Marlborough, MA - It’s that time of the year again, when the temperatures rise and the smell of freshly cut grass fills the air. If you're starting to think about lawn care, your Better Business Bureau has a few tips to keep in mind.
In 2013, BBB received more than 57,000 inquiries and 3,500 complaints against lawn care services. Many of the complaints were about shoddy workmanship, a faulty contract, or billing and collection issues. Hiring a landscape contractor can provide homeowners with the professional help needed when dealing with the area surrounding their home.
“Once you hire a landscaper, it’s important to get everything in writing and make sure all of the details are included in the contract,” said Paula Fleming, Vice President for the local BBB. “Read everything thoroughly before signing and never sign a contract that is partially blank.”
BBB recommends the following when hiring a lawn care maintenance service:
Know what you want. Have in mind the types of services you are seeking, such as fertilizing, weeding, aerating, or mowing. Ask about the products used like seed, fertilizer, or weed killer, and request a lawn inspection and estimate. Be wary of any business that offers a quote without first seeing your yard.
Understanding pricing. While price is certainly a major factor in any purchasing decision, find out exactly what you are getting. Do you pay by the mow or by the week? What happens when it rains? Does mowing include edging? Do they mulch or bag the clippings? Are services performed by employees or sub-contracted out?
Shop around. Get written estimates from at least three different businesses. Check out BBB’s Accredited Business Directory for landscaping contractors in your area. Keep in mind that the cheapest estimate is not necessarily the best option. Don’t feel pressured to hire the contractor with the lowest estimate. Landscapers with more experience or higher quality materials may charge a little more for the job.
Check first. Make sure the business has an up to date license as required by your jurisdiction, when appropriate. Always check their BBB Business Review at bbb.org/boston. Ask for references and check the business’ affiliation with national franchises or associations.
Scrutinize the contract. Some landscaping contracts automatically renew unless you specify otherwise. If you do choose to sign a long-term contract, make sure you get information about your cancellation rights in writing, in case you find the services to be unsatisfactory.
Understand the warranties and guarantees. If the service is not to your liking, or the lawn doesn’t look as you anticipated, understand what recourse you may have.
For more tips you can trust, visit bbb.org/boston.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses, all available for free at bbb.org.