Like all home services you might hire, you should always read reviews, compare prices, and compare service offerings. But, there are also some aspects unique to lawn care service that you should understand which will help you know more about what you are buying.
The most important steps to choosing a lawn care company are to understand the product you need, be educated about how it's priced, and then you can begin to find lawn care companies to compare before you sign up for a lawn care service program.
What is lawn care?
Understanding the product
Lawn and landscape industry professionals differentiate lawn care services from lawn maintenance services. To understand the difference, let’s consider your dog's groomer versus their veterinarian. One provides a regular cleaning and trim and the other helps you to maximize your pet’s health and protect them against diseases and pests.
Lawn maintenance is like having a groomer for your lawn who provides regular mowing and cleanup services, whereas having a lawn care service compares to having a veterinarian for your lawn.
Lawn care specifically refers to applying fertilizers, lawn spraying for weeds and pests, and most importantly creating an overall plan for a healthy lawn.
How do companies provide lawn care?
While you may just want to have a one time lawn care service such as a fall granular weed and feed application, you shouldn’t expect to get a perfect lawn from a single application. To get the most benefit from a lawn care provider, you need to commit to a holistic year round plan that includes regular fertilization and pest protection measures.
When you sign up for a recurring lawn care program you are basically buying a scheduled set of services or planned treatments throughout the year. You want a comprehensive plan that's going to address health and nutrients, control lawn pests and diseases, and fight unwanted weeds.
You therefore need to compare what each company is offering in their lawn care program. How many planned visits will there be? What services are included during each visit? Are service calls included if something doesn't seem right? These are all important questions to get answered before you commit to a lawn care program.
What you should NOT expect from lawn care?
Don’t hire a lawn care company and expect a perfect lawn without putting in some extra effort on your own.
Your lawn needs to be properly mowed and irrigated while the site conditions must also be conducive to grow grass. While some may think lawn companies have a magic wand that sprays magic juice, lawn care on its own can't fix problems out of a lawn care provider’s control.
Since most lawn care companies aren’t responsible for mowing your lawn or managing the irrigation, they cannot be 100% responsible for issues in your lawn.
That being said, quality lawn care companies will be sure to provide you with detailed information about your lawn’s overall health at each service visit. You will get the most out of every lawn care treatment if you follow the supplemental recommendations on a lawn care service report. Ignoring the recommendations may yield poor results from your lawn care service.
How is lawn care priced?
While it isn’t advised to shop on price alone when comparing lawn care companies, price is usually a big deciding factor for customers. By understanding what affects the price of lawn care, you will be able to more easily differentiate between multiple lawn care service quotes.
Lawn Size Matters!
Check with each company to see how many square feet they have measured and plan to treat at your property. An incorrect measurement could lead to higher pricing.
The price of a lawn care service will be based upon the size of your lawn and what level of service you are receiving. A lawn with more area requires more products and takes more time to treat so will therefore cost more.
Application Price vs Annual Price
When shopping for a recurring lawn care program, it is important to understand both the price per application and the overall annual price for a lawn care program. Since lawn care providers offer their own unique programs, you may get more or fewer applications on an annual basis from one company to the next.
If one company has a lower application price than another, but provides more applications in a one year period, you may end up paying more annually than a company with a higher price per application.
It’s also important to note that more applications doesn’t mean that program is better than one with fewer applications per year. What really matters is that your lawn is receiving what it needs at the right times throughout the year.
Service Level of the Program
When understanding lawn care pricing, the level of service provided is probably the most important contributing factor. Opting for a cheaper lawn care program typically means you will be receiving a lower level of overall service and benefits.
So how can you compare service offerings from multiple lawn care companies?
First, it’s important to understand what specific treatments are being made at each application throughout the year. Some common questions you should ask about each companies specific lawn care program include:
What types and how much fertilizer will be applied?
How do you keep crabgrass and other weeds from taking over my lawn?
How will you keep bugs from killing my lawn?
But just as important as knowing what is included in a lawn care program is knowing what might be excluded from a particular lawn care program. The last thing you want is to find out you signed up for a lawn care program that doesn’t even cover your basic needs.
In addition to the specific treatments in a company’s lawn care program, you should be aware of the ongoing support offered once you sign up. You need reassurance that a company is going to stand behind their work.
Does the company offer free retreatment for difficult to control weeds or pests?
Do you offer a guarantee if a part of my lawn dies?
Find Lawn Care Providers in Your Area
Now that you are educated with what lawn care is and isn’t and also have a general idea of how lawn care services are going to be priced, it’s time to find some lawn care companies that service your local area.
Look in your neighborhood
You can typically learn which companies are servicing other lawns in your neighborhood by looking out for lawn treatment marking signs. It’s a requirement to post a notice in a lawn that’s recently been treated or fertilized. Not only do these lawn signs let you know to keep off the lawn until the application is dry, they can also help to promote the company treating that lawn. This is also a good way to gauge the results of how well one company’s lawn care program compares to another.
Ask Friends & Family
Trusted referrals from family and friends are a great way to find a lawn care company. Your friends and family can share their honest experiences with a particular lawn care service so that you already have a good idea of what you can expect.
Your landscaper may be another person you could ask for lawn care recommendations. Mowing companies see dozens of lawns a day and probably have a good idea of which lawn care company has the best lawns around.
A quick online search for lawn care companies can also help you determine what companies are fertilizing lawns in your city. Be sure to check each company’s website to see if they provide any explanation on what is included in their lawn care programs or how much a lawn care program typically costs.
Hire the Best Lawn Care Provider
There are a lot of quality lawn care companies out there. Finding the best one for you is going to take some effort, but if you use the pointers in this guide and are sure to ask a lot of good questions, you should be able to find a company you're comfortable with and can trust!