 'organic' (see my blog post on this topic, “The Scoop on Poop”) as they are not the same thing. You will want to ask whoever comes out to your lawn but also check with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Their website has a list of approved providers that follow the Green & Clean Initiative program guidelines.
- Will they be coming out to inspect your lawn? I was being presumptive with the last statement about 'ask whoever comes out' as an increasing number of services do not. They rely on Google Earth to give them the size of the lawn and since all prices are based on lawn area, these firms feel they don't need to waste their time seeing what your lawn actually needs. Of course, this is a horrible idea and any companies that you've written down on your list that do this should have a line struck through them.
- When they do come out, do they measure the lawn correctly? This is a biggy. All companies base their prices on square footage, as that determines the amount of material needed. Your economical mind may lead you might think that this is a good idea, because when they guess low (less square footage then your lawn actually has), you'll get a lower price. The reality is they will apply materials based on the smaller square footage their salesman guesstimated and the end result will be poor.
- Will the program recommended be tailor fit to the needs of your lawn? The majority of lawn care services use combination products. This is a seasonal mix of fertilizer, weed controls and insect controls that are mixed together and put down in one trip over the lawn. In other words, they treat every lawn the same regardless of need. The problem with this is twofold. First, you end up getting a whole bunch of chemical that your lawn may not need (see #2 above). Second, if there are unique problems or areas in your lawn that have different needs (see #3 above) this pre set mix won't address them.
I suggest making a simple grid, like the one below, and checking the boxes after you’ve interviewed the contenders (feel free to print it out!). Hope this helps.
|Checklist Item||Vendor 1 Name:||Vendor 2 Name:||Vendor 3 Name:|
|1. Do they do a good job?|
|2. Are the annual programs offered environmentally sensitive?|
|3. Will they be coming out to inspect my lawn?|
|4. When they do come out, do they measure the lawn correctly?|
|5. Will the program recommended be tailor fit to the needs of my lawn?|